Doux Amour

I had been stalking Doux Amour for a while, ever since I spotted their very cute penguin choux pastry on Instagram. By chance, friends of mine came across their pop up store at the  lower ground level, QVB and were nice enough to bring some home to share. Not all animals were available (7 out of 12) but I did have my eye on ‘Rosie’ (rose and lychee) and ‘PoPo’ (cookies and cream).

Photo sent from my friend which made me squeal very loudly.The menu.My friends couldn’t remember how much each puff was but I’ve seen on some reviews they are around $7.60. They bought home Rosie, PoPo and ‘Nutty Freckle’ (nutella).Cutting one up reveals a light fluffy custard that isn’t too OTT and you could easily eat more than one without feeling sugar sweats. I thought I would enjoy Rosie the most because of the similarity with Pierre Hermes’ Ispahan but surprisingly my favourite was PoPo. I thought the flavours of the nutella and rose/lychee weren’t strong enough.It could be said that these choux pastries are really gimmicky as they are very instagrammable and ridiculously cute but lucky they are also delicious. I can’t speak for all flavours though and I still want to get my hands on ‘Blackie’ (black sesame), ‘Quackie (pineapple), ‘Hopper’ (strawberry) and ‘Chai-ger’ (chai).

Venue: Doux Amour

Address: QVB pop up, lower ground level north
Doux Amour Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hello Kitty Diner

There is so much cuteness in one cafe but the Hello Kitty Diner isn’t just for little girls.Even their booths are covered in this cute material.I really wanted a cute cheeseburger with the iconic Hello Kitty bow but we had just come from lunch so all I could squeeze in was a cute milkshake and a waffle for an afternoon snack (don’t give me that look).

When we were seated, we were given water in these really cute paper cups.The Pancake Milkshake ($8.00). This had little chunks in it and yes it tasted and felt like a pancake milkshake with maple syrup. I don’t know if it is worth $8.00 for the size, but I didn’t want a lot and it didn’t disappoint in flavour.Cinnamon waffles apple pie ice-cream, salted caramel ($8.00). I was pleased to see that it was freshly made and was hot and crunchy, while a lot of cafes I have been to serve a warmed pre-made one or even worse, from frozen. The fact that it was in the shape of Hello Kitty’s head topped with a cute bow was just a super cute touch. I really enjoyed the apple pie ice-cream that went really well with the salted caramel sauce. A perfect sweet treat that isn’t overly sweet or filling.True, a lot of the appeal of this diner comes from the novelty of having cute Hello Kitty detail around the cafe but the food we experienced was surprisingly quite good, albeit a little over priced for some things.

Venue: Hello Kitty Diner

Address: The District, ChatswoodInterchange, 436 Victoria Avenue, Chatswood, NSW

Phone: 04 3017 7850
Hello Kitty Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Grounds of Alexandria – The Grounds Cafe

Welcome to the The Grounds of Alexandria, the most Instagrammable place on the planet. You could tell my level of excitement as I wasn’t even phased when they told us it would be a 45 – 1 hour wait for a table at The Grounds Cafe on a Sunday for brunch. We took a buzzer and went off exploring.Where to start? Pastries of course!
We went past the cute vintage carts selling nuts, freshly made doughnuts, cakes and slices, complete with an old school lemonade stand.How cute is this place?!img_3214
Doughnuts filled with Nutella and Raspberry jam. The area is rather quite big and very popular. There is a beautiful area called ‘The Garden bar’ where it appears to be more casual with no table service but an amazing outdoor area with lots of sun light shining through.TimmyC couldn’t wait 1 hour before having coffee, so he ordered one from The Garden Bar.
There is also a beautiful outdoor florist on-site as well as a local watering hole called ‘The Potting Shed’, I loved how all the venues have a common garden theme which ties them all together.
Even the menu is cute, this place is ridiculous!I could live here.
There is also the famous resident on site, Kevin Bacon and his little farm animal friends.
After what seemed like forever because I was getting hungry and was almost tempted to buy a cheeseburger from the Garden bar, our buzzer went off. We hurriedly moved our way through the crowds and waved our buzzer around like we had just won a game of bingo only to meet another line where there were other lucky ‘winners’ also with alarming buzzers, but we were all quickly seated and given a menu.
 
I was surprised to find the inside of the cafe so dark, especially when the outside was such a beautiful day. It made it a little harder to take photos (that might just be an Instagrammer problem).
Char-grilled steak sandwich pasture fed sirloin steak, cheddar cheese, tomato, grilled Spanish onion, horseradish aioli and rocket on a toasted vienna bread ($18.00). My jaw almost dropped when I saw the size of my plate in comparison to everyone else’s. The burgers were served with a side of chips but the length of their tray was the size of my sandwich. I really enjoyed how they had cut up the steak into pieces and covered the entire sandwich, it made it easier to eat and there is nothing more sad that a sandwich with uneven filling. I wish it came with a side of chips but my friends were nice enough to share with me.
Deconstructed iced coffee house blend coffee shot, cold brewed coffee ice, sugar syrup with milk ($8.00). Who likes a diluted warm iced coffee? Not really anyone, so the clever people at the Grounds have made their ice cubes for the iced coffee out of coffee. Not only that, but they also give you milk on the side so you can adjust the milkiness to your liking as well as provide you with a novelty syringe filled with sugar syrup.
I love how the bottle that has the coffee reads ‘poison’.     Super chocolate and hazelnut shake ($8.50).
Freshly squeezed juice pineapple, watermelon and passionfruit ($8.00).
Chicken schnitzel burger crispy free range chicken breast, slaw, vine ripened tomato, rocket and mustard aioli in a pretzel bun with crunchy beer battered chips ($21.00).
The ‘Ground’ burger Grounded beef brisket, cheese, lettuce, dill, cornichon and mayo on a toasted brioche bun, served with crunchy beer battered chips ($19.00).
Poached eggs on toast class poached eggs served on The Grounds signature sourdough ($12.00). TimmyC wanted a vegetarian option and so he chose this simple dish. He said it was nice but they sort of burnt the toast.
I was like an excited kid who couldn’t sit still. If we were waiting for the food or the bill, I’d be up taking photos of their gorgeous cake cabinet or waiting for my Instagram photos to print on their automatic printer.
I think I need one of these for home!
I really enjoyed that The Grounds have a really fantastic atmosphere and while they are extremely busy, the food still comes out at a fast pace and all the prices aren’t ridiculous. No real downside other than the wait times to get a table but there are many things on site to keep your eyes occupied.
Venue: The Grounds of Alexandria – The Grounds Cafe
Address: 7A, 2 Huntley St, Alexandria NSW 2015

Opening times:

Monday to Friday           7am to 4pm (kitchen closes at 3pm)

Saturday and Sunday    7:30am to 4pm (kitchen closes at 3:30pm)

The Grounds of Alexandria Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato 

April’s caravan

I’m sure you have all heard of The Hamlet, heck I’m sure most of you have eaten at there as well (but if you haven’t you must go!). What I thought was the cutest addition between all the meat-a-licious food vans was April’s caravan, serving old school milkshakes and drinks in a funky retro pink caravan.2015/01/img_8785.jpgI love polka dots!2015/01/img_8786.jpgThe menu: what flavour of milkshake would you choose?2015/01/img_8789.jpgI love this old school coffee maker!2015/01/img_8787.jpgDeluxe shake Apple pie ($8.00). I was torn about what milkshake flavour to get between caramel and lime but the lovely girl who was serving me suggested I try a deluxe flavour when I can. Oh my! I could not go past an apple pie. My eyes lit up when I saw that they used Tilba milk. The milkshake had lovely notes of cinnamon and I loved the addition of a short bread biscuit.2015/01/img_8790.jpgA close up of my deluxe ‘Apple pie’ milkshake. I probably would have preferred some ice cream blended into it but you need a good drinks/sweets van when you’re surrounded by food trucks with lots of savoury options. They also have cans of soft drink for $2.50.2015/01/img_8796.jpgVenue: April’s Caravan

Address: @ The Hamlet 16 Lonsdale St Braddon, ACT

Facebookwww.facebook.com/aprils.caravan

April's Caravan on Urbanspoon

Fox and Bow

I didn’t think I would get out of my pajamas over the weekend, it was the perfect weather for sleeping in and lazing about and that we did, but then we started getting hungry… TimmyC suggested that we go out for brunch and I was eager to take him to Fox and Bow over in Farrer.

The bustling cafe had both indoor and outdoor seating and we were luckily enough to find space at the end of a long table. I was excited to browse through the menu and see the drinks on the chalkboard; the drink names such as ‘Ron Weasley’, ‘Mike Wazoski’ and ‘that’s oatstanding’ made me giggle.2015/01/img_8526.jpgSo much to be tempted by in the cake cabinet.2015/01/img_8527.jpgHere is the menu- small and precise, what would you have chosen?2015/01/img_8525.jpgI just love the decor of this cafe, so funky and laid back.2015/01/img_8529.jpgLarge flat white2015/01/img_8528.jpgEarl grey doughnut ($3.80?). Not my favourite Nookie doughnut flavour, the Earl grey taste was virtually non-existent but TimmyC just really liked dipping the doughnut in the cream that it was served with.2015/01/img_8531.jpgShake it off! vanilla infused honey, malt balls and ice cream ($5.50?). I love the name of this, it was partially why I chose it actually. I could really taste the malt and sometimes the ice cream clogged my straw but it wasn’t the best milkshake that I’ve had.2015/01/img_8532.jpgBig Kids pancakes buttermilk pancakes, raspberries, hazelnuts, maple syrup & caramel popcorn ($15.00). It wasn’t until I was comparing the look of TimmyC’s pancakes to a photo we saw on Instagram did we notice that they had given us strawberries and not raspberries; pecans and not hazelnuts. Maybe the substitutions were because they ran out of the ingredients but we didn’t get around to asking because we had eaten half of it before we noticed. It was really nice either way, I found it interesting how perfectly round and thick the pancakes were. Towards the end, the bottom pancake was soaked in syrup and getting a bit too sweet, maybe this would have been nicer with syrup on the side?2015/01/img_8537.jpgThis is how we roll smoked bacon, 2 free range eggs, house made bbq relish, potato hash, melted jack cheese & toasted brioche bun ($9.90). A breakfast bun with all my favourite things! I happen to cut this roll in half for photo and sharing purposes before I spotted a short hair under my bacon and alerted the waitress who whisked my plate away. The owner (?) then came to us and was very apologetic and a new roll was made for me very quickly. He came over again to apologise and offered us both free coffees which was really nice of him. Despite a small wait for my second roll, I really enjoyed my heavily savoury breakfast as it balanced out all the sweetness of the pancakes.2015/01/img_8540.jpgThe essential cross-section photo.2015/01/img_8543.jpgI know I’m a slow eater and TimmyC having a head start to his breakfast didn’t help. A big table of 8 was heading into the cafe and we were asked to shuffle down a seat and even with only a few more bites to go, I was told not to rush at all. I didn’t mind moving (it was only one seat down), I was just glad that we all fit.

Complimentary small flat white. TimmyC happen to mention that he really liked the coffee here as I was finishing off my breakfast and I asked why he didn’t mention it when he was drinking his first coffee, but he said it was because this second one tasted better.

The second coffee looked a lot better too.2015/01/img_8545.jpgDespite a few little dramas which might have annoyed me at any other cafe, I really like the set up, the vibe of the staff and how this little gem is tucked away in the suburbs. I definitely much prefer this place compared to the previous establishment which made it onto my short list of ‘will not return’.

This is a family run business who are experienced with food but this is their first venture of running their own cafe and they are having fun doing it. I’m excited to come back and try more of their menu and use it as a trendy meet up spot with southside friends.
There is a funky graffitied wall outside.2015/01/img_8536.jpg
An awesome fellow blogger Freak Biscuit also went to Fox and Bow recently, see her post here.

Venue: Fox and Bow

Address4 Farrer Pl Farrer, ACT

Phone: 0422108713

Websitehttp://www.foxandbow.com.au/
Fox and Bow on Urbanspoon

Versace high tea re-run

A new year begins and I find myself sitting at the glamorous Versace Hotel at Main Beach QLD a year later. I don’t plan to make this an annual event, it was just a happy coincidence.

Couture High Tea (basic high tea with no alcohol) $48.00 pp. It was ok, better than your average high tea.It is mostly just novelty to sit on Versace chairs near the beautiful lobby, eat with Versace cutlery on Versace plates. The selection of sweets are definitely better than last year. $30 for valet parking if you just want to roll up and not worry about parking. See my previous experience here.

20140101-163712.jpgTop tier~

A selection of sweets including macarons, meringues, mysterious waffle cones, cake pops, mango (?) tart and a chocolate and passionfruit cake.20140101-163728.jpg

Middle tier~

Plain scones and fruit scones, double cream, savoury quiche, a jelly cream dessert, a variety of olives and a very indulgent salted caramel tart.

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Bottom tier~

A selection of sandwiches and crisp bread with a sun-dried tomato dip.20140101-163744.jpg

Each High Tea set comes with a tea or a coffee. I chose ‘Prince of Wales’ tea to be a bit different from the norm, Russian Caravan was also supposed to be good.

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I always end on savoury when I can help it, it doesn’t matter if I’m at an all you can eat restaurant, fine dining or high tea. It does get a little sweet towards the end and you might pass out due to a food coma with all the tea so I do suggest leaving a little sandwich or something for the end. Don’t be afraid to ask for more cream/jam/dip, the staff are friendly and are too willing to help.

Notes~

You don’t need to book if there are less than 6 people. 11am – 5pm daily.

 

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