Eat here: Cochon Butcher, New Orleans (sandwiches/meat)

Cochon Butcher
930 Tchoupitoulas St, New Orleans
https://cochonbutcher.com/

A tribute to Old World butcher and charcuterie shops, Cochon Butcher melds a distinctive Cajun accent to the art of curing meat.

With a menu description like that, as if we weren’t going to visit this place! We first saw it through the eyes of Anthony Bourdain, then read a ton of great reviews, and then heard more good stuff about it once we got to New Orleans.

Much like places in Melbourne (think Jimmy Grants, Huxtaburger), Cochon Butcher is the super successful, less formal offshoot from the more fancy Cochon, drawing in a solid hipster and young professional crowd. The menu is very pig-centric, in the best possible way, with everything crafted, cured and smoked in house.

We visited at lunch time and shared a Buckboard bacon melt with collards on white bread (bottom left) and a charcuterie plate (top left). Buckboard bacon melt was probably the best spin on a ham & cheese toastie I’ve ever had – that bacon was amazing.

The charcuterie plate was next level – for a mere USD$16.00, we got dry cured pork loin, country terrine, spicy fennel salami, chorizo, pork rillon, flat bread crackers and pickles. And every single thing on that board was magnificent.

They also have a mean cocktail menu, heaps of beer and wine options, and you can shop their flatware, aprons, sauces and pickles after you’re done eating. They’d have every right to be a little arrogant and pretentious, but the staff were cool and laid back without being complete tools. They made the atmosphere like that of a fun, young deli, but the food was clearly the product of experience. We’d go back to eat there again in a heartbeat. And now all I want for breakfast is a bacon sandwich.

Eat here: Gontran Cherrier, Melbourne (pastry)

Gontran Cherrier
140-144 Smith St, Collingwood
http://www.gontrancherrier.com.au/

Around 7 months ago, renowned French patisserie king Gontran Cherrier brought his buttery operation to Melbourne. The bloggers and foodies flocked in droves; I personally couldn’t justify waiting in a line for half an hour to get an over-priced croissant. I finally visited for the first time a few weeks ago, and upon tucking into a golden delicious almond croissant, I finally understood what the fuss was about.

Eager to try more of the beauties in the display window, we made our way back last weekend for breaky. Rolling in for a late breakfast (for us) just before 10am on a Sunday morning, it was pleasantly quiet, with only a few tables occupied – muuuuuch better than the initial rush when they opened!

We ordered a few bits and pieces; husband chose the a quiche Lorraine studded with bacon and Gruyère cheese; I didn’t take a photos of it, but for $8.00, it was a little on the small side. Which was a shame because it was one of the nicest quiches either of us have ever tasted! We also went with a Croque Monsieur – again, not the cheapest toastie at $12.00, but, again, probably the best toasted ham and cheese sandwich I’ve ever had. Buttery and golden, crispy crusts and super soft bread, and that ham and cheese were magic.

I also spied a beautiful long piece of bread spread with Lescure butter and covered in some very pretty, colourful tomatoes. I added that to the order on a whim, not really expecting the husband to be too into it, but turned out he loved it, too. There’s something incredible about a simple bread, butter and tomato dish, when they’re all of the freshest and highest quality.

Those three dishes and a coffee for the husband set us back around $40 – not bad for a Melbourne breakfast, ridiculously over-priced for most other cities, but no regrets here; good food is worth paying more for, in our opinion.

 

We also couldn’t go past a sweet, and took a chocolate croissant home with us to tuck into with some tea and coffee. Nowhere near enough chocolate, but my goodness that pastry is something else. We’ve had the almond croissants there, too (we have a tendency to order an almond croissant whenever possible), and that was pretty spectacular.

We were a little sad that there weren’t any almond croissants left by the time we were leaving… the chocolate one wasn’t a bad back up option, though. Now that the crowds have died down, it’s probably time to head back a bit more often – it’s the perfect spot for a Sunday morning breakfast or coffee session; maybe not every weekend, but definitely those weekend you feel like being a little bit fancy and treating yourself 🙂


Gontran Cherrier Boulangerie Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Eat here: Sookie La La, Melbourne V.2 (diner)

Sookie La La
593 High St, Northcote
http://www.sookielaladiner.com.au/

It’s hard to believe it was September 2015 when I first visited and blogged about this place… since then, it’s become our favourite Sunday breakfast nook and feels like a second home 🙂

Almost 18 months since that first visit, nothing about Sookie La La is slipping. The service is wonderful, prompt, and most importantly, welcoming and friendly. The booths are perfect – your own private little breakfast nooks. And the standard of the food is still top notch – it’s simple, homely, comforting food that makes you feel like you’re in a favourite aunt’s home.

Husband’s new favourite thing in the world is their fried chicken on waffles. You can probably see why. But tasting it is another story – the waffles are soft and fluffy, and the chicken is perfectly white and tender on the inside, with the perfect crunch on the outside. We’ve eaten a bit of fried chicken, but Sookie La La’s is both of our favourite.

I went with the reuben sandwich, the towering king of bread and corned beef and sauerkraut and pickles and cheese and Russian dressing. This is a proper sandwich. For breakfast or lunch, it’s just magic.

After a long week, when we roll up to their glass front door on a Sunday morning and slide into one of the beautiful wooden booths, it really feels like home. We both seem to sigh in relief as we sit down to a hot pot of strong tea for me and a chocolatey coffee for the husband, always brought over by the ever-smiling lady of the house, and we know that no matter what we order, it’s going to be delicious. We’ve spent many hours planning our #👫WorldTour there. Talking about our weeks at work. Mulling over problems that need solving. Discussing our plans for the future and remembering all of the good and bad from the past. We eventually look out at the street through the shuttered windows with the Sunday morning light streaming in, and reluctantly slide out of our booth to get on with the day. Always knowing we’ll be back soon 🙂

Sookie La La Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Eat here: Kelso’s Sandwich Shoppe, Melbourne (sandwiches)

Kelso’s Sandwich Shoppe
271 Johnson St, Abbotsford
http://www.kelsossandwiches.com/

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They’re only a few months old, but I think they’re gonna be popular.  Kelso’s is adorable. While they serve food, it’s not exactly a restaurant. They serve beer, but it’s not a bar or pub. They have milkshakes and filter coffee, but it’s not quite an American diner. So, sandwich shop is probably the perfect way to describe it.

It has all the right touches – vintage Kraft Singles ads on the wall, a gorgeous retro fridge in the corner where the beer lives, counter seating, an open kitchen, and probably their best feature, really lovely, friendly, genuine staff.

While their cheeseburger looks damn good, I had to get a sandwich for my first visit. I went with the ham sandwich with sauerkraut on rye ($8.00) and added in some pickles ($0.50), because they DIY pickles, and if you’re known for your sandwiches and your pickles, I want to try both.

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Great decision; it may not be the sexiest looking sammich, but it was damn tasty. That sauerkraut and those pickles were magic, and I’d find it hard to go past adding them into any future sandwich orders. Great ham, soft bread, so much better than your standard ham sandwich.

And, especially with its location, really really well priced! Most sandwiches are around the $10 mark, give or take a few dollars, and it was a very big sandwich I had for $8.50! Great food, great service, great value  – welcome to the neighbourhood, Kelso’s!

Kelso's Sandwich Shoppe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Eat here: Shifty Chèvre, Melbourne (French/cafe/bar)

Shifty Chèvre
375 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
http://www.shiftychevre.com/#shiftychevre

This is another one of those places we’ve been meaning to get around to for ages; the blessing and curse of being a food lover living in Melbourne is that for every place you tick off your “to eat” list, another 3 pop up. It’s relentless. It’s the best possible problem to have.

Part cheese & wine bar, part brunch spot, they’re all about making you feel right at home. As they say on their website, their place is designed to be an extension of their own kitchen, “a place of warmth, laughter, cheese, good food and a bottle of something with friends.” It’s also a really beautiful place, full of the little touches like the wooden coat stand and random framed pictures.

Given the Sunday morning visit, husband got stuck right into some coffee, and tea was my poison. Both fresh and hot and all sorts of perfect for a Melbourne winter’s morning.

Then, food. Tough decisions had to be made. Husband finally settled on the smokey bacon sandwich ($18.00) – house-smoked thick-cut bacon with melted triple cheese, thyme roasted field mushrooms and tomato relish in sourdough bread with a fried egg on top. Damn good sandwich – that bacon was magic! While the egg on top made it pretty hard to eat like a proper sandwich, everything worked perfectly. Big winner!

My decision was easy: the Shifty Benedict ($18.00) – slow roasted smoked ham hock, poached eggs, multigrain toast, apple cider hollandaise sauce and pork crackling.

Perfectly poached eggs, soft and molten, and smothered in deliciously creamy hollandaise. The ham hock was the highlight, though – piled high under the egg, I couldn’t really tell what I was getting into, but breaking it up with my fork, it was soft and tender and juicy, with the most delicious smokey flavour. Oh, and that pork crackling… WOW…

If that was the brunch menu, I cannot wait to try out the dinner (with wine, obviously). Everything that was promised was delivered – it was a warm, cosy place, easy to feel at home in, and the food was incredible. Another perfect addition to the Melbourne brunch scene 🙂


Shifty Chevre Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Eat here: Cheerio Cafe, Melbourne (café/brunch)

Cheerio Cafe
323 Lennox St, Richmond
https://www.instagram.com/cheeriocaferichmond/

Long weekends are great opportunities to squeeze in extra brunch dates, and this long weekend, brunch we did. Sunday saw husband and I pass through Richmond on our way to a movie at the Jam Factory, and we decided to stop at Cheerio for a late breakfast after seeing it’s very high ratings on Zomato.

A pretty standard cute-little-hole-in-the-wall type cafe, it was actually really well set out considering how small it was inside. A little coffee machine/dessert cabinet island dominated the middle of the room, and with the heater going on a cold Melbourne winter morning, it felt like home. Even more so with the tea and coffee we ordered promptly brought out to our table.

Unfortunately, that’s where the familial hospitality stopped; with room for maybe 20 people tops and 4 staff floating around, it still took half an hour for someone to take our order. I know, Sunday morning on a long weekend, I’m sure they had lots to catch up on and chat about, but we weren’t the only ones kept waiting – it wasn’t hard to overhear the frustration coming from other tables. We finally gave up and hailed a  sulky waitress down to take our order, and settled in for another 15 minute wait for our food.

Pity it was such a crappy start, because the menu read so well. Husband was pretty excited to see a more than decent toastie menu on offer, and went with the pastrami reuben toastie with pickles, provolone, red onion, rocket and housemade reuben dressing ($10.00). Excellent value for money; for $10, it was stacked high and full, and very delicious. Husband’s only complaint was that there was way too much red onion, but otherwise a great toastie.

I loved the sound of the coconut, quinoa and rice porridge with roast quince and toasted coconut ($12.00), and that, too, delivered. Warm, thick and richly coconutty, with heaps of chunks of quince and lots of toasted coconut. It was a nice, big bowl, the perfect winter’s morning breaky; even husband, who hates porridge, loved it.

It’s a real shame that the service was so slow (waiting almost an hour for porridge and a toasted sandwich when there were only 6 other tables of people there was really disappointing) and kinda rude, because the food was fantastic!

 

Cheerio Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Eat here: Long Story Short, Melbourne (brunch/café)

Long Story Short Cafe
10/53 Coppin St, Richmond
http://www.longstoryshortcafe.com.au/

Yay Tuesday! I’m actually well enough to work today! This is so exciting! If you’re wondering why this could possible be so exciting, refer back to Friday’s post. And today’s post links back to point #6; I thought I’d be right to go out for breaky last weekend, and it turns out I wasn’t. I have no regrets, though, because I’d been busting to try out Long Story Short ever since I saw their food and matcha lattes on my Instagram feed a few weeks ago. I convinced husband I was well enough for a quick breaky on the proviso that we’d go straight home afterwards, so off we went…

Another gorgeous cafe with a beautiful fit out, fancy light bulbs and flowers in jars, it looks pretty stock-standard hipster on first glance. But take a look at the menu and you’ll see some pretty different things to your usual eggs and bircher options going on. Pistachio crumbed fish tacos and purple potato salad, liquorice salt & fetta duck scrambled eggs and buttermilk Tim Tam pancakes; there are some pretty creative dishes on there. But before breakfast, coffee for husband and almond milk matcha latte for me. Happy, happy girl; it was delicious, and exactly what I felt like!

Husband felt he wasn’t quite hipster enough to appreciate the menu, and went with the one option he believed was made available to blokes like him accompanying their ladies to breaky: the wagyu steak sandwich with lettuce, cheddar cheese, chimichurri, tomato chilli chutney and horseradish mayo ($21.50) with a side of kipfler potatoes ($4.00).

Served up open style so you could check it out before digging in, the steak was perfectly cooked, and there was plenty of it. Great man food. Although messy with the sauces, he very much enjoyed it, but felt that the potatoes weren’t quite up to the sandwich’s standard. It was also quite a pricey breakfast compared to some of the other options.

As for me, I knew what I wanted as soon as I saw it on Instagram – hello coconut sago pudding with a layer of virgin pina colada, rice crisps and macadamias ($11.00)!

Only a few days post-wisdom tooth removal, I needed mushy food, but I wanted something delicious. God help me, this was magnificent! Creamy coconut sago, a heavenly, tangy pina colada layer, and the rice crisps and macadamia chunks were the exact crunchy bits it needed. I absolutely loved this little pot of goodness, and would struggle to try another option on the next visit knowing this is there…

While we had mixed opinions on the food/pricing, the coffee and matcha latte were both fantastic, the service was friendly and efficient, and the setting was really homely and comfortable. I’d definitely visit again, because there were a few other breakfasts I’d love to try, like the kiwi & coconut muesli, and the Tim Tam pancakes (obviously!)

Long Story Short Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato