Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Gorging for a month...

After a bit of a work induced blogging hiatus I thought it would be fun to reminisce about the month of eating that has led me to hitting the gym almost every day and subsisting on Lite'n Easy for a few weeks; desperate measures to avoid buying new jeans and to get ready for an upcoming northern hemisphere summer visit.


I ducked into Meatmother in Richmond with my Kansas City barbecue obsessed father and barbecue novice BF to check out what the 'cue in Richmond was like. From a Melbourne perspective it was decent but I probably wouldn't repeat visit if it were located in the US (to be fair i have only been to top notch barbecue restaurants in KC and Austin and my dad regularly smokes me low and slow ribs of amazingness). If only Aaron Franklin would set up shop in Melbourne.

Pork ribs with a side of BBQ beans

Brisket with slaw 

Beef short rib with mac and cheese
Highlights: the bacon old fashioned, the fun bartender, the sides, the short rib and the pork ribs
Avoid: the brisket if you've ever been to Texas and eaten barbecue - it is nicely cooked beef but missing a smokiness

Meatmother on Urbanspoon

Work lunch @PM24

My team at work went for a celebratory lunch at PM24 after a major deadline.

The three course set menu was good value. I had the pork terrine, the rotisserie chicken and the pear and almond tart (and a fair amount of wine...). The chicken was the highlight.


Rotisserie chicken

Almond and pear tart

Pork terrine
I personally think that there are regional restaurants that are doing more exciting and consistent food that probably deserve more hats than PM24.

PM24 on Urbanspoon

Spring St Grocer

I've been in to Spring St Grocer a few times since it opened (so many times for the gelati when the gelateria opened last year). Since the grocer/deli/cheesemonger section opened, I've found that their interesting array sandwiches make an excellent addition to my work lunch options (prices ranging from $10 for a more basic sandwich to $16 for one with foie gras). They started out with a menu of over 20 sandwiches but are curating them down to a few less. Usually I would be unhappy about that, but in this case it will help reduce that feeling of being overwhelmed by choice. 

Pastrami on rye
 Spring St Grocer's take home pasta sauces are also worth a look if you're feeling lazy - absolutely delicious.

Spring St Grocer on Urbanspoon

EARL Canteen

After hearing that EARL would be opening a second outpost in Collins Place I developed an insurmountable craving for pork belly that could only be cured by a long trek down to the legal district for a sandwich meal aka crackling delivery device. EARL's pork belly has long been one of my favourite sandwiches in Melbourne. 

EARL Canteen on Urbanspoon

Mildura Brewery Pub and Stefano's Bakery Cafe

On a recent whirlwind work consultation trip to Mildura we ducked into Mildura Brewery for a decent pub lunch. I ordered the rump steak thinking it would be the smaller of the three steaks on offer, but ended up with one of the largest steaks ever seen in Australia. It was huge. It was also very flavoursome, properly aged, and well cooked.

Giant steak

Mildura Brewery Pub on Urbanspoon

We also had a lovely breakfast at Stefano's cafe with passable coffee. Both are worth a visit if you find yourself in Mildura.

Poached eggs with mushrooms, goats curd and hollandaise
Stefano's Cafe Bakery on Urbanspoon

Industry Beans

A good friend of mine, who rarely gets excited about eating out, recently sent me an excited text about the food at Industry Beans. I'm glad I took her recommendation and trawled the back streets of Fitzroy to drop in for a weekend 'brunch' (at around 3pm). 

The coffee is exceptional and the kitchen is keeping up by delivering innovative dishes that tie in with the coffee. I really enjoyed the cold drip 'caviar' with the French toast. 
French toast
Deep fried poached eggs
Chat potatoes

Industry Beans on Urbanspoon

An afternoon on the peninsula: La Pétanque

On the Saturday before mother's day I took my mum for a pampering afternoon on the Mornington Peninsula.

We started out with a decadent lunch at La Pétanque in the gourmet hamlet of Main Ridge (also home to Ten Minutes by Tractor). This was risky because nice restaurants have an innate ability to fail miserably when I happen to take my mum to them. Luckily that didn't happen this time. 

La Pétanque is a set in beautiful location is a posh meets rustic 'barn'. It also has a little spot to actually play pétanque while overlooking the grounds. 

The setting
We started with a delightful amuse bouche of saffron poached potato creme fraiche and salmon roe.

Our entree was an exquisite dish of dill cured salmon with blue swimmer crab with gin and tonic jelly. 

My mum had the crown roasted pheasant special that was resting on a cassoulet and topped with latticed potato. It was fantastic but slightly overshadowed by my main (which I of course shared). 

The Aylesbury duck breast is the best overall duck dish that I have ever eaten (and I have eaten a lot of duck). The breast was perfectly cooked: juicy, a bit pink and with crispy skin (but not so crispy that it was hard). The duck liver parfait was a richly spiced accompaniment to the duck that added that level of decadence that could make you feel guilty as you eat - if you were that way inclined. The rhubarb and sous vide beetroot added an earthy balance. There is a wistful tear in my eye just thinking about it as a write this. 

Our dessert was a wintry rhubarb ice cream with rice pudding crumbed apple.

Highlights: everything, the duck, the location, the service

La Petanque on Urbanspoon

We followed lunch up with a visit to Peninsula Hot Springs for more relaxation. I would recommend a visit if you haven't been. The hill top pool has a spectacular view and the facilities (which include a hammam steam room) are lovely.
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