Rebel with a Glaze

(Disclaimer: I am using the wording ‘donut’ for the sake of the business I am reviewing, but we all know the proper spelling is ‘doughnuts!’ Because there is dough, duh. Onwards…)

I was utterly shocked over this past Summer when I read some fellow bloggers’ posts that they had just gotten sneak peeks at a soon-to-be-opening new donut shop just down the road from me… what? It was literally DOWN THE ROAD. I could essentially walk there. Something I would probably have to do a lot of if I did in fact visit the place… but probably not a good idea to test out, for risk of it being too convenient, you know?

But, I was enraged! How did I not know about this? How did they get a sneak peak, and your neighbourhood friendly SmikG did not? Harumph. That’s ok. I would still visit… and review them quietly, as per my identity…

MWA HA HA.

It was Australia Day, the day to enjoy the Australian and Western World privilege of not cooking for yourself (public holiday, so not doing much of anything for that matter) and so after getting for ourselves some takeaway food for the night, we popped into Rebel Donuts, to see what these guys had in store.

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A lot, it appeared.

There were over 15 varieties, and I now know from repeat visits that these often change. Each visit will bring you a surprise combination, a quirky name (like a Ned Kelly or James Dean inspired one), and a headache from having to make the tough decision of which to choose each time! They prepare donuts according to seasonal occasions, there are vegan varieties too, and for my fair people of Mornington, guess what? DELIVERY! Yes you can have your donut delivered, AND eat it too.

Why, I never.

That day we put on the brakes and brought home just 3.

(From left: a custard donut, plain with sprinkles, and Tim Tam).

The verdict? They were GOOD. They had a distinct yeasty taste, something that reminded me of my Mum’s doughnut making – and that is a good thing. Because if they have that hint of homemade, they will always be a winner in my books.

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Soft, delightful, exciting to pick and choose from… these guys can’t go wrong. If you are headed to Mornington, past Mornington, or you just need an excuse to get doughnuts, well here it is!

The deets:

Rebel Donuts

968a Nepean Highway (actually on the corner of Nepean Highway and Mornington-Tyabb road, in the same complex as McDonalds, Red Rooster, Dominos, as well as other fast food eateries. They often have a large billboard up on the corner pointing to where they are, so just look for the pink!)

Trading Hours: 8am to 10pm daily, unless sold out.

#rebeldonuts #mornington

 

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Locals, take flight

Flock
2/25 Dava Drive Mornington

(Dined November ’16)

From the moment we discovered this little corner café, an awfully convenient, 5-10 minute WALK from our house, and saw its back-street, hidden, beach/park side location potential… we were excited.

You see, we had always longed to move to a place that was within walking distance to a café. At one point during our real estate search, we even tried searching in relation to how close some houses were to nearby cafes. Our wish for good food, great coffee, and friendly/casual convo with café staff over stupid Melbourne weather, within walking distance from our ideal home, was a high priority.

Somehow that all got lost and a bit forgotten when we saw the beach views of our now home. I did have a quick google search at one stage for nearby cafes, but I mustn’t have searched too well…

Later though, once we had moved, a common name kept popping up on my Google maps.

So on our first walk, we ‘flocked’ there.

And said “My, Mofo, we’ve done it. We’ve got the freaking café within walking distance.”

And we hadn’t even known it.

And we hadn’t even eaten or had coffee there yet. (Now I’m beginning to sound like Bana’s Chopper Read…)

On our first opportunity, we went over to fulfil our café destiny.

We had to drive though, not walk. It was a cold, windy day, rain threatening to spill at any moment. So we rugged up, and walked into the small, intimate café, weaving around tables and chairs and finding our seats at one end of the medium-sized communal table in the middle of Flock café.

There were people sitting all about, but of course it was full what with the tiny space the café occupies. They were so clearly locals, that for us recent newbies on the block, I felt like putting the disclaimer ‘don’t shoot us, we’re not from out of town!’ on my forehead. Instead I stuck my head in a menu on the table and then went up to order and pay once we knew what we wanted.

Hubbie started the ball rolling with a necessary flat white

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… while I looked on in envy. I waited for his verdict. He nodded. The coffee was good.

Soon we all received our meals. Baby girl with her 7 Grain Organic Sourdough with vegemite and butter

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Hubbie with his Breakfast Roll w’ smashed eggs, bacon, swiss cheese, roquette & tomato jam

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And my Shakshouka Baked Eggs w’ organic ciabatta

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Baby girl got really excited when she saw the vegemite, thinking it was Nutella from when we last had breakfast out at The Winey Cow… so excited that she dipped her finger in it, got a huge lob of black stuff and put it straight in her mouth.

A second later, and her face didn’t paint an impressed picture. Classic yankee mistake.

So, after I cleaned her up, and applied her spreads on her bread, she went on to eat. It wasn’t the sweet stuff, but she ate it. Again, the hard crust. I trust the sourdough bread is unreal and super-healthy, but sometimes for kids, or generally for people who don’t wish to cut their gums on hard-toasted crust, a softer bread variety will do. Anyhow.

Hubbie said his breakfast burger did the job, it was ok, but it wasn’t anything that left him wanting or dreaming of future breakfast burgers there.

I had been thinking of baked eggs for several weeks, so I was really happy to order a meal like this. It was good, perhaps not my best baked eggs/shakshouka meal I’ve EVER had, but it was good. It was extremely saucy, with many peppers/capsicum within the little ceramic hot pot of baked egg goodness.

By this stage, the corner café was rocking. There were people coming in at an ongoing rate, both newbies trying to cram in for a seat since the weather outside was not beckoning people to sit on the outdoor chairs, and also from locals in trakky-pants dropping in for their usual coffee and toastie order.

After ordering some drinks, we waited a while more before we got our babycino and  cappuccino.

Baby girl scoffed her marshmallows, while I carefully pondered my first sip of coffee. This was the dealbreaker. Would the coffee be good enough to make it a local? The food was good, but only, if only, the coffee were great. Hell, we were so desperate for a local café to call a home away from home, and this one with a convenient park/beach locale, had us even happy with a half-decent coffee. That’s all it needed to be, half-decent.

Dum, da dum dum.

And it was…

GREAT.

It was truly, very, very, very good coffee. It was ultra-smooth, with a swift caffeine kick. I realised in awe, and verbalised to Hubbie, how rare it is to find a very smooth, yet very strong coffee. This was both. I was rapt.

I was so rapt, I talked about it all the way to the shops. The caffeine had surely kicked in, and the realisation it was our now-local had me high as a kite.

Food: 7/10. It was good for a corner café. They have some other interesting menu options that I’m wanting to try in the near future. We also took-away some Nutella and jam doughnuts, courtesy of the locals Chocolat that bake off of the Main street… OMG. Is it possible that there is a doughnut as good as the famous donutella, that rules the roost back in our old neck of the woods?! WOW. Head on over to both Flock and Chocolat to try these babies out.

Coffee: Can you believe… no I can’t. 10/10. Yep. Currently up there on my leader board of best coffees, alongside caffeine greats such as that in Farm Vigano, Dark Rye in Westfield Doncaster, Story at Docklands, and also recently Mercetta on the Main street in Mornington. I really need to start another page on my SmikG site, stay tuned…

STOP! Update!

The above was my true and honest verdict as of the first two times we had coffee there… and unfortunately, on every other visit there, the coffee has been bitter/burnt/tasteless. It has been really upsetting and confusing, and even stopped us from going there for a long while – because if the coffee ain’t good, it just ain’t worth it.

However, because I am so damn eager to make this work, I still go there occasionally, and the nearby park for baby girl makes it difficult to ignore too. And happily, on the last visit, it wasn’t that bad… the coffee was actually good! I have no idea if this has anything to do with the fact that the café itself was up for sale quite recently, and if indeed there may be different owners/managers/baristas there… but I will keep trying, damn it.

For that reason, I can’t score this one. You make up your own mind.

Ambience: Cosy, corner café. Relaxing, charming, and all-encompassing of the beautiful surroundings when the weather is fine and their windows are WIDE OPEN.

Staff: Friendly, and they took the time out to greet us and thank us for coming at the end, despite how busy they were. This is a well-oiled, professional and friendly machine folks.

People: Locals, as I’ve already mentioned, that consisted of some older folk, bike dudes, a gaggle of 20 something girls catching up for brekkie, and random’s dropping in wearing their PJs and wiping the sleep from their eyes. I love it.

Price: It was about $60, but keep in mind we also got some takeaway doughnuts, which means the price would have been much less… price-wise for what you get, you get a lot, so in that respect it is well-priced… however I also think what you get, accurately portrays what you pay… capiche?

Advice: If you’re not a local, do not go there. Please just stay away. It is MY local. Mine and the neighbouring residents of Dava Drive. That is all. Just live vicariously through me, and go have brekkie and coffee on the Main street. Go on… what are you waiting for?

In a nutshell: Well, we’ve found our local haven’t we… or have we? The food is great, the coffee is mmm-hmmm undecided, however I can just see an endless amount of sunshiny days where I am sitting in the café, or taking coffee away to go to the park with baby girl, or walking it over to the beach, or simply dropping in to grab some doughnuts because they are way closer to us than Chocolat… I hope. I sooo hope. (Clutching at straws much?)

I’m just bloody rapt. We’ve got it. (?)

We’ve darn well got it. (?)

I’ll flock here alright. Just try keep me away…

Flock 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?

???

 

 

Sightings of People as Passionate about (Addicted to) Coffee as I am (SOPAPACAIA) #7

SOPAPACAIA Sighting #7

Highpoint Shopping Centre

Hubbie and I

Another self-sighting, I know, I know. But SOPAPACAIA was the first word that sprang to mind when we first had coffees and pastries at Cacao yesterday, only to walk down to Jasper’s a mere minute away and order some more.

What?

Hubbie’s latte at Cacao had too much texturised foamy milk, and not enough coffee! And after having an apricot Danish, I just felt my unsatisfied deep desire for a doughnut intensified…

First world problems, I know.

So at Jasper’s Hubbie got his proper latte in a clear glass (Cacao had put theirs in a cute mug – tsk tsk tsk), while I got this strawberry bomb-doughnut type thingy…

I sipped from his latte, he pecked from my doughnut, and baby girl got mouthfuls of more sweet stuff.

And we walked away in a high sugary-induced state.

 

 

Things that shit me… #7

Users/energy hoarders/in-the-moment attention whores…

You slave over them. You make them feel more than welcome in your home. IN YOUR LIFE. You give them so much of your time and day. You give all of yourself, plus some, plus the kitchen sink and the donutellas that come with it, to them. You think they too, give you the respect and love that you specifically give to them, the very select few of your crew.

And then the love and attention you whole-heartedly thought was yours, they also give to the person that they bad-mouth on a regular basis.

What?!

Screw this shit.

Only look after number 1: that is, YOU.

Farm Vigan-OH!

Farm Vigano
10 Bushmans Way South Morang

I had known about this place for a while. Some friends of ours had gone there, and had mentioned that they primarily did pizza. I saw the same online, and along with some inconsistent reviews, decided that ‘pizza’ wasn’t enough to get me over to South Morang (say Moranj*) alone.

Boy was I wrong.

Another friend recently mentioned the place and its sprawling landscape, which spiked my interest in it again. So on a Sunday afternoon, Hubbie, Baby girl and I ventured over to Farm Vigano to see what the fuss was all about.

