Heavenly Surroundings

God’s Kitchen
53 Barkly Street Mornington

(Visited April ’16)

We called ahead on night 2 of our Mount Martha stay to find out which restaurant would be best suited for us to dine at with baby girl. We booked with the kitchen of the Gods, after hearing they were kid-friendly. Loud, we were advised, with the commencement of the nearby band by a certain time, but definitely friendly.

Loud, did you say? Loud enough to drown out any of her complaints? We almost high-tailed it over to the bar/restaurant, a grasshopper’s jump away from the Main street.

Luckily we had booked. The round, dome-shaped conservatory-type room we were led to wasn’t huge, with other tables already full and our table with high-chair waiting. God’s Kitchen is based around a heritage-listed church from back in the 1800s, the church itself used as the space for live music by local musicians, with diners able to eat casually at the garden bar, the conservatory type room with the Bohemian-looking chandelier, or at the front courtyard. It was already loud as we arrived, so we felt immediately at ease.

I soon ordered a glass of Stonier Pinot Noir from the Peninsula itself, while Hubbie ordered a sweet beer, off tap.

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We had to call for service because we were forgotten amongst the rush of it all, but because the waitress was so nice about it she was immediately forgiven.

We got some Prawn and Ginger Gyoza with Ponzu to share, and even though I couldn’t taste much of the ginger they were still really good.

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Baby girl’s meal came before ours as requested, and even though crap photo in the dark quality doesn’t show much of it (what you get from dim lighting and simple camera phone), she really did LOVE her Pasta. We were amazed that even though she wore a pale pink top, it remained untouched with sauce stains the entire time… until the last 2 minutes of her meal of course.

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She happily slurped it up.

Soon our mains arrived: my Pumpkin and Chickpeas Curry alongside rice and warm flatbread

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And Hubbie’s Grass-fed Rib Eye steak from Gippsland, atop mash and greens

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Mine was definitely a comforting dish, and was pleasing, however it just felt like a carb-fest. I would have appreciated some tzatziki or yoghurt to offset all the warm flavours and heavy textures. I’m a carb girl, through and through. But it was just a bit imbalanced on the plate.

Hubbie enjoyed his steak, saying it was cooked to his liking, and the accompanying sides were just right. He also enjoyed pecking at my carbs when I was done getting overfull!

Baby girl was doing well, meaning to say we had discovered the best way to occupy her was to set up a constant stream of Wiggles on youtube via our phones, and this kept her happily entertained… which is why we were able to have this: Churros – chocolate-filled Spanish doughnuts

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These were doughy, and also, amazing. I’m not an expert on the churro, though they’re so good I should aim to be, but I had just imagined them to be crispier, whereas these were softer… maybe having the filling leads to the softer texture, whereas a traditional plain churro is crispier? Someone inform me. Otherwise, crispy/soft, they were really yum. Moorish, and really easy to eat.

It had been a great night, in comforting yet loud surrounds, right up our alley with baby girl, and we had even gotten some interesting info from our main waitress who had a distinct accent. We told her we were planning a Sea change, and she told us she had done the same from overseas but to a neighbouring suburb that she loved. It was comforting to hear and discover, and more than a coincidence we thought, that we should be served be her 🙂

Food: 7/10. Decent. Nothing to particularly rave about, but it matches the bar atmosphere.

Coffee: N/A.

Ambience: Really loud with the live music blasting from the adjoining church! Having a vocal baby girl, we loved it.

Staff: Really friendly. Both our accented waitress and another shyer waitress were terrific with us, we couldn’t have been happier with the kind and genuine service.

People: In our space there were many families, young and old dining out, whereas as you left this room to go outside through the church area, it became a typical pub scene, with heaps of teens hanging out rocking to the music. I was surprised that such a diverse group of people occupy the same space, yet somehow, it works.

Price: $120: consisting of 3 alcoholic drinks, an entrée, child’s meal, 2 mains and a dessert. Perhaps a bit much for what we received, but we’re on the PENINSULA now you see. Still slightly overpriced. My wine was $12 on its own.

Advice: Book ahead, because we’ve learnt that everything on the Peninsula gets booked out: all the locals head out on the weekend, and if you’re from out-of-town you need to compete with them to get seated!

In a nutshell: I enjoyed this restaurant due to the casual atmosphere and live music, it definitely is a fun place to be on the weekend. I’d love to try those churros again, and have some brekkie outside in the courtyard on a warm sunny day. There is no 5-star food here, but it does the job. Being the location of a former church makes it all the more picturesque. Still, it’s a heavenly location.

Gods Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Why we do what we do

Writing.

Why do we do it? We feel that we need an expressive, emotional outlet.

We have a story to tell.

We want to engage with others.

We want people to feel, how we have, when we have read a life-changing book.

We just have to. We just have to get it down, and out of our heads.

That’s some of the reasons why we write.

Have you ever questioned though, what you write?

I did. Yesterday, and quite a few times last week.

Because yesterday, I was at a funeral. It was heartbreaking. There is nothing as humbling and life prioritising, as when you are seeing somebody laid to rest, long before they are due.

Leaving a wife behind. Leaving young children behind.

Just days ago a family member of Hubbie’s recounted how her own Dad lost his Father, when he was only 10.

I remember thinking “shit. Death has been unfairly happening for centuries. It has been unfairly happening FOREVER.”

And it will continue to. UNFAIRLY. HAPPEN. FOREVER.

It’s something we can’t escape. And when faced with questions of life and death, with our subsequent inevitable mortality, and how we should spend our life, making the absolute most of it, I kept thinking of what I love doing, and how I like spending my time…

Where I put my energies, and how I am making a difference.

And that’s where the insecurities began.

Maybe I should be writing about incurable terminal illnesses. Maybe I should be promoting the lack of funding, and urging people to donate, for medical authorities to put more money into research and funding and preventative measures.

Maybe I should be exploiting the child sex trafficking trade, highlighting to the world how absolutely disgusting and soul-wrenching this inexplicable market is. Maybe I should be going to these places and trying to take the kids off the street, shaming the dealers and screaming abuse at them for all to hear, and all to see.

