Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Mr Burton, Ashburton by Bureaucrat

After a morning of channelling our inner child with Boy Chick at the rather fabulous playground at Markham Park (seriously, why didn't we have playgrounds like this when we were young?), we trundled up to High Street, Ashburton for a spot of brunch.  

Mr Burton, Ashburton, fish and chips
Kids' fish and chips

I do quite like High Street, Ashburton.  There are quite a few nice cafes (The Oak Room, Two Seeds and Mr Brownstone are among the better ones).  Towards the very end of the shopping strip, opposite the local library, is Mr Burton.  Despite being located a bit further from all the other cafes, Mr Burton has a serious buzz to the place.  Inside it's a little bit squishy and a little bit too loud, but the sunny courtyard was a perfect spot for us.  

Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Oaks Cafe, Surrey Hills by Bureaucrat

Continuing with our adventures in finding cafes that are child-friendly, I decided to get creative.  I'm aware of a few cafe-with-garden establishments (Cafe Vue at Heide, Warran Glen Garden Centre & Cafe and also the Collingwood Children's Farm) but they're just a tad too far for us nowadays, since Boy Chick dislikes sitting in the car for too long.  A bit of Googling came up with cafes in nurseries and a promising nearby option was The Oaks Cafe in Surrey Hills.

The Oaks Cafe, Surrey Hills, lasagne

The Oaks Cafe is located within Acorn Nursery.  The nursery is quite beautiful - there are gorgeous floral scents wafting in the breeze, bees are buzzing around, and there's the melodic squawks of happy birds.  

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Piggery Cafe, Sherbrooke by Bureaucrat

Dining out with a toddler presents a few challenges.  No longer can the Lawyer and I have the luxury of going on gourmet road trips (how I miss the ginger treacle cakes at Red Beard Historic Bakery in Trentham and the gorgeous wood-fired pizzas at Birregurra Farm Foods) or linger over a seafood buffet at Melba or degustation lunch at Champions Bistro.

Piggery Cafe, Sherbrooke, waygu burger
Wagyu beef burger

With a wriggly and potentially cranky toddler in tow, I find myself critiquing restaurants and cafes on more than just their food and service.  What's the lack of accessibility in so many of our restaurants?  I'm astonished at how cramped and squishy restaurants are - how are people with a wheelchair, walking aids and prams meant to navigate their way through?  And my gosh, I feel for those with sensory conditions.  The prevalence of polished concrete, exposed bricks, loud music over speakers as the design de rigeur and the lack of sound-proofing not only makes it hard to have a conversation without shouting but must be overwhelming for people who are sensitive to loud noises (on a side note, bravo to Coles for introducing its 'Quite Hour' shopping - even those of us who aren't on the autism spectrum can appreciate a quieter shopping environment).

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Little Sparrow, Chadstone by Rockstar

I remember when Chadstone was a bit of a foodie destination. It’s taken a while, and I think it will continue to improve, but I love the options now - whether it’s food court, cafe or restaurant. Melbourne had some pretty terrible weather and I didn’t want to stay home but it was too wet and windy to be outside. I took my book and headed to Chadstone! By the time I got there it was 1.30pm and I was hungry!

Little Sparrow, Chadstone, scrambled eggs with lobster
Scrambled eggs with lobster, feta and chilli and bacon

I chose Little Sparrow cafe (which also has an outlet in the new food court) as it was close, it wasn’t too busy and there were a few things on the menu I wanted to try. It was nice to be out of the bustle of the shopping centre, and it was a little quieter too.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Nutrition Darling's Pop Muesli

Cinzia Cozzolino of Nutrition Darling is on a mission to get delicious wholefoods into our artificial, over-processed lives.  With the success of Smoothie Bombs (which adds a nutritional punch into your smoothie and baked goods (I use them to make healthier versions of pancakes and carrot cakes for Boy Chick), Nutrition Darling has released a new range of healthy, natural muesli.

Nutrition Darling, Pop Muesli
Pop Muesli (photo credit: Nutrition Darling)

Nutrition Darling's products are unprocessed and unfussy to prepare. I'll admit upfront that I'm not a cereal person and much less a muesli person.  I'll also admit that I'm not one for too much vanity - I'm happy to get old and I accept the fact that my body is not longer like it was when I was in my 20s.  However, as a 30-something year old with a little one to look after, I acknowledge that I do have to put more effort into looking after myself... less sugar, less unprocessed foods (*sob!*) and more wholefoods is the way to go.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Friends of Mine, Richmond by Bureaucrat

Friends of Mine is a cafe that I've been wanting to try for a long time.  Every time I drive down Riversdale Road/Swan Street I see this lovely while period building that has that quaint, gently decaying look to it.  There's not many cafes nearby so I figured it must be doing something right if punters are willing to come and queue up for a table.  It's situated right next to some industrial (electrical?) building/power station that lends an air of grittiness to the scene.

Friends of Mine, Richmond, iced tea
House-made iced tea

And queuing up for a table is a given here - at least during peak periods.  The Log Lady and I arrived around 10:45am on Sunday and, boy, was it crazy hectic here.  A crowd of 15 or so people all crammed into the small entrance area, all waiting for a table.  While there were quite a few tables available on the footpath, all of us wanted a table on the inside, which was packed full.  Being told that there would be a 10-15 minutes wait turned out to be closer to 25 minutes (*groan*). Sandwiched and sardine-d we were... not unlike squishing onto a packed peak hour train but with a lot more noise.