This post is an overdue hangover from my recent Amnesty Fortnight. I've been to a few places in Brunswick/Brunswick East recently, so here they all are...
Sugardough Panificio and Patisserie
163 Lygon Street, Brunswick East (map)
It was a Saturday morning and Mum and Dad swung past to pick me up so we could all go market shopping together (aw!). A few minutes into the journey it dawned on me: "Hey wait, we're heading north! But I was going to see if there was any sel de fleur at The Essential Ingredient for the salted caramel and chocolate ganache tart I'm attempting tomorrow!"
Aha, but we weren't going to Prahran Market, they informed me. We were going to the Queen Vic, but first they wanted to take me to an undisclosed location for brunch. The location turned out to be Sugardough Panificio and Patisserie, a place Mum recently discovered by following her nose (literally - the smell of freshly baked pastries was hypnotic).
As the name suggests, it's a bakery that embraces both Italian and French style breads and pastries. As well as being a bustling cafe, there was a near-constant queue of people wanting to buy bread - loved the look of these baguettes in their little wooden bin.
Dad and I shared a bacon and egg panino, which featured excellent bread (natch), tasty relish and the yellowed yolks I've seen in ages.
Mum ordered a bombolone, filled with crema pasticcera. It was very good, one of the best I've tasted in Australia.
They also sell proper cornetti! The Italian cousin to the croissant, the cornetto is sweeter, less buttery/flaky, and more likely to be filled with crema or marmellata than dark chocolate (see an excellent article on croissants vs cornetti here). They're brilliant. They taste just like Italy. :)
Wicked of us I know, but we also bought a slice of this delectable-looking sweetened ricotta and nutella crostata, to take away and eat later that afternoon. It was bloody lovely.
99 Sydney Road, Brunswick (map)
The following weekend I was back in Brunswick, helping CD inspect rental terraces. We walked through the open door into the first place, only to come across a gentleman sitting on the floor, fixing a drawer with a screwdriver. We greeted him somewhat uncertainly, asking where the real estate agent was. He politely informed us that he was the new tenant, and had been living there for the last three weeks.
"Oh. ... OH. So we're standing in your hallway then. I suppose we'd better go. Terribly sorry." I dithered, à la Hugh Grant. (Actually, if my life WERE a Hugh Grant movie, accidentally trespassing into a guy's house would have been a great/awful romantic comedy premise.)
We had lunch at Robbie's Stein to recover.
As well as being a restaurant and wine bar, Robbie's Stein is a fish and chippery. It's one of CD's favourite places, so she wanted to show it to me. I loved the interior, especially the gorgeous pressed ceilings.
CD ordered bacon and eggs but I wanted something fishy. I ordered and enjoyed the fresh and tasty lemongrass and coriander fish baguette with cucumber, lettuce, tomato and spicy peanut sauce ($15).
295 Lygon Street, East Brunswick (map)
From my selfish perspective the best thing about CD moving to Brunswick is that I'll have a close friend living there, so plenty of excuses to explore the surrounding bars and restaurants! Hopefully she'll be living close enough to Mr Wilkinson for it to be her local...
Mr Wilkinson is an effortlessly fabulous wine bar on Lygon Street. It's named after Thomas Wilkinson, the man who founded the suburb of Brunswick over 150 years ago. I found out about the bar from the lovely Lucy from The Design Files, whose partner is one of the owners. I dropped in there for a pre-Hellenic Republic glass of wine one Sunday evening and was suitably impressed. Beautiful but unaffected.
I just love the look of the place, particularly the use of lighting and natural light, and our table made from a repurposed wooden shutter door. As well as a carefully thought out wine, beers and booze list, a couple of snacks (olives and light tapas) are on the menu. As I said, we only had time to glug one glass of wine before our dinner reservation - but I look forward to returning sometime soon.
434 Lygon Street, Brunswick East (map)
For my birthday this year my zia P and her partner M, both fans of the blog, informed me that their birthday present would be buying Melbourne Gastronome dinner at the yet-to-be-visited venue of her choice! (I ask you, is there any better present for a food blogger??) :)
My venue of choice was Hellenic Republic (based chiefly on how amazing the kefalograviera saganki looked on Where's the Beef)!
A contrast to Calombaris' slick CBD Press Club, Hellenic Republic is all friendly, rustic white-washed walls and blue-and-white decor. An Evil Eye on the wall kept close surveillance on us as we ate our meal.
Even though everyone had told us not to, warning that there'd be way too much food, zia P and M insisted we order one of the Trapezi banquets, so that we'd get the full treatment. We ordered the Trapezi Beta, at $59.50 per head.
This is the kefalograviera saganaki, sinfully fried with sweet peppered figs. It tasted even better than it looks, if that's even possible. Olives and toursi (pickled vegetables) in the background.
The grilled kalamari was beautifully simple, and simply beautiful.
The taramosalata ($10) wasn't part of the set menu, but we ordered it as well because we'd heard good things. Somewhat unusually, it was made from white roe (pictured on the left, next to the dolmathakia and Greek salad). I'm really glad we ordered it: the taramosalata was my second-favourite item after the saganaki.
For mains, we had silverbeet, spanakopita and a seafood youvetsi (stew) not on the regular menu, and some lamb on the spit served with chips. The lamb was delicious but by the time it arrived we were all getting horribly full...
As well as a fruit platter, dessert consisted of a bowl of loukoumades donuts and a risogalo (rice pudding), then a piece of walnut cake (complete with birthday candle!).
A big GRAZIE to zia P and M for taking me out for a belated birthday dinner! xx