Monday, May 19, 2014

John Gorilla

John Gorilla is in Pearson Street, West Brunswick. It's a real head-turner as you go past because there are some interesting pieces of street furniture (like the sunshine yellow chairs below) and there always seem to be squads of cool-looking people hanging around. This was our second visit and both times we've really enjoyed it. On a changeable Monday morning, it was quiet enough for us to get a seat almost straight away, after passing perilously close to a fabulous-looking overstuffed carrot cake and some beautiful little sweet creations such as individual lemon polenta cakes. The rooms are light and airy and filled with what seems like a highly personal selection of quirky items: the "Tasmania" trays holding the salt and pepper, the family portraits, the Charles and Di wedding memorabilia. The room out the back, where we sat last time, has now been covered over and garnished with bright paper lampshades and plant pots, and diners share one very long table. We sat at a comfortable banquette with an entire table to ourselves - perfect for keeping little ones in check. Staff were friendly and efficient: our orders arrived lickety-split (albeit one was wrong). I ordered the leg ham and gouda toasted sandwich with onion jam, which was delightful, although the liberally-applied English mustard was a little overpowering for my taste. D had the eight hour brisket which was warm, flaky, sweet and tasty and served in a generous quantity in a soft white roll. The smallest member of our party wolfed down his babycino but had to wait for his French toast as the waitress brought the wrong thing out (though that looked pretty good too). The French toast looked and tasted divine: a thick slice of brioche lightly fried and served with maple syrup. My latte was just right: a rich flavour, with no bitterness. A very pleasant experience: if it's not too busy, we'll be back to try the cakes.






















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Sunday, May 4, 2014

Lolo & Wren

Lolo & Wren is situated in an unprepossessing block in Albion Street, on the west side of Melville Road. The cafe has an attractive interior with a mix of pretty and industrial. On a wet Sunday just past the lunch rush it was so packed we had to sit outside. We quickly forgot the cold when lunch arrived: my pulled pork roll ("drunken swine pork") was soft, packed with delicately flavoured and melt-in-the mouth pork, and slathered with gutsy, perfectly spiced chutney; the accompanying salad was a delight, with julienned apple, roasted almonds, cheese and finely sliced radish served in the shell of a red cabbage leaf. D's chicken and chorizo roll ("chicken chori-pan") was "incredible" and accompanied by excellent patatas bravas. The food is hands-on, dig in, forget your manners delicious. We were served quickly by helpful staff and all in all it was an excellent experience. There's a selection of attractive cakes and we came away with a delicious-looking salted caramel tart. Lolo & Wren is a little gem and we'll be back.

Patatas bravas

Chicken chori-pan
Drunken swine pork










Salted caramel tarts

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Saturday, April 26, 2014

Steam Junkies

Steam Junkies is on the ground floor of The Commons, the new eco-friendly residential development on Florence Street in Brunswick (right next to the Upfield bike path, so close they could serve passing cyclists coffee out of the huge windows, and Anstey Station). We've cycled past at every stage of its development and I always hoped a cafe would open up here. Steam Junkies has done this excellent site justice, with decor that melds the industrial-style concrete and piping with some quirky personal details and sparks of colour. The food also doesn't disappoint. I started with a lovely carrot, apple and ginger juice, served in a jam jar with a  handle, and then had a still-warm, moist and delicious chicken sandwich, with mayo, walnuts and salad. The real star of the show, though, was the umami burger, which tasted every bit as good as it looks and in a nice change, was served with roast potatoes instead of fries. The smallest member of our party enjoyed a babycino, grazed on some chicken and potato, and watched with intense excitement as the metro trains went by. A completely satisfying lunch experience and a place we'll visit again and again.















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