Three Bags Full

Three Bags Full
Corner Nicholson Street and Mollison Street
Abbotsford
Vic
+61 3 9421 2732
Three Bags Full on Urbanspoon

TBF

The Angmoh and I met for the very first time at Three Bags Full 2 years ago. I’d arrived early, in my white and red summer frock and was seated right by the window, overlooking the traffic along Nicholson Street. And then he appeared, blond and blue-eyed only enhanced by the pale blue T-shirt that he wore. Who knew that we’d hit it off that very morning, brunching and chatting over two hours and that we would have made it seven hundred and thirty-three days later. Not me, certainly, for I, cynical and jaded about introductions and small talk, almost backed out that very morning.

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The Angmoh and I made it back to Three Bags Full just last Saturday. Long forgotten were the polite sips and dainty nibbles, now replaced by hangry mouthfuls and fork-poking. I do refer to myself, of course.

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(Top) Piccolo latte $3.50
(Bottom) Magic $3.50

We were seated rather niftily for a weekend peak hour, snagging the corner seats of the communal table in the main room. Many things haven’t changed, like the chairs made out of re-used metal signs, or the decadent cheesecake brownie, which I’d spied on as soon as we were ushered in. The Angmoh ordered a magic and I had the piccolo latte. The house blend is known as “Major Blazer” which had a lovely balance between cocoa and fruity flavours.

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Big breaky – eggs anyway on toast, Istra bacon, grilled tomato, roasted mushrooms, pork & fennel sausage, spinach and relish $19

There were no “which movies do you like” or “what music do you listen to” questions that Saturday. He scrolled on his phone, reading on IT geek-sh**, while I stalked my friends on Facebook. There was comfortable silence, with the occasional brush on the arm.

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Sweet potato and carrot fritters with a fried egg, goats curd, grilled haloumi, witlof, pomegranate, apple and herb salad $17

As soon as our food was set down, I could snap away as I pleased, while he waited, patiently. 2 years ago, it was mushrooms on toast for myself and a customised breakfast of poached eggs, bacon and avocado for him. This time round, he had the big breakfast, and I chose sweet potato and carrot fritters from the lunch menu. The big breakfast was a platter of all the essential breakfast elements. While it may not have looked pretty, it certainly tasted fantastic. My dish too, did not disappoint. The fritters were not gluggly and the flavours of sweet vegetable, creamy goats cheese, squeaky salty haloumi, zesty apple and juicy bursts of pomegranate made every bite a delicious multi-faceted swallow.

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Magic: Single origin “Primaveral” Colombia $3.50

The Angmoh finished off his brunch with a second coffee. This time, it was a single origin from Columbia which was super light, smooth and creamy. I held back, surprisingly, and restrained myself, neither having the famed cheesecake brownie nor the chocolate cupcake. Both, I guarantee, are excellent and perhaps, next year come April 8, we may find ourselves back at Three Bags Full.

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Filed under Abbotsford, Brunch, Coffee

Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar

Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar
Level 1 Crown Metropol
8 Whiteman Street
Southbank Vic 3006
+61 3 9292 8300
Mr. Hive Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

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The Angmoh and I had a date night at Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar. It was close to home, which meant I could scurry down 100m across the road in my hugging velvet dress and skinny heels. I succumb to heels in all their pin-pointy attractiveness, from the calf-stretching leg-lengthening glory to the painful so-gonna-lose-my balance arched agony.

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Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar is located in Crown Metropol. The space is sleek and handsome, with extremely high ceilings and an extensive black shelf interspersed with shiny gleaming copper pots. Mind you, I was half-tempted to nick off with one.

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As we deliberated over the menu, an amuse bouche of dried cherry tomato on polenta was set before us. I popped it in whole, and was instantly reminded of pizza. A really fancy, minute, gluten-free pizza.

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Oyster $4

As The Angmoh appreciated his very well-poured beer, I pounced on the distracted opportunity and started snapping away at the food. He had a lonesome oyster, which he described to be fresh and sweet, with just the hint of salt.

