No Sookie, just La La

Sookie La La

593 High Street Northcote

(Visited October ’18)

I didn’t know where I would be led that day as I travelled to the other side of town after having dropped off baby girl at kinder for the day. But what I did know was that I was meeting my old work colleague who was on maternity leave… meeting her, and NOW her new bub.

As it happened, I met her at her place and we then walked a couple blocks to High Street to get a bite to eat…

And suddenly, history was repeating itself.

Because she and I were going to a café to eat with her newborn… and SO many years earlier, she had met me in a café to catch up with me on MY maternity leave, while my newborn accompanied – baby girl. 😍

Now we were in Northcote. Then we were in Northcote.

That was MY FIRST FOOD REVIEW on this blog.

And so it all comes back to the start.

She led me to a place called Sookie la la – so appropriate with her baby in tow. Alas, her bub was a gorgeous boy and did no such thing, although he probably was a tad jelly with all of our caffeine consumption at times.

It’s a scaled-back café right on High Street, think understated industrial fittings, painted brick walls and signs of the building’s age with decorative cornices and the back door hanging askew 🤣

But it’s very much your simple local café, and that is where the simple-ness STOPS.

Because these guys are very much trying to give you a heart-attack.

They had this American-styled classic diner with throwback to brekkie and lunch meals that you would swear would make you question what red/white and blue flag you were travelling within.

Southern-style options, lots of chilli, and options like sloppy joes fit the bill and paint the picture. The biggest image for me though? Their Elvis French Toast – with banana, bacon, maple and peanut butter.

MWA HA HA. So wickedly wrong and GOOD at the same time.

But that wasn’t the one I went for that day. Instead I went for the just as indulgent –

Brekky Brioche – Scrambled eggs, bacon, bell pepper and chipotle relish… with the optional potato gems too.

Why the hell not when in an American classic café, eat as they do too.

Accompanied by my ol’ faithful… cappuccino.

It was such a moist, soft and juicy burger! So delicious, but also, SO MUCH BEIGE ON A PLATE. Oh man. I couldn’t even get through all my potato gems, and realised the error of my excited eyes at the end, looking at my half-eaten plate like –

Why did I do that?

Besides the stuffing myself beyond breaking point part, this café serves up comfort food at its finest. The relish was a great contrast against the bacon and egg, and that bun…. So soft! Incredible.

And the bacon was clean! Like no gross fatty bits, just nice, clean bacon… just the way I like it 😉

But it was so good… I went on a fast food detox after that meal. It inspired it. So like, be warned.

Food: 8/10. For what they do in comfort food, incredible. For what they do to your waistline, also unbelievable 😂 It’s a great, satisfying ‘treat yo-self’ place.

Coffee: 8/10. Coffee in the burbs of ‘almost’ inner city Melbourne… you never disappoint. 💖

Ambience: Chilled and cas on that weekday, quiet with soft background music filtering through the café.

People: There were locals popping in (like my colleague and ‘almost’ former local, me!) with other friends meeting for brunch and lunch too.

Staff: You know the creative type, who only works to pay their bills so they can play in bands, busk, paint sidewalks on the weekend? They are too cool to serve you your eggs on bread but they MUST? Yeah, kinda like that, but with occasional smiles.

Price: I have no idea as my colleague shouted me! But individually my burger was $12, VERY decent in price (actually too cheap if I dare to say it!) and my coffee about $4. Awesome and reasonable prices here.

Advice: It’s the place to go after a break up, to catch up on goss with friends, in cold weather… or simply for a taste of yester-year.

But DON’T come here if you’re on a diet.

In a nutshell: A really interesting diner-style cafe that fits right into the creative and eclectic side of town that is Northcote. Although currently on a health kick, I wouldn’t go right now, but every phase of life passes and different things come up again, and the need for an Elvis themed French toast may arise AT ANY MOMENT… just saying… you never know.

Afterword: I always hate finding out that a place I went to closed before I had a chance to post my review… alas Sookie La La has stuck to its name and seems to have shed its tears with signs of permanent closure mentioned online. But I still post these reviews because I hope somewhere, in the infinite space of online web, that there is someone who will see it and realise it is not a lost cause, and it may just reopen somewhere, sometime…

Because comfort is something we all need at one point or another. If this place does pop up again, do be sure to check it out.

Sookie La La Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Mediterranean in Mornington

Manhattan in Mornington
55 Barkly Street Mornington

(Visited October ’16)

Lucky Duck. This was our first restaurant birthday celebration in our Sea change location, and it was going to be for Hubbie’s birthday, just a few weeks after moving in.

We had booked ahead, and arrived to a small table awaiting us just opposite their front door.

Opulent, classy, yet warm and inviting. That is the upper-class yet traditional Italian vibe I got as we sat down. There was seating on the ground level, and I could see the stairs beside me spiralling up onto another higher seating level. Elvis watched us from one wall. Waiters and waitresses were in professional uniform. It was a perfect place to celebrate something special.

We soon ordered some drinks – for myself the Di Giorgio’s Cab Sav from Coonawarra – an old fave from a certain questionable restaurant that will not be named in this review for fear of unfairly negatively influencing this review in a bad light – and a beer for Hubbie, along with some Chefs Dips – tuna, pesto and beetroot with house-made bread

I enjoyed all the dips, and interestingly the tuna was good as well, which I didn’t think I would like. The waiter took great care to explain to us which dip was which, which showed the much-appreciated attention to detail.

Baby girl received her ‘no delay’ order soon after the dips arrived: Chicken tenderloins and chips.

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I was really impressed with the quality of chicken. I am always happy when they offer a softer piece of chicken meat for the kids meals, as I think it says a lot about food care and consideration, especially for our most fussiest of eaters.

By this stage the restaurant was quickly filling up, and suddenly I was grateful that we hadn’t just fluked it and walked on in because it was a Wednesday night – because for a Wednesday, this place was packed! It certainly seemed like the place to be in Mornington.

After much talking, drinking, and pecking at baby girl’s yummy chicken and chips, our meals finally arrived.

Birthday boy had ordered the Pancetta Di Maiale – Twice cooked pork belly resting on sweet potato mash served with an apple crackle salad

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While I had ordered the Mare e Monti – Linguini pasta, fresh prawns, scallops, calamari, pan seared Moreton Bay bug, chilli infused virgin olive oil, baby spinach, cherry tomatoes

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Hubbie really enjoyed his meal. Like, so much so, that he has continued to order it on repeat visits to the restaurant, a clear good sign of a winner dish. Crunchy crackling with super-soft falling-away-at-the-fork pork underneath it, make him a very Happy Birthday Boy.

I enjoyed mine too, however it wasn’t as perfect as I would have expected a restaurant of that calibre to produce… I loved the Moreton bay bug, that was delicious and fresh. However at the same time, I found the scallops too undercooked for my liking, so I couldn’t eat those unfortunately. The rest of the seafood infused with the extremely spicy chilli olive oil was delicious, but also, that was part of its undoing when it came to enjoying the meal, because it became too much by the end of it, so much so that I actually felt a bit sickly from the overuse of oil and chilli. If the seasoning and oil had been scaled back a little, I think I would have preferred it a lot more.

I let my stomach settle and took baby girl to the change room, to come back and get some coffee and dessert. I mean, what the hell. It was a birthday celebration after all. We decided to share the Profiteroles because we were really stuffed with food, and get some coffees, a latte, cap, and a babycino.

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We got two big profiteroles which were light and creamy, so that was easily enjoyed. My cap was smooth, not so strong, but that I didn’t mind as it was past 9pm. We received some cute bikkies on the side which I’ve noticed a lot of Italian places tend to offer with coffee, and I do like this tradition… so does baby girl, taking it upon herself to eat ours as well as her own. We were happy, we were full, and we were full of birthday festivity… and when baby girl shoved her hand into the lolly jar beside the counter, we knew it was time to go.

Food: 7.5/10.

I have to explain, the food, the presentation, and the quality of all we received was of the highest standards, but after repeat visits here, I’ve come to realize that all the food I receive here is extra oily and especially-seasoned, something my stomach complains about after every visit. It is the rich Italian style of cooking, something I can’t really fault, even though my tummy does…

It’s an Italian thing.

Coffee: 7/10. Smooth.

Ambience: Classy yet comforting. Warm polished wood undertones are displayed throughout with that coastal mediterranean-style that makes you feel like you’re holidaying away in a little secluded and exclusive town in Boot-country.

Staff: The friendly but professional Italian-speaking types, if you get my drift. I’ve seen them sooo many times before, and if you’ve eaten at the expensive side of Lygon street, you’ll know what I mean. They did their job well, and our lovely main waitress was kind enough to wave at baby girl every time she walked by, because baby girl just couldn’t stop trying to get her attention!

People: Those with $$$ come out to play here, and the menu prices are indicative of that. Lots of families, young and old, and big groups of people… like I said earlier, this is the place to be when you have something to celebrate.

Price: $151. On the ‘up’ side, for 3 mains, an appetiser, a dessert, 3 alcoholic drinks, and 3 coffees. But the quality of the food and the service were also on the ‘up’ side, despite my extra-rich linguine…

Advice: Definitely book! Everyone goes here! If your stomach tends to get affected by very strong and heavy flavours, best you avoid the linguine… or most things for that matter…

In a nutshell: Despite my meal on this occasion, we have come here on several many other occasions. Their menu is diverse and interesting, and the ambience is spot on, making you want to keep coming back. The service is especially caring and attentive, as it should be. I was also impressed with the baby change room, it was new and impeccably clean. I am really excited about this find, and I think the rest of the Peninsula is too… I think they should have stayed true to their style though, and instead of their existing name, gone with ‘Florence in Mornington’ or something along those lines… it would be truer to their restaurant character. Anywho…

Potat-oe, Potat-o….

Tomat-oe, Tomat-o…

Messina, Manhattan…

Manhattan in Mornington Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato