Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Eating: Machine Laundry Cafe

One of the first things we did as soon as we got everything sorted at the airport was find some coffee and food. My interest was already engaged due to the sheer number of word by mouth recommendations. Machine Laundry cafe is located in a darling courtyard just off Salamanca place. Salamanca place itself is gorgeous, with the buildings all retaining their old world charm of seafaring and convict labour history.

As soon as you bite into the Parmesan and pancetta pancakes you are greeted by the hardened outer cheese crust of the pancake. This is an amazing accomplishment, this is comfort food lifted to the next level. The carbs, the crispy pancetta embedded into the dough. The body of the pancake is soft and doughy with chives scattered throughout. The tomato relish with cinnamon and other spices, helps to cut through the fat after you’ve had a few mouthfuls.

Their coffee is smooth and well brewed. There is only one thing that I would have liked to see. After the second slice of pancake, I felt myself yearning for something a little acidic like a pickle. But that might just be my vietnamese taste buds talking, i’ve been accused many a time for mixing sweet and savoury.

In conclusion:
This place definitely warrants all the word of mouth reputation that has preceded it. I would not hesitate to recommend this cafe for anyone stopping by Hobart. The surrounds are relaxing and calming with the fountain nearby and the shaded outdoors seating.

The food is a delightful find, and the coffee also performs well. I would come back to Hobart for the comfort food perfection that is the parmesan pancetta pancakes.

Machine Laundry Cafe
Shop 12 Salamanca Place
Hobart, Tasmania 7004
(03) 6224 9922

Machine Laundry Cafe on Urbanspoon

Monday, 19 January 2015

Eating: The Rusty Windmill


For a week I decided to have an at-home-holiday. This involves sleeping at home but doing multiple day trips around Victoria to give myself the travel but to not put such a strain on the purses.

One of the trips we organised was a drive down to Venus bay to go Pippi hunting with the better half and my younger sister who was on summer holidays from school. So we hauled ass early one morning, and on the way there we stopped by a Leongatha for a spot of brunch at The Rusty Windmill.

This place was an excellent find! The beautiful decor of what I would call country chic, with chandeliers, distressed wood furniture, chairs upholstered with recycled sacking material. It pulls together well giving a rustic but stylish charm. The back garden seating area is definitely a must see with a lovely wisteria tree, and a blooming herb garden.

The food does not disappoint. The coffee is a lovely smooth blend, unfortunately that's as far as my coffee vocabulary extends. I can tell you I liked it.

Mine was the pumpkin gnocchi with in a tomato based sauce with mushrooms, zucchini, bacon, tomato, and onion. The pasta itself was creamy and delicious, with a hint of Rosemary worked into the pasta dough itself, helping the gnocchi stay interesting throughout the meal. The tomato base had strong acidic undertones but was well balanced with the abundance of vegetables.

As far as I could tell, the fettuccine my sister ate had the same pasta sauce but with a different pasta.

The better half ate the goats cheese and roasted vegetable frittata. He thought it was standard fare but leaned more to the better end of the tasty spectrum. He was most impressed with the salad, which consisted of green leaf mix, grains, cranberries, and other berries.

In conclusion:
It's a beautiful brunch place that seems small from the outside but opens into a place of delights. The decor and ambiance is lovely, with friendly staff complementing the interior design. The food is generous with lots of fresh things thrown in for a hearty but tasty meal. Flavours are good but you'd be going more here to receive solid quality each time.

If I am in the area again, I'll definitely be dropping in.

The Rusty Windmill
45 McCartin St
Leongatha, Victoria 3953

The Rusty Windmill on Urbanspoon

Eating: Red Shallot


One lazy night, when we felt like naughty food but our wallets were too slim, we dipped into the Entertainment book and decided on Red Shallot.

The interior is a little threadbare, with an attempt at a modern style. I noticed straight away a great example of design compromising functionality in the bowls they had set up with chopsticks threaded through, (please see above for example). I like things functional yet pretty so seeing this caused an eye twitch.

Since it had been a particularly long week at work, we both felt like being greedy, and decided on fried Basa fillet with coconut sauce to share, with one Pad Thai each.

The fish looked amazing, but was not as great as we had hoped. The Basa fillet had an excellent crunch but the flavour of the fish was spoiled by the overwhelming oil flavour from the batter on the outside. The quality of the fish was questionable as it felt mushy and undercooked right in the centre. It's like the consistency you would get if you didn't completely thaw out your fish before deep frying it. The coconut sauce was made of a generous amount of desiccated coconut, coconut milk and a few bits of chilli. The flavour was not one that improved with time, as the more you ate the more fatty it felt, without anything to help cut through the oil from the outside crumb.

Recently I've been preferring my vegetarian versions of my favourite noodles. Unfortunately this is one of the poorer versions of vegetarian Pad Thai I've experienced. The firm style tofu looked like it was meant to have a crunchy exterior but was gooey, and potentially undercooked. The Pad Thai sauce was tasty but was much too wet, making the noodles soggy.

My better half chose the seafood pad Thai, but half way through stopped eating the prawns. He described them as tasteless, and once again questionably undercooked. Do you notice the same pattern I noticed? Just to be clear we didn't experience any gastroenteritis after this dining experience, but I'm not one to place myself in a situation where there is the potential for illness.

In conclusion:
My one dinner experience at this restaurant was not one I would remember fondly. Other people seemed to have better experiences here, but based on my one night I wouldn't recommend this place to my friends or loved ones. The tastes here are average in the Basa fillet with coconut dish, and the two Pad Thai dishes. The quality of the food is questionable, as the texture is not one I would equate to food cooked to an acceptable eating standard.

Perhaps you might have a better experience here than I had, but it's not an experience I would personally repeat.

Red Shallots
680 Glen Huntly Rd 
Caulfield South, VIC 
Ph: 03 9528 4026

Red Shallots on Urbanspoon