Gelobar, Brunswick East, Melbourne

I used to live on Lygon street about 5 minutes walk from Gelobar and it somewhat became my second home. Always my favourite place to venture to and always for the Gelato. Whilst they do have a huge range of Italian pastries and cakes, coffee, and food it’s the Gelato that i’m always drawn to and what make this place a local legend.

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Continue reading “Gelobar, Brunswick East, Melbourne”

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Lolo & Wren, Brunswick West

My first day back in Melbourne after Christmas saw me checking out Lolo & Wren. It was worth the three tram changes with food that was big, delicious and satisfying. The menu offering is varied and there are plenty of creative choices to dutifully calm your appetite, and your breakfast requirements. I went with the Pig Boss ($17.50), which was a pork shoulder stuffed roll with slaw, crackling, peanuts, herbs and mayo. As well as their sheer enormity of the size, it was balanced with successful flavours and a refreshing Asian influence. The pork shoulder was wonderfully tender and it made a visual and gastronomic delight to ingest. So yeah, Lolo & Wren is definitely worth checking out.

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My friend Beau went with one of the burgers.

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And we shared some of EJ’s highly recommended Patatas brasvs ($9.5) which are super tasty fried potato segments with sour cream and a sweet relish type sauce. Like nachos, but with potato. Good!

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9/10

Lolo and Wren Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hellenic Republic, Brunswick

Greek Sam at work raves about this place, so I had to to try Hellenic Republic and see how it compares to Calombaris’s other venues which I have rated well in the past. I walk out with a very positive experience with picture perfect service, a great atmosphere and mostly authentic-ish food that hits the mark. The only slight was there was a general under-seasoning of dishes across the board, a slight irony as I found Gazi to be a tad on the salty side. Blend them together and you’ve got perfection, but for now you still get a most excellent outcome at Hellenic Republic.

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My friends Jo and Jeff and I headed into their Brunswick branch (there’s three now) for an earlier inner service. With toddler daughter Kaitlyn in tow, we dove right into the first starter items of pita bread ($5) with a Taramosalata (white cod roe dip) and Kapnisti Skordalia (smoked butternut pumpkin and candied almonds). The pita bread at Hellenic Republic is a nice, light style without the grease and the dips were both solid.We had a preference towards towards the cod roe one which has a pleasant creamy yoghurt-like quality without tasting too fishy at all. The pumpkin one was fine, just reminded me of the soup base I sometimes make and a bit less exciting on bread.

As a sharing menu, the mains all appear at the same time so we felt there was a bit of a (worthwhile) wait. The Kotopoulo Psistaria ($29) is chicken from the spit seasoned with garlic and oregano and served with a wedge of lemon. This is impressive quality meat, but here I couldn’t help feeling the flavour didn’t quite extend, so there was more than a few cases of topping up with the salt. The Arni Sto Fourno ($32) is the slow roasted lamb shoulder and it’s a majestic size with the meat again being delicious. It matched Sam’s description of falling off the bone and it sure does melt in your mouth.

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The salads at Gazi and Hellenic Republic have been surprisingly memorable and I enjoyed my treat of the Kipriaki Salata Dimitriakon salad ($13) of grains, pulses, nuts and topped with yoghurt and pomegranate. The mix of grains, creaminess and sweetness is an appropriate and relevant contrast with the rest of the savoury items on our table. The pop of the currants were lovely and made for a luscious mix of textures that I could rather enjoy.

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We were smashed over that, but I still gave the Risogalo ($11) rice pudding with salted caramel, almond shortbread crumble and pistachio a go. This little jar didn’t quite set my world on fire, it’s a fair rice pudding and the topping parts are interesting enough. The dessert wasn’t quite worth the price in my eyes but otherwise made for an enjoyable end for our night. Like Gazi, Hellenic Republic dishes out some good Greek-eating that is a crowd pleaser and there’s more than enough variety here in the menu to keep the masses coming. The dishes could have done with more punchier flavours but a worthwhile experience nonetheless.