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(Left, top) Yellowfin tuna, ruby grapefruit, popcorn, sesame $15
(Left, bottom) Kingprawns, old bay spice $14
(Right) Crispy pig: pickled kohlrabi sauce gribiche $21

Amongst our selection of entrees, our favourites were the king prawns and crispy pork. The prawns were seasoned in a wonderful smoky aroma and somehow made me think of drunken prawns. I ordered the pork dish simply due to its name “Crispy Little Pig”. I believe it was pork jowl and it was full of rich porky flavour, which was nicely contrasted against the piquant ribbons of pickled kohlrabi.

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(Left) “Cape Grim” Tasmania hanger steak (250g) $34
(Right) Ricotta gnocchi, wild mushrooms, parsnip $30

Not usually a fan of gnocchi, I went adventurous and had ricotta gnocchi for my main. The Angmoh went old-school and predictable with steak, cooked medium rare. The fluffy bolsters of gnocchi were surprisingly not too heavy. Never one to complain about mushrooms, I loved my dish, and would have loved it more if it had a drizzle of truffle oil. The Angmoh’s steak arrived rare and well-charred and received his thumb’s up. He did find an overwhelming amount of caramelised onion over the steak, and would have preferred “a smattering” of it. I munched on his sweet potato chips, which were delightful. They were pillowy and dreamy, with a good balance of sweet and salty.

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(Left) Almond soufflé, blood peach yoghurt, honey ice cream $22
(Right) Poached rhubarb cookies, Cointreau, goats milk $17

For dessert, there was a choice of moving onto the counter to enjoy the famed dessert degustation. I was half tempted but wussed out in the end, ordering the rhubarb for myself and the almond soufflé for my man. I have a soft spot for rhubarb dessert and this did not disappoint. The tangy flavours of rhubarb shone through with the goats curd sorbet giving it a punch of refreshment. The almond soufflé was another winner. It was airy and light and chockers with real almond flavour. It paired so nicely with the honey ice cream.

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Mrs. Hive’s chocolate bar, peanuts, caramel $21

The Angmoh knows me and my dessert yearnings very well. I was also very keen to try the Mrs. Hive chocolate bar and didn’t think my rhubarb dish was quite enough. He ordered said dish on my behalf, so I wouldn’t appear to be the greedy oinker that I am. And thank the heavens we he did. It was an incredible concoction of rich silky chocolate mousse and luscious caramel, topped with a dollop of peanut butter sorbet. Oh yea, you heard right, peanut butter sorbet. It was the most ‘atas’ form of Snickers, period.

Our dinner at Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar ended on a sugar high. The food was good and the dessert amazing. The live vocals at the bar are impressive too and all in all it was one really pleasant night out. My only gripe was the lack of handwash in the ladies and disabled facilities. I had forgotten to mention it that night in my drunken stupor and eagerness to get to the chocolate bar, but dropped an email and have yet to receive a reply. So ladies, drag your men or girlfriends here for a night of sinful indulgence and do pack some hand sanitiser or wet wipes in your purse first.

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Filed under Australian, Crown Casino, Modern, Southbank, Steak, Sweets

Scarvelli Cafe

Scarvelli Café
143 Whitehorse Road
Balwyn
Vic 3103 +61 3 9816 8887
Scarvelli Cafe on Urbanspoon

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I met fellow food blogger and brunch lover Winnie (EatPlayShop) sometime in early March. We were gonna do a brunch date a whole year ago but never got round to settling on a suitable date. We locked in a Sunday and met at Winnie’s local, Scarvelli.

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Scarvelli is located along Whitehorse Road, a couple blocks from the very popular Snow Pony. The former has the layout similar to that of a house, with living room, dining room and courtyard available to diners. It is more spacious than the latter, making family outings (especially with Bubs) a whole heap easier for Winnie.

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(Left) Lindt hot chocolate $5
(Right) Prana chai latte $3.80

We started off with warm drinks: tea for Winnie, Lindt hot chocolate for the Angmoh and Prana soy chai for myself. The milky drinks were exactly that, milky.

