Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Magic Mushrooms

If I had a drug of choice, it would be magic mushrooms

They weren't magic, but they were magnificent. Delicious, soft, creamy mushrooms on crunchy sourdough toast. My breakfast of choice this morning at Walter's Wine Bar. Strongly recommended. And if, like Sienna, you love a cigarette with your mushrooms, you can grab a spot on the balcony and puff away: "I think the more positive approach you have to smoking, the less harmful it is." What a role model...

magic mushrooms

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Corner on Bellair, Kensington

I think baked eggs are officially the breakfast fad of 2007. Especially if served in a cast iron pan. So it wasn't really a surprise to see baked eggs on the menu at The Corner on Bellair, 170 Bellair St, Kensington, Tel +61 3 9372 2844. At least they've come up with a cool name for it: "bunged inna pan brekkie".

corner on bellair

I should have gone with the fad. Because the eggs benedict wasn't great. It was OK, but the eggs had been poached in those little igloo-shaped containers and were too runny, and the honey ham showed very little sign of grilling, apart from a brown stain in one or two places (suggesting contact with a frying pan at some point during its preparation). The hollandaise wasn't bad.

If you like maple syrup, there are two dishes to choose from. An American breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon and French toast smothered in maple syrup. Or "to die for" (their claim, not mine) French toast with bacon, grilled banana, a touch of cinnamon and, of course, maple syrup. Actually, for $2, maple syrup is an extra you can add to just about anything. It would probably go well with the waffles, berries, ice cream and marscapone. Who knows, waffles may be the fad of 2008?

13/20 "bunged inna pan"


Eggs & Bacon $9.00 BB100 -10%

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Birdman Eating, Fitzroy

In the famous words of Captain Arnold Rimmer, "Smoke me a kipper skipper, I'll be back for breakfast." Because breakfast is good at Birdman Eating, 238 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, Tel +61 3 9416 4747. Even the grilled kippers with horseradish butter and fried spuds. If you like fish for breakfast, that is.

birdman eating kippers

Quite salty little fellas, the kippers. But not something I plan to make a habit of. Next time, I think I'll try the cheese kransky with bubble and squeak and poached eggs. Or the hot cinnamon doughnuts with chocolate sauce. Or maybe the baked eggs, which come in four flavours. Some kind of house specialty I think.

Apparently the name of this place was inspired by the Birdman Rally, where crazy people jump off a bridge and attempt to fly down the Yarra. They all end up in the Yarra, of course, which is about as good for you as going for a swim in a sewerage treatment plant. I only hope this morning's kippers weren't made with Yarra herring.

Birdman is a cosy little venue, with friendly staff, good Genovese coffee, and very dinky tea sets. Just remember to wait 30 minutes after breakfast before you go swimming in the Yarra.

16/20 "kippers"


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Thursday, March 22, 2007

Mr Tulk, Melbourne

Let's face it, if you're not in rehab, or recently out of rehab, you're nobody. Robbie. Pete. Britney. Keith. Lindsay. Jesse. Courtney. Even Ben Cousins. It was almost enough to make me down a bottle of Jack, score some ice, and do a few lines of coke for breakfast. But then I discovered the hash at Mr Tulk, 328 Swanston Street, Melbourne, Tel +61 3 8660 5700. Corned beef hash, to be specific.

mr tulk

First impressions are a bit confusing, with the sign outside instructing me to order at the bar. Then, when I rock up to the bar, they tell me it's table service if you eat inside. Oh... I guess I'll go find a seat. Service, it seems, is not a strong point.

Food, on the other hand, is a whole different story. Put simply, the corned beef hash with poached eggs was brilliant. Take a big fat cake of soft spud and finely diced corned beef and fry till golden and crispy. Top it with a pair of soft poached eggs and season lightly. Serve with a generous blob of mustard. Very, very yummy. Not very healthy. But much healthier than crystal meth.

Mr Tulk is also a very slick venue. It reminded me a bit of The Wolseley, with low leather banquettes, airy feel, high ceilings and buzzy vibe. Except that The Wolseley doesn't have a communal table surrounded by stools.

16/20 "best hash in town"


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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Subway, Melbourne

According to the wrapper on my "Aussie Sausage" breakfast roll, "cookies may contain traces of nuts or peanuts, even if not included in the ingredient list." Fascinating... Now I know that: (a) peanuts are not actually nuts; and (b) they may turn up in my nut-free cookie. But what's that got to do with my egg and sausage roll? Welcome to Subway, 1-5 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne, Tel +61 3 9629 9200. Eat Fresh.

eat fresh

Despite making it in front of me, there was nothing particularly fresh about my breakfast. The egg was microwaved. The sausage was microwaved. The bacon was microwaved. And then the whole compilation was microwaved for good measure.

The food tasted OK, but the coffee (a cappucino) was disgusting. It was borderline drinkable, but not the least bit enjoyable the way good coffee should be.

6/20 "microwaved fresh"


Eggs & Bacon $6.95 BB100 -30%

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Cavallero, Collingwood

This morning, in an effort to dodge the Grand Prix crowds, I headed North to Cavallero, 300 Smith Street, Collingwood, Tel +61 3 9417 1377. Actually, Cavallero sounds alot like the name of an Italian playboy-slash-f1-racing-driver. And, would you believe it, there was indeed a Cavallero who drove for Alfa-Romeo back in 1933, although he was no match for Nuvolari.


Cavallero the cafe performed much better than Cavallero the driver. It was, however, an Alfa-like performance. Lots of style. Not quite so much substance. But nonetheless seductive.

The menu is loaded with temptation: panettone french toast with rasberry marscapone and rosewater syrup; black rice pudding, fresh mango and coconut custard ("awesome" according to a tip from Penny); and avocado, roast garlic, caramelised chili and lemon on rye toast. My order of potato and fetta pancake with silician style beans, poached eggs and dukkah sounded good on paper. But it wasn't rave-worthy. The Sicilian beans are worth trying, but I still don't get the dukkah fad.

Cavallero's real strength is the slick venue, with all-white paint job, high ceilings and a solitary deer's head stuck on the wall. There's a great mix of seating, with tall stools along the green marble bar, some small tables up front, a couple of booths in the middle, and a communal table at the rear.

16/20 "black rice pudding"


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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Vue de Monde, Melbourne

They served eggs, so I'm treating it as a late breakfast. And without doubt the most expensive breakfast I'm ever likely to have. Then again, I don't normally have seven courses, matched with seven wines, and water harvested from a Tasmanian cloud. There's nothing normal about a meal at Vue de Monde, 430 Little Collins Street, Melbourne, +61 3 9691 3888.


The eggs, for example, were salty little fish eggs, served atop a hens egg with some lobster mousse hidden inside. The only thing missing was toast soldiers.

The coolest dish was a stripy little terrine with layers of pate de foie gras, rabbit rillettes, carrot, minced ham and something green. It was, as our waiter noted, a very Paul Smith look.


The waiters (and waitresses) are all very professional. Like a good stalker, they're never far away, and their knowledge of the food and wine is scary. It was explained to me, for example, that the Tasmanian cloud water I was drinking was only harvested when the atmospheric particle count was below a certain level. Seriously.

If there was one disappointment, it was the "cheese course" which was actually a cheese square topped with a few slivers of fresh fig. It was a very nice cheese square. Gruyere, to be precise. But it was just a cheese square. I felt like Mr Pitt, sitting there, eating a cheese square with my Laguiole knife and fork.

Otherwise, we had a delicious, cheesy, brown mushroom risotto, smothered in black truffle shavings (not sure what all the fuss is about with truffles); some strips of wagyu beef poached in a clear soup with a few trimmings like spinach mousse and deep fried bone marrow (good, not great); a lobster and witlof salad (probably my favorite); and a self-saucing chocolate pudding (I've had better).

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I'd like to thank the Academy...

Monday, March 12, 2007

Ici, Fitzroy

To speak French badly is to parler francais comme une vache espagnole. So I wouldn't be surprised if a Spanish cow had a hand in the business cards at Ici, 359 Napier Street, Fitzroy, Tel +61 3 9417 2274. That would explain why they serve tapas. It may also explain why they call the place a rod ("barre") when I think they mean bar ("bar"). At least they do a tasty omelette, even if it was a bit greasy.


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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Merricks General Store, Merricks

This morning, after a speedy dash across the Mornington Peninsula, we made it just in time for scrambled eggs at the Merricks General Store, 3458-3460 Frankston-Flinders Road, Merricks, Tel +61 3 5989 8088. It was like eating breakfast in a Country Road homewares catalogue... distressed timber tables... rustic charm... everything just a little bit too perfect. Quite a nice experience, actually.


Most importantly, the food was good. My Merricks Breakfast included a big, steaming pile of scrambles, some nicely grilled bangers and bacon, tasty mushrooms and a generous heap of wilted spinach (instead of tomato). Her Fussiness has some perfectly poached free range eggs with spinach and smoked salmon. No complaints at all, which is quite a rare event. Actually, there was one small complaint about the tea, but she always does that.

MGS (as they call it) caters equally well to old and young. Kids can get rice bubbles, coco pops or nutella on toast (and paper and crayons to unleash their inner Picaso). Adults can wash down a double egg and bacon roll with a few glasses of Rigel Shiraz (from the owners' vineyard and on tasting in store). They also do a nice range of house jams which you can try (on croissants) or buy (to take away).

16/20 "country chic"


Eggs & Bacon $13.50 BB100 +35%

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Saturday, March 03, 2007

Gordon Ramsay Scrambles Eggs

According to Gordon Ramsay, the best test of cooking skills is whether you can scramble an egg. Breakfast chefs take note: don't over-cook; don't season too early; don't pre-whisk; and don't serve on soggy toast. It's also interesting to note his choice of vine tomatoes as the perfect side to scrambled eggs. Did Ramsay steal this idea from Andrew McConnell, or was it the other way round? Probably a coincidence...

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Bluecorn, St Kilda

For some reason, every corn tortilla I've had in Australia looks and tastes like an oversized mutant corn chip (crunchy, brittle and u-shaped). You can get soft flour tortillas. But soft corn tortillas are as elusive as drop-bears. And, as I discovered this morning, you can't even get proper blue corn tortillas at Bluecorn, 205 Barkly Street, St Kilda, Tel +61 3 9534 5996. Very disappointment. It's not like they're hard to make.


Luckily, when I grumbled about the crunchy, greasy corn "tortillas" they were quick to switch them for nice soft flour tortillas, so I could get on with enjoying my Sizzling Breakfast Fajita. Basically, you shovel stuff off your cast iron hot plate and onto each tortilla, add some sour cream and guacamole, roll it up and eat. Ingredients include scrambled eggs, bacon, chorizo, corn, red peppers, black beans, mushrooms, spinach, tomato and pine nuts. Very tasty and very filling.

The real problem is that once you've had Mexican food in California (and presumably Mexico, but my first hand experience doesn't extend that far), everything you get in Australia is second rate. Comparing Bluecorn with, say, La Taqueria is like comparing Salma Hayek with a Chihuahua. They're not really in the same league.

On a positive note, Bluecorn does seem to cater well to veggies, vegans and anyone trying to avoid lactose or gluten, and the menu is far from boring. Choices include: tortillas; waffles; fruit bread French toast; porridge with Cuban banana and lime jam; and poached eggs with creamed spinach and grilled ocean trout. They do a decent Genovese coffee, too.

12/20 "fajita"


Eggs & Bacon $11.00 BB100 +10%

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Unknown Bald Fat Man Blogs About Breakfast

I was thinking of dressing up as a lady, but in the end I had to make do with a fat suit and a strategically placed Mart 130 menu. Actually, that's not a fat suit. I really am that fat. Eating eggs benedict for two years will do that to you. Anyway, the idea with this very ugly photo was to make sure that I remain a nobody, so that sneaky cafe owners don't start giving me special treatment and free food, and I'm not embroiled in an eggs-for-comment scandal. For those who missed it, Tuesday's Herald-Sun had a food-blogger article and launched Ed's new column. For those who read it, no, I don't have syphilis. I am alive and well. Just a bit fat.

blogs with bite

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