Posts Tagged ‘breakfast’

Miss Jackson, St Kilda

Miss JacksonEvery time I’m on my way to Miss Jackson all I can think about is that song, “I’m sorry Miss Jackson, I am for real” it’s really annoying because I should be thinking how Miss Jackson is going to help me from my hangover, you know, for real. After watching the film clip, now I’m going to expect someone to be washing their pimped out car out the front and dogs nodding their heads at me as I walk up Gray St. All of this and no hallucinogens.

Wedged down an alley between halfway houses, backpacker travel agents and a few seedy nightclubs, Miss Jackson is a shining beacon of class in an otherwise classless (apologies to the Melbourne Wine Room, none such to the ever-so-trashy George lane-way bar) area. The café itself is a converted house that reminds me more of a rabbit warren than a café, the smaller nooks don’t quite fit the tables that they contain. It’s nowhere near as cramped as Wall 280 in Balaclava and there it adds “character”. Nonetheless the place has character and the larger communal tables are comfortable and spacious. There’s also an outdoor area, which thankfully parents seem to utilise to entertain their wild children.

TMiss Jackson: Corn Fritters, Bacon and Tomatoshe menu is everything you would expect without being outstanding. Corn fritters, steak sandwiches, and eggs every which way. But what the menu lacks in excitement it makes up with in the execution. While you might cook everything on the menu at home, it simply won’t be as good.

The portions are great, the food looks amazing and best of all it tastes spot on. In fact, of all the cafés around, Miss Jackson is my favourite for a comforting, hangover curing breakfast – morning or afternoon. Perhaps this is cause of a subtle focus on booze. There is beer and wine on the menu and a few bottles of spirits peeking out from behind the bar – important for my personal favourite menu item.

Bloody Mary, Miss JacksonThe “superstar DJ” bloody mary is everything you could want in this breakfast cocktail – good spice and acidity and a healthy sprig of celery. A bloody mary is tricky to get right at the best of times and they come out with amazing consistency.

The guys that run this place (Steve and Matt) are clearly drinkers – it shows – they know what’s good for you.

More photos on Flickr.

Breakfast at Bastille Cafe, Clarendon St, South Melbourne

Not much to look at from the street but the set tables, open kitchen and French flag give this restaurant an impression of expensive, overdone arogance. The truth is the complete opposite.

Cafe Bastille Omelette The breakfast menu is a very basic affair, eggs, omelet, bacon, mushrooms and pancakes.. Don’t let the lack of options fool you though, the fare is produced with the finest of ingredients, ham off the bone, fresh tomatoes and amazing bread. The eggs were poached beautifully, the ham and mushroom filled omelette moist and the bacon not overcooked. Each meal was served with toasted, olive oil drizzle bread to die for and a dipping sauce of tomato relish. After the fact, the bread and relish could easily have replaced the entire meal.

Generally the coffee in Clarendon St is nothing to speak of, especially when compared with Lygon and Brunswick St but Cafe Bastille’s lattes were great. Caramelly, hot and quick to the table, they certainly helped my hangover turn the corner.

At the end of meal, the most pleasing aspect of the meal was the price. $7 for poached eggs plus $3 for bacon on the side. $12.50 for the omelette and $14 for 4 coffees. 2 very caffeinated and content diners walk out with not only change from $40 but also happy with the service and the quality of the food.

[flickr album=72157618234989873 num=10 size=Thumbnail]

Breakfast in Melbourne

Due to the fact that I don’t operate very well in the morning, I rarely remember a camera and have trouble putting together 2 words let alone cohesive thoughts that would make for a reasonable review. Thus I’m going to just write a couple of short notes here about where I’ve eaten breakfast (or brunch) lately.

Cafe Pearl, Richmond

Serving breakfast only until early (sadly it finishes at noon on weekends) I didn’t manage to actually sample the breakfast at Pearl Cafe but the coffee is good and they have every paper under the sun available for your reading pleasure. The style of the lunch menu is what the food press would call fusion (the breakfast menu is quite traditional,) with a number of asian influences. Out of character, I ordered the Vietnamese chicken salad and was amazed at it’s size and impressed with the tangy spicy flavour. The other meal was the Moroccan chicken pot pie which was great, shredded chicken and couscous were not too spicy but it was served with a dish of hot sauce for the hotness inclined. Not only is Cafe Pearl a great advertisement to its fine-dining sibling it stands remarkably well on its own two feet. They also have a great website with information on everything Pearl.

MART, Middle Park

Around the corner in my new stomping ground, MART is a cute little cafe on the light rail line to St Kilda with a great reputation. We went on Easter Saturday and it was absolutely packed, but luckily there was a couple of seats on the bar overlooking Albert Park. Unfortunately the view was marred by a number of Formula 1 fences and grandstands still being in the park.

Although every table was full, every part of the service was very prompt (if a little rushed) and as ordered. The oven-baked corn fritters were truly amazing, served with bacon, chutney and sour cream but the scrambled eggs with truffle oil, mushrooms and spinach were too oily and a little disappointing. All in all, I’m definitely planning on heading back when it is a little bit quieter and giving them another chance at living up its huge expectations.

Nacional, Albert Park

Perhaps breakfast at Nacional doesn’t quite do the restaurant justice. It has a great wine list and judging by the blackboards showing the dinner mains, an evening meal would be amazing. Breakfast (or lunch) stood up very well in a fine-dining kind of way.

Our seared kangaroo from the lunch menu was perfect, intense flavours from the perfectly cooked fillet. I was a little disappointed in its size and wished that our waiter had suggested a side with it. The breakfast menu’s bacon on toast with maple syrup was pleasant, not “write home to mum this was the most amazing thing I’ve ever tasted” but a great breakfast workhorse nonetheless. As is so often the case in Melbourne the coffee was great, presented well and on time. Like MART and Pearl, I definitely have plans to come back to Nacional but not for breakfast, for dinner.

Ohau Lodge and the Glen Mary House Bar

As casual observer you might think that the Ohau Lodge is a quiet ski lodge in one of the most remote parts of New Zealand and that it would only cater to a family ski holiday. While no-one would blame you for thinking this you would be horribly incorrect. I will say that it does cater perfectly to Mum and Dad, not only is staying there cheap but it is easy, very easy. The cheap cost of a room (we paid $270 for 3 people) includes breakfast and a 3 course meal for dinner. The lodge itself is nestled in the startling landscape of the South Island’s Mackenzie country, where the bar, dining room and spa pools look out over the breathtaking view of Lake Ohau.

What does all of this have to do with an aching head you may ask? To which, the answer is the Glen Mary House bar. This place may well be the heart and soul of Ohau, it is a bar which you can only wish that every place you go to has. $4 basic spirits and cheap beers would normally be all I would have to say, but it doesn’t stop there. The deck is massive and get’s some great afternoon sun, the staff are extremely friendly and happy to have a chat and the chances that your fellow visitors are going to be like minded are very high.

My mention of the spas is definitely relevant to the hangover that I woke up with, when we checked in we asked the receptionist about the whereabouts of them to which she replied, “Oh they are just over there, and there aren’t any rules. You can drink in them and they don’t have a closing time.” Taking full advantage of that, my companions and I polished off a couple of boxes of beer and pretty much put ourselves on the ropes for the rest of the evening. A couple of gin and tonics, dinner and a couple of glasses of wine and we were well and truly ready for bed.

Dinner was close to the highlight of the stay, (except for the beef and gravy rolls on the skifield) we were served pumpkin and coconut soup, followed by roasted yams and pork belly with a blueberry pie for desert. I certainly didn’t walk away hungry and the preparation and quality of the food was top notch, especially when you compare it to other places within a 200km radius. While the dinner was sensational, the breakfast was somewhat of a let down, billed as a 2 course breakfast the cereal, fruit and coffee was good, not great (although how you have below average cereal beats me) and the hot part of the meal was small, served with no toast and tasted like it had been being warmed for a few hours.

Don’t let me put you off with my lack of enthusiasm for the breakfast though, everything else about my stay was amazing and I’m really keen to go back. Hopefully in the summer when all I’m interested in doing is getting boozed and having a lazy time and not letting something like snowboarding get in the way.

Joe’s Garage – Queenstown Coffee Rescue

Funky music, art and comfortable surrounds are the order of the day at Joe’s Garage. Being one of the bigger cafes in Queenstown it doesn’t have the compact, claustrophobic feel that other coffee shops around here give off. The dining area is quite sparse with a few tables and a full length breakfast-style bar which over looks the food preparation area. There are few things better in my opinion than an open kitchen, being able to see the staff preparing your coffee and meals is something that more places should do. The only problem is it can be hard to grab someone’s attention to order another coffee or food as the staff are busy with their back to you, a small price to pay for the great atmosphere.

The coffee is great at Joe’s (as it is in most places around here), this particular blend/roast is a richer flavour than I am used to but it definitely is not overdone. The quality of the end product is, like most things in this cafe, exceptional. I have seen the dread-locked barista singlehandedly pumping out a ridiculous number of cups high quality coffee in short succession and personally have not tasted a bad cup. No burnt coffee, bitter coffee and the presentation is always top notch.

My only complaint is a distinct lack of raw sugar, I always take a little bit of sugar in my coffee and personally think that white sugar is a waste of time. It does not provide any flavour while raw sugar adds just the slightest hint of caramel. I think a lot of coffee drinkers are in the same boat as I and there really is no reason why sachet’s of both can’t be on the tables.

For food, I think Joe’s is certainly one of the best places in Queenstown for a queezy stomach or an aching head. It has a good range of salads, cereal and hot breakfast on the menu, rounded out with a couple of bratwurst rolls. My personal favourite meal is “The Joker”, it is a toasted roll, bratwurst, bacon and egg. This is certainly full of flavour and meat and certainly won’t dissapoint with it’s size. All in all the meals at Joe’s are superb, they aren’t necessarily the cheapest but they are definitely worth every cent.

Joes Garage Coffee Machine

Joes Garage Coffee Machine

Probably my biggest complaint about Joe’s Garage is the clientele, often the feel given off from the other customers is one where they think you should get out of their coffee shop and town. People have mentioned this to me about other places in Queenstown, but I have only ever noticed it at Joes. I think it is magnified by people sitting in the dining area with their dogs under the table and not caring if anyone else has a problem with this – that is what the outdoor eating area is for!

Overall I love the place and regularly recommend people to drop in for a coffee and breakfast.

A Queenstown Coffee Institution: Motogrill

SL370425Motogrill is one of those places where the first time you walk in there, you don’t actually feel like you belong. The staff probably won’t look up from the newspaper they are reading, or break from the conversation they are having with the 3 guys leaning on the counter. Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t being unfriendly or rude, work may not actually be why they are there. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining, I’d be the same if I were them. There isn’t a problem with getting a coffee though, you will get it and it will be good. It just won’t be the all smiles and how can I help that you will get at Starbucks, and don’t get me started on Starbucks.

Which leads me to the next point, the food. The Motogrill steak sandwich may be one of the best lunches in Queenstown, it is definitely not overdone. Served on toasted bread, seasoned with parsley (It might not actually be parsley) and complete with partly melted cheese,tomato and lettuce it is everything you could hope for in a sneak sandwich, and let me tell you, I’ve hoped for a lot of things in a steak sandwich. The pasta salad is another favourite of mine – beans, spiral pasta, chicken, tomatoey sauce and some shaved parmesan. One of the things about everything at Motogrill is the size. They definitely aren’t skimping on the portions, which on a hangover is exactly what you want.

All of this is great, but there is one glaring problem for Motogrill to be the ultimate cafe for a hangover cure, this is of course the fact that Motogrill is closed on Sundays. Now I know that the staff are snowboarding on Sunday’s or recovering from their hangover and who am I to blame them? But seriously guys, you get us addicted with your awesome steak sandwiches and then refuse to open and serve us scrambled eggs and cappuccinos for breakfast on a Sunday.

Can I get a Chai please?

This post was written by Bruce Thurlow, normally he writes about the Black Keys or about nothing in particular over at Mr Dingleberry.

For some people a basic act of survival is having a cup of coffee each morning. Especially after a big night out. And it becomes more of an act of survival when that coffee does not meet expectations. Being in a rush at home and swallowing a couple of tar-like gulps of instant coffee with not so hot water ain’t fun. Just like coffee, bad tea comes in many shapes and sizes. More so when you’re paying for it. Or for that matter when you are offered a cuppa from a work colleague or house mate and there’s nowhere to hide and refuse.

When I once lived in a share house and was interviewing prospective house mates, I didn’t bother with the basic “Are you employed?” questions. I went straight to, “How do you make a cup of tea?”.  Having someone demonstrate making a too-milky cuppa with the tea bag still immersed with the string dangling limp over the rim of the cup is as unsatisfying as any experience I know. And I’ve had a few.

Recently I’ve been drinking a lot of tea, mainly in cafes between job interviews. Where once I could put up with with a tea bag of English Breakfast in a pot, now days I’m an unrepentant Chai drinker. More of a Chai snob actually. Chai, of course, roughly translates as ‘tea’ in Iran, India and Turkey and surrounding countries, invariably the spiced or masala milk tea style. This is my weakness – that sweet/spiced aromatic lure of some place Other than where you are now that invades your consciousness. I traveled India some years ago and the hollah of tea for sale from the Chai Wallah (seller) at train stations was a sweet greeting for the ears. The Wallah would tilt the large urn of spiced masala tea strapped on his back and pour the tea into a small clay cup which you would throw away after drinking from it. I never had a bad cup.

Some years later, the Chai craze hit the Western world and it became a plague on otherwise respectable cafes driven by a consumer who thought they tasted something “new” and “original”. Something instant coffee drinkers also said about “granulated coffee” many moons ago. Chai for profit-taking cafes can simply mean a rough jumble of tea, sugar and a smattering of “flavours” in a powdered form.  It’s the stuff you drink at Starbucks (or once did before they defaulted on any consumer credibility they once held). You know when you drink it; “powdered” tea will never be the real deal.

Yesterday, however, I saw how it could and should be done. I had a Chai at the cafe Journal and upon a functional serving plate came: a pot of hot milk and divine leaf Chai (not too spicy, not too sweet), a spare pot of hot milk to refill the tea pot, a small amount of honey on the side, a tall glass with long spoon, and a leaf strainer with drip tray. I got three and a half full cups of Chai for $4.00.  The previous day I paid $6.00 for one glass at Soul Mama that was more hot milk with honey than any semblance of spiced tea. No refills. Lest we forget.

So, next time you consider a coffee for your morning fix, rejoice in a Chai for that sorry head of yours.