Saturday, March 31, 2012

La Belle Miette

La Belle Miette
30 Hardware Ln
Melbourne, VIC3000
Following on from Guhng, we stopped by here for an after dinner snack. Macarons just seemed like the way to go on a Friday night.

We were in luck as most of the flavours were still available. Between the remaining three of us (A,S and K had all left) we sunk our teeth into five different flavours, all with a consistently spectacular, soft and chewy texture.

Caramel a la Fleur de Sel
The caramel filling was especially gorgeous as it spreads so very smoothly across the tongue. It was exceptionally sweet however and definitely needed more salt.
Hazelnut Belle Miette
Your tastebuds won't have to overwork themselves to taste this one.
Mango & Coconut
I got the faint crunch of coconut, though the tea may or may not have stolen the other flavours. 
Strawberry & Vanilla
Run search for 'Strawberry & Vanilla macaron'
0 file(s) found. Try again?
Violet & Blueberry
L is the berry lover in our merry little trio. She approves :)

T was kind enough to shout the two of us Marco Polo tea. Full of blissful, fruity tones - free top ups too! I loved the design of the teaspoons, although some polishing is in order ^^;

Price: About $20

La Belle Miette on Urbanspoon

Guhng (The Palace)

Guhng (The Palace)
19 McKillop Street
Melbourne, VIC3000

Oh sweet freedom, how nice it is to see you again! Fridays are such a joy. 

Our reservation was at 6, and after a few hours of cards, we were keen to get some food in ourselves. On arrival, we were promptly shown to our seat (after noting they'd completely misheard my name, that I had undergone a gender change and I was now named after a devilish, fictional character)

There were a few qualms with our seats located on the lower ground so we asked to change the seating to the third floor. Unfortunately we were told the seats there were 4 seaters only and couldn't accommodate our group of 6 so we had to stay put. Rather than risk splurging, we went with a set menu.
Typical complementary sides.
Pan Fried Dumplings were very bland; the only ingredient I tasted was the vermicelli ._. Soy sauce is a must, which was thankfully diluted.
Beef Rib Salad. When the menu detailed the set course for 6 people, I didn't expect them to be this stingy with their servings as there was literally one piece of beef per person, then we filled up on the remaining salad. Points for the controlled dosage of tangy dressing.

The mild flavour of the Baek Se Ju (right) paled in contrast with the raspberry splattered Bo Hae. Go with the latter for a comparatively exciting experience. Cutely presented in shot glasses so we could pretend we had a high alcohol tolerance. (Except for L, who holds her liquor fairly well~)

No self serve here. The waitress was very attentive with the cooking and proportionate cutting of the meat. By the end of it though, I had no idea whether I was indulging in the Wagyu Scotch Fillet, Oyster Blades, or Rib Fillets.  As a general statement, the meats were juicy, but lacking in character.

If you're not following the rule of 'first come first serve', you'll get a maximum of 2 pieces of meat per cut. There's also Pork Belly which I didn't make it in time to, but apparently it was very fatty and flavourless.

The picture is deceiving - that pot was quite shallow. Each person received a small bowl of the broth which L described as 'in-your-face-salty' and it was rather deprived of ingredients.

You can try fish for some beef and maybe you'll get lucky. Or you'll just lift up the spoon to expose the little bunch of enoki swimming around.
 Ah the seafood, looking so wonderful and fresh as their flesh cooks on the plate, accompanied by a small dish of soy sauce. The King Prawns were massive but were separated into more bite sized chunks following the waitress and her snipping (so much that a portion of the tail become a projectile and launched itself over to K).

 Desserts tend to be the redeeming course. Each cylinder of ice cream sat within a milk chocolate cage, dusted with sugar. The Black Sesame Ice cream possessed a distinct taste which was mildly impressive considering how you can get varieties looking and tasting like dusty vanilla.

Green Tea Ice Cream
Cheesecake wasn't to my liking. It was refrigerated and had a minimal, stubborn biscuit base.

Green Tea Tiramisu
The layer of red bean was well done; soft and not crammed with sugar like many other Asian restaurants.
Last and certainly the least (to disappoint) the Panna cottas. Whatever the red one was, it was better. Less gelatinous than the green and kissed with a bare amount of sugar. 

$45 for a barely filling meal truly isn't great value. Best be on the lookout for other places.

Price: About $315 (+2 soft drinks)

Guhng (The Palace) on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Equitable Place

Blue sky overhead.
Following on from the grand experience yesterday, in the not-quite-so early hours of this morning K, L and I traversed through the onslaught of businessmen and women back to Equitable Place.
Of the shops along the lane, this place had a comparably extensive breakfast menu.
We forcefully ordered a Mocha for K, to which we owe an apology ^^; The liquid sat in three distinct shades of chocolate and didn't have the slightest hint of coffee - unbearably sweet.
L's Flat White
 The lack of coffee art annoyed her so.
I finally tired of the latte and took a step up to a Cappuccino. This was quite low in intensity.
K and I both had Spanish Omelettes. Chorizo wasn't as 'delicate' as those at Manchester Press and involved no subtleties; just straight forward saline meat and the crude harshness of additional pepper. If you're a cheese person, you'd enjoy the central concentration of it in the omelette.
L felt the feta was slightly overdone, but otherwise enjoyed her scrambled egg (I'll have to get her to remind me what the proper name was).  

Food took 15-20 minutes to arrive and by then my coffee was already half gone and stripped of its reassuring heat. When the plates did arrive, the cutlery was placed across the dish and contracted excess oil from the food. 

Otherwise, the setting wasn't too bad. There's something grand about dining outside a cafe in a lane wedged between towering buildings, especially with a cool breeze blowing which just tickles the skin - Mother Nature's way of telling us to enjoy our meal. The experience was severed in two when we found ourselves surrounded by smokers. 

A hasty departure.

Total: $40.20 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Brown Bagels

Brown Bagels

330 Collins St 
Shop 10 Equitable Pl
Melbourne, VIC3000

Following coffee and macarons, my stomach started protesting against the zero instake of savoury food, so we found another lane to explore and settled down at Brown Bagels.

It was a cute little place which could have been personified into a creative, but humble child. Look to the ground and see if you can spot the smiley face :)

Silly ole me was too excited about the store and forgot to take a photo of the full bagel. Ah, the effects of time on memory..

Above is the other half of my Roast Beef bagel. At a fraction of the price at Manchester Press, this was decent and echoed of the salad rolls at Luneburger (who, much to my chagrin, have closed. Farewell dear friend, makers of my breakfast!) minus the tomato. Speaking in terms of texture it was a wise choice (I appreciate crunchiness~)

However..never have I met a dish which required more mustard. Another dollop on top of the smidgen would have given this a much needed kick of flavour.

Otherwise, perhaps I'll see you there for breakfast :)

Price: $8.50
 Brown Bagels on Urbanspoon

Niagara Lane

Stopped by Le Belle Miette today.

The pastel colours are so beautiful and really lightened up my mood. Today I went with:

72% Cocoa Single Origin Chocolate (Venezuela)
‘Bastille’ – Moet et Chandon and Blackcurrant
Cherry Blossom & Sake
Mariage Freres Earl Grey Chocolate

Perhaps my palette was still contaminated from the buttery crossiant this morning but I couldn't taste much other than 'sweet' and the strange flavour of the chocolate macaron. Forgive me for the awkward description - as one does when they can't put their finger on something - but on engulfing the little treat there was the initial wave of chocolate, then a light slap across the cheek, an unpleasant intrusion. Will be back to confirm whether it was a one off.

As we were exiting Hardware lane, L wanted to duck through another alleyway we hadn't explored before and came across an interesting cafe in a basement with an open window to showcase the interior.

Rather intrigued, we stood outside discussing the place for a few minutes and eventually a man who I presume was the owner came out. L had a short chat with him about how the place looked to be some sort of secret organisation; he humourously informed us we would have been shot at~

After photographing the exterior, we ordered our respective coffees and made ourselves comfortable in the couches by the open window.

 Apologies for the dodgy picture, my height rendered me unable to capture all the furniture ^^; The patterned mats were a nice touch to the crates.
 Did I mention the place was owned by architects?

Gentle music floated about the room and made for a very relaxing atmosphere. Oh Melbourne, the wondrous places you have within your lanes.
The menu was rather cute as they were renamed after architects who worked there (or more specifically, the floor above). Setting wise, this place was fantastic.

Mind you, the coffee won't be the greatest one you'll have, but it's only $3. Comes with a side of free Wi-Fi.

31 Niagara Lane

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Le Cirque Fine Foods

Le Cirque Fine Foods
27 Star Crescent
Docklands, VIC3008

Got off to an awful start this morning when the leg cramped before I had even gotten out of bed - I'm pinning the blame on Romp. In case you haven't heard, it's a charity event that is "part treasure hunt, part Amazing Race, part puzzle" and you get an excuse to run around the city in your choice of costume. 

Us? We were the six misfits who went from being hunters to murderers to businessmen to some group of people whose only commonality was black and white clothing ^^;
Nice font :D
I swear we planned on tramming and making good use of our time..but one checkpoint led to another and we eventually ended up at Le Cirque.
R stuck with a bowl of chips. Crunchy.
S and T had Roast Beef Rolls. No complaints
L helped herself to Linguini with Chicken.

Tr 's Risotto with Duck

My Lamb Fillet Salad

Roasted lamb resting on a bed of fresh salad. The meat was to my liking as it was well cooked and just bordering on charred. Excessive dressing was a deterrent.
High Tea
Heads up: Rock up with at least one other companion and mention the magazine Karamel to get a discount of $7 off High Tea. At the new price of $12.90, the wallet won't feel as much pain for the tier of food.

Visually, the array of sandwiches were not the best fellas of the lot but the sensation of warm cheese bonded with crispy bread and sweetened with a thin layer of jam was rather delectable :) The firm chicken pieces were another pleaser.

Scones were heavy and dry. As I sulkily swallowed each bite, all I could think was, "Never again, never again.."
Macarons were little crumbly sugar hits. Escape the disaster to the wonderful world of Brunetti's and stay there xD Unless you're headed for a better place like La Belle Miette in which case you should run faster.

Total: About $120 (+ two glasses of wine)

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