Belle’s Hot Chicken

Belle’s Hot Chicken
150-156 Gertrude Street
Fitzroy
Vic 3065
+61 3 9077 0788
Belle's Hot Chicken on Urbanspoon

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After a tiring week, there’s nothing like a tucking into some good calorie-exploding artery-clogging apply-tongue-to-digits Southern fried chicken. The Angmoh and I got seated at the bar at Belle’s on a Friday evening after rocking up without having made a reservation. The restaurant does a modern take on the classic American diner, keeping the neon signage and booths with the latter decked in a handsome tan of treated wood. A turntable spins out some sleek vinyl tunes which is mostly drowned out by the buzz and chatter from patrons.

Belle’s specialises in fried chicken that comes in varying degrees of spice and heat. Never one to back down from a challenge, I ordered the hottest, the five out of five, the “really f***ing hot!”. Having had a spicy Sichuan meal the very night before, The Angmoh had to allow his stomach walls to reline and wussed onto a choice of medium heat. I did get a dipping sauce of ranch, just in case the habanero with ghost peppers were simply too much.

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(Left) House made sweet tea $6
(Right) Tenders, old bay fries $16

As we waited for our food, I sipped on some house-made tea. It was refreshingly icy, sweet and minty, another perfect cooler for the potential mouth-burning experience. Our meals came in little red plastic baskets, with a slice of white bread at the very bottom, possibly to absorb the oil and juices. Fat pickles adorned the meat with our choice of sides placed, well, at the side.

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Dark meat (drumstick and thigh), coleslaw $16
Belles ranch dressing $2

The Angmoh liked his chicken tenders but mentioned that, in future, will get a bone-in cut instead. There was much more going on in my drum and thigh cuts: more flavour, more juices, more crispy skin. As for my seasoning, it was indeed hot enough to induce some nose-sniffling and lip-tingling but I am proud to admit that not once did I reach for my tea and the ranch sauce barely had a dent in it when we left.

Belle’s fried chicken is pretty damn awesome. Grab a few mates who like a heat challenge and split a tub. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

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Filed under American, Fitzroy, Fried Chicken

Miss Jackson

Miss Jackson
2/19 Grey Street
St Kilda
Vic 3182
+61 3 9534 8415
Miss Jackson on Urbanspoon

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Brunch at Miss Jackson took place one Saturday morning with me finishing a CrossFit WOD and then jogging 2 suburbs south, while The Angmoh, Peach and Luigi all rocked up after tumbling out of bed, bushy-eyed and much less sweaty.

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(Left) Long black $3.80
(Right) Iced coffee $6

Peach had a long black, while The Angmoh, not being a fan of Allpress beans, found a way to indulge in an espresso-based drink that morning. He ordered an iced coffee and the generous glug of milk and vanilla ice cream helped masked the chemical aftertastes of the beans.

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(Left) Potted avocado with goats cheese, a poached egg and pumpkin bread, with house cured salmon $20
(Right) Corn fritters with bacon, avocado and roasted vine tomatoes and house made chilli jam $16

Service was quick despite a bustling weekend morning. Peach had the potted avocado and poached eggs on pumpkin toast. The avocado came as described, pale green and moussey-smooth. Luigi’s corn fritters were lovely with all the elements working well together. The tomatoes were literally bursting with flavour and Luigi’s white top unfortunately bore evidence of that.

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Potato and leek hash with smoked trout, a poached egg and smashed peas $18

The Angmoh and I usually do not order the same dish. Our brunch preferences swing in opposite directions, with him enjoying generous meaty breakfast platters while I lean towards vegetarian options that included eggs and shrooms. That morning, though, we both ordered the smoked trout on peas with hash. We both agreed the hash needed more crisping up, but the overall dish was tasty and fulfilling. I particularly liked the liberal sprinkling of herbs like dill and parsley. It provided a lovely refreshing lift to the dish.

Miss Jackson is a stalwart café in St Kilda. With pleasant, decent food, it’s a reliable brunch option for the local residents needing a good feed.

 

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Filed under Bayside, Brunch, Coffee, St Kilda

Joomak

Joomak
Basement, 407-409 Swanston Street
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 3 9663 7123
Joomak on Urbanspoon
joomak booth

Melbourne boasts of secret laneways and underground restaurants. Joomak is one such place, hidden in the basement of the Druids House along Swanston Street. Head downstairs and be welcomed by blue discotech fairy lights draped across each private dining cubicle, great for group huddling and gossiping over Korean nibbles and drinks.

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Pineapple soju $16

Toong organised a girls night out to celebrate her birthday and hens night. It was a small gathering of herself, Long Legs, Q and me. Toong had been here several times and loved the pineapple soju. It tasted exactly like pineapple syrup, sans the taste or smell of alcohol, making it an underestimated beverage that is pleasant-tasting and easy to drink.

Food is of a share-plate concept with no individual rice dishes such as bibimbaps gracing the menu. A button is located on the pillar and pressing it signals the waiter to your table. That night we shared 5 dishes amongst us 4.

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Rice cake with seafood $24
Ban Chan

The dish of rice cakes with seafood was the first to be set down. Normally involving cheese, Long Legs had requested that the cheese be omitted. It wasn’t quite my thing. Firstly, I’m not a fan of the Korean rice cake, which I find rather dense and chewy. Also the sauce was heavy and sweet, making it a combination not to my liking. Long Legs does like the Korean rice cakes though, and found no fault with the dish.

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Kimchi and squid pancake $17

The rest of the dishes captured my full attention, especially the kimchi and tofu soup (which is one of my favourite Korean dishes) and the kimchi and squid pancake. The soup, while nothing to shout about, ticks all the boxes of spicy, bubbling and comforting. Oddly enough I liked the pancake (I wasn’t expecting to), with its resilient chunks of squid and undetectable kimchi flavour.

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Beef short-rib soup $16

We also shared a beef short-rib soup and a chicken stew dish whose particulars I don’t fully remember. Both was tasty and full of flavour, heart-warming and would be perfect for winter.

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Braising chicken with spicy sauce $17

If you’re interested in some eclectic Korean food and love exploring Melbourne’s hidden spaces, give Joo Mak a visit when you’re next passing by.

 

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Filed under CBD, Korean

Addict Food and Coffee

Addict Food and Coffee
240 Johnston Street
Fitzroy
Vic 3605
+61 3 9415 6420
Addict Food and Coffee on Urbanspoon

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Brunch at Addict happened after the Booos and I returned to Melbourne after our Bhutan trip. We had had enough of sautéed veg in soy or oyster sauce and were hankering for a good decent Western brunch that included words like ‘sourdough’ and ‘poached’.

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(Top) Seasonal blend piccolo latte $3.80
(Bottom) Single origin Ethiopia Bulga piccolo latte $4.20

We zipped to Collingwood to check out Addict after having seen delicious tempting photos on Instagram. As we perched at the window seats watching the traffic on Johnston Street pass by, Fakebooo and I indulged in our coffees. Having gone coffee-free for the past 2 weeks, our first sips of Melbournian-coffee went down a treat with eyes-closed appreciation. Fakebooo’s Ethiopian single origin tasted of milk chocolate while my seasonal blend had notes of berries and biscuits. Yum.

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Corn fritters with kasundi, haloumi, poached eggs and a coriander and mizuna salad $18

Fakebooo had corn fritters, a Melbourne brunch classic. This was a dish loaded with flavour, with Middle Eastern spices in the fritters, sweetness from the corn and the haloumi and fetta providing some savouriness. The generous serve made Fakebooo’s tum very satisfied.

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Potato hash and mushroom duxelles with roasted field mushroom, a poached egg and caramelised onion $18

As for Fakebooobooo and I, we both had our eye on the mushroom on hash. The potato stack was a good inch thick with lovely crisp edges, topped with a buttery soft roasted field mushie and a gooey poached egg balanced on the peak, making one hell of a delicious tower. All the elements worked harmoniously, especially the sweet caramelised onion balancing out the salty mushroom duxelle.

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Having been deprived of Melbourne food for a few weeks, Addict certainly ticked all the boxes, satisfying our craving for quality brunch food and making us feel right back at home.

 

 

 

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Filed under Brunch, Coffee, Fitzroy

Nora

Nora
156 Elgin Street
Carlton
Vic 3053
+61 3 9041 8644
Nora on Urbanspoon

Nora

Fakebooo selected a café for one of our Thursday brunch sessions: Nora. He had yet to sample the famous charcoal-based tarts and promptly needed to rectify that.

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We stepped into the small-spaced café in Carlton and fell in love straight away. It was stark, it was clean, it was cute and the only the presence of the open kitchen and coffee machine prevented the café from appearing like an art gallery.

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Piccolo latte $4

As Fakebooo sipped on his decent Small Batch coffee, we contemplated the menu. It was hard to decide when everything sounded so interesting and alluring. In the end, we made our choices: “Dear Mitchell” for me and “Pig from the Ground it’s Raised From” for Booo.

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Pig from the ground it’s raised from – bacon, scallop, mushroom, watercress & taro puree, radish $18.50

If you thought the names of the dishes belonged to a degustation menu, wait till you see the plating! Fakebooo’s dish was just too beautiful to eat. The taro puree was a gentle smear at the rim, with the zucchini and radish artfully arranged to hide the slab of bacon steak. The taste of the dish was just as amazing. The pork was tender and full of flavour and topped with dehydrated scallop flakes that provided sweetness. The raw vegetables gave a refreshing green taste to counter the richness of the meat and the smooth taro paste bound it all together.

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Dear Mitchell – eggs our way, house chilli dressing, shallots, salted shrimps and Thai greens $14.50

Although my dish didn’t appear quite so pretty, it was bloody tasty. The beaten eggs were cooked in a 62 degree fashion, making it softer, more wobbly and more gelatinous than its boring steamed cousin. The dressing of sweet chilli and dried shrimp pumped up the flavours, giving simultaneous little bursts of sweetness and umami. The Asian vegetables of green papaya, Vietnamese mint and spring onion provided a little rawness and a little crunch.

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Both our dishes came with a side of wombok and a brown muffin. The wombok was glazed with house-made Thai curry paste, which confounded both Fakebooo and I. It just didn’t seem to go with either of our dishes. The bread on the other hand was well-received. It turned out to be a very eggy Yorkshire pudding-like bread, and it served well as our carb component to our brunch mains.

I loved everything about Nora: from goggling at the (t)art on display, to sipping on sweet tingly sparkling water (did I mention it’s free!), and awakening my tastebuds with the playful but delicious food. What about the tarts you ask?

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Charcoal tart – lychee, cheddar, Vegemite $5

This time, I tried the lychee, cheddar and Vegemite tart. The odd combination of ingredients meshed well in a pungent, sweet and salty manner. I liked it, although the true-blue Vegemite-lovin’ Aussie Angmoh refused to take a bite.

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Filed under Brunch, Carlton, Coffee, Modern, Sweets

Takeaway Special! Pop Up Scrolls, T by Luxbite

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Pop Up Scroll
86 Smith Street
Collingwood
Vic 3066
+61 4 3384 9281
Pop Up Scroll on Urbanspoon

One Friday night, I turned to The Angmoh and asked him in a most casual manner, “Angmoh*, watcha gonna do tomorrow since I gotta work?” to which he rattled off his usual weekend pattern followed off with a “why? Can I get you something?”

Well, since he asked, I couldn’t say no, could I? And that’s how I got myself 3 delicious scrolls from Eat a Scroll in Collingwood. I left the flavours entirely in the hands of The Angmoh, which tested the waters of our relationship if he’d returned with those filled with ingredients I didn’t like. We haven’t broken up, so he chose well.

The Angmoh made away with a cream cheese scroll, a chocolate and caramel one and finally, one with peanut butter and banana. These 3 were brioche-based, although there are croissant-type ones too. I’ll be honest, I had them on the Monday later. And guess what, they were still fresh and delish. The scroll itself was soft and not too buttery and the filling was gentle with the amount of sugar in it. Even the chocolate and caramel scroll was just right in terms of sugar and richness, leaving you without the feeling of sick.

My absolute favourite scroll of choice is cinnamon and I hope Eat A Scroll will someday create some old-fashioned ones too.

*I do not really call The Angmoh “Angmoh”.

T by Luxbite
2/517 Flinders Lane
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 3 9629 9662
T By LuxBite on Urbanspoon

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(Left) Calamansi – jackfruit, chilli salt, longan, meringue, kaffir lime sherbet, vanilla tart $9
(Right) Yuzu – Raspberry, matcha marshmallow, meringue, baby shiso, vanilla tart $8

I swung into T by Luxbite after a shopping spree at Gorman. Shorts, skirt and raincoat poorer but fuelled with adrenaline and serotonin, I oohed and ahhed at the too-pretty-to-eat tarts on display. It was a hot day and already hyped from shopping, I found myself not craving chocolate. Instead, it was the lighter citrusy flavours that I was after.

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The tarts are priced according to their shape. I chose the Calamansi tart, which is circular, and the Yuzu tart, which is rectangular. Both tarts are filled with a rich citrus curd which is once again not too cloyingly sweet. The prominent taste of jackfruit in the Calamansi tart was very enjoyable. However, some of the flavours are lost on me, such as chilli salt in the former and shiso in the latter.

That tarts are lovely but I’ll wait till it’s much cooler before trying the Chocolate and Kuma tarts, which I’m sure will be fantabulous.

 

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Filed under CBD, Collingwood, Pastries, Sweets

Rice Workshop, Raw Trader

Rice Workshop
238 Little Bourke Street
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 3 9650 6663
Rice Workshop on Urbanspoon

rice workshop

Sometimes all I’m after is a quick no-frills tasty meal that is easy on the wallet and super satisfying. Rice Workshop is one such place where the food ticks all those boxes for me.

The concept is simple: choose your staple of rice or noodles, add on the seasoned meat and toppings (ontama egg for me), and if that’s not enough, pick from a selection of deep fried goodies to complete the experience.

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Regular kimchi beef $8.50, add ontama egg

My comfort meal at Rick Workshop is the kimchi beef bowl with an added soft-boiled egg. The thin slices of fatty beef are marinated in a sweet soy with slight hints of maple. Paired with slightly spicy vinegary kimchi, it’s a sucker of a combination that gets to me each time. An ooey-gooey egg is cracked over the ricebowl and coats everything with a gelatinous slurpy egg blanket, yum!

Complimentary sides of pickled ginger or radish are available and I always pile my bowl high with the radish. The piquant crunch is irresistible!

A simple soft serve of matcha or black sesame is available for those needing to round up the meal with something sweet.

Raw Trader
10 Sutherland Street
Melbourne
Vic 3000
+61 4 7869 2008
Raw Trader on Urbanspoon

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For myself, I was hankering for a healthier sweet treat after gobbling up my meal. I crossed a couple blocks to Raw Trader, a healthy café situated near Short Stop Donuts that offers raw, unprocessed, vegan dishes. I indulged in a chai “cheesecake” and enjoyed the fragrant hints of cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. The texture of the cake was creamily smooth and made for a wonderful guilt-free way to finish up my day in the city.

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Chai cheesecake $10

Tummy satisfaction doesn’t always need to be in the form of a fancy degustation. I find that simple pleasures of delicious fuss-free food warms the soul. What’s your go-to meal for a quick soothing?

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Filed under Asian, CBD, Chai, Japanese, Korean, Raw, Sweets