Republica is a restaurant/bar on St Kilda beach next to the St Kilda Sea Baths and it offers wonderful views since it is situated right on the beach. Republica has a large open dining space with a courtyard, bar and function spaces available. The atmosphere at Republica is generally chilled and laid back, it’s a great place to unwind over drinks and multicultural modern/Australian cuisine. Republica has live bands on weekends, daily specials as well as their happy hour from 5pm onwards. We came specifically on Monday to get their $8 pizza deals.
Here is a snapshot of the indoor seating at Republica, they weren’t that busy when we came since it was a Monday night, probably due to the terrible winter weather. The decor was quite simplistic and modern, nothing over the top. There was a warm fireplace in the corner and tea light candles placed on every table, which added to the warm ambience of the restaurant. The entire back wall is lined with assorted wine bottles and a sheer linen curtain can be draped across to create a private function room.
For our entre we decided to get some toasted turkish bread drizzled over with olive oil. Serving size was reasonable since it was just an entre, the texture of the dough was light inside and crispy on the outside, it smelled fresh and started to really make us hungry.
One of the three gourmet pizzas we ordered was the Tiger Prawn pizza. Served on a thin base with thin crust, the succulent tiger prawns were accompanied with peas, small pieces of fennel, sumac spice, chilli and lemon. Not to forget, the strong aged cheese added that extra flavour needed to tie together this delicious combination. Good thing the pizzas came fast because we were becoming impatient from our hunger. There weren’t many people around on this freezing winter monday night so it was nice and quiet.
Another gourmet pizza we tried was the 12Hour Lamb pizza. First bite of this pizza, you will notice how juicy and tender the lamb was, the other ingredients such as tomato and beetroot paste, black olives, dashes of salsa verde and dollops of slightly sour goat’s curd pretty much just enhanced the flavour of the bite sized lamb pieces. Again, a winning combination that is a must try.
The Special pizza for the night had soft, thinly sliced potatoes, special aged fetta cheese that was a blend of both cow and goat’s milk, rosemary and pieces of chorizo sausages. All the different flavours on the pizza really stood out. The flavour of the rosemary was distinct and aromatic, the fetta cheese had a smooth consistency that literally melted and turned into liquid in your mouth and the chorizo pieces packed a spiced element into every mouthful. The pizza itself was extremely cheesy. It was a little too salty due to the chorizo and the fetta cheese but otherwise there were no complaints.
All in all great value for money, food was really appetizing, not too sure about the rest of the menu but the pizzas were great, if we’re back in St Kilda on a Monday night there will be no hesitation to come back. Too bad we didn’t come in the afternoon to catch the great views overlooking St Kilda beach.
10-18 Jacka Boulevard
Price Range: entres $4-18 Mains- $16-30 Desserts- $7-15
Service: quite friendly, knew their menu items well (?)
Vegetarian options: ✓
Gluten Free: ✓
Free Wireless Internet: ✓
Booking: Online or Call them up.
Seating: Quite spacious they could fit 100+ people inside, they also have a private function area that can sit up to 30-40 people, a seating area near the bar, a courtyard/beer garden that can sit about 50-80 and seating was also available outside overlooking the beach.
Strolling around in the city, you probably wouldn’t give much attention to those little stalls and buskers along busy Swanston Street. We normally don’t take the time to stop and take a look at our lovely city, but with this French creperie stall, we recommended you to pause and allow the delectable waft of freshly cooked crepes entice you and make your mouth water. Situated on Swanston Street close to Little Collins St, this extremely cute crepe stall called La Petite Creperie is bound to lure you in with its delicious aromas on a cold winter afternoon.
We dropped by La Petite Creperie with a couple of friends at the end of the day to finally try these crepes that we’ve been longing to try ever since we noticed the adorable stall in the city. From our orders, the popular favourite seemed to be the Nutella crepes. Simple, easy and so good. Two other flavours we tried were the Sugar and Butter crepe and the super tasty Salted Caramel crepe. The Sugar and Butter crepe was said to be quite good although there might have been bit too much sugar added. If you’re a fan of salted caramel, this crepe is a definite must. The edges were a little crispy and the centre was generously filled with the delicious sweet and salty flavour.
The service wasn’t too bad considering the fact that there were only two people were operating the French creperie. As a small stall, their system is quite organised – you place your order and a ticket is given to you. For the effort of those two lovely French people, waiting a little while in line for those crepes was worth it.
Prices at La Petite Creperie vary with what you order as your filling. Starting from $4.00, with basic fillings such as sugar & cinnamon or sugar & butter, to $5.00 crepes with Chestnut puree or Maple syrup and finally the $8.00 crepes which can come with some fancy additions like orange marmalade.
If you’re in the city, do yourself a favour and make sure you drop by and give La Petite Creperie a try. Great for a midday snack to keep you going for the rest of the day. Bon appetite!
Cnr Swanston St and Little Collins St,
Mon to Thurs: 8am – 10pm
Fri: 8am – 11pm
Sat: 9:30am – 11pm
Sun: 9:30am – 10pm
Price range: all below $10
Service: friendly, organised, loved the French accents
Erawan is a little Thai restaurant on the corner of High street and Parkville road. The word Erawan itself is the Thai name for the three-headed mythological elephant in the Hindu religion. This cosy restaurant had a relaxed atmosphere with an interior painted in shades of purple with dark purple curtains and royal purple napkins. It wasn’t too busy when we dined so it was easy to have conversations and be tendered to when we asked for service.
When we sat down, we were immediately catered to, water was poured and we ordered. The first entre we had was the Tom Yum Gai with mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, baby corn, onion and bite-sized pieces of chicken, we thought it was supposed to be a little more sour but it was sweet and nice regardless.
The next entre was Nam Zod which was spicy minced pork with really stong ginger, cashews, onions, and lemon juice. The dish was a little cold and we weren’t sure if its supposed to be served like that. The roasted cashews smelled great and started to make us really hungry. Next was Thai spring rolls with a minced pork filling, called Por Pia, served with viscous sweet chili dipping sauce on the side. They were surprisingly thin, similar to the size of a wafer stick but they were hot, crispy and had the right amount of crunch needed for a good spring roll.
Our final and probably the best entre of the night, was the Chicken satay skewers topped with peanut sauce and sesame seeds. The chicken was tender, you hardly had to chew and the peanut sauce was sweet and smooth, it was so good that we started scooping the leftover sauce to have with our rice.
Next were the mains, this dish wasn’t a very big serve, it had thinly sliced beef stir-fried with broccoli, carrots, onions and tomatoes. The meat was a little chewy, but other than that it was a pretty standard dish.
Next we had the Thai egg salad with fried bean curd, cucumber, tomato, lettuce and egg covered in the same peanut sauce that accompanied the chicken satay skewers. The beancurd was really crunchy and the vegetables were fresh, but again the serving was a little small, a little disappointing when the dish looked pretty easy to make.
The third main was the Charcoal grilled pork. This was liked by all, the pork was so lean, not one bit of fat could be seen which was good, the meat had a lovely smoky grilled flavour and it was a little charred and crispy around the edges. It was a little dry but the sweet chili sauce took care of that. Definitely one of the favourites for the night.
The last main was the Chicken Massaman curry, with cubes of potato and carrots topped with fried shallots. This dish was a pretty decent serving, or maybe we were already full from all the previous dishes. The potatoes could’ve been cooked for a bit longer, the curry was also little too sweet, more chili would’ve made it perfect but we finished it all off anyway.
For dessert, we finished off with two different flavours of icecream- French vanilla which was standard and coconut which we quite enjoyed, the coconut flavour wasn’t overpowering and there were desiccated coconut pieces throughout, we could’ve easily gone for another scoop.
It was a pretty good dinner overall, although they could’ve made some of the dishes a little more spicy. We were pretty full by the end of it only because we ordered quite a few entres. Another thing we might like to point out is that the serving sizes of some of the mains could have been larger. Don’t know if it would score highly for the authenticity of Thai food, but it was enjoyable none the less.
(03) 9853 7636
8 Park Hill Rd,
Kew VIC 3101
Opening hours: open for dinner, seven days a week 6pm – 10pm
Price range: $15-25
Interior: purple, traditional Thai decor
We decided to have a casual dinner at Rub!con, a cute cafe/restaurant/bar on Errol street. It was really easy to get to because it’s right next to the city and there’s a tram stop just outside it. The interior was warm and welcoming with candles on each table and the staff were really friendly and casual, service was quick and on the ball.
We started off with some crispy hot seasoned potato wedges ($11.5) served with sweet chili aioli. They had a really nice crunch and the inside was steaming hot, the sweet chili sauce went well with the wedges although they may have given us more sour cream than necessary.
For one of our mains we ordered the risotto with chicken breast cooked with sauteed shiitake mushrooms, spinach, onion and garlic ($16.5) We really liked this dish, every mouthful was flavoursome, the sauce was pretty creamy and tasty plus it was also a cold night, so the garlic warmed us up.
We also ordered the Saltati penne pasta with bacon, semi-dried tomato, spinach, onion and garlic ($16.5) which was alright, it tasted a little dry, although the semi-dried tomato was aromatic and the bacon was a good accompaniment to the dish.
Rub!con’s wood-fired pizzas were another thing we wanted to try so we also ordered the Chicken pizza, which had marinated chicken, pineapple, garlic, mozzarella cheese and napoli sauce ($14.5) The pizza itself was done well, not undercooked and or burnt, it was filling and tasted pretty standard. Recommend trying a different pizza if you want something out of the ordinary.
Even though we were so full from the mains, we decided to have some dessert anyway. We ordered the home-made tiramisu ($11.9) which was really creamy. The sponge had just the right amount of coffee flavour and each spoonful melted in your mouth. After we devoured the cake between the 5 of us, we sat back completely satisfied. But wait! We’re not finished yet!
We also ordered their Gelati tasting plate ($8) starting from the top, the flavours were: Bubblegum, Peanut, Mango, Cinnamon and Blood Orange gelati. After trying all the different flavours we unanimously decided that the Blood Orange gelati was the best. It had a tangy strong orange flavour which kept you wanting more. Mango was also a favourite with it not being too sweet and artificial. The scoops of gelati sat on top of crumbed biscuit which was similar to a cheesecake base, the crunchy texture was just what you needed as it complemented the smoothness of the gelati. It was the perfect way to finish off our meal.
Rub!con has a lovely ambiance, waiters are really friendly, serving sizes were perfect for us and the food was enjoyable. It was a good night out, we were content and would come back again.
(03) 9329 3389
50 Errol Street,
North Melbourne VIC 3051
Price range: entres/sides- $15, mains- $15 -30, assorted cakes/desserts- $8-12
Service: very friendly
Music: Oldies music
Vegetarian options: ✓
Gluten Free options: all risottos
We decided we should try a whole new different cuisine and chose this African restaurant since we had heard good reviews about it in the past. It was fairly empty when we arrived as they just opened at 6 o’clock for dinner on a weeknight but it supposedly can get quite busy on weekends. The seating area was surprisingly quite large and the place looked spacious and grand due to the high ceilings and african art adorned the walls.
Since we had never tried African food before, we studied the menu extensively, laughed at our incompetence to pronounce some of the menu items and finally ordered. The food took a while to come considering it was still quiet.
Kuku Na Nazi ($22) was a chicken curry main that had mild spices served with rice or couscous. This was a dish that originated from Kenya. The smell of the spices made us really hungry and we couldn’t start to eat.
Nyala special ($21) was a traditional Ethiopian beef stew with homemade periperi sauce, when we asked if it was possible to make it less spicy unfortunately they said no, probably since they stew it for a long time. So it was quite spicy for us but the beef was really lean, tender and had a lot of flavour, it was served with a small side of spicy mixed vegetables and also came with injera.
Mains came with a serve of couscous or injera bread which is the traditional accompaniment to most Ethiopian dishes, we chose injeera since we had never tried it before, it seemed to be a cross between a crepe and a plain pancake, looked light and fluffy but it was actually quite filling.
The third main was the Meat Combo ($24) where you could choose any 3 meat dishes and it comes with a small serve of salad with a choice of Injera, rice or couscous. We picked Doro Tibs, Beg Tibs and Domeda, the best one out of the three was Beg Tibs. It had well marinated lamb cubes tossed with fresh tomatos, it was super juicy and had heaps of flavour.
And for dessert we decided to try ‘Tafach Mooz’ ($7.50) which was a compilation of bananas, brown sugar, cream cheese and cinammon, lightly baked. It basically looked like a pile of banana mush with cream on the side. It was quite sweet and the banana tasted a little burnt and we probably didn’t enjoy it as much as we should have.
It was a really interesting dinner, would have liked a bigger serve of salad with the mains but dishes were well prepared, really flavoursome and we would come back for another serving of Beg Tibs.
(03) 9419 9128
Level 1, 356 Brunswick St
Lunch: Fri to Sun: 12am – 3pm
Dinner: Mon to Sun: 6pm – Midnight
Price range: $15 -25
Specialty: Traditional african food, Nyala Special – a red curry with stewed beef (above)
Service: Great, friendly service
Interior: High Ceilings, African Art on the walls, african pictures surround the lights.
Music: African Music
Vegetarian Options: ✓✓
Did you know, that there are approximately 3000 different types of tea? Or that Panda tea is the one of the most expensive teas, priced at around $200 dollars a cup, the tea is considered special because it has been fertilised with panda poo.
We stumbled across these Laneway Learning classes online and thought it would be fun to try out this tea class. Luckily we registered quickly because the event had already sold out the next time we checked, there was even a waiting list ready for any cancellations. For something that only officially started a couple of months ago, these “cheap, fun classes in anything and everything” proved to be pretty popular.
Laneway Learning classes take place at this cute cafe called The Little Mule in Somerset Place. When you walk into The Little Mule, you’ll find it has a character of its own; it gave off this casual rustic feel with the exposed brickwork, different sized vintage suitcases stacked on top of each other, they have one of the most comfiest couches you’ve ever sat on, there’s random bicycle parts hanging above and the full bicycles on display (apart from the coffee and simple menu The Little Mule also sells bikes), you’ll also notice an array of framed artwork on the walls and not to mention the chilled island-y beach-y music playing softly in the background.
The tea class was scheduled to start at 6:30pm so it had already gotten dark by then. Walking around looking for Somerset Place wasn’t too hard since it was just off Elizabeth St, it was finding The Little Mule that was a little harder. At the time, Somerset place was just this dimmed laneway with a warm light beaming out to greet you at the end. The entrance of The Little Mule was this rolled up garage door, kinda felt somewhat exclusive walking into this hidden place at night.
We waited for everyone to turn up, but unfortunately some people didn’t manage to show up for the class, so we were a bit pressed for time for but we still managed to get through most of the things organised. The teacher of this Tea class was Kim Hay. Starting off with a couple of handouts, we began with a brief history of tea, stories of where it could’ve originated from and the health benefits of tea. Soon after we tried the the tea boiling infront of us in a glass teapot, it was white tea- Pai Mu Tan (aka White Peony or White Hairy Monkey Tea). It had such a soothing, delicate light flavour compared to the teas we tried later on like the ‘Russian Caravan’ black tea.
(little tea bags were given away as prizes for answering quiz questions)
Following the white tea, we tried a couple different types of green teas, one of them being ‘Blooming Tea’, this was prepared by a handful of tea leaves, hand stitched with a flower embedded inside, so when boiling water was added, the flower would blossom. We also tried ‘Buddha’s Tears’ and Macha- which was a Japanese powdered green tea that was prepared by being whisked with boiling water. Kim also prepared her own secret recipe of Chai that was a blend of different spices and ginger, it was a nice variation to the other teas we tried.
In the end, we were really glad we attended the class, although a little rushed, it was really chilled and fun. The people there were super friendly and happy to answer everyone’s questions. We’ll definitely keep a lookout for other food related classes MCH can go to in the future!
Check out laneway learning & their other classes!
(03) 9670 4904
19 Somerset Place,
Melbourne VIC 3000
We started off the day with some friends over a casual breakfast at Triim. It was a bit difficult to decide though whether we should try it out or not because it’s located among all these other cafes and restaurants in the busy Hardware Lane. First thing you’ll notice about Triim are the super vibrant red seats spread across three different levels. The service was good and we didn’t have to wait too long for the food to arrive.
Triim’s Big Breakfast $13.90 Toast with eggs either poached, fried or scambled, cooked sausages, mushroom, bacon, spinach tomato and a fried hash brown. Great value for it’s generous serving and seemed cheaper than what you would usually find in Hardware Lane
Hot chocolate with marshmallows $3.50 was good, glad that it came really hot because it wasn’t a particularly warm morning.
Museli served with fruit (stawberries/cantaloupe) and yoghurt and milk on the side $5.50
Surprisingly this was also cheaper than other places, serving size was quite decent, tasted pretty ordinary, would’ve been better if there was a little more variety with the fruits.
Raisin toast $5.50, pretty ordinary, toast is toast.
Overall, we found Triim a nice place to chill (although there were some rocking tables), it’s nothing really special, they have a simple menu and it’s definitely great value compared to it’s neighbouring cafes and restaurants. We probably would drop by again for a casual meal.
