Posts Tagged 'review'

Dukes Coffee Review

Wow it’s been a while since I did a cafe review in a while.  To be honest I’ve got a bit of a back log so I’ll try my best to catch up on some more reviews in the next few weeks.

Dukes Coffee is situated in one of my favourite areas to visit, located in Windsor it is a bustling cafe with a lovely warehouse like interior decked out with metal grids, natural woods and rich red brick with helpful waiters and bathed in natural light.  This place was BUSY when I arrived which was around 1 o’clock in the afternoon and like most popular cafes I had to wait a while until I was able to get a seat.  One thing about going to places by yourself (I usually like to eat alone if I’m reviewing a place) is that they can always squeeze you in somewhere with out waiting too long.  However if you go in a group of maybe 3 or more people it looks like you will be waiting for a good 20-40mins.  I was seated quickly and handed a menu to peruse while I waited for someone to come and take my order.  I waited quite a while but it looked like I wasn’t going to be served anytime soon so I had to flag down a waitress and made my order.  The waitress was extremely helpful to answering some of my questions about the coffee’s they were offering, as I’m still quite a noob when it comes to coffee (so I believe).  She recommended a geisha blend and gave me a good description of it’s flavours as well as helped me in making a decision about whether to get the fish tacos or the goats cheese omelette (i got the fish tacos) and after taking my order promptly headed to the kitchen.  Shortly after I received my aero press geisha coffee, a slightly asian flavoured sweet fruity blended coffee which reminded me alot of the cold drip coffees (except hot) and my fish tacos which looked rather measly but after consumption was quite filling and rather tasty.  The coffee and food was very satisfying, and at a moderate price of $19 AUD you can’t complain.  Downside of things is that it was rather loud, so if you like to eat in silence or a quiet ambience then I would recommend somewhere else.  Dukes Coffee also does their own coffee beans, unfortunately since it was so busy and their website is does not provide any information from what I could gather they do their own roasting.  Overall I would come back again if I was in the area.

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Review: Penny Farthing Expresso

Located in Northcoate I decided to give this place a go as I hadn’t tried too many cafes outside of the city area.  The place is located on a busy street amongst a collection of other cafes that looked equally delectable so I must definitely return to this area to sample the other offerings the Northcoate suburb has to offer.  Upon approaching the cafe it was quite busy, it was a beautiful day so it looked like alot of the locals had the same idea as me and decided to venture out into the beautiful weather.  After approaching the counter (because no one greets you or indicates to you to have a seat) I was made to wait for the waiter to finish his conversation about micro brewery beer and what he had been listening to most recently with his coffee drinking friend.  After awkwardly standing there for a good couple of minutes I was finally welcomed with a “Can I help you?” and I asked him if there were any seats available as most of the place appeared to be packed.  He said he would check the back and upon returning went about his business making coffee.   After a few moments of waiting he looked up confused and asked me “If everything was alright?” I reminded him about the table for me and he replied casually “Yeah there’s some in the back go on through”.  Noting down the awful service in the beginning of the day I decided to plod on through, maybe all the other waiters and waitresses weren’t this awful.  Finally after dodging other wait staff through a narrow corridor I found myself a seat and flagged down a waitress to request the menu.  The waitress was not as bad as the first one but struggled with some questions I had about the coffees.  I made my order and after a few moments received my coffee and breakfast.

I ordered the fig, caramelised onion and bacon chutney served on sourdough with poached eggs and roquette with one of their special blend coffees.  The roquette was of poor quality not offering the bitey nutty flavour that usual comes with it.  The chutney was not what I was expecting and was overall much too sweet and dry for a chutney.  A single lemon wedge offered, provided to lift the dish was pathetic and all dried up.  Bread and eggs were nice but where it counted it didn’t deliver.  

Overall the combination of ingredients could have worked better if more thought and care was put into it.  Coffee was nice but I won’t say it was anything special as I can get just as good a cup at anyone of the other cafes I frequent with much better service provided.  Cost wise in my opinion is a little over priced, I didn’t feel as it was worth the money I spent and ambience was loud and felt as I needed to hurry up, eat and get out.  Spacing is an issue in this place as there isnt much of it especially in the back where I was seated and the overall noise and confined space left me feeling uncomfortable and far from relaxed.