Maybe I should be writing about violence against women. I sure as hell have mentioned it before, but maybe I need to write a book about it. Maybe I need to track down victims and gain statements in order to name and shame the perpetrators, and expose it for the world to see, so the instigators are prevented from repeating their offences, and so that future perpetrators can gain some kind of insight into why it is NOT OKAY TO ABUSE WOMEN.

Or maybe I need to be writing about politics. I mean, Trump. Australian issues. Refugees. Supporting our own farmers and flood victims, versus supporting the unfortunate in disadvantaged countries. I mean, who should be helped? Our own, or people in other countries? Aren’t those abroad also, our own? Isn’t that our human privilege, to be able to help others less fortunate? Or do we just worry about our own backyard?

And yet, what have I been writing about? What have I been pouring all my energies into the last several years?

Why, young adult fiction. Teenage fun, teenage issues. Coming of age stuff. Also, a blog or two, about food, books, and life as we move through it.

Not very life-changing is it?

I stood there in the freezing cold yesterday, pondering all this as a man’s body was lowered into the ground. His life was over. We had seen him only months ago, and there appeared to be so much promise, so much hope for his future. He would beat the bastard disease.

But instead, now, there was nothing. Just memories and a hyphen.

Nothing makes you question life and what you do with it, quite like the death of someone. It provides a warning, an alarm bell, for all those still around to witness it.

No one knows why death happens unfairly. Is it the absence of luck? Is it fate? Is it God? Or is it something greater, or comparatively, something worse… in fact, NOTHING AT ALL?

Could it be just nothing? We’re all just a step away from death, and if we are lucky enough to avoid it all our lives, we have done well???

I don’t know. I spent my time yesterday thinking of why I do, what I do, and I came to this conclusion…

I love to do, what I do. I do it because it makes me happy. I don’t spend hours researching and analysing, trying to change the minds of the authorities and the mass media, trying to sway them to change.

Sometimes an issue will grab me, and I WILL speak out. But my writing is done for my own enjoyment. It’s my own personal brand of therapy. I have to get the words out, the thoughts that stew in me. Whether it is my personal words for my blogs, all the things I like and dislike, what I am appreciate of, and what foods I like to eat and books I like to read, I do it for ME.

If anyone else gains anything from my writings, from my insights, then that is GREAT. That is something special.

As for my fiction… that is also done for my own purposes. My own entertainment. I like the story I see in my head, and I just have to get it out. If the only person who ever reads it are my kids, and they go “Mum that was pretty cool” well, WOO HOO. That is awesome. Of course I will try over the years to try get other people to see it… but at the end of the day, if the only people who see it are me, myself and I, and even if my kids never ever read a word I write… well I don’t deny, I might be a bit sad about that. But it won’t stop me doing what I’m doing. Because what I’m doing is for me and me alone, and no one else. I will gain the satisfaction of knowing that I produced that… and I will be pretty darn happy.

I don’t do it for others. That’s the key. That’s not to say I don’t help, or want to help others or other causes, and try to make a difference elsewhere when my heart cries out for it… but what I mean is I listen to the voice within me, and answer to that voice, that need, alone.

I don’t do things to make other people happy. I do it for me, first and foremost. And when you think about it, that’s the only person in this world you have to keep happy, right? Yourself. You have to keep yourself happy, yourself enriched, because YOU are the only person YOU have to answer to. You and You alone.

And if I’m doing these things, and they’re enriching my life, and making me happy, and filling me with joy – that’s enough, isn’t it? That’s a happy and fulfilled life. Writing about things that aren’t me… what is even the point of it? Who are you doing it for? Why are you doing it for others? It just doesn’t make sense.

Note that the above applies to EVERYTHING in life. If it’s not making you happy… well then find the thing that does, and do it RIGHT NOW.

Start today. We only have one life to live, and nothing is a guarantee. A quote from the author Elizabeth Gilbert in her book Big Magic is relevant now:

“You are worthy, dear one, regardless of the outcome. You will keep making your work, regardless of the outcome. You will keep sharing your work, regardless of the outcome. You were born to create, regardless of the outcome. You will never lose trust in the creative process, even when you don’t understand the outcome.”

And that says it all.

 

25 Sure Fire Signs you are a Coffee (Addict) Enthusiast

If you feel or have experienced any of these things, I’m sorry to tell you…

  1. You spend your night thinking of where you will get your daily caffeine hit
  2. You wake up looking forward to your coffee
  3. You plan your day around coffee
  4. You will go that extra mile, despite crappy, windy, rainy, unfavourable weather, to get your favourite coffee, even if there is average-tasting coffee in half the distance
  5. You think you are some kind of coffee connoisseur, and turn your nose up if the coffee is passed to you abruptly/the barista doesn’t smile at you/your coffee order comes back with too much/not often froth/you don’t get a rock star’s welcome when you enter through the café doors…
  6. When the coffee run is up, no one ever forgets to ask you if you want to come… they know better than that. 
  7. A day with no coffee, is just a sad, wasted day
  8. Any situation can be made better with the addition of coffee. It’s a perfectly acceptable, cheaper and WAY more helpful alternative to therapy.
  9. It’s not ” have you had coffee?” it’s “how many have you had today?”
  10. You experience caffeine headaches in the absence of it… and though a milder tea may make the ache go away, the presence of the headache is almost always due to your body’s dependence on ‘the bean.’
  11. You love your weekends even more, because it’s a greater excuse for more coffee
  12. A short black at 11pm on a Saturday night is not too late for a coffee
  13. A short black at 10pm on a weeknight, is not too late for a coffee
  14. Back when you never drank coffee, the occasional times you did it would keep you awake. Now, you can fall asleep harder than any husband can, and the caffeine in your system can not do a thing.
  15. When someone tells you they feel like crap, you respond with “have you had coffee?”
  16. Your children are babycino/hot chocolate snobs
  17. You have returned coffee for ‘not meeting standards.’
  18. You excitedly share favourite haunts with other fellow coffee addicts, and then take selfies with said coffee
  19. You review coffee in some kind of forum, and probably have a Zomato account
  20. You have a coffee machine at home, and devote maintenance to it more than any other home electrical device
  21. There is always 4 types of coffee in your home
  22. You take the first sip of your coffee, and then exhale audibly
  23. Coffee pics in various locations prevail in your phone’s gallery
  24. When people tell you they don’t drink coffee, you pat their arm in pity
  25. You have nodded yes to at least 20 of these!

…You, are definitely, a coffee addict.

That coffee has you wrapped around its tiny beans. You’re a goner.

Ooh, baby baby it’s a wild (pizza) world

DOC Pizza & Mozzarella Bar Delicatessen
22 Main Street Mornington

(Visited April ’16)

It was a cold Saturday night on the Peninsula, and we had escaped there yet again for the Anzac Day Long Weekend. After walking up and down the Main street in Mornington, we decided on DOC. We had been there on a rainy afternoon YEARS ago, pre-baby days, and thought we would have a go at it again.

Back then there was like, 3 other people in the store on that rainy afternoon. That night in April, there was about 300.

Or so it felt like. The communal tables inside the Pizza & Mozzarella bar were crammed, and every other table either inside or outside had people hanging off it too. I don’t know how, but we ended up somehow on a free table outside, and though I was initially scared of the cold, the heaters above our heads were so strong that I had to take off my jacket, and my mobile on the table was kept extremely warm all night. (Warning, due to low-lighting, crappy photos follow).

Soon after sitting down, another party, a family of 3, sat at the other end of our medium-sized table. We didn’t mind, but I just prayed they wouldn’t be put off by any of baby girl’s antics. Soon enough though, she would be plenty busy.

Our waiter arrived with menus, and immediately I could read the type. He was aloof, but not try-hard, with an obvious accent, and I knew it was only a matter of time…

As we ordered I asked about the wine, and by placing my trust in his expertise he suggested I get a red ‘something,’ while Hubbie got a Menabrea

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And then he opened up. He let baby girl keep the torn paper menu she had used up already, even bringing her over a cup of pencils without asking. She proceeded to draw on the torn menu at the table with us, as well as on the floor next to us.

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We eventually received our shared meal. We thought it would be enough, but alas, we were starving. When our waiter told us it would be sufficient to share, I should have told him we’re of European descent, as he was:

Our Pizza San Daniele – San Marzano tomato, D.O.P Buffalo mozzarella, D.O.P San Daniele Prosciutto

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And the Mista – mixed leaf salad with balsamic

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I don’t know why we chose just the San Daniele. It was great, don’t get me wrong. I think the simple ingredients made me think everyone, especially baby girl would enjoy it. Also, but in one of my all time fave movies Only You, doesn’t Marisa Tomei’s character end up going to a Daniele-type Italian village as she chases after her supposed soul mate Damon Bradley? It stuck in my head. And you just don’t know with some pizza places, you order a pizza and it can barely fit on the table.

Despite how light and thin the crust was, and how tasty the evenly proportioned ingredients were on the base, within a few slices we flagged our waiter and said “get us a cap too.”

Pizza Capricciosa Nuova arrived soon after. With San Marzano tomato, mozzarella, leg ham, mushroom, artichoke and olive

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I didn’t know ‘til I’d had a few bites of that one that there was a different taste I had been unaware of. Not unpleasant, just different. The artichoke! It was interesting and definitely not unwanted, certainly a capricciosa that I will remember for future. Nuova indeed. Again the base was thin and all the ingredients were so tasty and fresh, and easily between the 3 of us we smashed both pizzas.

Even the salad was really fresh and appealing, easily consumed and not needing to be forced down like other boring salads. The balsamic really brought it together.

We were having a really great time by this stage. Hubbie had proceeded onto a Peroni continuing in the Italian spirit, my red was still swimming in my head, its bouquet immediately apparent as I had taken the first sip. Baby girl was happy, our waiter was singing as he swum from one table to the next, telling us that this was nothing and that the restaurant would peak in Summer time. How could many more people fit in the joint? He also gave baby girl plenty of attention, even going to the lengths to pick up her pencils from the floor when they fell. We hadn’t moved to the Peninsula yet, and already this place was our locale.

It was certainly an experience when I went to look for a change room for baby girl. We had ordered desserts, and suddenly, nature called. I asked a nearby waiter if there was a change room, and he pointed me in the direction. I was looking in the disabled room, and checking all corners of the ladies loos, but still nope, no change table of any kind. I went back out, holding baby girl’s hand and lugging my massive Van Chi, and spotted our waiter in the main dining room. I asked him for his help, and he was sure they had one too. He personally came with me through all the toilets, checking to see if indeed there wasn’t any as I’d suggested. He barged into the ladies, us following, and after scanning the room pointed to the bench space near the basins up front.

“Just change her there.”

I cast a doubtful look. “But people come in here, and then wash their hands…” I felt bad. I knew where he was heading, but someone could really get pissed off if I spread my nappy changing crap out and proceeded to change a nappy where women washed their hands after using the loo. People LOVE hanging shit on Mums (pardon the pun).

He shrugged. “Who cares? She’s a baby,” with a wave of his hand as if to say ‘whatever.’

I thanked him. His no-care attitude and support gave me the courage I needed. I got her stuff ready on the bench, waiting until two women who had just come into the bathroom left so I could be at peace. Then in lightning time, I changed her. No one came in. Relieved and very thankful for the waiter’s help (and encouragement), I went back to Hubbie who had started on dessert. He just couldn’t wait.

He had the Nutella calzonoino with vanilla bean ice cream, while I had the sour cherry (I’m pretty sure it was) pannacotta

Mine definitely had the sour flavour, yet I still loved the lightness and creamy texture it possessed. Hubbie’s calzone was filling yet tasty, he adored it. Really he did. But there’s Nutella, so there you go.

And baby girl loved both very much.

Our meal there finished after two lots of people had both come and gone at the end of our table. We were very full. We left happily, with lots of thoughts of when and where we would be moving there.

Now usually my review would end there. My reviews are based on my first blogging experience  – since starting my Food Reviews – at a restaurant… but seeing as we coffee-d there two mornings after, and received distinctly different service from that Saturday night, I have to note it down.

The Main Street had been closed due to the Anzac Day parade, and we happened to arrive there right after it opened post 11am, after we had checked out of our Mount Martha accommodation.

Now I will forewarn this by saying that I believe the staff at DOC that day were understaffed and not expecting the quantity of people who came into their venue once the parade had finished. They were stressed, when crowds of people started lining up for a table.

Stressed is one thing; rude is another.

The man who served us that day was not the same as our lovely waiter from two nights earlier. Once we had been seated by another stressed waiter, this rude one came along.

Woe was us.

He also had an accent (a prerequisite for a job there I think) and took our coffee orders before I went off to check out the display case of cakes at the front. I came back to be told by a very angry Hubbie that while I was gone, baby girl yelled out in a frustrated fashion (as she sometimes does) and when Hubbie looked over apologetically at the waiter, he gave Hubbie a greasie.

He totally gave him a nasty look.

I had to flag the waiter down to take our dessert order, since he wasn’t making any eye contact. He made it out to be a total disservice to have to serve us: he repeated my order of “custard doughnut and salted caramel tart” like I had a learning disability and he thought me incompetent to communicate. After that travesty he angrily walked off and I later heard him condescendingly speaking to a large group of non-Italian people behind us, who were having trouble understanding what “calzone” was. He got lucky with them, as they all laughed at each other and didn’t catch the arrogance in his tone. There was no “restraint exercised” with him (refer to the menu for an explanation). I would not be surprised, in fact I would be expecting that he did not get so lucky with other customers that day.

We got our coffee and our desserts.

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The coffee was smooth, and the desserts were ok. They were delivered by our waiter from the other night but he was so busy he just plonked them down and didn’t realise who we were. Baby girl was going off rude waiter’s vibes and being especially cranky. We were so happy to hear a baby inside the restaurant also crying, I can’t tell you. We left immediately.

Food: 7.5/10. Fresh and simple, done well. Authentic and satisfying. I need to try their cheeses. I mean, it’s in their title ‘mozzarella bar.’ It’s got me drooling at the thought, and will have their food score sky-rocketing I think.

Coffee: 7/10. I’ll be honest, the service kinda spoiled any correct assessment I can make on it. I was too busy being pissed off.

Ambience: It was a really bustling and happy atmosphere the Saturday night that we dined there. They turned all the lights off inside at one stage to sing a type of Happy Birthday song to somebody, and just the way everyone went crazy was awesome. I loved the vibe. It was more chilled outside, whereas inside it was LOUD.

People: All kinds, families, couples, friends, everyone. This is the place to be, that was so apparent. You can take anyone you want, and everyone will fit in. There was a line out the door just to be put on a waiting list, and there are genuinely people spilling out the door and in the venue, either already sitting or waiting for one to pop up.

Staff: As above, as I’ve noted in detail. We had an experience of extreme proportions. We had a great waiter, then a shit one. But I’d like to think they’re all good like the first one, and the shit one has had his bags packed off for him by now.

Price: We paid $106 on our Saturday night. Two pizzas, 3 alcoholic drinks, a salad, and two desserts. Pizzas are $$$. Don’t be shocked. We had a great time so for us it was worth it.

Advice: Consider booking ahead, since this place really gets full early on. As I said ‘it’s the place to be.’ Everyone wants to be at this venue sitting on the corner of Main Street and looking out at the passers by. If you by some chance get a dude who looks like he’s just bitten into a lemon, immediately flag another waiter. Trust me, you don’t want him. He’ll ruin your visit. If the DOC is the body governing the standards of various cheeses and wines, then the DO-whatever needs to send rude guy packing and whip his arse into shape. Just saying.

And if you like to eat, trust me, a pizza on your own is no difficult feat.

In a nutshell: We were really disappointed to have such a negative experience on our immediate second visit there, offered by a staff member who frankly had no business at that business: he’s killing it for them. But not wanting a negative to offset such a positive, we are adamant that we will go back to DOC. for the friendly singing-Italian, the beautiful and fresh food, and the bustling atmosphere, rather than the guy who will most likely be gone by the time we revisit.

I always try to focus on the positives, and unless a venue offers me consistently bad experiences, I will usually go back if there has been a problem that could on the next visit be easily fixed/avoided.

So D-O-C, crack the whip on cranky waiter’s B-U-M, so I can hurry on back and get me some C-H-E-E-S-E.

D.O.C Mornington Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Things that shit me… #12

Things that shit me…

People who stare at you when your child is going off their head.

Mole-customer from Chocolat café in Mornington, I’M TALKING TO YOU.

So, unless you are a parent yourself, you might not know, that it is often REALLY, REALLY hard wrangling kids. You may have the best of intentions, and want them to use their manners, and want them to keep quiet, and want them to smile, and want them to learn how to adult, really… at the tender and naïve age of 3.

That’s not unreasonable, right?!

However, often the 3 year-olds themselves often think it is. And the people who stare you down when your child doesn’t behave like they’re 33, THEY sure think it is unreasonable when they don’t behave.

A couple of months ago I was in the supermarket with baby girl. She was being awesome. Listening to me, helping me, understanding when it was time to move on, and just generally being a star.

Another Mum approached with her kids. And one of her tots, absolutely CRACKED it. She lost the plot. The poor Mum tried to go about her business and quieten the child, who appeared as if she was possessed by some demon.

I wanted to cry. I felt for the Mum so badly. I nearly offered to go over and help her out, pick her groceries, even hold her demon child for her, but then remembered the golden rule – IGNORE her.

Other people about me turned at the incessant screams, and I nearly went over to slap them. I wanted to yell at them: “Stop it! Don’t look! Leave her be!”  I knew what it was like to be in that horrible situation, where a child is misbehaving and just won’t be settled no matter what you do. I know the pain of embarrassment. I know the anxiety. I know how upsetting it is to get those stares.

I know, because I have been there.

Yesterday case in point.

So, baby girl, is the best thing on this planet. She is so clever, cute and charming, already at her young age. I swear, if she were to go up to you and start babbling as she does, if you were not to smile, I would immediately assume you to be an alien, or some foreign creature that has no compassion. A shark would show compassion to her, that is the adorable depth of her influence.

Simultaneously, sometimes she can shit me really well. Really well up the wall. Often it has to do with her not getting what she wants, which is a problem, because very often kids, and adults alike, can’t get what they want. This is part of the general growing up process.

She was in a funny type of mood as we were enjoying some lunchtime pastries and coffee at Chocolat yesterday at midday. The food is delicious, coffee superb, yet the café itself is tiny, cramped, and every little cry from a rascal toddler, becomes so much more unbearable in such a confined space.

Unbearable to just me. Imagine what the other diner’s think.

So when your child yells, and despite your best efforts, you cannot for the love of God calm them down, do you know what it is acceptable to do?

Pretend they don’t exist and go on with your life.

Look away.

Keep talking.

Keep drinking.

Keep eating.

Look out the window.

Laugh with your friends.

Stare off into space.

DO NOT, EVER, EVER, EVER, STARE.

Do you know what this mole-customer and her partner did?

They pointedly turned to us at baby girl’s first outburst. Not a quick glance over the shoulder ‘what is happening over there?’ look, but a ‘I-am-a-bitch-from-hell-and -I-will-stare-you-down-for-thinking-you-can-café-with-a-toddler’ type look.

(For those parents playing at home, baby girl was upset because we were not letting her dip her finger into the nutella centre of our takeaway doughnuts. Yep.)

So we breathed, and quickly let her dip her finger into the freaking centre. Ok, we were now to leave. She was getting antsy, we had to get out, PRONTO.

Hubbie was out the door with my bag and the tray of doughnuts, and I got up to follow after him, holding baby girl’s hand.

But wait! Yell! She indicated that she wanted to open the door herself, and then we could exit the café. Breathing rapidly, I said “ok, open the door,” praying to God that we would get out before any other interference occurred.

To my dismay, another customer started through the door, entering into the shop, stopping baby girl in her tracks.

Another yell! Ahhh!

I scolded her. I don’t condone any rude behaviour or outburst, especially when it appears she is losing her shit at a stranger. NOT ON.

So I tried to grab her and pull her out the door, but she just did her floppy, ‘I-will-hang-around-and-throw-myself-on-the-floor’ bit.

And then she started to crack it, AGAIN. From the corner of my eye, I saw the mole-customer turn in her seat, and just sit there, watching us.

Like we were a fucking play.

In quiet enraged fury, I grabbed baby girl and hauled her up on my waist, and stormed out the door.

Yes, baby girl got a really good talking to in the half hour that followed. There were many tears and sighs and hugs and kisses and sorry’s to make up for the shitty incident.

Baby girl is 3. She is still learning. But you know who should fucking know better?

That mole-customer at the café. You, lady, should know your manners. Do not stare when a child is misbehaving. Firstly, it is NONE of your business.

Secondly, who taught you YOUR manners? There is some failure of the learned transference of human compassion there, since you STARE at a difficult and highly troubling incident for both parent and child, rather than choosing to ignore it and accepting, that children are children.

You, MOLE, are a bitch-cow. Anyone who does this, and stares while a child is having a meltdown, and the poor parent is doing everything to diffuse the situation as quietly and quickly as they can, FUCK YOU. With a royal middle finger too.

If anyone is still reading this, and not afraid to continue this conversation, honestly, what do you think? Do you think people should mind their own business, and not sticky-beak when a child is having a meltdown in a public place, or should parents just not go anywhere with their kids until they’re at least 21?

???

 

 

Off the wall

Off The Boat
203 Edwardes Street Reservoir

(Visited March ’16)

It was a lovely Autumn’s day in mid-March that had us deciding to lunch at this restaurant/café of European origins:) I had been to Edwardes Park Lake across the road with my parents and baby girl, trying to take advantage of as much park/mild weather/grandparent/bonding time as I could. It was all too easy to wander over to the edge of the park and cross the road to Off The Boat, on the corner of Edwardes and Spratling street.

I had wanted to come here many times already, but the right opportunity had never presented itself. It seemed very quiet from the outside, there wasn’t anyone eating out there, but upon entry I was surprised to see that there were already quite a few lunchtime diners. We took a table near the back of the café with a booth, so baby girl could jump up and down as she pleased.

It’s a small café/restaurant, with an ice cream/gelati section up the front near the register, alongside the coffee machine. It’s cosy and homely, making you feel like you may be somewhere at Nonna’s house, rather than a corner café in Reservoir. I immediately warmed to it.

We didn’t have to wait long to receive our food, all of us sharing

The Capricciosa – tomato, mozzarella, ham, olives, mushrooms

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And the Patatine Fritte – potato chips

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We were all in unison over our opinion of the pizza. It was a light and thin base, yet still the generosity of the pizza toppings made it incredibly moorish. Being a thin base, made it easy to eat, and we polished off the whole thing between the 4 of us! The chips were golden and upon arrival very hot, which made it hard to explain to a hungry baby girl who kept bringing it to her lips too soon, but I personally love food extra hot, I don’t know but it just emphasises the ‘fresh’ factor.

My Mum said the pizza was really good too, and said they had done something different with the base, but she couldn’t put her finger on it. My Mum being an old-style cook, and a self-proclaimed detective, does not give out points so easily, always saying that everything home-cooked is better. It’s true. But the fact that she gave credit here, I thought was enormous. The pizzas do come out of a wood-fire oven, so I don’t know how much that has to do with it… but oh my God they were good.

After our food we had some coffees. Cappuccinos and babycino

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I particularly liked their own personal addition of a sweet Italian cube of cake placed beside the coffees we received. Very clever. The cake was nice, and I don’t know why I was surprised, but I was, as the coffee was quite good.

Because of the company and the weather, the food and coffee, the day had turned out exceptionally well! I went up to the counter to pay and continue our damn fine day.

Food: 8.5/10. It’s not just your average, run-of-the-mill Italian café. This place has heart and quality, and it showed in what we received that day and the subsequent surroundings.

Coffee: 8/10.

Ambience: If you’re not Italian and you don’t know how it would feel like to be in Nonna’s house, well just picture yourself in a little café on a side-street in Italy, and if you haven’t been there, just use your damn imagination. Cute, warm, ethnic. Really homely surrounds, makes you feel at ease straight away.

People: There was a mix of people but there were duos all around – tradie duos, friends meeting over lunch duos, and older duos. I think it’s a lot of locals coming in, but with the fare provided I wouldn’t be surprised if people came from much further afield to enjoy this fantastic eatery.

Staff: Friendly and warm. Our waitress wasn’t hanging over our table but when we called on her she was accommodating.

Price: $35-ish for all our food, which I considered fairly reasonable since it was shared and had fed 4 of us, and then we had gotten caffeinated too.

Advice: Go across the road to Edwardes Park Lake first, then once you’ve exhausted yourself walking, jumping around on the playgrounds, or chasing unruly children, give yourself a break (and your entourage too) by walking across the road and having an afternoon of fine Italian fare. You won’t be sorry.

Regarding seating, if you have older kids, it’s fine to sit outdoors, however with toddlers I’d advise you stay inside… there is a kind of enclosure separating the street from the outside eating area, but with a fairly main road RIGHT THERE on the doorstep of the café, I wouldn’t want to risk it, would you? No. That’s perhaps the only downfall, so staying indoors is the safe option.

In a nutshell: I really loved this place, and my eyes widened when upon paying they feasted upon the wide range of ice creams on offer. Hmmm, I set a plan into motion.

Step 1: Convince Hubbie to have a park day on the next sunny day.

Step 2: Go to Edwardes Park Lake with Hubbie and baby girl, and get them both really tired and hungry – tips: let him catch her (encourage her to chase ducks); he pushes her on the swing as I conveniently step back; she makes him partake in all the playground activities (after I whisper to her to pull Dada along to do everything with her).

Step 3: “Oh, would you look at that! A café! And it’s lunchtime. Gee, are you hungry?” (Baby girl will be so hungry and irritable by this stage that driving home 15 minutes will be like hell on earth – only option, EAT NOW).

Step 4: Eat food at Off The Boat. Drink coffee. Then buy ice cream and take to park to eat there and have more fun.

Step 5: Great park/café day concluded.

😉

These guys may be Off The Boat, but they certainly brought all the good stuff with them.

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Off the Boat Pizzeria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Girls… we have a LONG way to go yet

(I’d like to forewarn, of my use of the word ‘men.’ I use it in a general all-encompassing sense in this post, however I don’t really mean ALL men, rather to the scum presented below, and those who hold women back from where they need to be in 2017).

Frankly, I’m a little appalled at myself.

This time last year, I wrote a gratitude piece on International Women’s Day. I wrote things like

 

“As women, we need to know our worth and value it, and not continually lay blame on the man, or complain that we are not given fair treatment because of him.

“It’s due to this that we should place further awareness of this important day, in order for those other parts of the world, those ‘cavemen,’ and likewise any unintentionally or not, abiding cavewomen, to catch up, and smell the coffee roasting from the beans that we bought ourselves.”

To read it in its full context you should probably click here. But basically I was saying that  women are sometimes equally to blame as men are for their unfair treatment, because of the way they expect to be treated – they don’t realise their worth, therefore, men will NOT realise their worth.

Excuse me as I bitch-slap myself.

Lucky for me, I am a keen and curious soul, and I LOVE to listen to other people’s points of view. And call it fate, call it opportunity, call it divine intervention trying to tell me something, grabbing hold of me by the wrists and shaking me and yelling “Listen! You have to take this in!”… but lately, I’ve been getting really mad, as I get exposed to a whole bevy of stories and circumstances where women are treated awfully unequally.

Like slaves.

Like nothing.

Like a pile of shit.

So I’m sorry to say, but on this International Women’s Day, we still have an awful long way to go.

Women are still being treated like sex slaves. Domestic violence leads to death for one woman a week. One woman a week. Women are raped, ALL around the world – Eastern and Western cultures do not discriminate. Sexual assault is one of the most undetected crimes, with many women fearing coming forward due to the traumatic process of needing evidence, and having to be strewn through the courts with examination after examination. Offenders get a slap on the wrist, before moving on with their lives, with the victims left to pick up the shattered pieces of their lives, and try to make some sense of it all – only there is NO sense in it all. Side effects of the ordeal are long-term, psychological, physical and affect the entire support network IF there is one, not just the sole victim.

Women are still being paid much less than the opposite sex. Women are underpaid compared to their counterparts, and even though they are often given the advice to be ‘more confident,’ ‘more assertive,’ (like men), it is a double-edged sword, as displaying these career-driven characteristics place them in the unwomanly field – they are not acting in accordance with their sex, and that is a deviation.

What I have come to detest particularly is the victim-blaming: always on behalf of the woman.

The woman sends a naked pic of herself to her boyfriend, and it is HER fault when he later posts it when they break-up.

The woman gets side-lined for a promotion, and it is HER fault, because she was too assertive – too much of a bitch.

The woman gets raped, but it is HER fault, because she was wearing a mini skirt.

The woman gets assaulted, but it’s HER fault yet again, because she was drunk, and really she was asking for it.

Why are the women, ALWAYS to blame? Why is it their fault that men can’t act accordingly? Why is it their responsibility to ensure they will be respected and treated equal, like men are: that is, not discriminated against or assaulted in any way.

How about the MAN is held accountable? I mean, he DID upload that naked pic of her online.

He didn’t promote his female employee, because he was threatened by her assertiveness and drive.

He raped her, because her mini skirt ‘provoked’ him.

He assaulted her, because she didn’t know better, and wouldn’t remember it in the morning anyway.

HOW ARE THESE THINGS OKAY?

In September 2016, Stanford Uni student Brock Turner, walked out of jail after only serving 3 months of jail, where he could have received a maximum of 14 years. It was a severe breach of court justice, and the male judge is now removed from residing over any criminal cases. Brock was found guilty in March on counts of intent to commit rape of an unconscious person, and penetration of an intoxicated and unconscious person.

His father showed the world why his son turned out to be such a weak imbecile and cowardly piece of filth, when he infamously asked for a lenient sentence for his son in a letter, saying a lengthy sentence was a steep price to pay for 20 minutes of action.

20 minutes of action.

20 minutes of action.

Really. 20 minutes of action. Your son assaulted a woman who was both intoxicated and unconscious. It was sexual assault. Choosing ‘lighter’ words make you sound like the type of scum that needs to be removed from this earth, rather than make anyone submit to your case.

If you want to get really angry, you can read the victim’s full statement that went viral last year, here.

Closer to home, and recently I read the explicitly disturbing story of Tara Brown, who was savagely beaten to death by her ex-partner in 2015. Lionel Patea had dropped off their daughter at school, before chasing her down in his car, running her off the road, and then picking up a hydrant and bashing her repeatedly while she was trapped in the car.

She died due to the extreme injuries she had sustained later in hospital.

And you know what he wrote in a letter to her family? He questioned how a tragedy such as this could have happened.

He had beaten her to death, and yet, he did not understand how he did it. As if it wasn’t his fault. Excusing himself from blame.

These examples are primary ones in the issue of women’s equality, however they are only the beginning of the tip of the cold and stark iceberg that is buried deep beyond sight. The discrimination, the fear, the uncertainty that you are born with when you are born a woman… sure, we can vote. Sure, we can work. Sure, we are treated equally in some workplaces, to some degree.

But we are living in 2017 people. Repeat. 2017.

Sexual assault.

Sexist culture.

Unfair pay.

Discrimination.

Bias.

This is happening to a woman, RIGHT NOW.

It doesn’t feel very forward-thinking and living to me.

Sure, I appreciate the women in my life on this day of ‘Women.’ And sure, I am grateful for their positive role in my life, and how they still to this day continue to shape me with their strength, their courage, their fragility, and their never-say-die attitude.

But I don’t have my head in the sand anymore. I am looking at the bigger picture, rather than just my small circle. I don’t have all the answers, and I don’t know how one person can even make a difference.

But together, as women and men respectfully unite, WE CAN.

Education must start in the home. Children must be taught to treat all as equals. Schools must follow suit, and then there must be legislation against the deviants who think themselves above the law and system, and take it upon themselves to ‘show a woman whose boss.’

WE need to show the deviants whose boss.

They are simple sentences, but they are big, HUGE, ideas. They require a lot of reform.

So on this day, the 8th of March, I celebrate one thing in particular:

The women who make things happen, and make positive changes for the better of all future women EVERYWHERE.

Because it is that woman that I also, want to be.

 

 

 

 

Failing at reading

I’d like to show you something:

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Other than not knowing how to screenshot, if you look even closer, you will see that on my Goodreads account, I started reading Sense and Sensibility…

in (shock horror) February of 2015.

2 freaking years ago.

Not even I realised how bad I was until logging in to update my progress.

It’s taken me over 600 days to finish a book, which though slightly hard to engage with at first, I grew to love, with Austen teasing me throughout about what, and how, certain things were going to play out.

It’s not that I don’t read. I love it, so so much. I wish I had more time for it. But, things happened last year, and though I turned to the book, time and time again, reading chapters here, chapters there, the fact that we had a massive life overhaul, what with Sea changing and all, meant that there were so many other things to take care of, and that still need taking care of… that taking time out to enjoy a very fave pastime of mine, just felt selfish.

This here my friends, is a lesson in failure. Observe the following 2016 reading challenge I participated in last year:

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Have a look at that, really, have a good look at that.

I pledged to read 10 books. Not much I thought. 10 books a year, equated to just under one book a month. That didn’t seem at all impossible, but as mentioned above, Sea change, and all I ended up reading was 2 books.

2 books.

2 books!

And during that time I was about half way through Austen’s book too.

I don’t feel oddly embarrassed. A little ashamed, maybe, because you know, being a Writer and all, and wanting to write for a living, well you feel a bit pathetic when your main bread and butter, the act of reading to help you write – you fail miserably at.

I failed miserably, I know.

I have excuses. I have reasons. Do I need to justify them to anyone? To make people believe that I am a legitimate writer, that I am worthy of the “Writer” title?

No. My online writing presence is enough. I am a busy person. I have a life. And sometimes, things don’t go to plan.

Many times, things don’t go to plan.

It doesn’t mean however, that we shouldn’t plan, or strive towards certain goals.

The lesson here is this.

Firstly, don’t feel bad for taking time out to read, if it is something you love to do – writing-related or not. We should all give ourselves a break now and then, even if it is while waiting in line to pay a bill, on your lunch break at work, or late at night when the house is quiet. For a creative mind, it is necessary.

Second, shit happens. It almost always does. So if your well-tuned ideas and visions don’t turn out the way you’d like – don’t despair. Don’t use it as a reason to give up.

Never use ANY thing as a reason to give up.

Just say “oh well,” and move on. Or my favourite “PLOT TWIST!” and then see what scene the chapter of your life will play out for you next.

I’m already thinking of what I will read next. And I think the well overdue “Girl on a Train” book that I borrowed off Hubbie’s cousin, LAST YEAR, is definitely next in line…

(If you’d like to be Goodreads friends and have an account of your own, my profile name is Smikg…)

 

For the First Thyme

About Thyme
10 Blake Street Mornington

After our lunch at Biscottini we hop, skipped and jumped our way a few blocks (literally with baby girl in tow) and happened across About Thyme. There was select seating for a few groups of people outside, and one lot being free (that included a kind of booth/long stool) I found the seating to be particularly favourable with a squirmy baby girl (I could block her in) so we decided to coffee there.

I was so happy when a waitress came to take our orders. I don’t know why, but having just ordered and paid up-front at the counter at Biscottini, it felt like a luxury to sit there and not have to remember what everyone wanted as I walked up to the counter. The waitress was lovely and despite being busy, talked us through their current desserts.

We received the coffees and desserts all at once, to our devilish (and caffeine-deprived) delight. There was baby girl’s babycino, my cappuccino, Hubbie’s latte and 2 cakes: Caramel Slice and an Apple Strudel.

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I will begin by saying: now this is a babycino! This is what I will happily pay for. (However Theobrama does an awesome babycino too that keeps baby girl happy every time). She also received two marshmallows on this visit, but my photo-taking was too slow for her quick fingers. Damn. Both Hubbie and I enjoyed our coffees, they had a good kick of caffeine, which was just what we needed.

Hubbie’s caramel slice was crumbly, making it hard to pick up with a fork. But so yum. Also, despite the fact that the apple strudel had raisins (something I was not aware of ‘til it arrived!) it was still good. If you haven’t guessed, I’m not a huge fan of sultanas or sultana-like products. The strudel was warm though, and made the raisins somehow… ok? It was strange, I actually enjoyed the package, raisins and all. The pastry was also flaky, so we had another messy one to work with as we tried to cut it with forks and knives, but damn it was yum. Being heated up made such a difference. It was a good strudel, and I can critique with confidence seeing as I’ve been brought up eating my Mum’s! Her strudel is moister, this pastry was flaky and dry, but it was still incredible. Just a different texture, that’s all.

We were really pleased after this experience, and happily wandered off to peruse Mornington, bellies full and content.

Food: 9/10. Fresh ingredients and warm combinations. It all looked inviting. Also, lovely presentation. (And having eaten here on many an occasion following this visit, I can properly confirm that the food is amazing).

Coffee: 8.5/10.

Ambience: Relaxed hipster by the beach. Small, quaint, quirky. Inside there was much more seating, but it still is a little café. Great place for the kiddies, as there is a basket full of books and colouring stuff to keep them busy while they’re not chugging a babycino or jumping on chairs. Yet a very refined and older group of people still come here, so despite the kid-friendly things on offer, beware of wary looks.

People: Locals, many groups of women on that day. Sunday lunch-ers? It had a young family vibe as well.

Staff: Friendly and professional, really nice, despite being so busy.

Price: In the $20s for 2 desserts and 2 and a half coffees. Not bad considering the quality of what we got. Impressed.

Advice: It’s a good place for the kids with the kid-fare on offer inside. They did seem snowed under a bit, so maybe be prepared to wait… I’ve noticed most places in Mornington appear to be understaffed when we dine there, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence either.

In a nutshell: A great place that we’ve actually returned to since! So I totally take my own advice when I say go there, you will enjoy it. I loved the vibe, the fact that the items on the menu weren’t stock-standard, and the cute little shops nearby aren’t too bad to window shop at either…

The service was great, and you could just tell the food was luxe… that little bit of refinement. This place is a stayer, a breath of fresh Thyme.

About Thyme Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Hipsters and salads at the Biscuit place

Biscottini
157-159 Main Street Mornington

(Visited and Written pre-Sea change)

We day-tripped it yet again to Mornington one Sunday in March. We arrived right at lunch time, with initial plans for ‘First, Coffee.’ But seeing the time, we re-evaluated and decided to fill our tummies first.

This wasn’t our first visit to Biscottini, or to the Peninsula, which you would know already if you’ve been reading any of my blogs. Although Biscottini is situated in fairly prime position, right in the middle of the strip of shops on Main Street, allowing you to easily people watch from the outdoor seating, or even the tables inside through their big window, it still has a very laid-back, seaside town kind of feel. We decided to sit outside since it was a pleasant day out, and do some people watching ourselves while trying to blend in.

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(Hipster sunnies, courtesy of Hubbie)

At Biscottini you order inside at the counter, beside the counter showcasing all their little cakes and sandwiches. I stepped up there and ordered, besides our lunch, some drinks to get us started.

Moscato and Beer.

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I was surprised with the plentiful quantity of Moscato I received. Despite it being a light wine, it hit me straight in the head and I giggled my way through lunch, which was this:

Grilled haloumi and prawn salad – leafy salad, chilli, zucchini and semi-dried tomato

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While Hubbie had the Caesar salad with chicken – crisp cos lettuce, croutons, parmesan cheese, anchovies and house-made dressing, topped with soft poached egg and crispy pancetta

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And baby girl had the Fish and Chips

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I enjoyed mine, however it was a bit heavy on the dressing. There was loads of rocket, which I love… if you don’t, better luck next time. Only 3 or 4 prawns, so it could have done with a tad more since they were good. And there was plenty of Spanish onion and fetta cheese alongside the sundried tomato thrown in for good measure.

Both mine and Hubbie’s meals made us feel good for ordering them, but after completion we realised there were a lot of things added to compensate for the supposedly light ‘salad’ component. Hubbie’s Caesar salad was a decent portion, yet he found it too hard for him to eat due to the rich aspects, like the dressing. He enjoyed it though, and then we both enjoyed pecking at baby girl’s meal. She of course loved hers, and we were pleasantly surprised that it was of a decent portion too.

Following all of that it was now time for coffee… but we decided to hit foot to pavement, just for the entertainment of moving on.

Food: 7/10. It’s standard café fare, with decent portions. The menu looks quite good too, and I know from experience it’s ever-changing.

Coffee: Not on this occasion, but having had it there many times before (and since) I’d give it a 7.5/10.

Ambience: Outside it was laidback. Inside there is a TV and a large seating area, so if you prefer not to people watch you can just glance outside through the windows when you wish.

People: This is the place you expect to see a few tourists pop in and mingle in amongst the locals sipping their lattes. We’ve been here many times now, and I can just spot the locals with their dogs a mile away (they love their dogs in Mornington).

Staff: Friendly and busy, usually getting down to business.

Price: Really reasonable. We paid $54 for 3 meals and 2 alcoholic drinks. The meals were of decent size, and I was impressed that baby girl’s considerable serve came in at $8, a real bargain when I remember how great it tasted.

Advice: Also from personal experience, I know they don’t have a change table – tsk tsk tsk. So beware! We didn’t place baby girl in a high chair on this occasion, but the chair she sat in had a decent backing, with no gaping holes for her to fall through. That was great, especially with a 2 year-old toddler going on 12.

In a nutshell: We’ve been here many times before and will undoubtedly find ourselves here many more. The food is reliable so you can be assured to find something you’ll enjoy – however on another visit there I noticed their menu had been spiced up a bit, which was interesting. The place doesn’t have any real pizazz for me, but I still like that we can depend on them, and their positioning on the main strip doesn’t remove them from the customers either.

Maybe if I try their biscuits I’ll be sold further???

Biscottini Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato