3 Monkeys Place // Doncaster East

I had heard so much about 3 Monkeys Place before seeing it for myself so I was pretty excited to have brunch here. I didn’t know what to expect so I was pleasantly surprised to find myself at a pretty cute and relaxed cafe. I really liked the simple decor and the bright flowers on each of the tables.3mktt
It started raining after we arrived so it really was perfect timing. I had a hard time deciding what to order but in the end we agreed that there can always be future visits and I can always order something else next time. 3mp TT (3)
 ‘Charlie’s Burger’ with Chips and Siracha Mayo // 17
Charlie’s burger is made out of a spicy beef and pork patty along with the usual toppings of lettuce and tomato. I tried some of the siracha mayo and it was delicious – was a great tangy combination. Apparently the burger itself was quite filling but the patty could be more succulent and tender. These chips are the same chips you would get if you ordered the ‘Beer Battered Chips’ as a side.
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Porky Pig // 16
I ordered the ‘Porky Pig’ which has since then been updated. This picture however is the older version of the porky pig (main difference is that it is presented differently and now comes with CRISPY CRACKING #JELLY).  Porky Pig is basically pork belly with a radish salad and roti underneath. My favourite component of the dish was hands down the salad. I absolutely loved it – I wish I had the recipe. It was fresh, simple and I’d be pretty satisfied just eating a huge bowl of this salad.3mk tt2
Under the fried egg was my pork belly! Okay so I know pork belly is really fatty but I felt sooo unhealthy eating this. It was tasty but the fat content was quite heavy and didn’t feel that balanced with the salad. I liked the sweetest of the tamarind glaze.  The roti was a little disappointing but overall I was happy with the dish (mostly because of the salad).
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3 Monkeys is quite convenient in regards to parking so I’m sure I’ll be back. It has a nice environment and it’s appealing to the eye. It isn’t a cheap place to have brunch but the menu is fusion and offers

a change from a typical brunch menu

.Click to add a blog post for Three Monkeys Place on Zomato


Two Birds One Stone // South Yarra

Apologies for the super belated post! I went by ‘Two Birds One Stone’ a couple months ago for a catch up with one my lovely uni friends. She brought me here and recommended we try it.

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The menu hasn’t changed since then so you can still try out what I had :) The menu can be found on their website online. It’s definitely a visually appealing place – bright, clean and their lights are pretty beautiful don’t you agree?TBOS - TT (2)
There is a separate breakfast and lunch menu BUT the good news (or bad for the indecisive people) is that both options are BOTH served ALL DAY! On to the food first…
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Asparagus with house smoked salmon, potato hash brown, two poached eggs, salsa verde & fried bread // $18.50
This was my friend’s dish. It looked very vibrant but honestly and she agrees – a definite asparagus overkill. They were generous but the dish wouldn’t have been enjoyable for those who don’t mind asparagus. This would be the ultimate asparagus lover’s dish, UNLESS there was more smoked salmon and more of the hashbrown to help balance the flavours out.
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Pho + Chocolate

Recently I caught up with some old friends for dinner and dessert. Here is the unfolding of our little foodie adventure!

As we walked along Swanston Street, we decided to check out Melbourne Viet Noodle House (probably because the waiter actually saw us looking and came out encouraging us to go in). We had pretty friendly service throughout the night and 4 of us ordered very similar things! (Different combos of pho).vn (1)Chicken + Beef Pho (Beef stock) Small size $9
I ordered this dish (photo taken before adding bean sprouts). They were quite generous with the amount of onion they added into the dish (not all Vietnamese places even add onion to pho).  I thought it was quite average – not bad for pho – but also not the best. Having egg was also a nice touch to the dish. If you’re not particularly hungry small will be enough (but it’s not that big, so if you are hungry definitely go for the larger size)! (The next size up is only about a dollar extra). I liked the broth but probably not as much as what I’ve tried at Indochine or Super 888.  If you have any pho recommendations in the city please let me know :)vn (2)Tom Yum Noodle Soup
Our other friend ordered this dish! From memory there was no ‘large’ or ‘small’ option and this was definitely a larger bowl than the pho. I didn’t try any but she enjoyed it (so hopefully she did! haha).

Melbourne Vietnam Noodle House on Urbanspoon

Next stop! MAX BRENNER @ QV! Dessert time!
It was a special occasion but normally I wouldn’t prefer to go to Max Brenner’s for dessert. I don’t mind a coffee or a drink for a catch up but I find the pricing at Max Brenner’s to be quite expensive. it’s good if you share with others but if I was to pay on my own, I’d rather go somewhere else (say Koko Black)  for a similar cost (but that’s my personal preference!).