8/10

Hellenic Republic Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

All Day Donuts, Brunswick

I could eat All Day Donuts, well, all day! I came for the Juanita Peaches/ All Day Donuts combo that my friend and fellow reviewer EJ had recommended, and went for the strawberry cheesecake donut ($5) that’s her fave. The donut totally lived up to the hype and I loved this little round circle of heaven. The cake was light and fluffy even at the late hour I had ordered it, with a topping that was a pleasant and rich icing and the cheesecake filling, creamy, unique and decadent. Whoop. It was a fantastic filler until my meal arrived and if I hadn’t had already expended my calorie intake for the afternoon I would have grabbed a full dozen more.

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The music and vibe in the venue is also fantastic and I entertained myself thoroughly with the colouring in pages whilst dining. All Day Donuts is worthy enough to travel the perimeter of Melbourne for and I have to come back soon to try every single flavour they have. The Don Homer in concept and appearance also made me smile and I’d like to think the donuts here help me live up to my moniker.

9/10

All Day Donuts Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Juanita Peaches, Brunswick

I haven’t spent nearly as much time as I would have liked in the Brunswick food scene, and my first taste (literally) of the area was over at Juanita Peaches. It’s an awesome little venue and the burgers are worth the trek over for sure. Juanita Peaches came highly recommended to me from one of my burger friends and I ordered exactly as instructed, although with one substitute in the sauce. I love friendly and conversational staff which they most have here and the venue had a great vibe to boot. And it wasn’t long ’til my Fried Chicken Sandwich ($15) with slaw, boss sauce, and fries arrived to the table.

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The chicken here drove my wild, reminded my of a really good coating my mother used to make growing up. A tremendous-sized piece with a fresh and vibrant slaw that married most excellently with the mayo and my substituted honey mustard sauce. The boss sauce that’s usually default was tomato-based so I gave that a miss on my go as a non-tomato person. The bun was a bit on the heavy side for me which was the only non-glowing thing. There was bonus fries which I didn’t realise it came with, and I walked back home feeling full, happy and glad I checked it out. Great spot.

8/10

Juanita Peaches Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Teta Mona, Brunswick East

I really enjoyed what I had at Teta Mona, but the big ‘but’ is that our server forgot to put through our mains so after an hour of waiting we didn’t really want to wait any more, so (confession) we headed home and heated chips from the freezer and they were bloody great.

Teta Mona is a Middle Eastern/ Lebanese styled venue on Lygon Street and a mere stone’s through from my friend’s house (and their oven). We managed to grab a table by the window and chose a mix of their small and medium share bowls as well as the mains to get a good try (and photo) of everything. Part of this plan did not eventuate, as you know.

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First up was the Cigara bi Lanhem ($14) which were pastry rolls filled with spiced lamb, onion, walnuts and served with a pomegranate molasses. These had a tasty earthiness and I actually was a big fan of the surprise salad and accompaniments that came with each of these shared plates. The molasses was a tasty, not too sweet topping and it made for an encouraging start for our meal. It was also common on our next sharing plate.

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Rather similar in execution was the Sambooseek bi Jebne ($13.50) pastry envelopes with haloumi, feta cheese duo, parsley and spring onion. Fried cheese is such a weakness for me and I rated this rather highly too. Matt’s not a big fan of cheese despite having a huge cheese company client so all the more for the rest of us!

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I can’t resist me a good falafel, and here in the Falafel D.I.Y. ($14) they’re made of yellow and green peas and served with pickles, tahini dip and pita bread. I’m not a huge fan of pickles myself but the falafel was filling and had a nice, crisp exterior. Some falafel has a terrible dryness to it, but here it was fluffy and flavoursome and amongst the best falafel I’ve had here. Still need to explore a lot more in Coburg & co. though.

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The final plate we received was the Makanek ($15) made of Lebanese spiced beef and pine nut sausages served with garlic yoghurt. I’m such a sucker for pine nuts and here they’re used thoughtfully for a nutty, meaty stretch of eating. The sausages were my pick of the bunch and with the side items, made for a fun little Middle Eastern sausage sizzle imitation (not sure if that was the intention).

That’s where things at Teta Mona ended for us, and we intervened and it was only than the server realised he forget to process that part of the order and we realised we weren’t getting the rest any time soon. He did offer to put them through as rush but we decided for an amicable split rather than keep going. I’m sure we all shed a little tear that night.

7/10 (Based on what we had, I don’t really hold the grudge too much).

Teta Mona Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Re: Fried & Tasty, Brunswick

Our second visit to Fried and Tasty was a marked improvement and definitely delivered in terms of being fried and tasty. We went with a slight change of pace and ordered the chicken tenders with corn side, chicken burger, and a serve of poutine for the Canadian. The burger was impressively huge with a full on chicken breast, bacon, beetroot, lettuce, cheese, BBQ sauce and mayo. Huge like our stomachs. The seasoning on the tenders was great and we quite like the dipping it came with – make sure to let the tenders cool a bit before diving straight in.

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We also had two milkshakes worth mentioning – the apple crumble and Snickers. These were huge, super thick and creamy. Like our stomachs. We ended our night with a sweet finish in the form of the buttermilk waffles served with vanilla ice-cream and Canadian Maple syrup. The maple syrup was a wicked treat on the waffle and was the meal with a perfect end for our decadent night. Fried, tasty and now full. Thanks F.A.T.

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8/10

F.A.T Fried and Tasty Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Kumo Izakaya, Brunswick

We had asked a Northern-based friend for some Brunswick-located recommendations and Kumo Izakaya was the choice for the night. The front and location is somewhat deceiving as inside is a very well-styled, busy and varied space which was pumping on the evening we had visited. Kumo is a sharing-focused spot with small dishes and plenty of choice for vegetarians or meat eaters alike.

The fried vegetable chips were a cool way to start our food journey and the guys enjoyed the crispy variety and textures of the sweet potato,

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The karage chicken had a pleasant sweetness and was crispy to the bite. We also ordered agedashi tofu, roasted eggplant and beef wrapped rice roll and they were all top notch. I noticed the current menu is different so seems like they do play around with the food options somewhat, which is great for a return journey.

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We finished with the dessert platter which had mixed reception with some lamenting the excess of matcha flavours, however the black sesame was as god as any i’ve had.

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Pro tip: check around to see the dishes before ordering. The skewers were a bit of a let down from an otherwise impressive array of dishes. Probably book.

8/10

Kumo Izakaya & Sake Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tish Faco, Brunswick

One of the less crowded spaces on Lygon St, Brunwick was the Tish Faco pop-up, housed in the Small Block Cafe. I say was, it was only a pop-up store and has since departed now, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it find its feet around the market or festival scene in the future. There’s a bunch of fusion Mexican options all over the joint, so competition is pretty heady in my mind.

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We each ordered a taco box which comprises of two taco options on a side of corn chips. The corn chips were pretty good, if served warm it would have been super. I had a oyster mushroom and a halloumi taco. These were fine, but wasn’t quite enough filling on it’s own. Menu was pretty limited so there wasn’t anyone else to turn to really.

6.5/10

Tish Faco - Pop Up! Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

F.A.T. Fried and Tasty, Brunswick

I had high hopes for F.A.T. Fried and Tasty as it was featured in quite a few articles in the press earlier in the year. Granted, those articles were more around some B-grade celeb complaining about the use of casual racism and murdered rappers to sell their food (PR tactic?). I was fortunate enough to have visited the actual South (or the USA, that is) for some quality fried chicken and since then have always been looking to find something close enough in performance.

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Original chicken (can’t people think of a better name by now?)

I went with the chicken with one side option and thought I would be healthy by getting a salad. Turns out I was wrong. The salad was terribly over-dressed and ended up being subsequently inedible, only matched by the chicken itself also being too salty. So naturally I made up by overeating on the sharing chips. So much for health. My friends opted for the burgers which would have probably been a better bet, and apparently the milkshakes were good. Eh, I was more offended by the food than the perpetuation of stereotypes.

Pro tip: don’t get salad?

5.5/10

F.A.T Fried and Tasty Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato