If you have never been to Brunetti, you don’t know what you have missed.

 

 

(picture from the internet)

Yes, absolutely, if you have never been to Brunetti you don’t know what you have missed in sweeter things in life. Whenever I am in Melbourne, I have to make at least one visit to this iconic shop on Lygon Street.

History

The history of Brunetti started in 1985 when the family started trading in Faraday Street.  They set up an authentic  Roman Pasticceria. The founder, Giorgio Angele had started really young at the age of 10 and thus had tremendous knowledge of cakes and pastries.

When he was 23 years old, he came to Australia with the Italian Olympic Team as their Pastry Chef in 1956. After working for some time he got an opportunity to permanently migrate to Australia. Since then he has been behind this iconic brand.

Be it Italian coffee from the Bar, or Cakes from Pasticceria or Gelato or tempting savoury, Melbournians have been loving his creations. In 2005 they opened another cafe in City Square and now they have three more in the city at Camberwell, in Myer’s and in the Domestic Terminal at the Melbourne Airport.

This rich Melbourne experience has helped them expand internationally. Tanglin Mall in Singapore opened with a Brunetti in 2011.  Honestly, it is really difficult to choose what to eat here since each of their creations are masterpieces.

Highly recommended for a visit, next time you are in Melbourne. If you live there, what are you waiting for?

 

 

 

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The best Greek food I ever had.

Over the years Melbourne has become a multi-cultural city and now boasts of third largest Greek population after Athens and Thessaloniki. So now you can find some of the best Greek food money can buy in the city.

One such place is Jim’s Greek Tavern in Collingwood which has been serving authentic Greek Food as you would find in Greece. It is very simply done up with white walls and their focus is on simplicity. It is quite noisy, unlike any place you would have seen.

However, Melbournians simply love the classic dishes this place serves so you have to book in advance. It operates without a written Menu so you have to have faith in your server even though he may not be Greek.

Just let him take you through the pan fried Saganaki, or Calamari, slow cooked lamb before you make a selection. If you can’t choose he will help you in making the right choice of meat or seafood paired with the right dip. Let him suggest the wine too, I promise you won’t be disappointed.  Be assured whether it is the seafood or beetroot or Zucchini chips or even a warm loaf of bread you can be sure of an authentic Greek taste.

 

If you are in Melbourne or visiting it, don’t miss it for anything in the world.

 

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We struck gold at Rutheglen again.

While driving to Canberra from Melbourne, we happen to stop at Rutherglen and strike gold again at Campbell’s Wines. It is a winery with 145 years of history, five generations of knowledge and their dedication to innovation.

History of Campbells.

Rutherglen dates back to the Gold Rush when during the mid 19th century Australia, people from all over rushed to the north east of Victoria in search of Gold.

Some struck it rich,  some didn’t. Some of those who didn’t started to look at their options in tilling the land and making their living in agriculture. They found that the soil was good for crops, livestock and vines.

According to a legend, John Campbell, a Scottish immigrant was told by the first person who grew grapes in the region, to dig deeper but not more than six inches as there is more gold in the first six inches than it is below it.

John started growing grapes and called his selection “Bobbie Burns” after the nearby goldmine he had worked for. In 1870 he established Campbell Rutherglen Wines. The later generations of the Campbells added parts to the original structure, the Cellar, which still stands today.

Immediately after the winery was built, disaster struck and the entire plants were destroyed. David Campbell, son of John was first to start the replanting by grafting European wine grapes which were resistant to the disease which wiped out the first crops.

Like the say rest is history. Today David’s grandchildren produce one of the finest wines of Rutherglen.

 

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Andrew’s Burgers

Part of my family lives in Australia so I go there often to meet them. The moment I land, the first thing which comes to my mind is Burgers. What better place to have a good traditional burger than Melbourne, which is kind of Australia’s food capital.

Good Aussie Beef patties cooked in the traditional way, make the best burgers and what better place than Andrews’s Burgers at Bridport Street in Albert Park.

For the last over 100 years,  they have been selling their burgers made the traditional way using home cooked recipes. Recently they opened their second store in Franklin Street to serve their customers in CBD area.

What makes their burgers so good is the inside story. The onions are cooked & the bread bun is lightly toasted, the lettuce is a crunchy iceberg-cabbage mix, and the fried egg is often cooked through. The patty is made up of grilled beef mixed with cooked onions.

The team at Andrew’s has turned cooking the burgers into an art form and it is pleasure watching them work together like dancers who have had their entire moves choreographed. They don’t back into each other or step on each other’s toes. They side-step, take orders, place eggs, tomatoes, bacon and onions on the grill, toast the buns, fill the buns and put the finished product in their greaseproof-lined bags, handing them over without making a single false move.