(03) 9670 1561
33 Hardware Lane,
Tues to Thurs: 7am-5pm
Price range for breakfast: $5.00-$15
Service: good, friendly
Interior: bold bright red seats, modern, different levels of seating are a couple of steps up or down
Music at the time: Ed Sheeran and Amy Winehouse songs
Vegetarian options: items can be altered to your needs, some charges may apply
Gluten free options: for breakfast- gluten free bread, for lunch- gluten free pastas
Mabrown is a Chinese/Malaysian/Thai restaurant on Belmore Road, famous for the quails they serve up. When you call to book a table, they will probably ask you how many quails you intend to order. These quails certainly live up to the hype, (at $7 per quail) it can be a pricey entrée if you eat a few, but it’s definitely worth it, if you look around you’ll probably see them on every table.
The quails are a little crispy, super juicy and flavoursome since they are covered with Mabrown’s special chili sauce, topped with onions and chili – A must order if you come to Mabrown.
The Mixed Vegetables with Prawns ($24.80) was good, the prawns were big and fresh, snow peas was nice and crunchy but the canned corn let the dish down, the Lamb Claypot ($24.90) with carrots, leak, mushroom, fried tofu and garlic was ordinary.
The Pi-pa Duck ($22.80 for half) was also a winner, the skin was crispy and the meat was juicy and tender, and it was all finished off quickly.
Mabrown isn’t known for its service and if you know the menu well, you’ll want to order ahead or they can be quite slow. We went on a Sunday night and the restaurant was packed, service was pretty slow, they took a while to get the tea refilled so be prepared to wait a while if you intend to eat at Mabrown.
Thai Samrod Fillet ($21.80) crispy fried fish fillet with crunchy onions, capsicum, carrots, lettuce and carrots, drizzled over with sweet and sour sauce, garnished with corriander looked and tasted good but was a little too oily and the King Spare Ribs ($19.80) with cooked tomato, carrots and green capsicum was full of flavour and everyone wanted a piece as soon as it came to the table.
The service might need some improvements, but the food at Mabrown is of good standard and the mouthwatering quails will always keep us coming back for more.
(03) 9816 3755
190 Belmore Rd
Balwyn VIC 3103
Thu-Sat: 1pm-2.30pm, 5.30pm-10pm
Price Range: $20-30
Service: depends how busy the place is, the boss doesn’t really smile.
Tucked away in a busy little laneway, this recently renovated Italian restaurant cafe can cater to all needs whether it be an early breakfast, afternoon coffee fix or an intimate candlelight dinner.
The staff were inviting. They provided helpful service and explained the menu items well. All items could be changed to suit your needs. There is a large indoor seating area for up to 110 or you can dine al fresco. A private facility upstairs can also be booked for functions. Olio aspires to be a risotto house but also has a good range of pizzas and pastas.
Parmalat pizza 10″
[buffalo mozzarela, prosciutto, dressed wild rocket & parmesan] ($16)
Buffalo mozzarella was so goood, the saltiness of the prosciutto balanced out well with the rocket, crust and base were toasted well.
Pollo e fungi, 10″
[mozzarella, wild mushrooms, organic chicken & basil pesto (with added spinach on request)] ($16)
Overall we found this pizza pretty good, mushrooms are missing since our friend asked for them to be taken out, the chicken was a little dry but other than that the crust and base couldn’t be better.
The organic penne with homemade veal & pork meatballs in a San Marzano tomato sugo ($25), was cooked to al dente, the herbs smelled really fresh and the serving size was pretty decent.
When we went to Olio it wasn’t too busy, so it was easy to have a conversation and relax. The projected black-and-white Charlie Chaplin movie was a novelty but we were sitting right next to it so it was a little distracting at times. Love the super friendly staff and chilled atmosphere, and would definitely come back to try one of their risottos.
(03) 9650 2190
30 Block Place
Sun to Tues: 8am – 5pm
Wed to Sat: 8am – 11pm
Price range: entres/sides- $5-9, mains- $15 -25, assorted cakes/desserts- $4.50+
Service: very helpful, welcoming
Interior: unique Italian decor, mid 1950′s black and white movies playing on projector, large seating area
Music: Italian/French music
Vegetarian options: all items can be changed to suit your needs
Gluten Free options: all risottos
Welcome to the beginning of Melbourne Cafe Hunters,
If you’re reading this, we probably have one thing in common: the love of food.
Melbourne has just too many places you can’t help but explore, especially since we are surrounded by so many rich and diverse cafes and restaurants.
We have always loved grabbing a bite to eat together, so one day we thought to dedicate a little space in the endless interweb where we could document our culinary journey through Melbourne.
Feel free to follow us and we hope you enjoy
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Any feedback will be greatly appreciated, leave a comment, ask questions or even email us. We would love any suggestions for places to check out next.