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Dukkah eggs – crumbed poached eggs, cauliflower puree, pomegranate, pinenuts, sautéed spinach $17.50

The food menu does a fancy take on brunch fare, think espresso mascarpone on banana bread or pomegranate with dukkah-crumbed eggs. The Angmoh, who is a sucker for dukkah eggs, and is also the very reason why we chose Scarvelli (after seeing a picture of said eggs on Winnie’s Instagram), was impressed by the crumbed poached eggs. They were coated by just the right amount of dukkah and were cooked perfectly to bleed a stream of runny brilliant yellow yolk. Amongst the generous serve of creamy rich cauliflower puree were pinenuts and pomegranate. This dish oddly doesn’t come with bread, which I think is quite necessary to mop up the soft textures of both poached egg and cauliflower.

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Cured ocean trout – house cured trout, pickled radish, cucumber, fresh dill, horseradish crème fraiche $16.50

Winnie chose from the lunch menu and had an extremely healthy, carb-free meal of house-cured trout on a bed of radish and cucumber ribbons. While each element was lovely, there was an overall dryness that the dollop of crème fraiche failed to overcome. Winnie wished for a drizzle of citrusy dressing.

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Smashed avocado – Persian feta, roasted vine tomatoes on your choice of toast $15
Add poached egg $3

My smashed avo had a nice balance of feta crumbled into the thick green pulpy spread. It was very nice but would be better with a squeeze of lemon or lime. Scarvelli is a great brunch location for Balwyn folks where options are few and far. It gives Snow Pony a run for their money with its creative menu and capacity to seat more diners.

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By the way, thanks Winnie, for your gift of citrus meringue coconut tarts, they were delish and I gobbled down 2 that afternoon! Can’t wait to brunch again with you soon!

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Filed under Balwyn, Brunswick

Kass Kass

Kass Kass
490 Flinders Street
Melbourne Vic 3000
KassKass Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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I like to think of myself as a not-that-demanding female. In fact, I suppose I could, in an extremely generous manner of speaking, describe myself to be easily pleased. It doesn’t take much, I promise. Just gather up my girlfriends, chuck us into a karaoke room and complete the night with fried chicken. And so it was on one unforgettable night when Daisy (Never Too Sweet For Me), Ashley (I’m So Hungree) and myself had a 3 hour singing session followed by a lovely meal at Korean restaurant Kass Kass.

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Korean style fried chicken – crispy deep fried chicken with homemade batter, served with cabbage salad and daikon pickles $28

We crooned, we swayed, we clapped, we screeched. They got hungry, I got hangry. We climbed into Daisy’s nifty little car and made our way across the city to Flinders Street for KFC. Korean Fried Chicken, to be precise.

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Tofu Salad $10

I’ll be honest, I’ve tried the Korean Fried Chicken at Gami and didn’t like it one single bit. I like my fried chicken with minimum batter, maximum seasoning. And no icky sweet sauce to turn it into a smulch of sticky soggy avian mess, thank you very much. The fried chicken at Kass Kass put a smile on my face. The pieces of chicken were juicy, and they weren’t hidden under a thick armour of batter. The skins were crisp and every bite resounded with an audible crunch.

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Pork loin kass – Japanese style fresh breadcrumbed meats served with rice, miso soup, cabbage salad and homemade sauce $16

Apart from the KFC, we also shared the katsu pork loin, tofu salad and bibimbap. The fried pork was a touch dry but its cold dipping sauce of sweetened worchestershire helped. The salad came with pan-fried tofu, simple and delicious. I shrugged at the bibimbap. I’m biased towards Darac’s bibimbap, and hence I can’t give Kass Kass the thumb’s up. I also have to point out that the usual Korean appetisers of kimchi, seasoned bean sprouts, sweetened potato etc. weren’t offered that evening, which is, hmm, unusual.

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Bibimbap $15

There you have it. A simple girls’ night out of music, singing, good food and fried chicken is one of the many ways to my heart.

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Filed under CBD, Korean

Little Tommy Tucker

Little Tommy Tucker
432 Centre Road
Bentleigh
Vic 3204
Little Tommy Tucker on Urbanspoon

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Working in Bayside has exposed me to several delightful dining places. Little Tommy Tucker (LTT) is one such place. I had a solo breakfast at the beautiful café sometime late last year, and as soon as I stepped foot inside, fell quickly in love with the round communal table at the very end. There is bleached pale wood, bright natural light, lush hanging greens and it’s just the perfect spot to spy right into the kitchen. The warm smiles of the staff at Little Tommy Tucker made staying in love too easy.