I usually don’t recommend to not attend a place but if you do end up in the Northcoate area I would recommend trying some where else.  If you do go into Penny Farthing Expresso maybe just get a coffee for take away.

Review: Sketchbook Express for Android

A college of mine told me about this app and being relatively new to the world of apps and smart phones (only got one this year) I was extremely excited to test it out.

Sketchbook Express for Android (also available for apple) is an app created by Autodesk which enables users to doodle illustrations on their tablet or smart phone.  For those avid users of Photoshop and wacom tablets I’ll just say this first, don’t expect the same results.  However if you’re looking at sketching out some roughs or you just feel like banging out a sketch or two without having the hassle of carrying around a thick and heavy sketch pad then this is an app you definitely need to consider.

User face with tool options

User face with shortcut options

The free version of this app offers a number a features such as your basic colour selection, layers (YES layers!  But only up to 3 on the free version), several different brush sets which consist of pencil strokes, one artistic brush, and some pen strokes with a fill tool and eraser function as well.  There are also text options, shape creation (square, circle and line) and a nifty tool which simulates a mirror image or your illustration, so no more asymmetrical faces here!

Colouring is quite basic, but if you have the patience it can be mastered.  User interface wise it is a little cumbersome especially if you’re used to using Sai or Photoshop as processes that take minutes in these programs can take a while on the  app.  But hey, what do you expect it’s for a tablet and not a computer and performs pretty darn well for what it is.  Pressure sensitivity is present, but only to a point but works well enough for what you need.  Brush sizes and opacity are adjustable and the app also allows you to undo and redo mistakes as well.

Black and white sketch illustrated with stylus and Sketchbook Express app

Overall I found this app incredibly awesome, I use a samsung tablet 10.1 and so far it has worked wonders for me.  I would recommend this app for tablet use only as I think illustrating on the phone is not really ideal, so if you have a tablet why not give this nifty app a go and get your creative juices flowing.  Also I tried illustrating with just my finger alone but found it wasn’t precise, that or my digits are too big, so I would recommend purchasing a stylus off ebay as they are quite cheap.  I’ll leave you with the final sketch done with the app, hope this review has been helpful to you so good luck and good night 🙂

Food Review: Luxbite “Apple of my Eye” dessert.

I went to Luxbite over the weekend to try their latest creation, their “Apple of my Eye” dessert. It was a chamomile cream cheese mousse with a spiced apple compote inside, over the top was a kiwi jelly with a green apple glaze, and to finish it off a caramalised apple skin for the stalk. On appearance it is beautifully presented, the glossy glaze and the apple appearance leaves you thinking it would be a tangy delight with that tart bitiness that green apples usually offer. I asked a young sales person about their newest creation and she told me that it was one of her favorites and that she liked it because of it’s subtle flavours and the combination of ingredients was to die for. I myself am a fan of more contrasting textures and strong flavours, but I didn’t want that at the time so I thought that this would be a perfect light dessert without it being over powering or too dense on the palette. After the initial discection, all the flavours are subtlely different. Each component which makes up the dessert has its own taste, however the chamomile cream cheese mousse did not grab me as well as the other flavours. I tasted no chamomile or detected any scent of it and the cream cheese left an oily residue in my mouth.

If the cream cheese was done in a different way or perhaps done a little better I think the combination of flavours would have been more successful. The combination was something I was looking forward to as the sales person had nothing but high praise for it, but since the flavours were so mellow everything sort of just combined together leaving my mouth feeling greasy and searching for flavour. The base itself appeared to be a sort of crust but the crust itself was slightly soggy, most likely it had seeped up the juices of the spiced apple compote. I thought maybe my palette was used to strong flavours that it needed time to settle into it but after several bites and more dissecting unfortunately my opinion did not change.  After trying several more bites I decided to try it with the caramelised apple skin as the “stalk” to see if the component added some sort of flavour to it.  Unfortunately their “caramelised” apple stalk was a dried, tough, hard apple skin with no sugar what so ever and was almost inedible so I discarded it and kept on eating. After finishing the dessert I was left quite disappointed from the whole experience, essentially I spent 15 minutes eating what seemed like a “mellow mush”, it sounds harsh but I honestly don’t know any other way to describe it. Most of the components separately were quite nice with their subtle flavours (except for the mousse) but overall as a dessert there was nothing that stood out when eaten as a whole. Textures were mostly boring, everything felt the same (thus the mush reference) and I couldn’t say that I actually enjoyed the dessert all that much.

I would have liked it much better if the base was like a cheesecake base, crumbly that breaks apart in the mouth (adding to texture), and would have liked the apple compote to be less mushy and the apples to be slightly more firmer to add to texture. Also if they were to add chamomile I would have liked to taste that a little more in the mousse or even have the smell of chamomile if they could not achieve the flavour. The apple glaze and kiwi jelly was perfect, providing a very slight tang to the dessert.  My conclusion, not my cup of tea however if you really really REALLY like very mild flavours I would suggest giving this one a go. Happy trials!!! 🙂

P.S I didn’t bring my big camera this time round so mobile shots it is.

Luxbite review

LUXBITE REVIEW

Luxbite is a small cafe located in South Yarra and is known for their gourmet macarons and cakes.  I got there around 4pm on a Sunday afternoon and the place was packed!  Seats were fully occupied by happy customers chit chatting over coffee and there was an eager looking line of people waiting for a table.  I decided to wait it out and shortly after a few minutes I was placed in a slightly awkward spot near the counter and the cake display area.  To be fair it was really crowded and they did ask me if it was okay if I wanted to sit in the spot or not.  Not wanting wait and since it was only myself I told them I wouldn’t mind.  After some pondering on what I should get I requested my order at the counter (since I was so close to it anyway) and took my seat and soaked in the atmosphere.  The cafe is bustling, if there was any music playing you definitely couldn’t hear it amongst the yums and exclaimed oh’s.  If you are looking for a quiet and calm experience I’m sorry you’ll have to go else where as this place was buzzing.

In the end I decided on a Mocha and a Bread and Butter Pudding with a Pandan Anglaise, service was quick and not 10 minutes later my dessert and coffee arrived.  Presentation for the bread and butter pudding was simple, not as impressive as their other desserts but really I don’t think you can do much with a bread and butter pudding.  It looked rather small and seemed to be swimming in a lot more sauce then I thought was necessary, but in the end the flavours, consistency and amounts were just right.  Don’t be fooled by this desserts mediocre appearance, it is a rich and very filling dessert.  I’m usually very reluctant to leave food on a plate, especially if it’s good food but after several attempts I could not finish this miniature monster.  Coffee was rather bland, it’s not terrible coffee but it’s nothing great either.  A little on the watery side I would probably stick to tea if I was going to go for a hot beverage.

I decided to take away another cake for later on in the evening called the Stoned Meringue Monster, a little work of art consisting of a 2 flavoured mousse on the inside (apricot and raspberry) and a pistachio base, covered in a luscious meringue, sprinkled with slithers of pistachio and what I think was a raspberry powder.  The cake was a delicious combination of tarty fruity flavours combined with a creamy sweet and slightly bitter meringue.  The texture of the slithered pistachios and base combined with the creaminess of the mousse and meringue keeps your palette wanting more with every bite.  As delicious is each element on its on is when combined equals something simply delectable.

Prices for this place were reasonable, I only had a dessert so I’m basing my judgement on desserts only and not the rest of the menu.  In future I will definitely be coming back to try more of these delectable treats especially some of the macarons and other items on the menu such as some of the breakfast’s and savoury items.  Oh yes FYI they don’t just do cakes and macarons, so if you’re not a big fan of sweets but your friends are there is an option for the non sweet tooth people out there.  Hope you found this review helpful and hope you have a wonderful experience if you ever make your way to Luxbite.

3 Bags Full Breakfast

Over the weekend I went to ‘3 Bags Full’ for breakfast with some friends of mine.  We arrived at the place around 11’oclock (I know late breakfast) and it was quite packed as we went during the peak period.  After a short wait we were escorted to our seats and decided on what we wanted to order, my friends decided on a big breakfast and avocado over toast and I decided on a cured beetroot salmon with dill sauce and some sort of fritter (sorry I couldn’t remember the name of the fritter).  We were told that the wait time for food would be about half an hour, understandably as they were really quite busy so we ordered coffee and tea and waited for our food.  True to their word the food arrived about 30mins later although by this time my friend who had wanted to drink her hot tea with the meal had gone cold.  Presentation wise it was nothing to scream about, it’s pretty standard looking and as for taste it’s good, but for the amount you’re paying not that good.  Meals are substantial and will fill you up however with prices averaging about $15, in my personal opinion I think it is a tad high for what you get.  The atmosphere is great having quite a hustle and bustle feel to it, however conversations may be a bit hard if you sit inside.  The wait staff are wonderful, always asking if everything is okay and checking up on you and as for coffee and tea, not a large selection of tea and their coffee was good but didn’t quite win me over.  Overall I had a good experience, I wouldn’t say I’d visit there again any time soon but give it ago and you can be the judge.

Beetroot cured salmon dish

Big Breakfast

Avocado on toast

Congratulations, you made it all the way to the end and are rewarded with a pic of my friend's very cute shoes 🙂

Food review: Burch and Purchese

I had heard about this place from a view bloggers and was recommended by a couple of friends to visit this place.  Hidden away from the hustle and bustle of the main strip of Chapel Street in South Yarra, I made my way there and was greeted by the friendly staff keen for me to sample some of their latest creations.  I struck up a conversation with one of the sales attendants and from what the she told me is that Burch & Purchese do a seasonal menu, so not all the deserts will always be there.  However they do have some items which are always on the menu so don’t be frightened about an always changing menu just in case you develop a favorite.

Inside Burch & Purchese

Selection of gorgeous cakes

I think I have already pointed out the absolutely wonderful customer service they have, with staff ready to help you with any enquiries about any of the cakes, chocolate or ice creams they stock.  Or even provide you with suggestions of cakes or confectioneries if you are buying for friends or family as a gift.  The place is lovely and small with no seating so heads up for those that want to sit down and have a coffee, it’s not that kind of place.  The cakes and chocolates are all crafted exquisitely with some amazing and definitely different flavour variations so be sure to be adventurous and try some of the lesser common combinations.

Smoked white chocolate, coffee, aniseed and lemon cake

Coconut, passionfruit, ginger and mint dessert

Since it was my first time I decided to try their cakes first so I bought a coconut, passionfruit, ginger and mint dessert (this wasn’t quite a cake) and a smoked white chocolate, coffee, aniseed and lemon cake.  The first one I tried was the smoked white chocolate.  What really interested me about this cake was the smoked chocolate, I had never tried it before and was curious to see if it really had the smokey flavor.  I took my first bite and it was DIVINE!!  This cake was amazing, the smoked white chocolate was there but only slightly so it’s not overpowering the rest of the intricate layers of the cake.  Everything they had claimed that was in this cake was in it!  Each layer was different, a lemon curd, brownie sponge,crunchy almond meringue, aniseed syrup it was all absolutely beautiful and the combination of it all was sheer bliss.  Not only is presentation impeccable but also the favours were just amazing.  Words cannot describe how good this cake was I can only highly recommend you go to this shop as soon as possible if you’re an avid cake lover such as myself.  As for the other dessert the coconut, passionfruit, ginger and mint dessert it had several layers (not as many as the smoked white chocolate cake) and just like the previous one tasted incredible.  The textures of the coconut caviar (as they called it) gave a wonderful texture combined with the ginger and salted oat crumble on the bottom leaving me almost refreshed with the tart passion fruit curd in the mix as well.  Truly when I ate this I cried a little because it was just so darn good.  So my overall opinion for Burch and Purchese is that it is one of the best places for desserts I’ve been to in a while.  I highly highly HIGHLY recommend you give this place a go I know I’m definitely going back again for seconds, thirds, fourths and more.

<a href=”http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/71/1589023/restaurant/Melbourne/South-Yarra-Toorak/Burch-Purchese-Sweet-Studio-South-Yarra”><img alt=”Burch &amp; Purchese Sweet Studio on Urbanspoon” src=”http://www.urbanspoon.com/b/link/1589023/minilink.gif&#8221; style=”border:none;padding:0px;width:130px;height:36px” /></a>


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