No matter which burger you choose, I promise you will not be disappointed. Their burgers are far more traditional than the average American burgers being sold everywhere. According To Greg Pappas, the owner, the greatest thing about Andrew’s is we’ve become a niche now. Also with Melbourne getting more Americanised people now crave for something more original and traditional.

Who knows Burgers better than Greg as he has been working in their store since he was a young boy of 12 years.

 

 

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Why Melbourne is the Coffee capital of Australia?

A Gaggia Coffee Machine. (Pic from the internet).
Mr and Mrs Giovanni Achille Gaggia. He was born in 1895 in Milan. (Pic from the internet).
A Gaggia Coffee machine in Club Astoria, a legendary night club of ’50s in Milan. (Pic from the internet).

Australia really knows it’s Coffee, whatever your style is, black, espresso or flat, only a good brew would make an Australian happy. His day starts with a cup of Coffee and it better be good.

The World, specially the Americans swoon over Starbucks but here in Australia all Starbucks has managed to do is to manage its losses for the last 14 years. While the brand grows around the World, in Australia they had to close down a total of 60 of its stores and are now down to 22 stores across Australia. One of the biggest mistake Starbucks made was to introduce the Coffee they serve in America which Australians found it weak and tasteless.

According to Paul Patterson, a marketing guru, the road ahead of Starbucks is a difficult one.

(Pic from the internet).

The story of Coffee in Australia started in mid 20th century when after the World War II a number of Italians and Greek made Australia their home, particularly Melbourne.  Around this time, another thing happened which helped this cause more. Achilles Gaggio, a bartender in Milan, patented his piston driven espresso Coffee machine in 1945. Italians bought this machine to Australia.

Immediately after this, happened the Melbourne Olympics in 1956 and like they say, rest is history.

Hotel Windsor, the 1st Coffee Palace in Australia.

The Windsor Hotel on Bourke Hill on Spring Street in Melbourne has also played a key role in the history of Coffee in Australia. Today it is the only surviving hotel of the 19th century. It was built by George Nipper, in 1883 and was later sold it to James Munro, a politician and leader of the temperance movement. After acquiring the hotel he tore the hotel’s liquor license in public and started a Coffee Palace here.

On an average an Australian drink 3-4 cups of Coffee every day and they are spoilt for choices as far as the availability of Coffee is concerned with shops all round the city. The standard of Coffee is really high and no wonder the American Coffee found it difficult to make its mark in the country.

Some of the well known names in Coffee are Brother Baba Budan on Little Bourke Street, Proud Mary on Oxford Street, Manchester Street on Rankins lane, Everyday Coffee on Johnston Street and market Lane Coffee on Collins Street.

So next time you are in Melbourne you know where to head the moment you think of Coffee.

 

 

 

Best Fish n Chips

We were in Mornington Peninsula and found this real Gem of a place to eat, David Prosser Seafoods. In fact when you next to the seashore what can be better than eating the fresh catch from the sea.

David Prosser uses best fresh fish and thin batter as a result the final Fish n Chips are delicious tasting, light and non greasy even though they are fried.

Calamari rings
Fresh salad and dips.

Their Calamari rings are awesome too. My wife tried the Fish Burger and fresh Salads too and found them to be really tasty as well.

Fish Burger

My only regret is that since we were returning the same day, I could not have it again. May be some other time on my next visit to Australia.

Pure honey

On our drive to Mornington Peninsula, last weekend, we made an interesting stopover at Pure Peninsula Honey at Derril Road in Moorooduc.

It is brainchild of apiarist John Winkels, who turned his hobby into a full time business. It all started in 1985, when John found 2 feral beehives in a dead gum tree in a farm in Moorooduc, which he carefully monitored, tended and later moved into boxes thereby laying the foundation of this beautiful farm. After operating for over 25 years it is now quite well known for its honey and has helped many orchards in Victoria and New South Wales pollinate and produce honey.

Beehive
Inside a Bee colony.

 

Visiting this farm gives you a good inside in the world of honey. I learned so many new things about honey, like there are over 30 different types of honey to suit different needs and tastes. You can sample these different types of honey and even buy them together with wax, honeycomb, cosmetic products and honey ice cream too.

Did you know how bees make honey? Honeybees use nectar, which is almost 80% water mixed with some complex sugars, to make honey. Bees actually have two stomachs, one normal stomach and the other in which hold the nectar. It can hold almost 70mg of nectar, almost equal weight of the bee.

Once the bee returns to its hive, it passes the nectar to other bees, who chew it for about half an hour. During this time the enzymes break the complex sugars to simpler easily digestible sugars. The bees then spread this over the hive so that water can evaporate and the result is a thick syrup. They fan this syrup with their wings so that it dries fast. Once the honey is gooey enough the bees seal the honeycomb with wax.

If you are heading to Mornington Peninsula, it is a small diversion and you can visit this beautiful honey farm. Highly recommended whether you are kid or an adult.

 

 

Try a Food Truck in Melbourne, this time?

Imagine an International city being named the most livable city in the World, six years in a row.

It is no mean feat, isn’t, well that is Melbourne for you.

If you have visited it you would certainly know that when it comes to dining, Melbourne will never disappoint you, be it fine dining or barbecue. I bet but, did you know that the food truck culture is as lively as its dine-in culture?

A good number of food trucks now operate in Melbourne, out of Federation Square, Opposite NGV, or Queen Victoria Night market.

However, what if you to want to locate a particular food truck at lunch time? Well help is now available. Cool, isn’t? You can track them @http://wherethetruck.at/about/

Some of them you may want to try are –

Mr. Burger

Myles Munro and Dargah Kan, who were then running The Mercat Cross Hotel, decided to launch their pub food business in 2012. So they both headed to US and tried as many food trucks as they could, before heading back home to set up Mr. Burger.

Initially they wanted to put their truck inside the Pub, but faced a minor problem; the door of the pub was too small to fit the truck through. So Mr. Burger was born in Oct 2012.

The Lukumades

It was started by Exarhos Sourligas in 2015 to show his love for Greek doughnuts.

Mr. Chow

It serves the tastiest of Asian and American street food fusions.

Soul Kitchen Pizzas

It serves the finest wood fired pizza at the Arts Centre or at an event at your place.

With such diverse and incredible food trucks out there in the city, just head out with an empty stomach to begin with and enjoy.

 

 

 

Ying Thai, an amazing Thai meal.

Lygon Street in Carlton suburb of Melbourne is famous for its Italian Café and Restaurants because it is home to many Italian immigrants. However I was recommended Ying Thai2, on Lygon Street for Thai food, when I expressed my desire to eat Thai and I was not disappointed.

It is a small place on 2 floors with basic seating and a few artifacts from Thailand.

We ordered Chicken Pad Thai, Pud Med Ma Muang (stir fried with vegetables and cashew nuts), Gang Keaw Waan (Thai green curry cooked in coconut milk and vegetables), mince Pork with fresh Basil, Steamed Jasmine Rice, Coconut Rice and plain Rice. For drinks we decided to go with the Jasmine Tea.

Jasmine Tea was served in this pot.
Jasmine rice, Coconut Rice.
Chicken Pad Thai.
Mince Pork with fresh Basil.
Thai green curry.

The food was good, tasty and had great flavours. The mince Pork was the highlight of the meal. Overall a good reasonably priced dinner.

The restaurant is quite popular with both meat eaters and Vegetarians and can get full pretty quickly. If you are going for dinner, I recommend you make reservations to avoid disappointment.

Some of their staff is not very good in English, so you may have to do a bit of explaining. However, for convenience most of the dishes are numbered so ordering is pretty simple.

It is now my favourite place in Melbourne.

 

Afghani Kebabs.

Being a true foodie, I love Kebabs and in the absence of true Mughlai kebabs, in Australia, the best option is to try Afghani Kebabs.

There are two Kebabs joints near the place I am in presently, in Melbourne, The Melbourne Kebab Station and Afghan Charcoal Kebab (ACK). Both are just next to each other in Coburg.

Afghan Charcoal Kebab.
The Menu
Pizzas are also available.
Food on display.

I had tried the Melbourne Kebab last time, so now it was the turn of the Afghani Charcoal Kebab. It is a family owned joint serving both Afghani and Turkish dishes, including Biryanis and Pizzas.

They claim to serve the best quality Halal Pizzas but I am not going to comment anything on them since I had tried the Kebabs only. The reason for the great taste, as claimed by ACK is because they use of fresh ingredients. The outlet is open from 10 in the morning till 10 pm in the night. They also do take away.

The meat they serve is tasty charcoal meat cooked in traditional way served with handmade traditional Afghani bread and sweet rice garnished with raisins. The meals are also accompanied by traditional dips, humus and a shredded carrot and raisin salad.

The Kebab platter, Chicken Kebabs and Mince Meat Kebabs.
The Naaanwai at his workstation.
The Afghani Roti
Humus.
Sweet rice.
Traditional Dips.
Shredder Carrots salad.

Traditionally in Afghanistan, families cook their meals at home but for bread they rely on a nearby Naanwai (baker). These breads are quite different from the Mughlai one we’re used in India as they are largely made of fermented wheat flour (Atta), not maida.

If you are ever in Melbourne do not forget to try these Kebabs, I promise you will not be disappointed.