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Piccolo latte $3.50

I had a piccolo latte brewed from Dukes beans. It was harsh, bitter and full of dark notes, which surprisingly ebbed into a pleasant cookie finish. As for breakfast choices, I was torn between muesli and zucchini cakes. The former got to me with just the words “yoghurt panacotta”. It certainly sent a tingle down my spine. It was a lovely breakfast dish full of textures and flavours. The muesli had crunchy seeds, softened by the creamy gentle panacotta. The poached pear was supple and added just a hint of sweetness and the bursts of ginger created a lively zing.

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Yoghurt Panna Cotta, ginger and macadamia Yousli muesli, poached pear, rockmelon cress $13

Fast forward a couple months, Fakebooo suggested having lunch at LTT whilst I was having my split shift break. He went vegetarian with heirloom tomatoes, goats’ cheese and runny poached egg. It was a simple healthy brunchy dish, with the use of quality ingredients and a thoughtful combination of flavours. Fakebooobooo had a carnivorous burger to placate his lunch cravings. The Wagyu patty was a generous thick serve of beef, cooked medium and dripping with flavourful juices.

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Tommy Tucker Wagyu burger, tasty cheese, lettuce, pickles, mustard, tomato relish and wedges $19

As for myself, I caught sight of fresh figs and enquired about it. Oh Tommy, you rascal, you truly know the way to my stomach heart. On special that day was crumpets with maple, ricotta and fresh figs. The maple was faint and there was a hint of coconut. It was a charmingly light dish and could easily pass off for breakfast or dessert.

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Heirloom tomatoes, whipped goat’s cheese, pesto, poached eggs $17

Little Tommy Tucker is a great addition to the burgeoning brunch scene in Bayside. It’s pleasant throughout, from the amicable service, to the fit out and of course, the food.

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Dr Martys crumpets with fresh figs, honeyed ricotta, maple syrup and macadamia nuts $15

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Filed under Bayside, Bentleigh, Brunch, Burgers, Coffee

Fukuryu Ramen, Traveller (NORA Charcoal Tarts)

Fukuryu Ramen
22-26 Corrs Lane
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 3 9090 7149
Fukuryu Ramen on Urbanspoon

Traveller
2/14 Crossley Street
Melbourne
Vic 3000
traveller on Urbanspoon

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It’s amazing what pictures of food can trigger off. Just slightly over 72 hours ago, Winston (The Hungry Excavator) posted a couple of pictures of new Ramen shop Fukuryu on Instagram. 24 hours later, Libby (The Very Very Hungry Caterpillar) posted a review on the very same place and the next thing I know, I’m there the very next day having lunch with Long Legs.

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Fukuryu is located in the same building as Sichuan House, albeit a couple of flights up. I was the very first customer that day and was greeted in a united rowdy “Irrashaimase”. As I doodled on my phone, checking on Facebook current affairs, the same cheerful greeting signalled the arrival of Long Legs.

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Signature Tonkotsu Ramen $9.90

We quickly got down to business. There’s was no fussing about, we knew we what we wanted and got straight into ordering the tonkotsu ramen each. This has got to be one of the best ramen broths in Melbourne. The soup alone blew me away: it was rich with pork flavours and had a strong taste of garlic. The noodles are bouncy, the soft boiled egg soft and gooey and it came with my favourite, marinated bamboo shoots. Long Legs kept going ‘Yum’ as she slurped up mouthfuls of noodles and soup.

We left, smiles on our faces and bellies thoroughly satisfied to the hearty cheer of “Itterasshai”.

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But I’m not done yet. I must mention what I did before heading into Chinatown. I must mention breakfast at Traveller, a relatively new coffee joint on the narrow strip of Crossley Street, the very same street of famous Melbourne eateries Von Haus and Gingerboy.

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Traveller is conspicuously small, sits just a rough handful and is a perfect place to chill and enjoy a Seven Seeds coffee. And of course, these.

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(Clockwise from Left) Lemongrass ginger brulee, Chocolate ganache with navel orange puree and popping candy, Coconut pandan with toasted puff rice $5 each

These ebony-cased beauties are charcoal tarts with the most imaginative and delicious fillings. The greedy oinker in me ordered 3 with the intention of taking them away for afternoon tea. As I sat and sipped on my piccolo latte, something felt amiss and I simply had to fulfil it by munching into the lemongrass brulee tart. The pastry is firm with a good crunch and there is no unpleasant taste of carbon or charcoal. The brulee had a nice torched surgary crisp and the custard was smooth and creamy with lovely flavours of lemongrass.

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Piccolo latte $4

I hear this and the pandan tarts sell out quick, so go early and have one. The only problem will be settling on a flavour, but your mouth will thank you once you do.

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Filed under CBD, Coffee, Japanese, Noodles, Pastries, Ramen, Sweets

Fat Bob’s Bar and Grill

Fat Bob’s Bar and Grill
80A Cochrane Road
Moorabbin
Vic 3189
+61 3 9555 0909
Fat Bob's Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

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Writing this post feels me with a sense of regret. Regret that I did not include Fat Bob’s in my burger tours of 2013 (there’s this and this), and so missing out on this delicious burger heaven located in the unassuming industrial estate of Moorabbin.

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Gourmet zucchini chips (mayo) $8.50

Blonde Biker Chick has been raving about Fat Bob’s and organised a burger work-gathering on a Friday evening. A narrow al fresco corridor leads to a dining hole glowing with pink neon and vintage posters proclaiming not the very best advice. A time indicator just behind the cashier gives a rough approximation of burger-waiting time and we filled our 45min gap sipping on brew and nibbling on zucchini chips. These are delightfully moreish dipped in mayo, with a crispy shell protecting soft tender pieces of zucchini. Nanny Fin thought they tasted just like regular chips, which must be a good thing.

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The burgers at Fat Bob’s have names related to cars and you can try finding the associated poster or sign on the wall. The Jackie O, which appeared right at the top of the list of Melbourne’s Top 10 Burgers (Herald Sun, Feb 2014) was the most popular choice amongst our group that evening. This was followed by Hummer, Spartan and Victa. All the patties are cooked to medium with just a hint of pink showing after taking a huge chomp. They come conveniently wrapped in foil, preventing diners from getting burger juice dripping down the arms. I am a sucker for chilli and had me the Hummer. This mean baby is oh-my-mofo-bloody-good. The bun is soft and sweet and sandwiches a juicy flavoursome patty topped with tasty melted cheese. The spiced mayo could use a lot more heat, but I do have a very high tolerance for chilli. Nevertheless, I was lost for words as I tucked into my burger and my only thought was when I could order my next Fat Bob’s.

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(Left) Jackie O – 180g grass fed beef pattie, tomato, Spanish onion, fontina cheese, cos, mustard, tomato & Fat Bob’s Special Sauce $15.50
(Right) Victa – Crumbed chicken fillet, coriander, Asian slaw, Japanese mayo & BBQ sauce $15

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Hummer – 180g grass fed beef pattie, tmato, jalepeno, cucumber, tasty cheese & Fat Bob’s ‘HUMMER’ spicy mayo $15

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Spartan – 180g grass fed beef pattie, tomato relish, coz, vintage cheese, bacon, onion 2 ways & BBQ sauce $16.50

My colleages loved the burgers they’d ordered. There was silence across the table with the occasional “Mmms” and nods as we were all swept up in an undeniable wave of unanimous approval. Boss M has an extremely refined palate (his favourite snack is dried organic apricots packed by monks and delivered by nuns in a blessed silk khata), and he likes “how the burgers are tasty without being too massive”. I hear he’s already planned to hit up Fat Bob’s for lunch on his next split shift.

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Fat Bob makes a helluva burger. It is dangerously close to work and I fear I may end up a fat blob by the end of the year. But then again, there would be no regrets.

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Filed under Bayside, Burgers, Moorabbin