I’m not normally one for hot chocolate, having made myself ill on thick Spanish hot chocolate and churros. Too many people had however mentioned Monsieur Truffe when I asked tips on places to explore in Fitzroy, my new stomping ground. Well it was amazing. Perfect sized tiny mugs of rich dark chocolate, not too sweet and not too rich- just right. And the Mocha which is my favourite of all was made with an 85% bitter chocolate and coffee and was pure heaven in a cup.
Ok, so I heard that Vietnamese bakeries are amazing, and despite their unassuming store fronts, they have an amazing and loyal following. So armed with a big hunger and just a few dollars in my pocket, I finally entered one such establishment named, predictably, ‘Saigon Bakery’ on Victoria St, Richmond.
When I was a little girl, there was nothing better for breakfast than my grandmothers Matzah brei, served in a little frypan topped with her own apricot jam. It was so delicious that I knew I just had to be loved beyond measure! Well, this weekend was Easter break and we drove 2 hours out of Melbourne to Thornton to my aunty and uncles farm. Rose spoilt us rotten with 3 delicious meals each day. My favorite was her very own take on Matzah brei made thicker and more cake like, topped with caramelised apples and bananas and loads of honey.
Honestly, I’m no expert, but I do know fresh ingredients and food prepared with love. Little Saigon, on Victoria street in Richmond, is just another wee Vietnamese cafe amongst many. The interior’s plain, and it’s full of locals who do their best to keep this well kept secet under wraps- no pun intended…
Note to self: whilst in Melbourne, stop at any sandwich bar and marvel at the potential for a super fresh, high stacked salad sandwich. Remember with a shudder, the nasty mayo laden coronation chicken, sad single soggy lettuce leaf and watery tomato slice, so typical of the London equivalent I had to make do with. So rejoice, order with the lot, add avocado and pineapple and a splash of sweet chilli. This is my favourite Australian lunch. Obviously a bakery like Babkas will supply the best freshly baked bread, but with the rise of the Vietnamese bakeries across town, you can get one super cheap just about anywhere. N. Tran bakery at 263 Chapel street Prahran is great; their white bread rolls lighter and crispier than most.
I do my best to fast all day, knowing that I’ve been invited to join the eating frenzy that is Passover dinner. We were invited to the home of close family friends. Basia, who is well known for her amazing cooking, didn’t disappoint. I was starving and knew I was in for at least 5 courses. There’s starters, see above, which include gefilte fish made with Austalian Murray perch, sweet and delicious, egg salad, various dips and smoked salmon. Oh and don’t forget the boiled egg drizzled with the salty tears of our people.
A gem in the crown of Melbourne eating, Claypots is the kind of establishment I adore. Totally focused on simple, fresh, and generously proportioned seafood dishes, flavoured by the influences of Indian, Malaysian, Morrocan, Cajun and Chinese fare, Claypots remains a firm favourite and apparently number 29 of all things to do when visiting Melbourne according to Trip Advisor.
Karen Martini is the visionary and much awarded chef behind Mr Wolf, a rustic Italian wood oven pizza restaurant on Inkerman St in St Kilda Melbourne. So many people had told me to go here that I didn’t just because. Well, that was just plain stupid, because the food here is so incredible. Pricey yes it is, but sometimes, just sometimes, it’s really worth it.