The Very Very Hungry Caterpillar

YES, this is yet another Melbourne food blog!

Review: Square and Compass (Melbourne, VIC)

222 Clarendon Street
East Melbourne VIC 3002
+61 3 9416 4914

East Melbourne may be home to some of Melbourne’s most gorgeous and expensive houses but when it comes to dining options, it’s not a gastronomical destination. No, the leafy residential streets of East Melbourne was where you’d typically go if you’re there to visit someone at one of its many hospitals or if you’re too tight to pay for parking at the MCG.

A few months ago, Square and Compass opened to cater to East Melbourne’s hospital workers wanting something more substantial than a feed at Hudson’s Coffee or Maccas. It’s also done well to get plenty of Melbourne’s brunch set through its doors too. And while I’m definitely not part of Melbourne’s brunch set, its location was a convenient one for me the morning I was due to catch up with my old friend Jen whom I hadn’t seen in years.

Much needed morning coffees ($4 a pop)

Much needed morning coffees ($4 a pop)

I took my first sip of Melbourne coffee for what seemed like a lifetime and a half, sighing with happiness. Square and Compass uses Seven Seeds blend for its espresso coffees; a strong and robust drop with a hint of mellow caramel notes was just the thing I needed at 8am on a cold Saturday morning after a big night out.

Crunchy peanut butter on toast ($13)

Crunchy peanut butter on toast ($13)

I’m not one to order stuff like toast, muesli or eggs and bacon when I’m out because puh-lease, I can make those things at home. However, I got sucked into the following description on the menu:

‘Crunchy peanut butter, heirloom tomatoes and salt and pepper peanuts on toast (trust us)’

In hindsight, I did feel a bit ripped off for ordering something so blatantly simple. On the other hand though, I could not have imagined that such a combination would taste so good and Jen agreed with me. I loved the gorgeous contrast between the creamy, crunchy peanut butter against the sweet, juicy tomatoes. The whole thing reminded me of something my friend Susie once said about modern art: ‘A: I could have painted that. B: But you didn’t.’

Pulled pork jaffle ($14)

Pulled pork jaffle ($14)

Jen had the pulled pork jaffle which came with apple sauce on the side. The pork on its own was a bit too sweet for my liking but thankfully a bit of Monterey Jack cheese sorted it out.

Since our visit, Square and Compass has added more items to their menu – I like the sound of the wholemeal carrot cake waffles and chia pudding with sesame snaps. I’m not sure about the Saigon roll (pickled carrots, red onion sambal, fried egg and Laughing Cow cheese), though I can appreciate what the kitchen was trying to do. In saying that, I do like that Square and Compass tries to be original with their dishes rather than play it safe with boring smashed avocado, $5 bacon and Bircher muesli options. It’s the sort of stuff that is likely to make me want to go back – that, plus speedy and friendly service and a warm environment in which weekend brunchers can chill without feeling the need to rush out.

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Oh, and Doughboy donuts on the counter too!

Review: Juicy Bao (Melbourne, VIC)

178 Little Bourke Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9041 7009

When Melbourne’s first Din Tai Fung restaurant opened a few months ago, the queues snaking up to the Emporium restaurant were insane. You’d think this was the first ever dumpling restaurant in Melbourne or something. 45 minutes just for the privilege of sitting down in the restaurant and eating probably the world’s most famous xiaolongbao? Yeah, nah.

Sure, I love my dumplings as much as the next human being but this was a line that I’m not willing to cross, especially given how pricey my DTF experience in Sydney was some years ago. Luckily, this is Melbourne which means that there’s plenty of other dumpling options in the city – and most of them are within walking distance of DTF. Like Juicy Bao, for example. I had never even heard of this place but during my last trip to Melbourne, my friend Sam alerted me to this place and suggested we have a late lunch there. They did dumplings, they did it cheap and chances are you didn’t have to wait ages.

Sold.

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We took the liberty of ordering several shared dishes.

