Move straight to the centre

Radius Restaurant
RACV Resort, 70 Cape Paterson-Inverloch Road Inverloch

(Visited June ’16)

Our trip to Inverloch in June 2016 was in celebration of many things. And it was our first family holiday together as one, so it made sense that there were people and events to celebrate.

When I say family, I mean ‘family,’ in the all-encompassing, all-inclusive sense.

Road tripping it over was myself, Hubbie and baby girl… my MIL… my parents… my sister, bro-in-law, and my two nephews.

It was a BIG one.

Although it was a very short trip, it was jam-packed and still a lot of fun.

On the night we arrived, we dressed ourselves up and headed on over into the dining quarters of Radius, the restaurant at the RACV resort that we were staying at.

If you can stay at the RACV resort, do it. You have so much accessible to you, the rooms are new and modern and luxurious, and then you have a view like this from your window.

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Highly, strongly recommended. So, back to the restaurant. There was a fairly big group of us, so it was a given that one of us had booked ahead to guarantee a table. We arrived by 7pm, and it took a while to settle with so many.

After all that though, we started getting into the holiday spirit with some drinks

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and then it was the long and arduous task of deciding what to order.

Not that there weren’t any good meals. It was just that our parents wanted ‘easy,’ ‘simple,’ ‘recognisable’ options, and translating what everything was, and what they would eventually get (understanding some menus requires study in itself) took a bit of effort.

Our waitress was lovely from the outset. She was kind and extremely accommodating, not at all like the nose-in-air customers who were dining nearby, looking over questioningly every time baby girl or my nephew made a sound. They did it with such rudeness, when they weren’t even being that noisy, that I almost asked THEM to leave. The inconsiderate nature of some people just astounds me.

But the waitress worked hard to make us happy, even telling sis that we could chill out on the empty table behind us, if it helped to make my nephew happier.

She had forgotten our bread rolls early on, but that was easily forgotten with her kind gestures, making her the ideal waitress that night.

Baby girl spent some time drawing in those small kid’s packs that come with some paper, 4 crayons and a sheet of stickers. That kept her busy, keeping us relieved.

When our food came, we were all raring to go.

I got the Bass Coast fettuccine, roasted cauliflower, charred corn, with gruyere cheese sauce and toasted hazelnuts

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Hubbie got the Porterhouse with red wine jus, with duck fat roasted baby potatoes and a resort salad, and an additional side of Steamed vegetables, local olive oil (not pictured)

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And finally baby girl had Chicken Nuggets, chips and salad

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Baby girl’s meal was good and even we ended up pecking away as the minutes ticked on! All our meals were pretty enjoyable, I enjoyed my fettucine, the hazelnuts gave it a definite crunch, and it was a very creamy and satisfying dish, which I didn’t eat all of, only so I could make some room from the desserts I was eyeing off in the display cabinet.

Hubbie was happy with the preparation of his meat, it was done as he liked. He enjoyed the meal, and though it was substantial, he felt it was missing something, and needed a bit more beside the meat, potato and salad component. Nonetheless, he was still happy.

There were main meals, entrees, and sharing plates everywhere. By the time we were done with that, the waitress suggested we could go into the adjoining bar area, where we could lounge out on the couches there and have our coffee and cake delivered to us!

So, why not?

The 10 of us meandered across and fixed ourselves over about 3 couches, before indulging in some yummy coffee and desserts

I got a cap and a mango ‘something.’ I don’t remember the name, but I know there was a pistachio cake layer, pistachios, jelly, mango of course, and a custard. I didn’t like the cake part, but I preferred the creamy/jelly/mango layer on the bottom. So it was half good, half not. The cappuccino was smooth and easily knocked back after all of that food.

After drinking and eating some more, and baby girl going out of her way to greet everybody… it was nearing ‘late’ time, and we so we headed off down the hallway… just a minute or two walk to our rooms 🙂

Food: 8/10. Good menu, and satisfying food.

Coffee: 8/10.

Ambience: It was warm and relaxing, yet there was enough noise to still put you at ease and not have to worry that you were dining in a library (ahem, nose-in-the-air diners).

People: Apart from the above annoying people, there were a lot of families and groups, being a resort restaurant.

Staff: Our waitress was overly accommodating if there is such a term. Brilliant, so lovely and genuinely warm.

Price: Surprisingly, for our large group, where there was a multitude of drinks and all kinds of meal plates, as well as desserts and coffee, it only came to $205! I actually can’t believe that, but it was true. So clearly I am saying, due to this it was definitely value for $$$.

Advice: Book ahead, being a restaurant within the RACV resort, it is a given to be busy most nights.

