French Baguette Cafe, Richmond, Melbourne

Arriving to Victoria Street last year, is the bright and shiny French Baguette Cafe. It comes with a huge array of eating options. Savoury breads, banh mi, cakes, the gang’s all here. I was on a walking mission to IKEA and the eye-catching design with treat-lined cabinets enticed me in. It was a a tad confusing at first as it is a pick-your-own affair although there is staff around to assist with the banh mi options.

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I only had two items so it may not be a complete litmus test of how good everything might be. The puff was good but the opera cake was dry and tasted dated. So a mixed result. The items are well priced though, and it’s not a huge dip in the plastic to give it a go. The banh mis look good too, so might be worth the walk over from the other options on Victoria. Might.

5.5/10

French Baguette Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Bahari The Hellenic Palate, Richmond, Melbourne

With life now well situated in the Northern hemisphere, I have a few good friends back home to keep me updated on the food scene. My new contributor EJ had such a treat and is still recovering, after a mesmerising line up of food from Bahari and the first perfect score! What a way to start. EJ writes:

Upbeat atmosphere accompanied by Greek tunes set the mood at this cosy Richmond location. The owner, head chef and ex-MasterChef contestant Phil, greeted myself and my friend Katja and we immediately felt welcome. The restaurant was quite busy (we now know why!) but we also felt well attended to be staff, who were most hospitable. The menu at Bahari encompasses a variety of tantalising Greek-inspired options that would tickle anybody’s pickle. We let Phil take the lead in this dance of “Gringlish” (experimental Greek) offerings which incorporated a range of highlighted dishes from on and off the menu. This was a relief since to be honest, I’m always basic in going for the trio of dips for sustenance.

dessert

Choosing a favourite dish from Bahari is like choosing what child you like the most to send to college. But if I had to choose an order of how the food came out I would choose the dessert. Why? Because ‘WOW’ look at it! Not only a treat for the eyes but also to the senses. This white chocolate & pistachio brownie was served with dehydrated & fresh raspberries, a rose Chantilly, gold leaf & mango pearls. As good as the brownie was, the halva ice-cream was a show stopper for me. I would gladly eat this for the rest of my life and be completely content.

peppers

These stuffed Pablano peppers were nothing short of amazing. The stuffing incorporated ‘Gemista’ with beef mince, dill, rice and cumin. The labneh on the side made it that extra delectable. The Greek inspirations in the modern menu are clear and used in a thoughtful way that feels ideal, and never ironic.

fried

Little bites of heaven on a single plate. Here we have the halloumi wrapped in pastry, with drizzled honey and prawn stuffed zucchini flowers. These are coupled with these awesome stuffed ricotta and spinach squid.

beetroot

A wealth of flavours all on one plate came up next. This beetroot feta salad was a perfect pairing with the slow roasted lamb shoulder. For someone who’s not a big fan of beetroot this dish converted me. The lamb shoulder itself was so tender with the right amount of seasoning. You can taste the love and care in every bite.

salad

Looking back at this image makes me smile. This vibrant Cypriot grain salad would turn anyone’s frown upside down. (That’s not a smile, that’s an upside down frown!). The sprinkling of pomegranates made the dish sing.

And there you have it. If you’re looking to woo that special person in your life or just looking for a great meal, then make your next booking a Gringlish one. The team at Bahari were extremely warm and accommodating, the food was exceptional and the location was perfect. I already can’t wait for my next visit; big love.

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10/10

Bahari The Hellenic Palate Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Note: author dined at invitation of the restaurant.

Bakers Delight, Richmond

Extremely consistent bakery goodness, I occasionally get a yearning for a quick pick me up from one of any Bakers Delight outlets. Savoury for me most of the time but all the buns are rather good. Also makes for a cheap lunch fix although most of it is of course, carbs. My last lunchtime visit I had one of their ham and cheese pizzas. Lots of glorious cheese, enough savouriness to make me happy and all for around about the five dollar mark. The loaves are also quite good for basic bread with the Cape Seed loaf being my usual go to.

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Bakers Delight Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Co Do, Richmond

It can be sometimes overwhelming deciding which of Victoria Street’s Vietnamese are deserving of your dining. What I’ve learnt so far is that is pretty good all around! My usual barometer of quality is the level of crowd, and in the new year buzz Co Do looked like a bustling venue. There’s definitely a lacuna of difference in how busy some of these stores and for better or worse, I go off that. Today for only $11 I had the crispy chicken with vermicelli noodles dry style. Chicken was tender with spice and the dry noodles was a nice alternative with light flavours and contrast of textures including fried onion and cashews. Good enough to come back and cheap enough to come back often.

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Co Do Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Barrio 3121 Cafeteria, Richmond

Barrio 3121 is a new-ish addition to the Richmond brunch scene, away from the usual  crowds of Swan Street. Jenny and I headed in to check out their coffee and menu, and we were more than happy with both. The menu offers the plenty of options including traditional items with key twists, such as the Turkish baked eggs. These bad boys are baked in yoghurt and on a bed of slow cooked lamb making for a unique difference of eggs on toast that I enjoyed. Coffee was also another key highlight of Barrio 3121, the guys know their stuff. Well worth popping in for a retreat from the hustle.

