Fancy Nance – Melbourne series

After back to back eating sessions, I probably wasn’t feeling the hungriest when we stepped into Fancy Nance for high tea but FOMO got the best of me and I could not pass up the ‘I’m so Fancy’ option while my more sensible eating companions opted for the smaller ‘Pink Flamingo’ high tea.

Follow the signs for Fancy Nance.
A very mad hatter’s tea party feeling as you walk in.
I love the tea pot and tea cups lights.I’m so Fancy ($65.00)~

 

Despite the order written on the menu, things came a bit out of order but you did receive sweet things first and then ended on savoury which is usually how I eat things anyway. They must be going off the premise that life is short, eat dessert first.

 

‘Not so late’ carrot cake. I could not stop smiling while eating this. In short this was a deconstructed carrot cake but it was so tasty. The soft torn cake pieces delicately sat on top of the whipped cream cheese was genius but my favourite part was the candied nuts and different coloured carrots. This made me very excited for what was still to come.
Complete with a carrot top!
I felt a bit rushed when this board was placed in front of me with four different things on it. I didn’t eat fast enough and some of the ice creams started to melt and drip everywhere.
Bubbles, marzipan, rum fruits and roast cinnamon ice cream. This was more complex than what meets the eye, just below the bubble surface was many complex layers of different textures and flavours.
Cocoa nib creme brulee, pineapple and pina colada ice cream. This might have tasted sweeter if I had started off with this before the other desserts but by the time I got to this, the ice cream had melted into a puddle of mess and flavours weren’t as prominent because of the sweeter flavours from the other desserts.
Chai panna cotta, pear cremeux, ginger and honey. You had to dig down to get all the layers but the chai panna cotta flavour was the most prominent aftertaste. The texture of the panna cotta was incredibly smooth.
Macaron I couldn’t tell what flavour it was, after eating the entire board the sweet flavours started to meld into one.
Scones with 2 jams – roast capsicum jam and some other jam that I didn’t really try. As full as I was, I could not stop eating these scones with roast capsicum jam and cream cheese, it was sweet yet felt savoury at the same time. This might not be for everyone but I certainly enjoyed it.
Pastries de jour. I started to slow right down after the scones because by this point, things arrived one after another and I could barely keep up. I slow nibbled at this but I didn’t find either one particularly extraordinary. 
Tapioca cracker, tomato and ricotta. There was a nice break before the savouries started to arrive and like most people who have a separate dessert stomach, I have a separate one for savouries. This was a nice transitioning course from sweet to savoury as it was definitely salty but it wasn’t heavy or overwhelming.
Taco de Nance tuna, strawberries, avocado, tomato sorbet. This might sound like a strange combination but it really works well together, although I did find the corn taco shell getting a bit soggy and hard to eat as the sorbet melted. With the fish and fruit combined, it was refreshing on the palette.
Chinese chicken balls. These came out extremely hot and not as I expected, I assumed it would be more like a meat ball rather than a doughy interior with a meat centre but it did soak up the delicious sauce very well.
Beef cheeks with vanilla and purple carrots. This was really tender and the sweetness of the vanilla and carrots balanced out the heaviness of the meat. It wasn’t as good as the beef from MoVida, but it was definitely memorable.
Tea, coffee or hot chocolate. We ordered our beverages first and since we had so much sweet on the way, I opted for green tea. 
Someone TimmyC managed to squeeze in an iced coffee with everything else ($5.50).

Pink Flamingo ($45.00)~
 
Bubbles, marzipan, rum fruits and roast cinnamon ice cream.
Chocolate and cherry long john. This was the pick of the Pink Flamingo high tea, so it was a shame that it was one of the first things to come out. It was like a cronut with many flaky layers with the perfect amount of cream and sweet toppings.Creamsticle. I thought these were adorable. Not much particular flavour to them but they are so teeny tiny.
Scone with 2 jams
Tapioca cracker, tomato and ricotta
Taco de Nance tuna, strawberries, avocado, tomato sorbet
Chinese chicken balls
Tea, coffee or hot chocolate
 
For a high tea with so many courses of sweet and savoury and also the obligatory high tea scones, it was definitely value for money compared to the high teas we get here in Canberra. What I thought was disappointing was for someone who specialises in sweets, I was hoping that Zumbo would push the envelope with his desserts and give me something new and exciting. I really enjoyed the carrot cake but from there, the dishes didn’t really compare; there were just lots of soft textured layered desserts. I thought the savouries had more variety and were more daring in flavour combinations and textures than the sweets. Still worth checking out though, it beats stake cake and tarts and crustless sandwiches any day.

 

Venue: Fancy Nance
Address: 21 Daly St, South Yarra VIC 3141
Phone: (03) 9826 0312

Fancy Nance Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Penny University

Over the weekend I had brunch at Penny University, I don’t know if brunch was particularly superb because of the fine company I was with or if the food was just amazing. May a little from column A and a little from column B.

Despite the heavy rain, everyone wanted to be at Penny University.IMG_7373.JPGI was torn between two menu items (P.U. Rarebit and McPenny) as I always am, but the waitress said that the bagel was a new menu item and had been very popular.