In a nutshell: I really enjoyed this resort, as we all did, and because of the fond memories made there, both at the resort and restaurant, how could I not want to go back? We dined at Radius for breakfast the following morning, and I can confirm their consistency, as the buffet breakfast selection was great.

The holiday was short and sweet, but so, so good. I want to go back, now.

Radius at RACV Resort. Keep it on your radar. And then zoom in.

RACV Inverloch Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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The Age of the Epiphany

If you’re anywhere under the age of 30, remember this: Your parents are right about EVERYTHING.

I’ve always listened to my parents advice, don’t get me wrong. I guess I was just kinda like working things out for myself, and thinking, like the over-confident Leo I can sometimes be, that I can do it differently, and better, my own way.

Ha.

My parents and my MIL are all super-paranoid when it comes to their babysitting duties with baby girl. They’ll cover the coffee table with the throw we have draped over our lounge, trying to cushion the pointy corners so that if she were to fall the material would soften the blow. When she runs around the dining table at full speed, they cringe. They used to barricade the bottom of the stairs with the pram, so that she couldn’t climb up them.

I didn’t so much mind all their little additions, but I told them to stress less and to not spend so much time worrying. Yes, sometimes she fell. It was never anything major, it toughened her up and taught her a bit about what she should and shouldn’t do. For some reason though, having them put the throw on the table… well it just shit me. I don’t know why. The throw was for the couch, and they were covering the coffee table with it. I felt like saying ‘she never falls near the table with us, stop over-reacting!’ To add to it, Mum further aggravated me with her comment “That’s ok, we put it on when you’re not here.” And then she laughed. Grrr.

Last week, baby girl fell while running around with her Dad, and hit her head on the tiles. It was the smallest of hits – Hubbie didn’t even think her head touched the ground. But the blood splatters on the floor and the drops down her jumper told us otherwise.

I can’t begin to express the chaos that followed that incident. There were tears and freak-outs, mostly from me. She had hit her head, but it was a minor graze, and she settled very quickly after. Thank God. But it was a major wake-up call for us. Our parents’ constant stresses and worrying was for a good reason. They had raised us. They had been through all of this before.

I haven’t said boo about the throw on the coffee table since.

On the weekend, Hubbie and I had a decent blue. We were arguing, and were both very stubbornly holding our individual positions. We were shouting angrily at each other, and not because of something we had done or said to the other- it was about a family member. I went to bed that night seething, yet so sad. And I contemplated how every single time we’ve had a big argument (minus the every day nagging stuff you just get used to) it was about a family member. I fell asleep on that.

To my surprise, we made up immediately the next morning. I didn’t think there was any going past it. But Hubbie was adamant that we weren’t to yell at each other like that again, and made the same observation that I had: all our big fights weren’t about us.

We are good, so good together. And we realised, through this struggle, that we shouldn’t let outside interference get in the way of our relationship. In fact that weekend I had read a quote about struggles being the instigators to find another way forward. Which we had. I also heard my Mum’s words circling around in my head:

“Never let anyone get in the way of your family. People will always try to make trouble between you, but don’t let them.”

Even though there was no one intentionally making our lives difficult, it was so true that we shouldn’t be letting an outsider get in the way of US.

You might be lucky, and under the age of 30 and know all of this. You may be older, and still learning. That’s ok. Life is a process. It’s fortunate if you can learn from the experiences and words of others, but often the best way to learn is when you live the lessons yourself. Just try to make the tough lessons a vicarious experience, if you can.

Meeting Santa

This is the tale, of a little girl who met Santa.

My little girl. My baby girl, in fact.

She had actually ‘met’ him at the photo op during last year’s Christmas lead-up, when coming up to the big festive day I had popped her on his knee and stood back to grin at the stunned expression on her face as the camera went snap snap snap.

She was 4 months old then. She didn’t really know what was going on, let’s be honest.

Over a week ago we went to the same shopping centre, to see the same Santa. This year baby girl is grabbing at the Christmas tree and baubles we have at home, running into the presents underneath, and currently she will not, EVER go into the arms of someone she doesn’t see often, as unbelievably friendly as this girl is. Bar my Mum and MIL, it’s a no-go for her.

These thoughts were all going through my head as we stood in line to meet the man in red. I picked her up and told her to wave at Santa, telling her that he’s the guy that brings her presents. But presents, to a 16-month old? The thing she loves about presents is ripping the paper, that’s about the best present in the world for a 16-month old. She watched though, and listened. She looked at Santa, and pointed to the huge Christmas tree behind him. She gave me hope.

When it finally came our turn to go over and meet Santa, I was feeling really anxious. “Say ‘hi Santa! Wave to Santa!'” I said with as much excitement I could muster, trying to swallow my nerves.

We inched closer and Santa said hi to her. Now that we were within a metre of him, her eyes widened. She really stared at him, hard. And as I wondered, how the hell am I going to get her on his knee, she grabbed at me, turning her head towards me and clutching at my shoulders for dear life.

I said to Santa “I think she’s going to cry.”

And Santa said “well Mum the only way to do it is for you to get in the photo with her.”

As I went to sit beside him, baby girl started to wail. Like a real decent cry out.

Silence across the room. Time hung in the air as I plastered a smile on my face.

“Hey, baby girl, it’s ok,” I said, trying to soothe her, not daring to look up and see the pitying faces around me. I shifted her from arm to arm, finally positioning her so she was farthest away from Santa as possible, and amazingly, she calmed for a fairly decent photo.

We actually came up good.

As we walked off Santa gave baby girl an Elf hat with pointy ears on the side. As we were waiting in line to pay, I popped it on her head and she promptly ripped it off, and one of the pointy ears as well.

So that’s our second Christmas.

The sweets aren’t too Fara-way on Lygon

Brunetti
380 Lygon Street Carlton

It’s an institution. Even in its pre-renovated days back in Faraday Street, despite the assumption of space it was always cramped. Brunetti has now moved to its new home within Lygon Court but still, despite the high ceilings and long passageway it now inhabits, with separate dining areas and eating experiences, the place is packed.

It will always be packed, Brunettis. That’s the other thing; to those who really know it, it’s Brunettis – as any self-respecting Aussie knows, an establishment only becomes truly endearing after you change it to its plural. Thus, Brunettis is the place that many, many people have been going to for years now, and it’s much adored by all. Venue change and all, I think it’s only gotten better.

It was packed when we went for Tuesday lunch during the school holiday period in October. Though it started off with ample space, by the time we’d finished our mains and had moved onto cake and coffee, the place was, as Hubbie would say “jamming.”

We’ve been to Brunettis heaps of times before, as it coincidentally and fortunately was off our favourite restaurant strip of this great city. We’d go out to eat, and finish by stopping by to salivate at the cakes and take some home for later. It would be a Saturday night, there’d be a line of people outside just waiting for a free table to open up, with the mass crowd inside the restaurant waiting to be served coffee and cake reminiscent of something you’d see in a mosh pit. I think even back then there was a section devoted to savouries, well within the venue away from the sugar-seeking crowds, but having never gone to Brunettis for something salty I couldn’t say for sure. It’s definitely there now.

I must admit, although the idea of so many petite and beautiful looking sculptures of pastry and sugar was always so appealing, it was never a really truly ‘wow’ experience for me. Sure I still wanted to come back and experience more of the cakes in the display, and to this day I still want to buy one of those $40 cakes to take home and eat over a week, but there were never any heavenly explosions in my mouth. I was really keen to give it a good go and be proven that these mouth-watering delights do exist. We hadn’t been to Brunettis in ages, and hadn’t experienced it in its new home, so when the opportunity arose Hubbie
and I went with baby girl and MIL into town, to check out the new digs.

They’ve really gone all fancy-schmancy. I loved it. We were having our mains right near a black and white photo of what looked like Sophia Loren standing over a multi-tiered wedding cake. If anyone can confirm this is Sophia, please let me know (I can’t find the image anywhere on google). The theme in the new venue is that of modern Italian opulence, with some great old reminders of yester-year like those awesome B&Ws. They have their cake display up one end of the shop, followed by the coffee-making team in a hub, much like it was before, followed by another sweet pastry section, then the savouries, with all the dining areas opposite, including a sectioned-off private dining area for the posher crowd in the far corner of the restaurant.

For lunch we shared the following:

Sopressa Roll, Ragu Arancini and Porcini Pizza

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I’m not a huge salami fan, but this roll was really yummy and fresh, so good. There was salami, peppers, artichokes, and it really felt like an antipasto party in my mouth. The Arancini was cheesy and saucy, and the Porcini Pizza was interesting with its choice of mushrooms, but still great. We easily cleaned it up between the three of us.

Because we were sitting under Sophia near the savoury section, we then decided to move closer to the sweet stuff and change locations, and fortunately Hubbie found a great table right between the coffees and cakes on the other side of the room.

What I also like about the place is that it’s brimming with waiters, but they’re not so focused on their task of clearing tables/delivering food that they won’t stop and NOT look annoyed when you ask them a question. For example I stopped one waiter to ask him if I could get some extra share plates, and despite the fact he was about to pick up and balance several precarious looking dishes, he warmly told me I was more than welcome to take more. Another waitress happily located a high chair for us, and another waiter who looked like his name would be Giovanni, young boy recently come to Australia from Italy to make a better life for himself, having gotten a job at Brunettis due to ‘family connections’ (I’ve got the plot all lined up), who was walking by clearing tables, very nicely said in his fine Italian accent that he would find us a high chair (we’d since moved tables) and came back after his search to happily provide us with one. Despite the busy-ness, another waitress played “hi” with baby girl (she is waving at everyone at the moment – baby girl not the waitress), and it just made me, us, feel good. I could tell all the wait staff are very on the ball when it comes to clearing things away – get people out, so more people can come in. Despite that, they’re not pushy, or trying to get rid of you, they’re just being efficient and making sure tables are cleared so new customers can sit down without rubbish at their tables. And in between I’m happy to report, they’re absolutely lovely.

After much internal debate and soul-searching, we all decided on three desserts with our coffee. I had the White and Dark Chocolate Mousse (pictured here with my cappuccino)

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Hubbie had the French Custard Tart

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and MIL had a chocolate mousse type cake, but we have no idea what it is, so we’ll just refer to it as the dark brownie-looking one in the photo with a cream bomb on top

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All the desserts were great. I think it was a tie between MILs and mine, as I tasted Hubbie’s and though I love custard, it was good, but that was it. Mine was velvety goodness, and I was so glad I went down the mousse path. I felt the prices were really decent for the inspirational creations on offer, but again I think they can definitely afford the prices when they’re producing all those cakes and savouries in such high volume.

That was the fear I had with Brunettis; because they do so much of a variety of food, both sweet and savoury, I wonder whether they are doing too much, but not doing anything well. That’s my thought whenever I come across an establishment that has too much to offer, but falls short of excellence with any of its products. Hubbie and I were talking about this just the other day, and referring to a local hangout which I won’t divulge the name of, other to say that they offer pizza, pasta, steaks, other mains, a wide variety of breakfast, dessert, and drinks, and each time I’ve been there in the past I have not been wowed, in any, ANY measure, being sorely disappointed on many an occasion. We refuse to go there now, and that’s where my thoughts went when I was observing Brunettis. However, that is NOT, definitely not the case there. The savoury was so delicious, and our cakes so scrumptious, that even though the mousse I had wasn’t that 100% piece of heaven I was searching for, it came close, and I have no doubt with more cake-testing journeys there, I will find it 😉

Food: 8/10. Really fresh, and some of those cakes… OMG. Just look at the case. Go on, look. I dare you not to buy anything, or at least salivate, just a little.

Coffee: 7/10. The coffee was strong, to Hubbie’s liking, and I found it not too bad, though I think I prefer my caps smooth. Still good though.

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Ambience: Cosy yet bustling, modern yet European vibe. It’s a really nice blend of cultures, and how could it not be on Lygon street?

Staff: Warm and friendly, though we had a bit of a ‘what the?’ moment when Hubbie asked the coffee staff for a jug of boiling water for baby girl’s food. We had to leave our food in the jug at their bench, rather than bring the water to our table, I assume for ‘safety’ reasons. That’s all well and good, just inconvenient, and terribly annoying. When I got up to get her food, another waitress said to me “do you want to take the whole thing to the table?” (as in, the boiling water we weren’t initially allowed to take to our table). Otherwise, they were great.

People: A lot of families because of the school holidays, older couples, and friends meeting for coffee/lunch. I’d say on the weekend it would draw a much younger crowd, if my memory of old Saturday night’s does not evade me. 

Price: The savouries were expense. $30 for the three dishes we had, and the pasta menu I perused the $$ were about the same and that was for singular dishes; unless you’re a high-flying businessman, I don’t know if you’d be paying that much on your lunch break, but still, I wanna go back and have it another day, only because our dishes were so fresh, I can’t imagine how beautiful their pasta would taste.
The desserts were more acceptable. Considering the visually stunning creations, quite appropriately priced. Our three desserts and coffees came to about $20, and then I just had to take a few more home in their very nice Brunetti box:

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And five of those beauties came to just under $17. Let’s just say I’m happy that I don’t work near Lygon street, because I’d be spending all my money there and expanding my waistline.

Advice: Go when you think it won’t be busy, and the crowd will be just manageable. During high-peak times, on weekends you’ll have to wait for a table, or stalk someone like you would in a shopping centre car park and wait ‘til they knock the last bit of their coffee back before lunging on their table. There are plenty of seats, however there will never be enough at Brunettis.

In a nutshell: It’s a Lygon Street right-of-passage, and until you’ve gone, you’ll never know how good it is to look at so many cakes and want to try them all at once, shovelled into your mouth. But that would be a culinary injustice to this place, so you’ll just have to do what I’m going to do, and go back, bit by bit, and try EVERY SINGLE CAKE they have there, ONE AT A TIME.

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