Monday, June 25, 2012

Hidden Gem #1

This has got to be one of Melbourne’s best kept Cafe secrets...

Just inside the main gates and down the wide drive into the Box Forrest Road Cemetery is the new Faulkner Commemoration Centre.  A warm and inviting place to farewell a loved one in either of their two large reception rooms.
OR – If you are just visiting and need somewhere to have a “Good Strong Coffee” then the Cafe around the back is the place to go.

With a view through floor to ceiling glass walls of the Australian Bush landscaped section, watching some of the many different species of Native Birds flit through the Rock garden and standard Grevilleas, you could easily think you were in a cosy Cafe in a very well tended Bush Garden somewhere in the Dandenongs.

The menu is varied from Coffee and a Cookie to a full meal.  And the prices are very reasonable.  The Chef’s Special the other day was a steaming hot bowl of Curried Prawns on Rice for just $7:00 – pity I didn’t notice it on the menu boards before ordering my chips!

On a previous visit I did order and receive Perfect Poached Eggs on crisp Sour dough Toast, which is my benchmark to judge the quality of any Cafe.
So, there is now no reason  to not visit “Great Aunt Martha” when you can happily go off and have coffee or Devonshire Tea afterwards.

2017 UPDATE:
The Cafe is still running but the indoor seating area has been acquired to extend the catering kitchen.
Currently you can enjoy your lunch or Coffee in a Marquee set up on the large decked area.
The food is still fantastic and a good price!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Melba Restaurant - Langham Hotel, Southbank

What can I say other than ... Myrtle wasn't invited to this trip!
We went on the train instead, so there was no worry about parking or traffic, and being fortunate enough to catch the newer trains in service it was like being taken there in a very, very, long stretch limo - ok maybe not, but I can dream!

Lunch at the Langham is a once in a blue moon event, and It was my Mum's birthday treat.

Being A-la-carte meant we could have as much or as little as we wanted. So there is NO excuse for coming away dissatisfied.
We created our own menu as we perused the mains on offer.  Starting with Blue Swimmer Crab for our EntrĂ©e, past the Make your own Caesar Salad on on to the Stir Fry seafood and noodles made for you while you wait and watch the 'floor show' put on by the chef as the flames explode from the wok. (Safely behind a glass screen).
Each trip back to sample yet another tasty morsel took us past one of the biggest Chocolate Fountains I have ever seen, with bowls of Strawberries - which Mum declared were 'grown in Heaven' and accompanying soft marshmallows, just begging to be drenched in the warm liquid dancing above.

So, the only problem we had was......exactly How much room should we leave for desert?

I found myself thinking (momentarily) about a blog entry and how it is about Coffee, and the trimmings around it - we HAD to leave enough room to sample at least ONE of each of the Petit Fours on offer while we waited for our coffee, and while we drank our coffee, and while we gazed out over the River that is so much a part of Melbourne and watched the afternoon sunlight play across its waters.

It was a beautiful day.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Another Truck Stop

Just off the Craigieburn Bi-pass on Cooper Street (between the Freeway and Edgars Road) is another huge Service Station come Truck Stop.
These refuges are starting to be seen in more locations and are a welcome break in the journey, not just to re-fuel the car but ourselves as well.
This one - operated by BP was where we decided to stop for a coffee. Mainly because it was there, and also, because of the Blog I am now looking at the more unusual places that don't get the Reviews of the Food critics.  But then, as my DH mentioned the other day...anyone with a Blog or on Facebook or Twitter is a food critic now-a-days!
We were very pleasantly surprised with the WILD BEAN Cafe, where they serve Fair-trade Coffee and baked on the premises Danish Pastries for just $1:00 extra.  The lass behind the coffee machine was just removing hot cookies from the oven, and I thought that at 4 for $2.95 was a pretty good deal.  Actually - ALL their prices were reasonable, with serve yourself from the front of the counter, we were able to choose the plumpest Danish they had on offer.

On the other side of the doors, or at the back - depending on which way you come in - is another food outlet which has the more robust meals that would do a hungry traveller. From Roast Beef and Veg to an Instant Coffee (Yes, I said INSTANT coffee), and dining tables to sit at.  They also have a "Driver Reviver" massage chair in the back corner.....

My Grandfather used to drive Interstate Trucks... I wonder what HE would think of it all?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Ditzy Danni's at Preston Market

2016 UPDATE:
Ditzy Danni's are still going strong at the Preston Market
Same great staff - same great Coffee!


Now THAT was a good cup of Coffee! But then Jasper Coffee is a hard one to beat as is the range of T2 teas on display.

This unassuming small Cafe on the corner with a view of the Fresh Fruit and Veg section of the Preston Market, was a warm and welcome retreat from the stinging cold outside.  It was packed when I arrived, but I could see just one spot left in the corner and it definitely had MY name on it.

A cup of coffee and a warmed home made Portuguese Custard tart certainly thawed me out.
As I was getting up to leave, a huge plate full of beautiful Golden Scrambled Free Range (sourced from the Market) Eggs on Toast (quite probably also sourced from the Market) wafted past me. I know what I'll be having Next Time!

Now all that was left was to work out which variety of Jasper Coffee beans I would chose to take home.....