The breakfast menu at Penny University, what would you have chosen?IMG_7361.JPGP.U Rarebit Gratined Guinnes, leek and cheddar bagel finished with sauteed spinach and a poached egg and chilli jam ($17.00) added ‘Pialligo’ bacon ($4.00). This won’t be for everyone, it is very cheesy, rich and heavy but that is the sort of breakfast that I like. I like how both halves of the bagel had melted cheese on it, which one its own was nice but add a little of the chilli jam and it transforms into a heavenly bite. The Pialligo bacon is a thicker cut but not overly salty and compliments the rest of the dish.IMG_7367.JPGIMG_7366.JPGJuice of the day Pineapple, cucumber and … I want to say mint. I asked the waitress to repeat the juice of the day combinations and I still can’t remember what the third ingredient was, I just couldn’t get over the fact that there was cucumber in this drink, but oh my, it was a perfect combination! A wonderful mix of cold juice with refreshing flavours.IMG_7359.JPGEveryone really wanted their coffee ASAP, it was a little slow to come out but it arrived before the food.  IMG_7362.JPG

Avo dish avocado on toasted dark, charred corn and quinoa tabouleh, chevre, chilli oil and a 65/65 egg ($19.00). My super fit yummy Mummy friend ordered this, I didn’t ask her how it was, but she ate everything so I assumed it was nice.IMG_7365.JPG

IMG_7364.JPGCronut Maple and thyme ($6.00). The texture was brilliant, although it made the bag transparent the actual cronut itself didn’t seem that oily. I couldn’t have really establish it was a maple and thyme flavour it was just sweet with the perfect amount of icing and sugar.IMG_7374.JPGNot as pretty when all icing smeared onto the bag.IMG_7381.JPGCheck out those sexy layers.IMG_7385.JPGI didn’t know if it took long to get a seat because I sadly arrived fashionably late but while we were seated the wait staff were very friendly and attentive, it was just a bit of a bother to split the bill at a busy counter when there was card fees and Sunday surcharges.

I enjoyed the diverse menu options, the food, the decor and the staff attentiveness; I can’t wait to go back again.

Venue: Penny University Coffee Roasters

Address15 Kennedy St Kingston, ACT

Phone: (02) 6162 1500
Penny University Coffee Roasters on Urbanspoon

Human flyer – Ricardo’s

We started off the day with brunch and after browsing Instagram as part of my morning ritual, I knew that Ricardo’s was open that day so off we went!

When we arrived, it was very busy inside and out which was to be expected but we were able to grab a table outside for three people with no hassle. I must admit, we weren’t impressed with having to flag down the waitress and ask for menus after several minutes of being ignored at an empty table after being seated. After finally deciding what to order, we sat and waited again… Hmmm seems like you have to be more forward with your approach as a customer to get noticed around here. I get the waitress’ attention again saying that we were ready to order and she informs us that ‘you have to order and pay at the counter’, well it would have been informative if you had told us that when you eventually gave us menus I thought to myself.IMG_5742.JPGThe beverages arrive fairly fast and the food not long after, so obviously efficiency the problem isn’t with the kitchen.

Salted Caramel milkshake and Peppermint and Oreo thickshake. I must say that the new range of milkshakes looked much better when Ricardo’s took a photo for their Instagram account but the taste clearly made up for that. My friend fell in love with his so much, he was going to order a second one but he instead ordered some macarons. I was fearful that mine was going to be really sweet and OTT like some of the cakes that they have in their cabinet, but it was perfect. ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS! IMG_5757.JPGThe other milkshake flavours that are available, try not to get too distracted with what’s underneath the sign.IMG_5744.JPGCroque Madame Gruyere cheese, double smoked leg ham, Dijon mustard sour cream grilled sour dough topped with a fried egg ($14.90). I love a good Croque Madame but they replaced bechamel sauce with the Dijon mustard sour cream which didn’t really work for me. It was still tasty but I wouldn’t call it a Croque Madame.IMG_5767.JPG

IMG_5766.JPGBreakfast mushroom bruschetta sauteed mushrooms with smashed peas, mint and ricotta on grilled sourdough ($16.90). My friend really enjoyed his breakfast, he loved the medley of mushrooms that was used and he thought the smashed peas really made this dish.IMG_5762.JPG

IMG_5761.JPGEggs Benedict poached eggs with hollandaise sauce, baby spinach and bacon on toast ($17.90). I’m not a fan of Turkish bread in breakfast dishes, I find it too filling comparatively to a lot of the breakfast items but other than that, everything else was made well and they were generous with their serving of bacon.IMG_5764.JPG

IMG_5763.JPGSalted caramel cronut. We couldn’t resist to order one these since the first one we got from Ricardo’s months ago was really nice. Unfortunately, this was really oily and was not like a croissant nor a doughnut, it was soggy pastry doused in oil and covered in instant diabetes. Not good.IMG_5760.JPGWe tried to finish it, but we couldn’t. It was easy to see from the plate why.