As soon as we entered the driveway, I could sense it. It was different. The tall trees gave the outdoor area a definite refinement, and by the drop in landscape along one side of the dwelling, and those green tree views of the surrounding parkland – WOW. Even after parking and starting our steep decent down towards the building, I kept getting the thought ‘where are we going?’ ‘and how does this place exist in these parts?’

We were not in Kansas/South Moranj anymore.

Outside, there were umbrella’d tables sitting upon concrete, with a few diners present there. That gave it a strong European feel, and inside, the Monaco feel just intensified. White surrounds, clean finishes, splashes of yellow with white stripes, a classic gold and unobtrusive cross on the wall, and elegant black shade lamps and black lantern candelabra-style fixtures adorned the place. I really felt like I was dining in a European café. It was poshy, yet very reminiscent of a certain time, and a certain place.

The place does perfectly at that too. The estate used to belong to the late restauranteur Mario Vigano and his artist wife Maria Teresa, and the culture they upheld certainly has stood the test of time and made its way splendidly to the present day. The attention to detail and immediate atmosphere you get upon entering, are unmistakable. I want to come back in my next life as an Italian. I’m already half way there, I have the prerequisite of loving pasta.

We had been lucky at arriving just after 2pm, and naively hadn’t booked. We were queried this, but despite it were still seated by the window, with an amazing outlook of the acreage below.

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We were so lucky to be early and naïve, rather than late and so, because in half an hour this place was rocking, and really full. From walking in to a room of NO ONE, to a room that was brimming with voices just a short time later, left me stunned. It led me to the conclusion that they MUST open for lunch after 2pm, but having looked through their web site I didn’t find anything to confirm that, so I still don’t know. It was our stupid luck indeed.

After I started sipping on my pinot grigio looking across the expansive landscape

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(it’s a hard life) we got this:

No 201 Pappardelle Con Salsiccia – pappardelle with Italian pork sausage ragu

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Gamberetti – flash fried school prawns, w/ coriander, ginger, chilli & sriracha hot sauce

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And the Schiacciata – rustic pizza w/ garlic, rosemary and Spanish onion

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First I’ll mention that the meals came really quickly, but maybe that’s because we’d managed to order before everyone else arrived and subsequently ordered. It was surprising.

The pasta was for Hubbie as he hadn’t actually eaten yet. He liked the saucy and meaty pasta dish, and I loved the texture of the pasta itself, but other than that he didn’t think it was anything unbelievable or life-altering.

The waitress had informed me it was “baby prawns” I was getting in the Gamberetti, however I didn’t realise what she meant until I got them – a whole bowl of actual tiny prawns, with their soft shells intact. Having never eaten these in my life, I didn’t know whether I was meant to peel them, or eat the thing as is sardine style. I soon realised that shelling it was necessary, though a few pieces went devoured unchecked… getting through that bowl and peeling each piece properly was both time-consuming and messy!

The pizza was mainly reserved for baby girl, who enjoyed holding the slice herself and chomping in. Bless 🙂 It was a great tasting pizza, so simple and fresh with its tried-and-tested base ingredients.

Although there were aspects of our meal that we wouldn’t revisit, I felt that was partly due to the fact that we hadn’t been properly prepared for it (both baby girl and I had already eaten) and also as those previous reviews had informed me, the menu selection was a bit narrow. A huge range of pizzas was accompanied by some side dishes, two pasta options, and the only meat on the menu was pork and lamb, both advised to be shared by at least two people. However, with the antipasto selection as well, along with the quality of all they offered, I could suddenly understand why the place had become packed instantly on a Sunday at 2pm. Did I mention those green surrounds? OMG. This place, even if it only did pizza, was worth it.

We decided to get some coffees, and they too arrived very quickly.

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Baby girl loved her babycino, but then again she won’t knock back any frothed/chocolatey milk she gets. After her half cup of froth, she happily drank the rest of the mix, leaving beautiful chocolate marks alongside her mouth, cheeks and forehead. A good sign.