Shanghai fried noodles ($9.80)

Shanghai fried noodles ($9.80)

The Shanghai noodles were excellent; I couldn’t stop slurping on the slippery fat wheat noodles, gorgeously coated with soy and oil, tinted with the slightest hint of sweetness. They were also generous with the mushrooms, greens and pork whereas many other places tend to be stingy on dishing those all important ingredients out.

Pork and prawn wontons in peanut, chilli and spicy sauce (15 for $9.80)

Pork and prawn wontons in peanut, chilli and spicy sauce (15 for $9.80)

Sam insisted I try their peanut butter pork and prawn wontons. They were a lot like the ones served at Shanghai Street; I can never get enough of the odd yet delicious combination of creamy peanut butter and unctuous chilli oil. I do prefer the ones at Shanghai Street though – the wontons there just seemed to have more texture and flavour.

Pork xiao long bao (8 for $10.80)

Pork xiao long bao (8 for $10.80)

Finally, we had to order a basket of their namesake xiao long bao. The skins may not have been as delicately silky as the ones that cover Hu Tong’s coveted XLBs but I loved the more robust flavours in the filling here. Those who prefer a sweeter XLB broth will also give these a thumbs up.

Juicy Bao may not have DTF’s accolades or the polished décor (and menu) that Hu Tong has. Hell, their name is borderline dirty. But if you’re after a no-nonsense dumpling feast that won’t break the bank and disappoint your tastebuds, then go here.

Juicy Bao Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Review: Three Red Stripes (Melbourne, VIC)

985 Doncaster Road
Doncaster East VIC 3109
+61 3 9841 8978

Back in Melbourne, I’m used to travelling across town just to get my Vietnamese fix. To me, taking a bus and then a train to go to Footscray for (imo) Melbourne’s best banh mi and pho was as normal as brushing my teeth twice a day. An efficient use of my time? Probably not. Worth it though? Hell, yes. These days though, I don’t have enough time in the day to spend two hours on the road just for 20 minutes of pho heaven. So when I heard that a Vietnamese restaurant was opening just 5 minutes from my house, you can imagine how excited I got.

In saying that, it took me an entire year to finally visit Three Red Stripes. Yes, a year. To be fair though, moving two states probably had something to do with it. But anyway. My visit comprised of a Sunday lunch with family – and by ‘family, I meant my parents, my siblings, two cousins, my aunty and husband, my cousin’s fiancé as well as his aunty and her husband. All in all, it was a large party.

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Traditional Vietnamese coffee ($4)

Traditional Vietnamese coffee ($4)

I needed a bit of coffee to wake me up and a hot condensed milk-laced Vietnamese coffee did the trick.

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We ordered a nice selection of your typical Vietnamese dishes, ranging from pho (beef and chicken) to rice dishes. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to sample many other dishes but judging by the resounding nods all over the table, I think we can assume that most dishes here pass the taste test.

Prawn spring rolls ($9)

Prawn spring rolls ($9)

My side of the table shared some fried prawn spring rolls; crispy and hot, they were a solid effort. I would have preferred a bit more prawn in my filling but then again, I’ve sort of come to expect scant flings in spring rolls when dining out anyway.

Bun bo hue ($11.50)

Bun bo hue ($11.50)

I decided to forgo the pho that my fellow dining buddies ordered, choosing the BBH instead. Three Red Stripes did a great version – the lemongrass and chilli ratio was spot on, and they were generous with the beef. There was also no sign of the block of pig’s blood jelly that you see in most BBH speciality restaurants, something that purists would probably not be thrilled with. As someone who isn’t a fan of pig’s blood jelly, however, I didn’t care. I wouldn’t go as far to say that this is the best BBH in Melbourne – it was a bit ‘clean’ and ‘too eastern suburb-y for me, where was the grittiness?! – but it’s good enough for Donny East.

Com tam ($12.50)

Com tam ($12.50)

My mother had the broken rice, another solid dish that ticked all the boxes, right down to the beautifully pickled carrots.

While I still prefer Footscray for its more ‘authentic’ Vietnamese food, Three Red Stripes is a much welcome addition to the Doncaster East food scene. We’re very lucky to have a decent splattering of Cantonese, Malaysian and Indian eateries serving authentic cuisine but we had been missing excellent Vietnamese restaurants for quite some time. Definitely one to go back to if you can’t be bothered driving to Richmond, Footscray or Springvale for a taste of Vietnam.

Three Red Stripes Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Review: Ayam Penyet Ria (Melbourne, VIC)

248 Clarendon Street
South Melbourne VIC 3205
+61 3 9077 2947
http://www.ayampenyetriaindonesian.com.au/

Smashed avocados? Puh-lease, that’s so five years ago. Let’s talk about ayam penyet, an East Javanese dish that literally translates to smashed chicken. Don’t worry, the actual dish isn’t as violent as it initially sounds – it’s essentially a piece of fried chicken (usually a Maryland) that’s been smashed with a pestle, then served with a combination of sambal, cucumber, fried tofu, tempeh and white rice.

It’s the signature dish at Ayam Penyet Ria, in South Melbourne where Indonesian families and university students congregate for a hint of home-cooked goodness. Don’t feel like chicken? You can also select from the likes of terong penyet (smashed eggplant) and empal penyet (smashed beef), just to name a few of the other proteins on their menu.

Empal penyet ($12)

Empal penyet ($12)

For whatever reason, I didn’t feel like chicken that day so I went for the beef. ‘Empal’ refers to a dish of twice-cooked beef shank, a Sundanese dish. The beef is boiled to medium well, then smashed with a pestle to loosen the fibres up before being soaked in a sweet and aromatic mixture of spices, lemongrass, galangal, daun salam (Indonesian bay leaf) and coconut milk, then fried.

A plate of empal penyet is served the same way an ayam penyet is served: fried tofu, tempeh, rice, sambal and cucumbers, though I wish they gave us more than just one slice of cucumber. I do like my greens, you know. It’s a generous serving size that can keep two people happy (in this case, my mum and myself) or a hungry Indonesian student who’s just finished a heavy game of badminton and is looking to carb-load (there were half a dozen of those that night).

Gado-gado ($9)

Gado-gado ($9)

Of course, Ayam Penyet Ria also serves other Indonesian dishes such as gado-gado and soto ayam (Indonesian turmeric noodle soup). I felt like a bit of gado-gado so we also shared a plate. The gado-gado here is also of a generous size with a decent amount of tofu, tempeh, boiled egg pieces and cooked vegetables forming an all-vegetarian base, with a smattering of bitternut and prawn crackers for texture. I was also glad that they went easy on the peanut dressing – most places here tend to overdo it, therefore bogging down the dish. More does not necessarily mean better!

I’ll admit that ayam penyet is not my favourite Indonesian dish but when the craving does strike, I’m glad I can rely on Ayam Penyet Ria for my delicious authentic home-style protein fix.

Ayam Penyet RIA Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Review: Menya Sandaime (Melbourne, VIC)

225 Russell Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9654 0989

When I heard that a 24-hour ramen restaurant was opening in my fair hometown of Melbourne, I clapped my hands with glee. I love ramen and almost anything that’s open all around the clock so I knew this place was going to be one of the first places I planned to visit on my next trip down south.

The eatery is called Menya Sandaime and it happens to be part of a global Korean-based franchise of ramen restaurants. Melbourne is its first foray into the Australian market and given that Melbourne’s ramen scene, to date, had been lacking, we welcomed Menya Sandaime with open arms and hungry stomachs.

I walked into the restaurant just before 11:30am on a Monday; it wasn’t terribly busy so I was able to be seated immediately. The service was efficient – I only had to wait a few minutes before I received my steaming bowl of ramen.

Menya Sandaime ramen ($11.80)

Menya Sandaime ramen ($11.80)

I ordered the basic ramen, which the menu vaguely described as ‘not your typical Japanese ramen.’ I’m not exactly sure what set this particular ramen apart from the other tonkotsu ramens around except for a piece of blanched bok choy. That said, who on earth puts bok choy in ramen???

wp1I was pretty disappointed with my ramen. For starters, the bok choy was enough to destroy any claims of authenticity. Secondly, the egg was more hardboiled than gooey (a no-no if you’re a ramen purist). Thirdly, the broth was very salty and one-dimensional, with no depth and no richness even the thin layer of fatty particles floating on top of the broth. Even a bowl of instant Mi Goreng noodles had more character than this!

In a way, I can understand that it’s a bit unfair to expect food coming out of a 24-hour establishment to be top notch. In saying that, I did expect a bit more from this highly anticipated ramen haunt than this! I guess one good thing about Menya Sandaime is that Melbourne now has more options for 3am revellers on the way home from the clubs. After all, a bowl of soup noodles is a better option than a McD’s burger or greasy souvlaki from Stalactites.

Menya Sandaime Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tipo 00 (Melbourne, VIC)

361 Little Bourke Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9942 3946
http://www.tipo00.com.au/

Whenever I’m back in Melbourne, one thing I enjoy doing is checking out restaurants that have opened up during my absence. Refined Italian casual eatery Tipo 00 was one such place I went to on my last visit, before I was to disappear from the city for a few days for a spot of wilderness, hiking and wine with old friends.

Situated on the outdoor store end of Little Bourke Street, Tipo 00 has already etched an impressive following after only a month of operation. I can see why though; it’s an intimate polished space with a seasonal menu of delicious pasta, pasta and more pasta (and a couple of meaty mains but let’s face it, you’re here for the pasta). As for the team, they’re from some of Melbourne’s best names such as St Crispin, Vue de Monde, Merchant and Scusa Mi.

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Arriving just before the lunch crowd descended onto the 40-seater restaurant, I took my post by the window and ordered my food. Once my order was taken, I was presented with my wine (a delightfully aromatic Bardolino) and a complimentary warm focaccia slice drizzled with olive oil and paired with a soft pillowy scoop of ricotta.

Pappardelle with braised rabbit, marjoram and hazelnut ($27)

Pappardelle with braised rabbit, marjoram and hazelnut ($27)

Goah, this has got to be the most awkward pasta shot ever. I could have sworn I had a better photo in my phone but I don’t. Shrugs.

Anyway, the hardest choice you’ll ever make at Tipo 00 is what pasta to order. There’s their famous squid ink taglioni with bottarga that’s currently making the rounds on Instagram, while my neighbour’s black truffle risotto seduced with its sexy aroma. In the end, I chose the braised rabbit pappardelle because hey, Queensland.

It was the most wonderful plate of pasta I’ve had in a very long time. The handmade ribbons of carby goodness were silky smooth with the perfect amount of firmness to the bite, while the sauce was rich, earthy and flavoursome.

Tipomisu ($14)

Tipomisu ($14)

The pasta itself was enough to keep my tummy full until dinnertime but I couldn’t help but order dessert. In particular, I wanted to try Tipo 00’s famous tipomisu, their spin on an Italian classic.

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I’m not normally a big tiramisu eater (too much chocolate, too much richness, bleh) but this one really took the cake (pardon the intentional pun). Hyptonised, I watched the waitress pour the chocolate sauce all over the dessert before I eagerly dug in. The tipomisu was fantastic; unlike most tiramisus, all the flavours – chocolate, coffee and mascarpone – had equal weighting and none overpowered the other. It also wasn’t terribly sweet, thank goodness.

Tipo 00 is the sort of place that makes you fall in love with Melbourne over again – that is, if the coffee and hot guys in woollen suits haven’t done so already. It’s elegant, it’s down-to-earth and there’s a lot of carb-loaded substance behind that modern Italo-Melbourne style. I’m definitely getting the black truffle risotto next winter.

Tipo 00 Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Review: Easy Street Diner (Gold Coast, QLD)

12/2563 Gold Coast Highway
Mermaid Beach QLD 4218
+61 7 5554 6542
http://easystreetdiner.com/

I get the sense that the easiest (legal) way to make money in Gold Coast is to open up a burger place. Seriously, they’re everywhere now – and quite frankly, it’s getting to the point of mass saturation. But when your non-foodie friend asks you to do dinner with him, going to the GC’s newest burger joint is a far better option than walking into the nearest surf life saving club or pub in the ‘burbs.

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Easy Street Diner is the latest ‘cool’ joint to grace the Goldie Highway. Several years ago, this long stretch of road used to be the last place you’d grab a meal at but it’s now home to some hip and happenin’ eateries. Easy Street Diner happens to be one of them. They haven’t really advertised much but if you think you can stroll in at 6pm on a Sunday evening and be seated immediately, you’d be wrong. Thanks to the power of Instagram and the all too powerful #burgers hashtag, this place was pumping when we rocked up. Luckily though, the turnover is quite quick so Adam and I were able to score two seats at the bar.

Easy Street Tonic ($8)

Easy Street Tonic ($8)

The cocktails here are cheap and simple. Apple juice and whisky were the only two ingredients in my Easy Street Tonic. If you want bells, whistle and smoked salt dust with shaved bits of gold truffle in your cocktail, this place isn’t for you.

Royale with cheese ($12)

Royale with cheese ($12)

Adam ordered the royale with cheese, an item which seems to appear on every second burger joint’s menu. It’s like, wow, you are paying tribute to Pulp Fiction – do you want a gold star for that? Sarcasm aside, Adam said it was a nice enough burger… ‘kind of like a Big Mac, but better.’

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What I liked about the presentation was that all the salad items were placed on one side so you can choose what goes into it. Being a typical boy, Adam initially picked up his burger with both hands without chucking anything into it – but then quickly added the lettuce leaves when he saw my glare. It was me who ended up eating the tomato and pickles. Bloody hell.

Chick n waffles ($22)

Chick n waffles ($22)

I decided to be different by ordering the chicken and waffles. The waffle base was beautifully crispy without being too heavy, while the chicken tenders were gloriously crunchy, light and tasty – think KFC, narrow the spice count down a bit, use better chicken meat and add a hundred times the crunch. Accompanying my dish was a bit of whipped butter and maple syrup to tie everything together. Oh yeah.

Loaded fries ($14)

Loaded fries ($14)

I probably would have been happy just eating my chicken and waffles but Adam insisted we order the loaded fries. I was reluctant after ordering a similar dish in Sydney’s Hartsyard and not being too impressed with it but hey, if I was able to make Adam eat lettuce with his burger then he can twist my arm into ordering these bloody fries.

I shouldn’t have whinged so much – they were delicious. While the Hartsyard version was soggy, gluggy and just unpleasant to eat, these were more than decent. The shoestring fries remained crispy, despite being drenched in an omg-wtf-are-you-crazy dressing of pork belly bits, bacon, cheese and creamy special sauce. While the dressing isn’t going to give anyone abs, it wasn’t terribly heavy and we were able to polish the whole thing off without feeling gross.

While Adam isn’t keen to go back to Easy Street Diner in a hurry (he argued that it was too far from his house and Boom Boom Burger Bar, while not AS good, was cheaper), I enjoyed our dinner. A lively atmosphere, fast-paced service, cocktails for less than a tenner and probably some of the best fried chicken you can get on the ‘Coast, what more can you want?

Click to add a blog post for Easy Street Diner on Zomato

Review: Burleigh Social (Gold Coast, QLD)

2 Hibiscus Haven
Burleigh Heads QLD 4220
+61 421 460 739

All things considered, I’m pretty lucky to be living smack bang in the middle of Gold Coast. I live within five minutes of Muso Ramen, Paddock Bakery and Bac to Nam, all excellent places to grab a feed. Another place I can add to this list of decent local hangouts is Burleigh Social.

When my old boss and her husband decided to escape Melbourne’s horrid winter temperatures by coming up to Goldie, my original plan was to take them to Paddock. Unfortunately, Paddock was stupidly busy when we drove by just after 1pm on a Wednesday afternoon. ‘Do people here not work?!’ I grumbled as we made a group decision to venture elsewhere; luckily, Burleigh Social was just down the block. It wasn’t my first choice but I had heard enough good things to pique my curiosity and plus, it wasn’t busy.

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Burleigh Social was started by a group of mates who worked in the airline industry and two of them were pilots – being a bit of an aviation geek with a bit of a thing for pilots, this joint was already getting thumbs up from me. The joint is a tin shed at the back of the site that was once occupied by Feather and Docks. Fitted out with an open kitchen, coffee bar and alfresco seating options at the front, Burleigh Social is a lovely, relaxing space to unwind and, um, be social.

Granola cup

Granola cup

Although I was tempted by the hot options on the menu (burgers, croissants and the like), I decided to be good by ordering a granola cup with my coffee. I drink macchiatos these days but I had cravings for a milk coffee, so I had a latte. Made with Allpress beans, my latte went down a silky, smooth treat.

Unfortunately, my granola took quite some time to arrive. A storm was passing through so the power went out for 10 minutes or so. While all this was going on, the kitchen somehow forgot about my order (my companions both had their fruit salads and croissants). After a quick follow up with the kitchen, my granola did arrive in a matter of minutes with an apology.

I’m not one to normally order granolas when eating out (I make my own quick five minute version at home with lots of honey and butter), but Burleigh Social’s version was pretty damn good. It was toasty, nutty with a lovely hint of butter and not overly sweet. Paired with natural yoghurt and fresh Queensland strawberries (gotta love Queensland winters), it went down a treat.

At just after 2pm, we got the firm but polite nudge to leave the premises as they were packing up for the day. Despite the fact that they forgot my order, it was a lovely lunch. While I can’t see myself coming here every week, it’s definitely one to add to my Gold Coast café list for those odd mornings when I need to leave the home office to recharge with yummy wholesome food and a lovely coffee or two.

Review: Boom Boom Burger Bar (Gold Coast, QLD)

7-9 Burra Street
Chevron Island QLD 4217
+61 7 5538 3718
http://www.boomboomburgers.com.au/

My friend Adam lives on Chevron Island, just west of Surfers Paradise. It’s a bit of a strange place; there’s a main drag that tries to be buzzing and hip like Surfers, yet it’s full of mediocre bars, takeaway eateries and late night Asian massages. In other words, it’s not known for excellent dining options. But when a workmate told me of this new burger place that just opened up, Adam and I decided to give it a go. Plus, it had a pretty quirky name: Boom Boom Burger Bar.

We rocked up early on a Sunday evening, thinking that it’d be quiet and that’d we’d snap up a table quickly. WRONG. The place was packed with happy families and couples while a guy with a guitar supplied the live music. There were only a couple of empty tables so Adam and I were lucky to arrive when we did or we would have had to face a bit of a wait.

Smoking hot ($15)

Smoking hot ($15)

I ordered Boom Boom’s signature burger, the Smoking Hot. It was presented under a smoke-filled dome and when the dome was flitted, we were supposed to ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ as the smoke wafted out. It was a bit of fancy schmancy stuff, a nod to owner Meyjitte Boughenout’s Absynthe days, that was designed to make the casual dining experience more memorable.

Unfortunately, the waitress kind of spoiled this ‘boom boom’ experience for me. Naturally, I was like ‘give me a sec, let me take a photo!’ before she lifted the dome. To my annoyance, she sighed and rolled her eyes. Look, I get it. I was definitely not the first person to want to take photos of the above and as someone who serves hundreds of this, I’m well aware that she’d be over it by now. But still, not need for that attitude!

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The burger itself was nice enough. The 150-day old aged beef was gently smoked to give it a bit of a lift. It was served with mushrooms, spinach, cheddar and ‘secret sauce’ (which tasted almost like a Big Mac sauce but with a hint of mustard).

They also chucked in cucumbers in the burger. No, not pickles. CUCUMBERS. They were soggy and tasteless; I’m not sure why they bothered, but it did damper what could have been a better-than-decent burger.

Meanwhile, Adam had the Boom Boom Bang, their basic $10 burger comprising of wagyu beef, beetroot, caramelised red onion, cheese and lettuce plus homemade tomato sauce. He polished it in a matter of half-minutes and said that he’d come back to get this burger if he felt like takeaway so it had to be better than mine.

Hand cut chips ($5)

Hand cut chips ($5)

I was also underwhelmed by their chips. They were super thick, which meant that they were soft on the edges but also a tad hard inside. They were also not the least bit crispy and they were definitely not golden.

Onion rings ($5)

Onion rings ($5)

Ditto the onion rings. The batter was so thick that Adam and I ended up playing a frustrating game of ‘where are the onions?’ – we left the rings mostly untouched.

I didn’t have the best meal here (half because of the food and half because of the waitress), however Adam said that he’d come back again. I guess if I was living just around the corner from Boom Boom, I’d come back when I’m craving a burger and can’t be bothered cooking. And I guess if I happened to be chillin’ at Adam’s place that afternoon or evening and if he insisted on going to Boom Boom, I’d tag along. But for me to make the 10-15 minute drive from my end of the ‘Coast? Hm, probably not.

Review: Globe Café (Gold Coast, QLD)

30 James Street
Burleigh Heads QLD 4220
+61 7 5520 0230

On sunny mornings, I like to take my laptop out and find a café to work in. Sometimes it’s nice to grab a window seat and sip a well-brewed cup of coffee (i.e. one that’s not made by me) and watch the world go by in between churning out work and faffing away on social media.

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When in Burleigh Heads, I normally duck into Quest. Introduced to me by one of my first Gold Coast friends Yanni, Quest is one of my favourite places to enjoy a milk coffee on the ‘Coast. Unfortunately, it’s also a favourite of many coffee-loving Gold Coast folk so mornings are often super busy. Plus, there is limited seating so if you rock up between 8:30 and 11 in the morning, you’re usually forced to take away.

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Just a few doors down on James Street though is Globe Café. If you’re in search of a place to plonk your laptop by the open window down for an hour or two, this would be it. On a Friday morning, it attracts a steady stream of patrons and although it’s busy, it’s not terribly noisy.

Latte

Latte

When I used to live in Melbourne, I was a frequent visitor to Di Bella Roasting Warehouse in North Melbourne. I’m not particularly a brunch person per se but they did a decent breakfast and their lattes were always reliably good. I’ve yet to try a coffee from Di Bella Coffee outside of this establishment (probably due to my bad experiences with Campos coffees outside of Campos flagship cafés – Trunk, I’m looking at you) so this was my first time. I need not have worried though – my latte was rich, nutty and velvety, very much like the ones I enjoyed at the Melbourne café.

Banana bread board

Banana bread board

Because I wasn’t terribly hungry, I ordered a banana bread to go with my coffee. Perhaps a bit astonishingly, it arrived on a board with all these bells and whistles. To be fair, it was kind of my fault. When I asked the lady at the counter for a banana bread, she then asked, ‘On the board?’ to which I absentmindedly said, ‘Yeah, sure.’ I didn’t know that I was being given an option to have it on its own.

So anyway, the bread itself was lovely – it was warm, light and not terribly sweet (always a plus in my books). The hazelnut butter that came with it actually complemented the bread quite nicely, giving it a bit of a salty nutty kick. It was just the presentation that threw me off. Planks of wood? Yawn. Lots of icing sugar everywhere? What on earth for? And yeah sure, berries and stewed pears are nice but this was perhaps trying a bit too hard.

I also ordered a chicken schnitzel wrap to take away for lunch. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo of it but it was a little wrap that contained chicken schnitzel pieces, maybe a pinch of shredded cheese, spinach, walnuts, avocado and a LOT of sweet chilli sauce. At $10, I thought they were a bit stint on the fillings – not so much the chicken but I did expect more than an index finger-sized slice of avocado, for example. It didn’t taste bad, but a little less sweet chilli sauce would have been fab.

Although I wouldn’t come back for the food, I think Globe is a nice place to chill for an hour or so. You get the sun streaming through in the morning and the beach is just a short walk away. The service is also friendly, quick and efficient and I definitely can’t fault the coffee. I’ll definitely use Globe as my coffee back-up option if I can get a seat at Quest (which, let’s face it, is most of the time).