This night was a new dining experience for me however because I hadn’t tried the things we ordered. We decided to share between the 5 of us and ordered two things at QV. The queue was ridiculously long (this was approximately around 8:45PM and on a weeknight) and we probably waited for about 20 minutes. We were really fortunate to find a table but even after we ordered it still took about half an hour before any food came. The waiter was very friendly but everything just took so long! Either they’re understaffed or they don’t have enough room to cater for the amount of customers they have. Perhaps the Max Brenner’s in Melbourne central is less busy?

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Chocolate Fondue for Two 19.90 // Pure melted milk & dark chocolate served with strawberries, bananas, marshmallows & banana bread
I quite enjoyed the fondue! We requested for milk and dark chocolate pots. It was a guilty pleasure, but honestly and we all know it – it’s definitely something you can easily and simply do at home for a much cheaper price. I think it’s probably because I just typed up my budgeting for this month that I’m thinking so much about ‘worth’ haha so don’t mind me! Honestly speaking though, all you need is strawberries, marshmallows, other fruit, a bit of cake and some melted chocolate! The quantity they give you at MB is not much anyway, so for the same price you could probably get 3 times as much. I enjoyed the fondue, but there’s nothing much you can do to make it a spectacular fondue – it’s bound to taste good anywhere (right..? let me know if you’ve had any crazy bad fondue experiences outside before! eek).
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Choc-Banana Pizza* 17.00 // Pure melted chocolate, caramelised pecans, bananas & marshmallows
This pizza definitely got more addictive as I ate it, but it was actually quite disappointing. The base of the pizza was very dry/flaky and bland – I’m not even sure what it was made out of, but the texture was definitely not what I was expecting. Like I mentioned before, the prizing is quite overpriced – $17 was not worth the actual quality/quantity of food. Looks pretty appetizing at least! Definitely a good combo with the fondue together. I guess for the experience it was definitely exciting – we probably spent 5 minutes just taking photos and having fun trying chocolate pizza! *What is this strange type of food?! Where is the cheese?!*

Max Brenner Chocolate Bar on Urbanspoon

Bottom line?  
Max Brenner is a great place for catching up,especially for late-nights and a chill environment but (in some ways similar to pancake parlour)- it’s just overpriced.
Viet Noodle House average Vietnamese place – very casual so don’t expect anything fancy! It’s good for what it offers.

I hope I didn’t offend anyone’s favourite eating spots in this entry!

Top Paddock // Richmond

I was really excited to check out Top Paddock because it’s a highly popular brunch place with great reviews. Their menu looks absolutely amazing and I just want to try pretty much everything. Of course I was also very excited to catch up with the wonderful company of my girlfriends too :)

When we arrived we were greeted by a friendly staff member (and had pleasant service throughout the rest of the stay). We needed to queue up (approx 11AM) and it was extremely busy/packed. We only waited for about 5 minutes because we ended up being seated on a round table (that fits 6) and had to sit opposite 3 other strangers. It was a little strange at first because you don’t get the comfort of privacy and space, however the people opposite us were quite friendly. It was also very loud so it was quite hard to hear their conversations vice versa.

Also, from my experience parking was a pain! Be prepared to pay $7.50 per hour for parking around that Richmond area. Top Paddock (1)It’s awesome how they have an extra cafe menu and a DAILY specials menu as well – it’s not given out to you at the table so you probably need to request it, or else it’s at the front counter (where the muffins are). When I was there, some of their specials included items such as, ‘Local pine mushrooms served on house made flatbread with taleggio cheese & a garlic, chilli + parsley oil 18.50’, ‘Whitebait tacos with corinder, chilli & corn salsa 18.00′, Chilli beef & bean pie with your choice of a side salad & tomato relish 15.00’ Just to name a few! They  also serve fresh juice and have a variety of salads available where you can add ocean trout as a side for $7.Top Paddock (2)Top Paddock Menu (Soooo many choices! All day brunch)Top Paddock (3) Gin and lime cured ocean trout with pickled baby beetroots, potato galette, poached eggs, leaves, goats curd & toast // $20

This was the dish I ordered and I waited in high anticipation for it. I’m  personally not a fan of goats curd/beetroots but I chose this dish for the ocean trout. I had high expectations and though it was a pretty good dish (the concept) there were a couple of big faults.

Not so good things: There was surprising quite a few bones in my trout (atleast 5) and pretty big ones too. I definitely would not have chocked on them but it did lower my view on the standard of Top Paddock. It did make me feel that they were too busy to ensure quality goes into their food – and I can be sympathetic knowing it’s a high pressure environment, but I’m not sure if as a customer I should be accepting. My ocean trout was slightly overcooked (you can probably tell by looking at the photo actually). Honestly I’m still surprised that their standard dropped (compared to other reviews I’ve read about this ocean trout!) but I didn’t want to make a fuss. I haven’t come across any other reviews that have mentioned bones so I’m hoping and willing to give them the benefit of the doubt.I was impressed by everything else – presentation, customer service, visual appearance of their store and their menu- so I  really want them to present great tasting food too!  It’s a shame because most people seem to have a great experience at Top Paddock.

Good things: Beautifully poached eggs, great tasting potato and my friends and I loved the presentation. We probably spent about 5-10 minutes taking photos of our food… I only wish there was more of that potato on my plate because I love how it’s layered so delicately.The pickled beetroot had a very unique and interesting flavour, I didn’t dislike it but I wasn’t a huge fan of the flavour combination of everything together. I didn’t really feel like the flavours were balanced out but again, I kind of think that it was just a lack of consistency on the day I went and bad luck to me.

Based on my the appearance of friend’s dishes and the other menu options, I am STILL convinced that I will come back (and I hope that perhaps it was just that once off experience). I’ll need to come back and hopefully it’s better tasting food next time.Top Paddock (4) Pan fried local snapper with a chilli-fried egg, avocado, tomato, lime and a corn tortilla // $19.50

This was Top Paddock’s other famous fish dish with a pan fried snapper! My friend found it quite simple, The avocado and lemon creates that fresh tone to the dish. Unfortunately her snapper was slightly over cooked too!TPTop Paddock – chorizo, pickled onion, peppers, basil, Adelaide green tomatoes, bacon, poached eggs & relish on toast // $22

This dish looks absolutely smashing! My friend really enjoyed it too. It’s definitely a more hearty option for brunch.Top Paddock (5)Other highly popular/recommended dishes at Top Paddock are:

Blueberry & ricotta hotcakes with berries, organic maple, seeds & double cream // 17.50

Grilled broccolini & sugar snaps with avocado, toasted almonds, poached eggs & heidi raclette on toast // 17.50

Ranger Valley Wagyu steak sandwhich with beetroot relish, tempura beetroot shoots, fresh horseradish & wasabi leaves // 20.00

Top Paddock on Urbanspoon

Red Cup Cafe // Box Hill

Red Cup Cafe has a lively and busy atmosphere. I received very nice service from the waiters and the food came out promptly (considering there was 8 of us!) but really the food is so overpriced for brunch.  Don’t get me wrong – the food tastes good, but in comparison to other brunch places I am so sure Red Cup Cafe can afford to charge their meals for a cheaper price. (Or it’s that they know they’ll definitely customers who are willing to pay and settle with that. – Kind of disappointing mentality though so I hope I’m wrong.) Most breakfast items average to be about $18, with coffee at $4.5. (Excluding the city most places I’ve been to for brunch would average to $14-16 for the usual Eggs Benedict/Florentine). Any additional sides cost $4. It’s not as though this place was more classier than other brunch places and it’s not as though they have a great rating on Urbanspoon either.

Nevertheless, it was a special occasion and I enjoyed my time there. Good company always makes it worth it :) I just wouldn’t go to Red Cup Cafe regularly especially as there are other places that serve similar things (e.g. Eggs Benedict) for a much cheaper price. I would be happier to pay the price if there was something different to explain why their food costs more than majority of brunch places selling very similar things. YET it’s still booming with customers! I thought that was interesting.

Here are some of the items we ordered :)
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MojoRojo// Smashed Avocado, Poached Eggs, Capsicum Sauce
Tasty and filling! This was my dish. The avo was really ripe, a lot of it mushed together and it had a strong lime taste, but put together with their eggs and capsicum sauce and it tasted good.
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Kids Pancakes // $5
They had an extra order by accident so I got to try their kid’s pancakes! It was SO good, seriously. They don’t have an adults version of this, but I’d recommend it if there was. I love the sauce. It’s sweet, caramel-like and buttery.
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Pancakes // Cream and Berry
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Baked Eggsredcp (5)
Eggs Benedict // Smoked Salmon, Spinach
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Eggs your way // Sunny side up, toast and baked beans

Red Cup Cafe on Urbanspoon

Baking – Oreo Cupcakes

H & I spent the whole afternoon baking birthday Oreo Cupcakes for one of our close friends. It was a lot of fun hanging out, going shopping for the ingredients, baking and decorating the cupcakes! Our friend loved them too hehe.

Here are some photos :)

Oreos (2) To make Oreo Cupcakes all you need to do is first make the cupcakes themselves. We used a chocolate cupcake recipe.Oreos (3) Then we added a bit of the mixture into cupcake holders, placed one oreo in each holder, then filled the rest up with the mixture. Then we baked them! It depends on your oven but approximately 180 degrees for half an hour.Oreos (4) To get the Oreo icing we placed about 5 oreos into a little seal it bag, then crushed it up into small pieces by either shaking the bag or by applying pressure to the bag.Oreos (5) Then we mixed up the cookie bits into vanilla icing… It was all going well..UNTIL…Oreos (6) …We started piping!! We realized our cookie bits weren’t fine enough (which was sad because I wanted that crunchiness texture) so we had to crush and crush to make it even more fine. The reason for this was because all the cookie bits got stuck inside the piping bag which meant we couldn’t pipe nice thin icing. Tip for all you out there who want to attempt this: Crush up all the pieces very finely before you mix it with icing, or get a larger piping screw top that will fit the cookie bits.

This also explains why our icing ended up being so thick! (Luckily our friend likes icing haha)Oreos (8) You can see our oreo inside! *Surprise!*Oreos (9) Lots of icing ;) We both took turns doing the piping. It was actually my first time piping so some of them look pretty inconsistent. It takes a while getting used to, but being patient and slow is helpful, Also getting really close to the cupcake itself helps your hands to remain steady.Oreos (11)As there is already an Oreo inside each of the cupcakes we didn’t put an extra oreo on all of the cupcakes (helps on the sugar intake haha…)

Hope you like the end product! Next time it’ll look even better with more practice ;) At the end of the day it was good bonding time with H, and our friend enjoyed the cupcakes! We also made enough so I got to have a few of my own! x

Hammer and Tong +N2 Extreme Gelato

I had the pleasure of celebrating my two close friends birthdays at ‘Hammer and Tong‘ and then ‘N2 Extreme Gelato‘! Both visits for the first time and on a gorgeous sunny day too :))

Here are  my thoughts on the FOOD!

First stop – Hammer and Tong!
As soon as we arrived, I could already tell how popular it was just by the queue! We waited for almost half an hour for a table and there was probably about 5 others waiting behind us! The staff were friendly and overall quite quirky actually!bdaylunch (1)Corn & zucchini fritters, avocado, manchego, spinach, chili tomato relish, poached/fried egg /$17 (Friend’s dishes)

bdaylunch (2)Soft shell crab burger /$16
This was my dish and it was so tasty. I love the texture of Brioche buns done well and this one was light and tender. It had good flavours and the crab wasn’t too crunchy either. Definitely seasoned well, but not the most succulent tasting soft shell crab.Of course, a tad messy to eat but it was so worth it!

Hammer & Tong on Urbanspoon

Second stop- N2 Extreme Gelato!bdaylunch (4)It seems as though everyone has been RAVING on about N2 so we thought we’d give it a try. We were so happy  for the lovely weather as well. When we arrived here, it was ALSO packed but lucky for us it gave us time to decide what we wanted. Their menu board is really fun and awesome with small cartoon drawings and handwritten food titles on a chalkboard like wall. I really wanted to try the crème brulee one that everyone had been recommending but unfortunately it wasn’t on the menu ( not for ‘this season’) so I really hope they’ll bring it back sometime and I can come back and try it!   bdaylunch (5) Black Lava Salted Caramel Dulche de Luche, Lavender + Almond Fed White Chocolate Fudge &  Deconstructed Apple Strudel \$6 each
I can see why many people are so into this place, but I do find it slightly overrated. Sure it’s a very cool place to check out for the first time – being their unique way of serving and making the gelato for you, however I do think that ‘awe’ does and will phase off after awhile. Therefore what will be left would be flavour and quality of their gelato. I had the Salted Caramel one which would have been nicer if it had been in a smaller quantity as it does just become too sweet.  For the price and the one size only, it’s not something I’d regularly get, though for a special treat  or an occasion I would not mind. After all they do have exciting innovative ideas for flavours which I’d be interested in checking out.  I suppose in the end it’s more about the experience of going to N2 and being curious about how their flavours differ to other typical gelato places.

N2 Extreme Gelato on Urbanspoon

And to my dear friends (Bec + Miriam) I really hope you guys had a lot of fun (I sure did!) celebrating your birthdays!  I feel sososo blessed to have you girls in my life. You’re both so easy to talk to and always giving me great tips and encouragements in my life xx