Although I had really enjoyed my coffee, I hadn’t noticed until the other day when we ventured there again for coffee only…. that the coffee was REALLY good. It was hot – so hot Hubbie burnt his tongue first time he went to sip it. Coffee is never that hot. If anything, it’s lukewarm when it arrives. This was hot, not burning hot, but HOT. Secondly, it was smooth, with not ONE little tenth of a taste of any bitterness. Thirdly, it was strong, but not so strong that it would leave me with the fear of being up ‘til 1am that following morning. And, on both occasions of having this coffee, it was consistent. Both at busy times, and not.

Which when added up, leaves me with a pretty perfect coffee.

What?! A perfect coffee? Like the food and the surrounds and the EVERYTHING, I just wasn’t ready for this.

Food: 7.5/10… though this rating would have likely gone up had we indulged in the desserts. Did someone mention Nutella doughnuts? OMG that’s right, the top selection of their desserts lists this scrumptious bombolone, which means… (check ‘In a nutshell’).

Even though we weren’t overwhelmed with happy vibes over our particular selections that day, we still can’t wait to come back to try more… hungrier this time.

Coffee: 9.5/10. Like I said, I wasn’t ready for this! Am I right, to possibly give this café the highest score in coffee, something previously never before done by me? Because I wasn’t expecting this, and I didn’t fully critique the taste in the moment, I will almost give it the highest score, in the knowledge that it was consistently good on both occasions, but also I didn’t get a chance to really savour it, if you know what I mean. But decently strong – tick. Smooth – tick. Hot – tick. I need to know what type of coffee they use, because I just can’t stop thinking about it.

Ambience: Laidback Euro-style mixed with $$$. It was relaxed, certainly more so when the volume rose several octaves and the restaurant was brimming with voices, but there was a definite refinement to the air, or maybe that was the fresh bush surroundings…

People: As above. These are the rich folk who come out to party with their (well-earned) cash. It was painfully obvious. There were several functions happening all at the same time, comprising of anything from 5 to 15 people, many groups of older people dining out, and families. Not really a ‘young person’ thing, but I have to say it has nothing to do with the pricing accessibility of the dishes, it’s not that expensive… yet for some reason, it’s just all the older generation hanging off the parklands. Interesting. All are certainly welcome though, as there was like us, another family with littlies on the next table, who up’d and left after literally half an hour of juggling their two boys. Leaving all their uneaten food on the table. (Like I said, $$$).

Staff: They were lovely and attentive. Didn’t really get any special personal ‘warmth’ like what we receive in other restaurants, where you feel like you get on a first-name basis with the waitress to the point of catching up for after-work drinks, but still they were professional and on cue.

Price: $81 for our 3 meals, two alcoholic beverages and 3 coffees. They charged us $1 for baby girl’s babycino! All it was was frothed milk. There was chocolate milk underneath the foam rather than just plain milk, but still, come on guys. I have a massive grip (see here) with restaurants charging for babycinos, especially since the kid’s parents are usually paying for other items, and therefore shouldn’t have to pay about the $1 mark for a few tablespoons of froth. I can somehow turn the blind eye when for example baby girl gets marshmallows, or some bikkie on the side, but still, come on. It’s the freaking moral. Restaurants unfairly charging for babycinos won’t keep me from ordering them, but it will keep me continuing to shout from the rooftops “Babycinos should be for free!”

Advice: So definitely book. Here, I think it’s a thing. It was dumb luck that we came in before everyone else and got one of the best seats in the house. If it’s a weekday you’ll probably get away with it though. The driveway down to the restaurant is steep, so be aware high-heeled ladies and walking-impaired others.

In a nutshell: I need to come back here, for so many reasons. 1) the coffee (what bean do they use?) 2) their other pizzas (there are so many!) and 3) the bombolone. Did I mention the Nutella doughnuts? Nutella doughnuts people, and I’m not even a Nutella fan!
And 4) the view. Oh the view. An amazing find, a true gem in this part of the ‘burbs, and a lucky treat for the locals.

(*I can make fun of the Northern suburbs because I live there 😉 )

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If one door opens… go through it

4 Doors
28 The Link Mill Park

Hubbie had stopped by the Mill Park restaurant while cruising cars with his work mate one Sunday, and had loved the latte he had there. He’d also loved the atmosphere, and the look of the place, so when we found reason to celebrate days later, we decided on this kind-of local to see if their dinner was up to scratch too.

He had talked up design, and I didn’t really know if it would be up to standards when I saw it, even with his super-finicky taste. So when we walked in on a Wednesday night during the school holidays, the place pumping with people and atmos, I was impressed. It felt like a restaurant that belonged in more inner-city surrounds than in the Northern Suburbs. It looked funky and modern, while its high ceilings gave it an airy, yet still cosy space. Again there were lightbulbs suspended down onto the individual tables below, an industrial touch that complemented the roominess. I immediately liked it.

We ordered fairly quickly, being very hungry, and though our drinks took a while to come out, my Treasures Merlot was amazing. I might just convert over from Cab Savs after that one.

I also noticed that the square table we were on was a decent large size, compared to the all-too familiar smallish tables we often get seated at which makes it so hard with baby girl. Imagine all our food and drink on a table, plus baby girl’s ‘things’ (colouring book for entertainment, random accessories, her water bottle, wipes) and then put a toddler in between the two of us yet at a reasonable distance so to prevent her from reaching out for any accessories to spoil/break/throw. This was a great sized table in that all our/her stuff could go on one end while we sat at the other, and there was still room for the food and drinks.

They were busy, so we had to wait for our food… but it wasn’t an awful wait. Like I said, it was busy, so it was an acceptable wait. Everything else was making us happy, and the discovery of a loud restaurant that seemed to be up to our standards had us giddy in excited anticipation, so the wait was made all the more ok.

I got the spicy penne pasta with additional buffalo mozzarella

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Hubbie got the porterhouse steak, atop mashed potato, asparagus and grilled tomatoes

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And baby girl got the kids penne napolitana

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I loved my penne. I had decided to add the extra buffalo for $4, because 1) I love cheese, 2) I might as well get the meal the way it’s obviously intended, and 3) I love cheese. It was creamy with this hint of smokiness if I remember correctly, and combined with the pancetta and the hint of chilli that lingered in the back of my throat after I had finished my bite, it was truly delicious.

Hubbie requested his steak be medium to well, and it was cooked correctly, though he doesn’t believe it was actually flame-grilled as the menu had read. Didn’t matter, as he still enjoyed it, and even I had a bite and agreed it was very tasty. His accompanying vegetables were yummy too.

Baby girl absolutely loved her pasta. She was starving by the time the food came, as we all were, and I was glad they had been able to accommodate us by replacing the linguini in the kids meal to penne, as I just felt it easier to feed her that style of pasta. The very little she left behind, we ate 🙂 I do realise that being so hungry does make you appreciate EVERYTHING, however not to diminish or downplay 4 Doors’ food, I still give them credit and concur that it was all very good.

Since I’m still in the midst of a doughnut-obsession, I discovered there were doughnuts on display up at the front counter and decided we must at least take-away. I chose three doughnuts: jam, Nutella and white chocolate, and we happily devoured them later at home. But alas, these are no Mick’s. They were alright, but I found the dough too dense, and also a tad oilier, so sorry 4 Doors, Mick’s wins in that department.

Food: 7.5/10. A great range of food on offer, simple enough for the locals yet with some great additions enough to make it exciting and fresh.

Coffee: I can’t score this having not had one, but Hubbie loved his flat white…

Ambience: Perfect for us. It was loud enough to crowd out any of baby girl’s squeals, yet not in a rambunctious fast-food restaurant kind of way. The décor made me feel as if we weren’t local, instead someplace closer to the city, and this feeling of transportation is one which I think makes the people keep coming back.

Staff: Really good. Our waitress was very friendly, yet so real, and was very good with baby girl, happily laughing when she patted her arm. Points. Also, the staff up the front who took our bill, and the guy who gave our doughnuts, were equally awesome. It’s amazing how much you can read from a brief experience, yet I can tell the doughnut guy was really eager to please, almost nervous, and I just went ‘wow.’ A young person in a restaurant role that doesn’t think he’s too cool for school? Someone who actually wants to make the customer feel welcome? Crap, this is unheard of in these parts. Well done.

People: I know it was the school holidays, but still, it was July, Winter, a COLD night, and there weren’t many kids when we arrived, yet still the place was fairly full. Only once we were there for a while did some kids follow their parents in. It was a wide mix, of families, couples, and friends, all sorts really. Including the pair next to us, the girl who kept bombarding her male friend with stories of blind dates gone wrong. Like I said, all sorts.

Price: It was over $100, and at first I went “geez,” until I counted up 3 meals, 2 alcoholic drinks, and 3 doughnuts. It was perhaps, price wise, just a tad up considering the area it’s in, but having said that, the food was definitely up to scratch and worth it, as was the restaurant and the staff, so the price matches the quality.

Advice: We ended up sitting in the outside area which was covered that night, however being up against the sides of the ‘tent’ we could still feel wafts of very cool air at times, despite the heaters that were out there. It didn’t ruin our night, but next time, we’re booking. If you’re going on the weekend/at peak times, probably best to book, because like I mentioned, this place was rocking on a Wednesday night.

In a nutshell: We’ve already said we’re going back for brekkie… I love the menu variety, the atmos, the proximity to home, and even though I wasn’t too keen on their doughnuts, it won’t stop me from trying their other pastries 😉 And most importantly, I need to have a cappuccino there. Priorities people.

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Happiness Is… #11

Cake

I have been eating so many sweets lately (blame this Melbourne cold snap’s requirement for ‘bulking-up’ foods), plus my recent doughnut obsession (blame Mick’s!) that yesterday I felt I actually had an aversion to anything sweet….

Yet today, my Mum brings over chocolate cake, and at work, I get free muffins! What?! The universe is giving me cakes, even when I don’t want it…. But they’re oh so good.

Mmmm, nom nom nom, blueberry muffin.

(Happiness Is…/A.K.A First World’s Problems ain’t that bad).

Donutella-uva bomb: the experience

It was everywhere. On social media, everyone seemed to be trying this donutella. I saw one ‘friend’ mention she’d gotten it from a local milkbar. Then I saw a few more things pop up on my news feed, an article in the local paper wrote about it, and even discovered that the news had featured it!

Apparently, Mick’s Place in Thomastown had been selling this thing for ages, and only recently had it exploded on social media, making people travel great distances from all over the state, line up in front of the store, even attracting interest from celebrities, no less! It was everywhere. It still is.

Mick’s Place, from Thomastown. I had to check this fact, several times, and even after sending Hubbie to buy us some of these acclaimed doughnuts, was wondering what he would find there. I mean, this was the milkbar that my roots were steeped in. I walked past it a zillion times with my friends in my teenage years. It was the meeting place and middle ground for me and one of my friends whenever we went on one of our scouts, I mean walks 😉 At home we would confer over the phone and say “ok, let’s leave now!” and both hijack it there to see who would be the first to arrive. (By the way I won, my house was that bit closer, though she would probably disagree with you – ahhh friends 🙂 )

Lots of memories here. And even though these were new owners, this was the same location, the same milkbar, though the name was different and there was a new paint job out front and there were now tables and chairs for those sitting down with a coffee to watch the cars drive past.

If this were true, and the doughnuts were that good… wow. Mick’s Place putting Thomastown on the map? Everyone flocking to our old turf, everyone raving about the doughnuts sold there? That was something this former Thomo girl would be immensely proud of.

It was perfect timing too. I had been on a bit of a doughnut mission before commencing my Winter leave, and after my work buddie discovered that the place we were both hanging to explore, Big Lou’s on Brunswick street, also famous for their doughnuts, were temporarily closed and in the process of moving (that was such a sad discovery) I didn’t know where I would get my doughnut fix from.

Until Mick happened. I don’t even like Nutella that much. But I had to try these.

5000 a day. That’s reportedly how many units they have been selling up to, of doughnuts. A day. That’s insane. Hubbie was headed out one afternoon and I said “get us some donutellas on your way back.”

Hours later I got this message from him:

The shop is full. It’s like a bank on pension day.

He later told me that the line had spiralled around the shop. Everyone was there, solely for the donutellas. He said he felt sorry for anyone stopping to buy smokes, or milk. You wouldn’t want to wait past all the doughnut-ravaging people.

Despite the queue, it went quickly, and he jumped it because he was paying cash and the rest were using the sole EFTPOS machine they have there. One woman came behind him in line and said “Are there still doughnuts? Are they still selling or have they run out?” She then went to the front to pick up her phone order for doughnuts. Yes. They take phone orders. Another person walked by holding several boxes, and Hubbie asked “are they really worth it?” to vehement nodding and “oh yes, so yummy!”

He couldn’t bloody believe it. Neither did I. I made him re-tell several parts of his story bit by bit. “And this is the milkbar I used to hang out at? Corner Vic Drive and Carrington?” I was still in disbelief.

“Yes.”

He said it was crazy like the ‘Flaming Moe’s’ fad from that popular Simpsons episode. Everyone was going there, everyone wanted one, and it was making the people mad. A little place, turned into a sensation, just because of a simple variation on a regular food item. Nothing extraordinary. Just Nutella on a doughnut.

Hubbie wasn’t even asked how many he wanted. He was given a box of 6 for $18. $3 a doughnut. For a considerably sized doughnut too, I might add.

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This was more a bombolone, a type of doughnut without your typical hole in the middle, replaced instead with the Nutella in the middle of the dough with a bit on top. The dough was deliciously soft and fluffy, like a cloud if you could eat them, so very tasty and moorish, and with the addition of Nutella in the middle – oh my goodness, as I’m constantly saying to baby girl. And like I said, I don’t even like Nutella that much. This was awesome. I had read somewhere that Mick had conferred with the baker of the doughnuts until they had created the perfect combination of dough and Nutella, coinciding with the creation that flocks of people were now travelling to experience.

The doughnut is a generous size, and you will feel full afterwards. Sweet tooths will love the Nutella, and even if you’re not crazed over the hazelnut chocolate spread like me, I think you will like it. Even Hubbie said it was nothing amazing, and then after the taste lingered in his mouth said “no, it’s good. It is good,” with a smile creeping up onto his face. They’ve gotten the combination perfecto.

Right now it is a craze, but I hope that Mick’s Place ride this wave as long as they can and utilise the opportunity, turning it into an ongoing thing, rather than a momentary sensation. The doughnuts are worth it, worth the travel and worth the queue, and happily, they fixed my temporary craving for doughnuts.

You get swept up in the donutella-mania really easily. We stopped by the milkbar once over this last weekend, and I’ll be headed in tomorrow to drop in with baby girl. There was a 6 per person limit when I went in. I’m considering ordering a massive stash for baby girl’s upcoming birthday, but we’ll see.

My temporary craving has been replaced by a long-term addiction – this donutella is serious stuff. So beware. Not only will eating a dountella make you want more of this soft and fluffy Nutella doughy-goodness, but you will be sucked into the craze, and it’s a train that’s not stopping anytime soon.

Mick’s Place can be found at 91 Victoria Drive Thomastown. (Corner of Carrington Boulevard for my fellow homies 😉 )