Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Who would've thought that there would be a place called MEATBALL.

Went to this place after spending a few minutes (minutes) at the Noodle Night Market in Alexandra Gardens last month and  it was really after coming to the conclusion that we weren't going to wait half an hour to eat dumplings or Pho. Honestly. Why?

The name really says it all people. They do meatballs. And damn, do they do them well. I really liked this place, it was fairly casual and cheap. Tried a few sliders, and had a main with a pesto sauce. You really want some greens with all that meat. Seriously, otherwise it's just too much. Too much of a good thing will always still be too much.

Totally love it. 

Meatball & Wine Bar
135 Flinders Lane
Meatball & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Adriano Zumbo - South Yarra

The damn HYPE around this place. The stories of fools queuing up before the crack of dawn and/or driving down from the Victorian border for this place. I'd be doing hot yoga at dawn, not queuing up for macarons.

Well the fit out is in a word, eccentric. I don't see the logic, or theme, or anything really. To me it's just some random shit that is meant to make you to take notice. Or am I that ignorant to not know what it's alluding to? In which case, it worked. You sure do take notice, of the mirrored walls and candied chairs. You'd expect a stratospheric experience at this place given the ridiculous hype, which in all fairness is what drew me to visit in their first week when they had opened ,and it was fairly early in the morning so only a few petit gateaux and tarts were available.

Nevertheless, I tried a croissant, a few macarons, a carrot cake and a lemon meringue.The croissant was fine, no better or worse than some of the artisan croissants available in Melbourne but it was only $3, so quite cheap in my opinion. The macarons were also good, but lets face it, macarons are dying a slow and miserable death. Someone should just put them out of their misery.

Now onto the cakes. The carrot cake and lemon meringue were a disappointment. The carrot cake was a deconstructed carrot cake, with cream cheese mousse of some sort, chocolate disk, dehydrated carrots and a few crumbs of actual carrot cake.The cake was impossible to eat because a) they didn't give me any take away cutlery, and b) the chocolate disk was impenetrable without causing the mousse to collapse out side ways.  Either the chocolate disk was too thick (which is probably the case), or the mousse was too soft. Generally, it was nothing spectacular. Perhaps the carrot cake should have been well, the primary focus, and not a decor.

Now the lemon meringue. I can make a mean lemon meringue, baked, curd, or whatever. I know lemon meringue. Big call? Yes, but that's FACT. Their take on it was a biscuit base, with a dome and some gel, probably a gellan gel or something, because it seemed to "flow" without being too liquid. Overall It was sickly sweet (and I mean sickly sweet). In fact, I couldn't even finish it. How can you screw up a lemon meringue?! Anything with lemon needs to be tart, with a balance of sweetness. Not overpoweringly sweet. Even Pierre Herme's lemon cream which is pretty much lemon flavoured butter still has a tartness to it.

On my second visit their orange petit gateaux also collapsed as soon as I got into the car....which was parked outside. Nice to look at, but what's good a nice looking petit gateaux that can't even survive a walk to the car? I may as well make a mousse and eat it from the bowl. No velvet spray required. 

Despite being underwhelmed by the structure and taste profile of the cakes, they are very very well finished. The glazing is flawless, and decors unique (petit gateaux). The entremets aren't as impressive.

But I probably won't be going back when we have so many other options in Melbourne.

Adriano Zumbo
12-14 Claremont St, South Yarra
Adriano Zumbo Patisserie on Urbanspoon

The Gelato Craze.

It's only been...what?...4 months since my last post?? I suppose it's fitting that I spend my Saturday night catching up. I suppose shit just got in the way.

I don't know if it's just me or what, but when did gelato suddenly become a thing? With places playing with liquid nitrogen, dextrose, maltodextrin and shit like that, it seems like gelato has definitely become something more than "ice cream". Because shit just got technical!

Firstly, N2 Extreme in Fitzroy. It is definitely a great fitout from the freestyle blackboard right down to the fake grass. Texturally, the ice cream is pretty good. If you've ever made ice cream ,  you would know that one of the key goals is to freeze the base as quickly as possible to prevent large ice crystals from forming and by using liquid nitrogen which is at -196°C, it happens pretty damn fast. And lets face it, N2 Extreme is all about the novelty and drama of watching kids throw around liquid nitrogen like it was liquid helium!! (ha ha, you get it?)

The ice cream list on offer isn't massive, and in my opinion could be more sophisticated given the limited range as not all the flavours and components work. For example, cheesecake should be banned from being made into ice cream. Seriously. Banned. And, a liquid ganache filled in a syringe, will solidify if you stick it into the ice cream. It will. Trust me. It will After trying it a few times, I've come to the conclusion that I'm generally ambivalent to the place. It is definitely worth a visit or in my case a re-visit, but only if I was nearby getting Naked for Satan or something.

Gelato Messina Fitzroy.
I'll be the first to admit, I don't know that much about ice cream. Sure I have an ice cream maker than I used...12 months ago but I had to ask what is the difference between gelato and ice cream was so..I lose quite a bit of credibility there. And yes, this is despite buying the Angelo Corvitto book "Los Secretos de Helado, El Helado sin secretos" which is arguably THE technical book on artisan ice cream which I SWORE I would use.........

Anyway, I digress. Back to Gelato Messina. Fuck, it was seriously good gelato. That's really all I have to say. Had the Cremino, Pistachio, Gin and Tonic and some other flavour. I am shaking just from a) the sugar hit, and b) remembering how good the gelato was. And the good thing? you don't have to wait for them to churn on the spot, and honestly, it was texturally just as good.

Get there NOW.


N2 Extreme Gelato
329 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
N2 Extreme Gelato on Urbanspoon

Gelato Messina
237 Smith Street, Fitzroy
Gelato Messina Fitzroy on Urbanspoon