Ladies who eat & blog: SCARF Community dinner @ Green Park

Hands up who’s heard of SCARF?! Not many, I’m guessing? That sucks… hopefully this will help spread the word about an awesome group who do some seriously good work for the community and also make some delicious food in the process!

So, my last attendance to a Scarf dinner was when I was in a past blogging life at Multicultural Melbourne, way back in 2011, and I’m a little ashamed that I haven’t been back since! You can read all about the amazing work Scarf do on their website, but the Readers Digest version is basically they’re an amazingly dedicated organisation taking disadvantaged youth and mentoring/training them up in all facets of the hospitality industry. Once a week, they take over a restaurant kind enough to donate their space for a few hours and run a full service. Told you they’re amazing! They are currently taking up residence at Green Park in Carlton North, where $40 gets you a two course set menu and the opportunity support a pretty great organisation that’s making a big difference. Everyone wins!

I can’t remember what made me think of it, but I simultaneously thought that I really wanted to head back for a long overdue Scarf dinner and organise a little catch up for some fellow lady bloggers. It really frustrates me to see how competitive women can be these days; at a time where we seem to be hearing about more and more women being attacked, bullied, hurt and victimised, when maybe more than ever we need to support each other and have each others backs (isn’t there already enough pressure on us without being mean and bitchy to each other, too?!), more and more women seem to be getting more and more competitive and judgmental towards each other instead. On the flip side, I’ve been lucky enough to have met some really incredible and inspiring women through blogging and would love to get to know some of them a little better! In the spirit of Scarf and doing good deeds, I thought it might be nice to get a group of women who’s work I really admire together for a great night  : )

IMG_8413So, allow me to introduce to you the lovely ladies who joined me for dinner this week:

Cass from Hungrycookie – Cass’s blog is about “all things fashion, food and travel” who brings you the latest in both food and fashion, both very important to Melbournians!

Terri from Little Wanderings – Terri is a bit of a blogging soul sister to me with so much in common – another Melbourne girl who loves her city, her food, and travelling the big wide world 🙂

Monique from Mon’s Adventure – Mon’s a foodie and a beautiful story teller, who always seems to be on and between fabulous adventures!

Sheena from Chasing A Plate – Sheena collaborates with Thomas for a beautifully photographed and written food journal, based on the belief that life is too short for bad food (amen!).

 

With the introductions over with, allow me to introduce the food and the host restaurant…

Green Park
815 Nicholson St, Carlton North, Melbourne
http://greenparkdining.com.au/

The Scarf menu, designed by Green Park’s chefs and executed by Scarf’s trainees, offered two entree and two main options (thank you very very much to Cass sitting next to me who coincidentally ordered the dishes I didn’t and let me try hers!)…

 

ENTREES:
Roast beetroot, feta, walnut and rocket salad (which I ordered, and was a really nice and light starter)…

IMG_8402… and the chicken liver parfait with onion jam and bread (so rich, so good!)

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MAINS:
Braised beef shin with cauliflower, bacon and hazelnuts (I was stoked with my choice – the beef was delicious and sooo tender, the perfectly little pile fell apart at the first poke with my fork! Also, the hazelnuts were the perfect addition!)…

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and the gnocchi with pumpkin, burnt butter and sage (it’s a classic for a reason, and it was done very well!):

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DESSERT:
Just the one option, and being lactose intolerant and quite unwell for the last week or so, I decided to forgo the deconstructed yoghurt cheesecake, but it looked very pretty and the ladies who did order it seemed pretty happy with it!

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The food was amazing, especially considering the fact that these were restaurant quality dishes made by trainees! They did a fantastic job and both the trainees and mentors should be incredibly proud  : )

Green Park on Urbanspoon

 

Everyone did a fantastic job, from the slightly nervous waitress who must have been at least a little daunted by the five loud women talking about everything from Hodor to potatoes, the waiter who wasn’t looking after our table but still more than happily took our photo at the end of the night, the mentors floating around making sure everything was running smoothly. Yeah, the food is great, but it’s about so much more than that.

If you’d like to do more than dine and support Scarf, you can book dinner right here, and someone will get back to you with a confirmation very quickly! And I must make sure I don’t leave it another four years before dining with Scarf again! Thank you for a great night, and we’re all wishing the trainees all the very best for the bright futures they’ll no doubt have in the hospitality industry!

Eat here: CH James, Melbourne (brunch)

CH James
86 Station St, Fairfield, Melbourne

http://www.chjames.com.au/

Saturday. Lunch. Best friends. Melbourne. Gossip. Cafe. And really good food. All the ingredients for a great start to the long weekend. Happy days!

We all needed some girl time and a delicious feed, so the ladies and I decided to lunch at CH James in Fairfield – it’s a still relatively newish spot, and a welcome addition to suburbia, headed by a super star team hailing formerly from Pope Joan, Taxi Kitchen and Auction Rooms – solid start. The menu is simple but delicious, using heaps of local suppliers to provide fresh, quality ingredients for the dishes they serve up to the hungry masses, of which there were plenty! Saturday lunch on a long weekend, clearly a busy time – so busy, in fact, I think we were actually momentarily forgotten about… we had a lot to catch up on, though, so not the end of the world! Once we were rediscovered at our corner table, though, orders were placed and the food was out pretty quickly. The girls both ordered the gnocchi with roasted tomato, asparagus and broad beans – looked amazing and they both enjoyed it!

I had a craving for eggs, particularly after watching this dish coming out of the kitchen over and over again since our arrival – I got the ricotta and smoked trout scrambled eggs with chive coriander pesto on toast. This was one of the best scrambled egg plates I’ve ever had, easily. The soft scrambled eggs were perfectly cooked, absolutely perfectly. The ricotta and smoked trout through it were well proportioned, thick slice of toast that held it’s own and managed to be noticeably delicious even under the eggs, and the pesto was just the icing on the eggy cake. There were plenty of other enticing items on the menu, but I think I’ll just order this again next time I eat at CH James – if it ain’t broke…

CH James is the perfect brunch spot for Fairfield, filling the much needed gap: something to get the younger crowd in the area amongst all the longer-standing family businesses. With Preston, Reservoir, Fairfield, Thornbury, Northcote all starting to develop, we’re finding more and more that these northern suburbs are starting to look like the Brunswick/Fitzroy/Collingwood of 20 years ago, before they got hipster and cool. Makes me really happy we’ve invested in a house in this area while it was still affordable! Also really stoked that I’m less than 10km away from a place like CH James; great food, gorgeous space, heaps of potential to be the meeting place in Fairfield. Looking forward to many more brunches with the ladies there!

 

C.H. James on Urbanspoon