Popcorn & Toast.

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♡ make me hot buttery popcornandtoast@gmail.com

Dukes Coffee Roasters; Melbourne CBD.

Dukes Coffee Roasters

247 Flinders Lane

Melbourne CBD

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In for a quick coffee, but I took one glance at the ginger sponge with butter cream and chocolate shavings and next thing I knew it was in my hands. Fluffy yet satisfyingly dense with a good bite. With a light butter cream.

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Meatmother; Richmond.

Meatmother

167 Swan Street

Richmond

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beef brisket // beef short rib // spare ribs // mac cheese // gravy mash // hock croquettes // bbq chicken wings

Meatmother has a walk in only policy so we started off with drinks downstairs. That bacon sour, delicious.

Served in a tray, you just want to tuck into the meat, those deliciously crunchy slabs of master fat texas toast, and load up on the sauces. The brisket and the spare ribs outshone the short rib for me, the meat slightly overdone in all instances, but load it up with the hot sauce and you’re good to go. The ham hock croquette juicy, an easy one to share.  The side of mac and cheese, a no brainer really, with crumbly toast bits up top. 

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They change their desserts regularly so they’re not up on the menu. The two on rotation were frozen key lime pie and a choc chip bread butter pudding. One hot one cold, you can’t ask for anything more. The tangy key lime supported by an almost salty dark Oreo cookie base. For those of you who are like me, and prefer your desserts less sweet and to have a salty sweet take, these two desserts are perfect for you. The fluffy bread butter pudding with bites of choc chip, covered in a thick salted caramel with sea salt flecks. 

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Station Street Trading Co; Port Melbourne.

Station Street Trading Co

Station Street

Port Melbourne

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station street stack - smashed avo, spinach, bacon, mushrooms & beetroot relish, poached eggs on brioche // pulled pork roll w apple & dill slaw

Sibling to Coin Laundry doing good brunches in Armadale, Station Street Trading Co is located away from all the hustle and bustle, in a quiet little street facing the railway track, yet not once did we see a train go by.

Smashed avo is something I’ve been having a fair bit lately, now that my french toast craze has subsided, but not as simple as the one I had at Chez Dre or Industry Beans, this one had crispy twirls of bacon on skewers, perfectly poached eggs with silky rich yolk, this bright purple earthy beetroot relish, juicy oyster mushrooms. I had requested for brioche over the pumpkin loaf (that’s how difficult I can be), and it was beautifully fluffy and buttery.

And they do a mean vietnamese coffee to boot.

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Waku Ghin; Singapore.

Waku Ghin

Marina Bay Sands

Singapore

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The last time I was at Tetsuya’s was a few years ago. We nearly had dinner there when we were in Sydney last year but with Porteno, Sepia, Momofuku Seiobo & Ms.G’s getting in the way, we forewent a night out at Tetsuya. After our night at Waku Ghin, I wish we hadn’t. 

After being introduced to our chef for the night, we were presented with a large box brimming with fresh sea creatures.

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Everything was perfect, from the setting, to the service, to the presentation and the dinner was quite spectacular. Though there was an irony in flying in from Australia to eat mostly Australian produce in Singapore.

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flan of oyster w puree of bacon & spinach // marinated botan shrimp w sea urchin & oscietra caviar

I really don’t have to say it - the flan was amazingly silky and sleek, a savoury egg custard, with a plump oyster, briny and cooked to perfection, the spinach puree with a hint of bacon.

Followed by fresh sea urchin with raw botan shrimp from Canada, famed for its sweetness, beneath tiny pearls of oscietra caviar. There’s the rich heady slow creaminess of the sea urchin with the lighter creamy texture of the raw shrimp and the caviar almost becomes the least decadent.

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slow cooked tasmanian petuna ocean trout w witlof & yuzu

The ocean trout is remarkably silky and melts in your mouth, elevating this course and making it quite luxurious. The bitterness of the witlof makes more sense as it renews your palate making you acutely aware of the sleek salty trout.

And this is when the show begins. 

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Seared before us, plumping up nicely, tilefish from Tokushima, Japan. The broth cooked alongside of clams, broad beans, cream and a touch of pernod.

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grilled tilefish w mussels & cabbage

Beautifully fresh, golden crisp skin and on the brink of translucency, perfectly soft and the broth has pieces of fresh mussels from France, with a base of mussel stock, remarkably light with hints of daikon & acidity from the lemon. 

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The Tasmanian abalone, in their gleaming iridescent half shells.

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australian abalone w fregola & tomato

With little grains of fregola pasta in a chicken consomme, french cherry tomatoes, finished with evoo, basil leaf and aonori, this is perhaps a most unusual pairing with the abalone, firmly propelling this course into the realm of French European with a touch of Japanese influence. The abalone is beautifully cooked with a gorgeous bounce, not the least bit distracted by its counterparts.

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braised canadian lobster w tarragon

The lobster slow braised on very low heat. With wakame, preserved lemon & butter,  one of the richest dishes we had and once again the cook on the lobster is on the cusp of perfection, plump and succulent with a hearty bisque. The richess is almost jarring in stark contrast with the clean flavours of the courses that preceded it.

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Amazing marbling on this grade A5 wagyu from Japan, stunningly even & consistent, the meat rich & red, peeking out amidst the map of white marbling.

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japanese ohmi wagyu from shiga prefecture w wasabi & citrus soy

The wagyu is folded into layers, but it’s so tender you barely notice it, and each one melts spectacularly in your mouth, giving it a delicacy but also a satisfying bite as opposed to biting into a thin slice or given a thicker cut. Taken first with freshly grated wasabi with a mild heat, garlic chips, then the citrus soy. 

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consomme w rice & snapper

And after those two rich courses, we have a choice of the ochazuke or a cold dish - somen in dashi. One of my favourite dishes as you might well know. The ochazuke, with thin slivers of snapper, a yuzu ginger chicken consomme - probably one of the most complex takes I’ve seen, yet with such clarity. The hints of ginger weaving in and out after each bite with light fluffy grains of rice.

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gyokuro

From Kyoto, chosen as a palate cleanser, steeped at a low temperature, one of the highest grades of green tea, with an almost savoury note. Given an insight by our chef, grown during springtime, the first flush is hand plucked, and rubbed by hand, then steamed to prevent oxidisation. No roasting of the leaf occurs to keep its flavour intact. 

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cold soup of strawberry, lychee & coconut

Having concluded our savoury courses, we are led to a separate area for our final dessert courses. To taste, as sensational as it is visually, the strawberry soup with a lingering fragrance on your palate, with the fresh sweetness of the lychee granita and a light creamy coconut sorbet. 

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chocolate mousse cake w vanilla & macadamia 

What other way to finish this remarkable affair, than with a ridiculously decadent chocolate mousse. The chocolate, so high in cocoa content yet no bitterness to be detected. Beautifully lacquered with wafer for texture.

We loved it so much we were almost tempted into coming back the next night.

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Merricks General Store; Merricks.

Merricks General Store

3460 Frankston-Flinders Rd

Merricks 

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brioche w cured salmon & dill creme fraiche // eggs benedict, homemade muffins, poached eggs, bacon & hollandaise

Merricks General Store, a simple breakfast before a day away at the wineries. From the windows you can catch glimpses of the gorgeous bay in the far distance. Part cellar door, part produce by the side, a quaint spot an hour away from Melbourne. The brioche was reminiscent of the one at Dench Baker, a crumblier brioche as opposed to a fluffy buttery one with cured salmon & a light dill creme fraiche. 

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