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The aforementioned Turkish eggs ($17) are baked in a house yoghurt, with the slow cooked lamb underneath the sea of textured white. The mixture is spiced with smoked sweet paprika and dukkha chili, both used thoughtfully to add that Turkish influence. You get four slices of toast which is plenty, and spreading the mixture onto the bread is great fun. It’s a nice smooth, creamy mixture with the spices keeping the mix interesting. All up it’s a big serve and the inclusion of lamb (so rarely seen in brunches) is fantastic.

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My counterpart went with her sweet tooth in ordering the French toast ($14) with maple syrup, double cream and poached rhubarb. I must have missed asking her how it was but she cleaned up the plate German-efficiently which is a sure sign. The staff at Barrio 3121 are passionate about their food and their coffees and we were provided some samples of their brews. We loved every drop, and could appreciate the smoothness of the pours even though neither of us are terribly good at being coffee snobs. Definitely none of those bitter notes I’m sometimes getting in my espressos of late, and we’re both keen to check out some of their coffees from their city counterpart.

Some excellent tea cakes rounded off our morning and we both concluded that we loved the charm of Barrio 3121. A relaxing venue for a busy neighbourhood with solid food and amazing coffee make for a morning (or afternoon) experience worth checking out.

8/10

Barrio 3121 Cafeteria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Note: author dined at invitation of the restaurant

Pho Chu The, Richmond

Our second evening with Christina was filled with a lot more meat, as we opted for a repeat of last year’s adventure with IKEA and pho again. Unsurprisingly, we also ended up with more bag clips. They’re great. Choice of restaurant for this night was Pho Chu The, one of the more bustling options on Victoria Street and one of the higher rated places here. Menu simply here is pho and when you are seated they already give you the side of bean sprouts, lemon slice and vietnamese herbs.

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We both went for the medium sized for $11, mine was beef and brisket and hers was beef and tendon and these were fantastic. A warm, fragrant broth that was pleasant to eat with a flavourful combo that is what pho is all about. The meat was good for the most part and a medium was a pretty good size for us. Not too bustling on this evening and service was efficient.

8/10

Pho Chu The Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Chef Lagenda, Richmond

When I saw that one of my top Malaysian restaurants had a space in the Victoria Gardens Foodcourt I was pretty excited, and it helped that the food looked good in the windows too. However, in the end some of the food picks on offer are of less quality than others, and I seem to have a knack for picking them and subsequently forgetting which ones they were the next time I’m there. I’ve been a few times as I frequent the mall due to my complicated love-hate relationship with IKEA.

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The fried rice, stir-fry chicken and vegetables, beef and black bean is fair but the honey chicken is a notable significant disappointment. Rather than pieces of meat you get a ball of flour with occasional chunks of chicken, and the batter isn’t crispy at all. Quantity is fine. The beef rendang was too tough and dry, making for one of those rare occasions where donutsam doesn’t finish his dish. I’d totally recommend sticking to their Flemington store, which still has some lustre in my books despite this experience.

5/10

Chef Lagenda Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Gelato Messina, Richmond

What beats having the best gelato in town? Having the best gelato in town in bed. To accompany a lazy night in we popped out for a takeaway tub of 0.5L from a nearby Gelato Messina. The packaging (in a foam box, followed by a cardboard holder) seems adequate for keeping the gelato icy cold and it got home frosty enough. I did a quick blast in the freezer for a little bit which probably helped a little.

In the box you get a choice of three flavours and I directed them towards the coconut and lychee, salted caramel with white chocolate and one of their seasonal flavours in the key lime pie. Ratings of the individual flavours ended up being the usual expectations. Salted caramel was divinely amazing, the lychee and coconut was decently refreshing but we didn’t really care so much for the other one. It was a bit all over the place flavour-wise, the other two were solid.

8/10

Gelato Messina Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

IKEA Restaurant & Cafe, Richmond

It took me about four trips to realise IKEA even had a foodcourt. New Zealand sadly has no IKEA stores so the concept of a flatpack DIY furniture and homeware store is already overwhelming. And now you can eat there too? The meatballs are apparently the most popular item on the menu here, so that’s what I went for.

ikea.pngIt’s decent and assume it tastes the same all over given they are probably using the same ingredients (which you can also buy!). The balls taste borderline meat-like and the mash is fluffy and potato-tasting. There’s also chips option, but that’s a bit basic bitch. I dunno how I feel about the lingonberry jam, I tend to avoid overly sweet notes in my savoury meals.

On subsequent visits (since I seem to frequent a bit) I’ve tried the cinnamon bun and some of their tarts. The buns are good if you time it perfectly (i.e. just out of the oven) otherwise it’s all a bit average. Drinks are refillable which is nice.

7/10

IKEA Restaurant & Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Grill’d, Richmond

I’ve made some pretty good progress working my way through the Grill’d menu this year and I checked out the Mighty Melbourne burger at their Richmond branch. A few guys from work raved that it was the biggest burger here in their most blokey tone, so I had some expectations she was gonna be a stunner.

The Mighty Melbourne comes with a beef patty, cheese, bacon, egg, beetroot, salad, relish and herbed mayo. Nothing too out of the ordinary really. It was a clean to eat burger and I enjoyed it mostly, good all around ingredients slightly bland if anything. Chips are as good as always with my addiction to the herbed salt from Grill’d continuing.

7/10

Grill'd Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato