One of the things I loved most about Melbourne was that there was no shortage of excellent cafes to go to for breakfast. I’ve already told you about the 65/65 egg and the madeleines at Cumulus Inc., as well as the eggs and soldiers and fried brioche at The Hardware Société, but today it’s time to talk bacon and eggs, french toast, and crepes for brekky.
On one of the mornings we head down to Degraves St which is a laneway of cafes near Flinders St Station. It’s packed out on a Sunday morning but we stand and wait a while outside Degraves Espresso Bar and soon we’re shown to a table inside and our much needed coffee orders are taken.
Sir D decides to go for classic bacon and eggs this morning, with scrambled eggs on toast plus a side of bacon. The eggs are creamy and well-seasoned and the bacon was awesome as usual (how can bacon not be awesome?)
I don’t think there are too many restaurants in Sydney where you would find the banquette seating covered in zebra-print upholstery but since we’re dining at Out of Africa tonight, it seems highly appropriate. The restaurant, located near the wharf at Manly, is relatively quiet on a Sunday night save for a few couples dining and our rowdy table of 10. Since we have a large number, we have the option of getting the banquet menu but we decide to order a few dishes to share instead so we can try more things.
As with the zebra-print seating, the names of the dishes are also quite creative. We kick off the meal with the “Breathless” briouats which are spring-roll lookalikes but are made with filo pastry and filled with a spiced chicken and almond filling. The filo cigars are crisp on the outside with a chunky chicken filling and are very moreish. I find the saffron sauce a little too sweet but it provides a sticky counterpoint to the briouat.
The other entree that we share amongst us the spicy grilled calamari. It is presented on a bed of salad leaves and garnished with some grated carrot and spring onions. I prepare myself for some chilli burning but I find that it’s not really spicy at all, and some of us are a little disappointed in the lack of spice factor. The calamari still delicious though with a flavour-packed marinade and a slight charred taste from the grilling.
Since starting work I’ve developed a bit of a morning routine. I’m not usually hungry at 7.30am on a weekday morning but my stomach is growling by 9.30am when I’m at work. So this is my breakfast time – and it always consists of two slices of smooth peanut butter on toast, and usually a mug of hot chocolate on the side.
I don’t think I will ever be sick of the peanut butter and chocolate combination. I love the sweetness of the chocolate against the nutty, slightly salty flavour of the peanut butter and I thought it would make the perfect macaron flavour. What makes these macarons even better is that you don’t even have to make a filling for the macaron shells. I just simply heated up some peanut butter so that it was easy to spread and sandwiched it between two macaron shells. It’s best to leave these to sit in the fridge for a night or two since the peanut butter doesn’t have too much liquid in it so the filling will take a bit longer to soften the shells and for the flavour to permeate into the macaron shells.
You could of course go ahead and make a peanut butter buttercream but I think the saltiness of the peanut butter tends to get lost with the addition of sugar so I think just using plain peanut butter for the filling is perfect. Of course, you can always use crunchy peanut butter but I’m a smooth peanut butter kind of girl :)
And since it’s now acceptable to have cake for breakfast (muffins and banana bread are really just an excuse to eat cake for brekky, am I right?), I don’t see why you couldn’t have chocolate peanut butter macarons for breakfast. After all, breakfast is the most important meal of the day and you might as well have something tasty heh =D
Ocean Room is a restaurant that I had wanted to visit for a long time. I’d heard about the massive chandelier in the dining room made out of wooden cylinders, the gorgeous views of the harbour from the glass walls of the restaurant, the range of sakes on offer and of course, the deliciously fresh seafood they serve. Sir D must have known that it was on my hit list because he took me here for our anniversary for Raita’s tasting menu ($95pp) so we got to sample a little bit of everything.
We start off with a chilled sake while we decide what to have. I can’t remember what the sake was but I loved the little teapot-shaped carafe that it came in and how it was placed in a bowl of ice to chill. We didn’t get to choose our sake cups as you do in other restaurants but we were given delicate little glass cups to drink from which matched the carafe.
To kick off our degustation we start with the oyster duo which comes in a glass bowl filled with ice. On top of the ice are two Pacific oysters and two Sydney Rock oysters, each with a different dressing. We decide to start with the Pacific oyster which is plump and juicy and dressed with a light chilli and lemon vinaigrette. I was worried that the chilli would be too overpowering for the delicate flavour of the Pacific oyster but there was only a small dab of the dressing on the oyster, which gave it a pleasant chilli tingle without dominating the oyster itself. The Sydney Rock oysters are topped with shiso basil sorbet and konbu which enhances the oyster’s briny flavour and the sorbet adds a smooth, cool texture to the slippery oyster.
I’m not usually one to exercise but one crazy day, Sir D and I were planning on doing the coastal walk from Bondi to Bronte and we had just walked from Bondi Junction to Bondi Beach. Along the way we came across MOO Gourmet Burgers and decided to feed ourselves before tackling the next section of the walk.
MOO Gourmet Burgers in Bondi is a small shop on Campbell Parade just at the start of Bondi Beach. It’s painted in white and has bovine paraphernalia plastered on some of the walls, kids drawings on another wall and a chalkboard on the side that has been drawn on by diners. The place has a slight American diner feel to it, with several milkshake makers along the back and counter seating. Orders are placed at the counter, and you’re given a number which you take to your table.
When I see the flavours of the MOO shakes, I can’t help but order the MOOteaser shake since Malteasers are one of my favourite chocolates! The shake arrives in a tall glass (though I was hoping to get one of those silver milkshake cups) with chocolate sauce around the side of the glass. You can definitely taste the malty, chocolatey flavour of the Malteasers but I’m left wishing that there were a few more chunks and a stronger malt flavour overall – more Malteasers I say, more!