Nothing left on the plate but sugar and grease.IMG_5768.JPGThe delicious food made us quickly forget about the inefficiencies with some wait staff. It was a shame about the cronut, the first one I had from here was amazing but now their cronuts like many of their cakes are just OTT and too sugary to differentiate between different flavours and layers that they try to achieve in complex cakes. Pretty to look at but that’s it.

Breakfast and lunch menu items are good though and I don’t think there was a surcharge for the public holiday (double win!).

You can find my previous Ricardo’s post here.

Ricardo's Cafe on Urbanspoon

Espresso Room

I’m glad that with fancy coffee places popping up left right and centre in Braddon, Civic and Belconnen that Tuggeranong was not left out. My Mummy wanted a coffee so an idea sparked from my head and I wanted to take her to the Espresso Room in the Tuggeranong Hyperdome.

A simple set up with a few seats but there are a lot of take aways going on.20140802-125953-46793068.jpgWritten on their website: “The concept of Espresso Room is one of a company owned and operated by its own Baristas. This assures a high level of passion and quality goes into the making of every cup of coffee. Baristas are trained in the use of many different brewing methods and techniques.”20140802-125951-46791756.jpgI’m glad that they participate in Project Origin where they develop long business relationships with growers for a sustainable future.20140802-125950-46790411.jpgWell this is lovely and thoughtful. 🙂20140802-130015-46815311.jpgSmall latte ($3.50). Mummy really enjoyed her coffee and her latte art made me smile, I thought it was super cute.20140802-130013-46813841.jpgI must admit I had an ulterior motive when I took Mum here for a coffee but she doesn’t need to know, let’s call it a silent “win win” situation. Kronuts were $4.50 each, I couldn’t decide on a flavour so I chose both vanilla cinnamon and chocolate raspberry. 20140802-130016-46816873.jpgThings were disappearing fast from the boards, I thought I’d bet buy them now as they might sell out when I come back.20140802-130018-46818298.jpgChocolate and raspberry kronut ($4.50). They both didn’t look attractive by the time we got home with the oil penetrating through the brown paper bags but I did like how them the vanilla cinnamon had a custard filling. I didn’t really get a ‘kronut’ feel about these pastries, they weren’t very crispy like a croissant and it was more like a cross between a krispy kreme donut and a jam/custard filled donut. I forgot to ask where they source their pastries from.20140802-170059-61259288.jpgIt looks like this chain of stores are over taking Canberra with two other locations already in Woden and Belconnen and a store in Civic to open soon. Go check out the Belconnen store (located across from Fernwood Belconnen, right next to Outback Jacks.) this 6th Aug 2014 for their free coffee day between 7:00am – 5:30pm!

Venue: Espresso Room

Address: Shop 1-178 Tuggeranong Shopping Centre, Greenway, Canberra (near the Target entrance)

Website: http://espressoroom.com.au/

Store Opening Times:
Monday – Thursday 9:00am – 5:30pm
Friday 9:00am – 9:00pm
Saturday 9:00am – 5:00pm
Sunday 10:00am – 4:00pm

Cronut hunt: Italian Continental bakery

I always knew that the Italian Continental bakery existed but I never went in for when I make the effort to bustle my way through Mawson, it was always for Bruno’s cannoli. This time I was specifically here for one thing: Italian Continental bakery’s cronuts. They had renovated since I’ve last snuck a peek and there were many people inside to get away from the cold and get their fill of Italian sweets.

I made TimmyC line up as I went to inspect the long cake cabinet. Tarts, profiteroles, eclairs, cannolis and there it was… Cronuts! They had two flavours that morning: chocolate and vanilla, we opted for vanilla although I was hoping for salted caramel, but while we were getting served we couldn’t resist also getting an eclair and baked cannoli. I didn’t really pay attention to how much everything was, all I know is that it came to $9.80 and I handed my money over like a zombie as I continued to stare into their cake display.

I was on the hunt for pastry this morning and I couldn’t make up my mind. Small eclair, baked cannoli and a vanilla cronut #italiancontinentalbakery #canberra #cbr #mawson #food #foodie #foodblog #cronut #sweets #dessert 20140615-203434-74074179.jpgI was pleasantly surprised to find that the eclair’s choux pastry wasn’t stale (you don’t know how many times I’ve bought a stale one), although we wished that the filling was more creamy rather than a thick-ish custard. The cannolo (apparently that is the singular) was really good, I much prefer the outside to be pastry rather than the heavy ‘donut like’ kind, although they do sell both kinds. The filling was creamy and vanillary. The much sort after cronut itself was a bit of a let down, the texture was more of a donut rather than a cronut (see what the layers should look like here) and the flavour could have been stronger.

I might not rush back for their cronuts but I did like their cannoli and cafe area to want to come back and explore a bit more.

Venue: Italian Continental Bakery & Cafe

AddressThe Southlands House, Mawson Pl, Mawson, ACT 

Phone: (02) 6286 1085

Italian Continental Bakery & Cafe on Urbanspoon