Eat here: Lievità V.2 – bringing in a new menu

298 High St, Northcote

I couldn’t have been more excited to get an email from the lovely Luca at Lievità a few weeks ago with an invitation to the showcase their new menu and toast the people who’ve supported their mission to bring pizza al taglio from the streets of Rome to the streets of Northcote.

Ok, so they’re bringing in a new drinks menu, but as any Italian will attest, the drinks are just as important as the food. And the pizza menu changes regularly anyway, because Luca’s a clever man with the Italian way of cooking front on mind – use what’s fresh, local and in season. Ingredients change, as does his menu, which is the way it should be.

On the new drinks list you’ll find that classic Italian aperitif, the Aperol Spritz, as well as a new pre-dinner drink, the Lucchetto – 2 parts Amaro Montenegro, 2 parts soda, a dash of orange bitters and a slice of fresh orange. Highly recommended.

They’ve got their own beer now, too – the Lievità Pilsner (4.8%), but I’m not a beer drinker, so you’ll have to wait for the husband’s verdict. That said, they were going down pretty quickly, so I’m guessing its a good brew!

Enoteca Sileno are bringing the wine to the party, with their DOC and DOCG wines (menu below)- I like a nice red, and I love a good white, but my favourite is always a cold bubbly Prosecco. The Umberto Luigi Domenico Prosecco gracing the menu (from the Veneto region, where my mum’s family is from) was amazing, and will henceforth be my choice of bubbles there; perfect for a hot summer night to accompany trays of pizza!

Food and drink aside, this was also an awesome opportunity to see how things really work behind the scenes; Luca managed to leave a successful corporate career and turn his dream of a pizza place into reality, and after meeting and speaking to his family and friends, it’s easy to see why. Not only is he clearly incredibly talented and pretty determined, he has the most amazing support network behind him. In true Italian style, the whole family was there to celebrate his success; being an Italian girl myself, knowing what the family culture is like, and seeing just how much love goes into this operation makes the pizza taste even better.


Disclosure: I was kindly invited to this event as a guest of Lievità, however the opinions contained herein are completely based on my own experience. If you need further proof, here’s the first post I wrote about them 18 months a several trays of pizza ago 🙂

Eat here: CH James, Melbourne (brunch)

CH James
86 Station St, Fairfield, Melbourne

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

Eat here: Eataly, Chicago, USA (Italian)

43 E Ohio St, Chicago

Merry Christmas from Chicago!! It’s Christmas morning over here right now and we’ve just taken a nice cold walk out to Millenium Park to get some photos of Cloud Gate without the crowds – totally worth getting up early for, it was so beautiful!! I’ll put a few pictures up on Instagram, but will post pics taken with my proper camera when I get home – it’s a stunning sight!

Anyway, last night for Christmas Eve required italian food because traditionally at home we do a big Italian feast at the grandparents’ house! We went to Eataly and I fell in love a little bit… This place is the emporium of all this food and Italian, I was absolutely in my element! What I was surprised to find out was that there are a heap of these all over the world already, I had no idea! They have two floors of all things food related – not just food (olive oil, fresh vegetables, preserved goodies), they also have wine, kitchenware, cookbooks, toiletries, even a cooking school!

The best thing about it all is the fact you can pull up a pew and eat there too; they have a ton of places that serve everything from meat and fresh seafood to panini and cheeses. Christmas Eve dinner was a darn good time there! We visited the Birreria first, and enjoyed some beer, wine and the piato misto, the most magnificent plate of cured meats and cheeses and accompaniments I’ve ever seen, plus bread! And pretty reasonable at only USD$22 for all that food you see below!

After that we made our way over the the pizza corner (all of the food spots are first come first served, no reservations) and sat down to order us a pizza. And it was one of the best I’ve ever had. Seriously. Light dough, the freshest ingredients, soooo delicious!!! USD$19 for this one, topped with fresh rocket, prosciutto, mozzarella and parmigiano… Perfect!

It was a really lovely way to spend Christmas Eve away from home, and I absolutely loved Eataly – can’t wait to visit the one in New York too now! Merry Christmas everyone!!! xo

Eataly on Urbanspoon

Eat here: Le P’tit Troquet, Paris, France

Le P’Tit Troquet
28 Rue de l’Exposition, Paris, France


We found this place, as so many stories go, by a fortunate chance. I had been browsing TripAdvisor reviews of Parisian restaurants, not really knowing what I was looking for, other than something on the way to the Moulin Rouge from our hotel near the Eiffel Tower. I got bored after 10 minutes, tossed my phone aside, and got on with picking out some warm clothes for the night ahead. About 2 hours from show time, we left our hotel and started walking in the general direction; the idea was to find somewhere for dinner on the way to the show. When we saw this place, I actually recognised the name from a favourable online review, so we decided that’d be good enough for us!

What we found was a gorgeous little bistro, with the friendliest staff we’d encountered in Paris. We also found an amazing and surprisingly well priced dinner menu – from memory, it was around 30 euro for an entrée, main course and dessert each. I tried not to annoy husband by shoving my camera in his food, but my three courses looked like this:

Entrée: salmon, apple and fennel salad
Main: Beef bourguignon (meat so soft it really fell away at the fork!)
Dessert: apple and almond cart/cake


Honestly, I wasn’t expecting too much, because at that point, my Paris experience hadn’t been amazing. But this meal really blew me away. It was such a beautiful, warm, cosy little spot, the service was so lovely, the food was incredible, and so was the wine. It wasn’t very busy either, and it felt like it was our own little corner of the world for that dinner time. We’re not a very lovey-dovey kinda couple, but if we were, I’d have said this place was just a little bit special and romantic. I’m really glad I took a business card and the address of this place, because if I ever do go back to Paris, this will be one spot I’ll definitely be re-visiting.

Eat (& drink!) here: Manly Wine, Sydney, Australia

Manly Wine, Sydney


I know that when you’re born and bred Melbourne, you’re meant to hate Sydney, and vice versa. But I have to be honest – I really like Sydney! It’s different to Melbourne, but not in a bad way. It’s mostly pretty laid back, probably from the whole city-near-the-beach thing they have going on over there. Bondi is beautiful, as everyone knows, but I’m a huge fan on Manly; it’s definitely underrated.

Beautiful white sand beach, less busy than Bondi, great cafe culture, it’s just a cool place to go and hang out for a day. Even better when it’s a hot day and you have a hankering for an ice cold cider. Or beer. Or wine. If you do, and you also wouldn’t mind a delicious bit to eat, visit this place. It’s just tucked away from the main strip, overlooking the water. It’s retro-garden-party kitschy cool, the food is great, awesome selection of beverages, and a beautiful view. Off ya go!

Photograph © Jess Carey 2014


Photograph © Jess Carey 2014


Photograph © Jess Carey 2014


Photograph © Jess Carey 2014



Manly Wine on Urbanspoon