Tag Archives: Restaurant

Simple and Traditional – Mr Collins

Hello to my Dearest Readers :) I am writing this post in the plane as I’m going to back to Hong Kong for a couple of weeks to visit family, friends, shop and most importantly EAT! Follow me on Instagram and you’ll know exactly what I get up to. Anyhow, a couple of weeks ago I was invited to Mr Collins in the Docklands for lunch and was asked to bring a friend as well.

Mr Collins at Collins Square

Mr Collins at Collins Square

Since it was in the city, I decided to ask my colleague Yue to come, it would be a great chance for us to catch up before I headed off and was still quite close to our office. In the past couple of months, I’ve heard of so many new cafes/restaurants popping up in the Docklands, which I think is really nice because a lot of my friends work there and use to complain about the lack of eateries ~

Mr Collins

Mr Collins is located inside an office building (not sure which one) and adjacent with a modern food court. I really liked the seating they had outside the restaurant which had a lot of natural light coming through. The concept here at Mr Collins is to serve homemade style Italian dishes and where possible they make all their pastas and sauces from scratch.

White Wine

We started the luncheon with some white wine and prosecco, who said you can’t drink on a work day lunch even though I did turn quite red :P It was then followed by a charcuterie board with a good range of salami, bresaola, various cheeses and brae cheese with pear and honey drizzled over which was my favourite. Great way to start our meal, but I had to pace myself because I knew there was going to be a lot of food coming our way!

Charcuterie board

Charcuterie board

Frank Nesci introduced himself to us and explained that he has been in the hospitality industry since he was 12 years old at his parents restaurant. Before Mr Collins, Frank and his family owned and managed Healthy Habits, Sputino and Fancy Fillings. Many of these outlets can be found in food courts in most shopping centres.

Bruschetta

Bruschetta

I know bruschetta sounds like a very simply dish, but this one at Mr Collins was probably one of the best I’ve had for a long time. I’m not sure if it’s the housemade bread or the fresh tomatoes, the flavours just melded without each other very well.

Mains - Squid ink pasta, gnocchi and ravioli

Main – Squid ink pasta, gnocchi and ravioli

There was then a short wait for the mains, which I understand as there were quite a few of us, and normally we wouldn’t have mind, just Yue and I had a meeting so we had to rush back ~ We all got our own plate of pasta with squid ink garlic prawn pasta, gnocchi in a tomato base sauce and ravioli. the prawn pasta was the most flavoursome and the prawner was cooked well. I found the gnocchi to be a little soft while the ravioli was nice with a soft cheese filling, sorry guys forgot what it was exactly.

Pizza - prosciutto, mozzarella cheese, rocket

Pizza – prosciutto, mozzarella cheese, rocket

The food kept coming, we then had two pizzas to share. The first was the proscuito, rocket and mozzarella cheese, my type of pizza. Really liked the topping and the flavour in the dough, not sure if they use a wood fire oven but it sure had that texture. Yue did find the base of the pizza a little wet, but we think it might be because we were at the end of the table and the last to take the pizza.

Pizza - Mozzerella cheese

Pizza – Mozzerella cheese

The second pizza had a drier base and that was the simple tomato base mozzarella pizza. Like the bruschetta it was simple but very tasty.

Tiramisu

Tiramisu

Would have loved to stayed and chat to everyone, but we had to rush off. Just before we got up, Ashleigh from Harvey PR made my day by bringing over the dessert tiramisu in a tall glass jar. I’m definitely no expert when it comes to tiramisu but I really enjoyed the strong hit of coffee and the creaminess from the mascarpone cheese.

How cool is this loaf of bread?!

How cool is this loaf of bread?!

Overall, I like how Mr Collins focuses on making traditional simple dishes and not overly modernising the dishes. Think Mr Collins is a great addition to the growing number of restaurants in the Docklands providing people more lunch and dinner options. I know they make all their cakes and sweet in house as well, so next time I’m going to have to come back and try some of the cakes :)

Mr Collins Cafe on Urbanspoon

Yue and Daisy@Nevertoosweet dined at Mr Collins as guests of Harvey Publicity 

Casual French Bistro – La Cassolette

I’m not sure if I’ve asked My Dearest Readers before, but what’s your favourite cuisine? :) Mine would definitely be French! I mean of course I would love French food because of their pastries, cakes and desserts. But I also like their slow cooked and comforting meals like a beef bourguignon.

La Cassolette

Mr Bao and I recently visited La Cassolette on Rebecca Walk, it might look familiar to some because it use to be a Roule Galette. The well known crepe store which I have previously blogged about here ~ The owner Michel Dubois has decided to transform Roule Galette into a modern casual French bistro serving traditional dishes at affordable prices.

La Cassolette

I definitely appreciated Michel’s efforts because even though I love French food, I find most of my favourite restaurants are quite expensive and its hard to find casual bistros here in Melbourne. They have fully refurbished Roule Galette, with new tables, chairs and I feel it’s also brighter letting a lot of natural come through. Rebecca Walk is a quieter side of the city which I think many people forget, but the view is actually stunning overseeing the Yarra River and also Crown Casino.

Sparking water and marinated olives

Sparking water and marinated olives

We got there at around 6:30pm and were the only table, we were offered some Sparking water and marinated olives to start our meal. I’ve never seen this brand of sparkling water before called Cape Grim where they collect the water from Tasmania, Mr Bao liked the water so much saying that it was the best he’s had ~ I think it’s because it wasn’t over carbonated, and didn’t have that aftertaste some sparkling water has.

Crab salad and quinoa taboule $16

Crab salad and quinoa taboule $16

We were suggested to order a three course meal, for my starter I chose their recommended dish which was a crab salad and quinoa taboule. I wasn’t expecting a square shaped bar, on the bottom was the quinoa and on top was the crab salad severed with baguette and some greens. I really enjoyed the crab salad with the mayonnaise dressing and the quinoa made it a rather filling dish and probably didn’t need the baguette bread :)

Smoked salmon with French dressing $15

Smoked salmon with French dressing $15

Mr Bao is a fan of smoked salmon so he ordered the entree size with French dressing and baguette for his starter. Another generous serving with quite a few slices of smoked salmon, don’t think we’ve had it with French dressing before, but was a nice addiction and helped cut some of the saltiness from the smoked salmon.

Scotch Fillet Black Angus 220g $25

Scotch Fillet Black Angus 220g $25

For his main, Mr Bao ordered a Scotch Fillet Black Angus that was 220g for $25 which we think is quite reasonable for a good piece of steak. It was nicely cooked to medium rare but we found it to be a little tough and paired with a spicy Cajun sauce.

Mash Potato $6

Mash Potato $6

We also added a side of mash potatoes to go with the steak, it was fluffy and butter topped with herbs and cracked pepper. I probably shouldn’t have ate so much of it!

Seared scallops and creamy sauce served with mash potato, parmesan and green salad $25

Seared scallops and creamy sauce $25

For my main, I chose another one of their speciality dish, seared scallops with creamy sauce. These dishes are cooked in front of customers where the scallops are cooked in a hot pan with Cognac then seasoned with salt, pepper and herbs.

Seared scallops

It’s so nicely plated with the seared scallops arranged around mashed potatoes, parmesan cheese and a green salad. Scallops are one of my favourite types of seafood and these were cooked perfectly, not at all chewy and still soft inside.

Seared Scallops

Nearly forgot we also had some white wine to pair with our meal. It was particularly nice with my scallop dish. I found it to be more on the drier side and prefer sweeter wines, but Mr Bao really liked it.

White wine

Who says you can’t have a drink on a Thursday night? :P

IMG_0494

I already had my eyes on the ‘I Feel Sweet’ section which is their dessert, I got the chocolate pear fondant cake. I was surprised to see it served in a tea cup, a great way to serve fondants and makes it less messy, will need to try this next time at home ~

Chocolate Pear Fondant $12

Chocolate Pear Fondant $12

On top of the fondant was vanilla ice-cream, I really enjoyed the oozy centre this is definitely my type of dessert!

Maki Roll sorbet $14

Maki Roll sorbet $14

We were intrigued by the Maki Roll sorbets on the menu, when we asked the waitress she said that it’s a fun dessert that their chef has created. They were shaped like sushi with a sweet fruit syrup centre sorbet on the outside, the thin slices of sorbet melted quickly and reminded me very much like the Sugus lollies which are chewy lollies quite famous in Hong Kong :)

We really enjoyed our meal at La Cassolette, food was made well and comforting and service was warm and friendly. It’s nice to know of a new place to get casual French food at very affordable prices. Would recommend it to anyone who likes French food and haven’t been able to find a casual place in Melbourne ~

La Cassolette on Urbanspoon

Daisy and Mr Bao @Nevertoosweet dined as guests of La Cassolette

Brunch Dates – Fandango & Crabapple Kitchen

I’m sure My Dearest Readers, all know my love for brunching so today, wanted to share with you two brunch dates I’ve gone on lately :) The first date was last week, Michelle (The Bakernista) is going home to Malaysia for a couple of weeks, so we decided to catch up before she jetted off ~ We had a couple of ideas about which cafe to go to and eventually settled on Fandango in North Melbourne. Most people may be more familiar with the cafe next door Auction Rooms which always has a queue in front.

Iced-Coffee $5

Iced-Coffee $5

Fandango has actually been on my radar for a while, in the ‘Oldie but Goodie’ list. Just haven’t had time to cross it off, Michelle and I have both read great things about the cafe so was excited to try it out. I was quite surprised that it was such a small little cafe, and the front was already full so we sat out in the courtyard. It was a nice sunny day, but with the sun shining it was getting hot, so I ordered an ice-chocolate with vanilla ice-cream to cool down. I really enjoyed the strong coffee hit that was diluted nicely with the ice-cream.

Beetroot eggs $16

Beetroot eggs $16

I have to admit, I was a little disappointed when I first saw the menu, it was quite limited and nothing seemed that unique. But I reread Ash’s post and she made the beetroot and fetta relish sound absolutely irressistable, so that’s what I got ~ The relish is served with thick cut sourdough toast, poached egg and I added a side of mushrooms. Even though the poached egg was slightly overcooked and not as runny as I would like, the beetroot and fetta relish did not disappoint. It was absolutely delish! And don’t underestimate this dish, it was so filling :)

Pesto Scrambled Egg with bacon $19.80

Pesto Scrambled Egg with bacon $19.80

Now even though my brunch was awesome, I had serious food envy when Michelle’s dish came, she had the pesto scrambled egg with grilled tomatoes and bacon. It smelt so good and of course I stole a bite, the scrambled eggs were so soft but not oily and that light flavours of pesto through it. Must remember to order this next time I can.

Fandango is one of those cafes, you can judge by its cover, their menu is simple but they do the simple things so well and will blow you away! I already have my heart and mind set on the pesto scrambled eggs and also pancakes next time I come!

Fandango on Urbanspoon

My next brunch date was with Mr Bao and Shy (the little poodle we were dog sitting), it was the first time we’ve had brunch with a doggie and wasn’t sure how it’ll turn out. I chose Crabapple Kitchen because I’ve been before and remember I sat outside as well and it was quite nice with a little white fence around the tables.

Crabapple Kitchen

Crabapple Kitchen

Crabapple Kitchen is in Hawthorn on their busy Glenferrie Road, parking can be a pain so it’s best to allow 10 to 15 minutes. Unlike Fandango, Crabapple Kitchen had an extensive menu with a good range of brunch dishes.

Soy Chai Latte $4

Soy Chai Latte $4

I started the brunch with a Soy Chai Latte, it came in a plunger and I could see the wet chai leaves in the bottom, which is always a good sign, in comparison to those made out of powder. I don’t think I gave it enough time to develop the flavours because it was a little weak but nice and comforting.

Latte $3.8

Latte $3.8

Mr Bao ordered a latte, he commented that it reasonable but was slightly hot and a little bitter.

Creamy porridge with fresh nectarine, boysenberry and vanilla compote $12

Creamy porridge with fresh nectarine, boysenberry and vanilla compote $12

Even though they had so many items on their menu, I really felt like porridge that day. I know it’s relatively easy to make porridge at home, trust me, mine never look or taste like this. It’s always a little thick, gluggy and never as creamy. This porridge was served with fresh nectarine which was a little firm and that yummy boysenberry and vanilla compote with honey. It might be a little sweet for others, but it was just right for me, perfect for a chilly morning!

Big Brekky $18.5

Big Brekky $18.5

Mr Bao was starving that morning (actually he’s always hungry) so he opted for the traditional Big Brekky with scrambled eggs, bacon, tomatoes and mushrooms. The scrambled eggs was definitely the highlight with a velvety texture, the other elements were nice but nothing really blew us away.

Lamington $4.5

Lamington $4.5

To finish up, I definitely needed something sweet (yes even though my porridge was sweet :P ) they have a nice cabinet of sweets with homemade muffins, cakes and cookies. I had the lamington before and really enjoyed it so that’s what we got. Just as good as before, the sponge cake was moist with a strawberry jam filling, covered in chocolate and shredded coconut. Probably one of the better lamingtons I’ve had in Melbourne. Gosh they’re hard to find ~

Brunch with Shy was a success

Brunch with Shy was a success

Brunch with Shy was a success! Crabapple is quite a dog friendly cafe providing dogs with a large bowl of water and the waitresses were very friendly and accommodating. Shy even got a few pats and sat underneath the table while we were eating our brunch ~ Crabapple Kitchen is a great local cafe to have serving great food at reasonable prices, I think next time I will try the more interesting dishes such as the corn and chilli fritters. They also serve dinners every named ‘Friday Night Flight’ where they serve a 3 course meal with a theme from a different country for instance when its a USA theme they serve burgers and ribs. Mr Bao and I definitely want to come back and try that out :)

Crabapple Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Japanese Afternoon Tea – Hihou

Hello my Dearest Readers :) Hope you’ve all recovered from Christmas and now getting ready to celebrate New Years! This year has just gone by so quickly I haven’t even had time to think about my achievements and failures…let alone New Years resolutions. But it’s ok I still have a little bit of time to work that out hehe

Hihou tea

I’m sure I’ve said that plenty of times and I’ll say it again, I can’t think of a better way to spend Saturday afternoon than having afternoon tea with my girls – BBFF (Michele), Lianne (Food Made with Love) and Michelle (The Bakernista) :) A couple of weeks ago I came across an article which talked about Hihou limited edition Japanese Afternoon tea which they have on the last Saturday of each month. For Japanese food connoisseurs in Melbourne they will know Hihou is owned by the same group as Izakaya Den and Nama Nama the acclaimed restaurnats. I haven’t had the chance to try these restaurants but was lucky to try some of Hihou’s dishes at the Lexus Pavilion on Stakes Day.

HIhou tea

Hihou Japanese Afternoon Tea $25 per person

Because there were limited seats, I literally emailed and booked a table of for and then merely informed the girls that they were to have afternoon tea with me on that date and 2pm. I gave them no choice and the only way they could get out of it was to give me a REALLY good excuse :P Yes I can be very pushy or efficient as I like to describe myself hehe

I’m glad we all made it to the afternoon tea that day and got a nice table by the window which gave us a good view of the Flagstaff gardens and the people walking along Flinders Lane. We all started with a hot tea, I obviously went for the matcha while the girls Ume Vert which was a Japanese Plum Green. I think I prefer the taste of the matcha tea but the Japanese plum green smelt so good!

Chilli miso soy bean oyaki

Chilli miso soy bean oyaki

The first course for the afternoon tea was this Chilli miso soy bean oyaki which is a dumpling made from fermented buckwheat and a miso soy bean filling. I found the dumpling to be a little dense and chewy but I did like the slight spiciness from the chilli.

Pork Tonkatsu Sandwich

Pork Tonkatsu Sandwich

It was then followed by this delicious Pork Tonkatsu Sandwich the girls went crazy for this :P I can’t blame them the pork tonkatsu (deep fried pork cutlet) had a light crispy layer on the outside but still remained so juicy and tender inside. This may sound a little silly but I also found the bread so soft and fluffy as well hehe

Scallop and Shitake Shumai

Scallop and Shitake Shumai

My favourite out of the savoury dishes would have to be this scallop and shitake shumai, they were freshly steamed and I loved the flavour and texture of the scallop. Just modernises and makes the already delicious Shumai even better.

Japanese Sweet Treat Box - Matcha cookies, Japanese Whiskey chocolate, Mountain berry tart, Miso caramel nut praline

Japanese Sweet Treat Box
Matcha cookies, Japanese Whiskey chocolate, Mountain berry tart, White bean paste dumpling, Miso caramel nut praline

Now time for sweets! I did let out a little squeal when I saw this little sweet treat box. It had a good spread of Japanese inspired and style sweets. On the top left was the matcha cookie which was more like a shortbread it was quite nice but I would’ve liked a stronger matcha flavour. On the top right was the Japanese Whiskey chocolate which was surprisingly sweet and couldn’t really taste the whiskey. In the middle was the Japanese Mountain Berry tart, there wasn’t a distinct flavour to the mountain berry best way to describe it would be like a really light tasting raspberry. On the bottom left was a white bean pate dumpling this was my least favourite as I’m not a fan of white bean and the paste texture. Last but not least was the miso caramel nut praline, it may sound unusual, however, the saltiness from the miso matched the sweet caramel quite well.

Black Sesame Cheesecake

Black Sesame Cheesecake

That’s not it there’s more dessert yay! This was the black sesame cheesecake, I know the colour may alarm people who are not familiar with black sesame but if you’re a fan you will appreciate the strong yet not overpowering black sesame flavour and the soft cotton like texture of the cheesecake.

Warm Yuzu tofu cake, white chocolate sauce

Warm Yuzu tofu cake, white chocolate sauce

Everything was lovely, but the winner of this whole afternoon tea was this warm yuzu tofu cake. I find it’s quite hard to find yuzu flavoured desserts in Melbourne. Yuzu is a Japanese citrus fruit cross between a lemon/mandarin. I really like the spongey texture of the tofu cake and the delicious white chocolate sauce topped with chopped pistachio and cranberry. I have already instructed Mr Bao to try and replicate this at home and try and open and use that bottle of yuzu juice we have at home :D

Overall, all of us had a great time at Hihou and really enjoyed the afternoon tea. We probably overstayed and wanted to stay for longer and just chat chat chat hehe for only $25 per person, it’s actually very good value for all the food we got and also unlimited supply of tea. Would highly recommended this to anyone who likes Japanese food or want afternoon tea with a twist.

Hihou on Urbanspoon

Gumbo Experience – Po’ Boy Quarter

Po' Boy Quarter

I swear I do not live on Smith St or anywhere close by, but I do find myself going there quite regularly :P Here’s another restaurant I have recently visited with Libby and that is Po’ Boy Quarter. I’ve walked and past so many times and have been meaning to visit but haven’t had the chance. I’ll be honest that day Po’ Boy it wasn’t our first preference, but the restaurant we wanted to visit wasn’t open yet so it was the perfect opportunity.

Po' Boy Quarter

It’s a very casual diner type restaurant, the menu is hung up on the wall behind the counter, you pay and order, then take a number and the food will be delivered to your table. The menu’s quite small but still enough to make my stomach rumble!

Homemade New Orleans Lemonade $5

Homemade New Orleans Lemonade $5

We started the meal with the Homemade New Orleans Lemonade served in the classic red disposable cups which just reminds me of American soup operas where they also use these cups ~ I’m not sure if you can see from this picture but the lemonade is not clear but a pinkish colour probably because it has some cranberry juice because I could taste the slight bitterness. It wasn’t as sweet as I expected it to be and I found there to be a slight salty aftertaste.

Po' Boy Quarter

On the left – Deep Fried Shrimp Po’ Boy $11.9

As the name suggest they obviously sell Po’ Boys! For those who don’t know it can be described as subway like sandwiches which often have roast meat or prawns as the filling ~ Libby and I were quite hungry so we decided to get a Po’ Boy each and a Gumbo to share. The one on the left is the one Libby ordered the Deep Fried Shrimp with tomato, lettuce, pickles, ketchup, mayo and cajun slaw. I tried one of the prawns and it was nicely fried in a light batter, I did find the texture to be a little soft.

Beef Debris Po' Boy $11.9

Beef Debris Po’ Boy $11.9

I felt like something a little heavier that night, so I went for the Beef debris which is a 10 hour braised beef shredded with cajun gravy French’s mustard, mayonnaise and Louisiana Hot Sauce. The beef was tender but I found that it was getting stuck between my teeth but I really liked the flavour especially the hot sauce. It’s such a large serving with quite a lot of bread both Libby and I struggled to finish it, so it’s probably a good idea to share it if you’re not too hungry and great value for money :)

Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo

Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo $7

We also shared the Chicken and Smoked Sausage Gumbo, it’s the first time I’ve had a gumbo. I immediately thought of the movie Forrest Gump and the section where it takes about gumbo dishes hehe. I didn’t expect the gumbo to be so smokey and such strong flavours of spices. I can’t say I’m a fan, maybe because I’m not use to these flavours. But I’d like to try some more gumbos and compare it with this one. Hint hint Veda would be really nice if I could try your one :P

I’m so sad we didn’t get to try the dessert this time, because we were rushing off to another event, but I’d love to come back and try the white chocolate and pumpkin cheesecake. I find any dessert with pumpkin in it to be so American ~

I haven’t had enough Po’ Boys or Gumbos to compare these with the traditional ones in Louisiana where it originates from. But I did enjoy our meal here and liked experiencing something new and think it’s a good alternative to our regular burgers or sandwiches :)

Po' Boy Quarter on Urbanspoon

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