How often is it that food makes you weep? … No? Just me?
It was a Sunday morning when I said I would cook eggs on toast and be done with it, but the thought of foraging for the ingredients and going out to buy fresh bread – let alone the cook up – was like adding a jackhammer to the pounding in my brain. Good times were had with my boyfriend’s youngest sister turning 18 – but I think I’m going to stick with adult drinks from now on. Like coffee. That was an absolute godsend and up there with one of the better breakfast cups of Joe that I have had recently.
It was one of those days at work where I didn’t even want to care. Ever have those? Some days I don’t care, but I wish I did; some days I just couldn’t have been less present. As I was sent out on assignment to my neck of the woods, I figured I would take a long lunch and try somewhere that I wouldn’t necessarily get the opportunity to try (other people’s tastes, wallets, etc) and when I checked out the lunch menu online… oooh la la.
Madame Sousou takes up a corner on Brunswick Street (back toward the city from Johnston Street) with a good number of outdoor seats from which to watch the passers-by, like any good restaurant in Paris. On a sunny Friday this is absolute heaven. Table for one, with my book? Don’t mind if I do.
Tucked away in the strip of shops up in Fitzroy North, you’ll find a delicious little Italian restaurant called Pinotta. It has a very sophistocated atmosphere, extremely good taste in food and wine, and exceptional service. They probably wondered what hit them when I showed up, late and thoroughly dishevelled.
Luckily I hadn’t missed much, just some general catching up with the family brood, warm bread and a glass of something hearty. Although the lights are low and the tablecloths are brilliantly white, there isn’t anything stuffy or too formal about the dining experience here, I felt at home as soon as we got to ordering (not ‘moccasin-level at home’… apparently I only reserve the right to wear my moccies to and from takeaway places).
First served up was the Calamari (with lemon and roquette) $21.50. It was fresh and absolutely deliciously rolled in a light battering of herbs; perfect for a cleansing of the palette before the onslaught of the mains.
If you love duck, you’ll love Old Kingdom.
I am a self-confessed duck addict: from Peking to Paris I’ve loved my duck a thousand different ways, but when the craving comes knocking, you know you’re guaranteed to find me in Old Kingdom. This place is a Melbourne Institution (seem to be saying that a lot recently… I feel a ‘top 10’ post coming on…) and like all good institutions, it’s hard to get a seat. So call up in advance.
When you call, they will ask you “How many people? How many ducks?” – so hilarious is this matter of fact way of ordering your dinner, I have been referring to the restaurant as the ‘how many ducks’ place. At $55 per duck, this questioning of your duck capacity isn’t arbitrary, it’s a matter of resourcing. The standard rule of thumb is one duck per 2-3 people. We had 4 people, including two ravenous males, so we went with 2 ducks. No part of the duck goes to waste, it is used in 3 separate dishes – for your gastronomical pleasure.
So, my first local breakfast joint, ‘Min Lokal’, or my local in Swedish. I was put onto it by K from my German class – we got to do a whole class talking cafes (mainly about Austria, but hey, we compared and judged) and then (as is the way of Melbournians) we started talking about our favourite cafes (in Melbourne, none of them in Europe… just to rub it in).
With great excitement I made a brunch date with The Boy and we met up after our respective weekend exercise activities (his, the ‘hell ride’ to Mt Eliza; mine, Bikram Yoga) and drove to Min Lokal. Yes, I am aware I could probably walk from my place to there in 10-15 minutes, but I was VERY hungry and very lazy.
The day I moved into my new house, I had a great day. Not only did everything go to plan (and I was done by 6:30pm!) but it was almost the antithesis of the moving day I had when I moved into Prahran almost a year ago. In fact, that night I had too little packet pasta and far too much red wine. This time, I celebrated with dinner for three at Jorg, a mere 2 minute walk away from the new digs.
Fitzroy North may be only 7 kms away, but it may as well be the other side of the world – not just the river. And naturally, I love it. There are a million culinary delights within walking distance, nothing pretentious (well, not so far) and good value for money. That’s important.