Well, we’re nearing the end of 2017, and I now know what my parents meant when they would say the years are passing by quicker and quicker. Potentially a telltale sign of getting older…¬†ūüė¨¬†I just wanted to take this time to say thank you to each and every one of you who has followed me on this journey of food discoveries and experiences, whether you have been here from the start, or have only had a sneak peek to read my thoughts on a particular cafe. Either way, I am extremely appreciative if you have taken any interest at all in what I write.

I have realised that trying different cafes, restaurants and cuisines is a deep-rooted passion of mine, and I hope to continue sharing this love for food with everyone for years to come.

To round out the year, here is a list of my most memorable “Best Of’s” of 2017.

BEST DISHES OF 2017
(In no particular order)

Street Talk Espresso, Armadale
Owner Dean (with wife, Korina) is one of the coolest cats around, successfully immersing a trendy streetz vibe into the cafe’s relaxed and fun ambience. Greek-Cypriot flavours are finely balanced throughout their classic brunch dishes with a twist, igniting an appreciation for the quality Australian produce we are exposed to, and the innovative talents of young chef’s today.
Must Order: The Boss of All Challah
For more info: Click here

Humble Rays, Carlton
Bringing a sense of adult-friendly childhood fun and eccentricity to the city’s north, this is one of my favourite cafe’s in Melbourne thanks to their consistently awe-inspiring food and friendly service. Offering a mixture of health-conscious and not-so-health conscious breakfast, brunch and lunch items, they have something here for everyone. Be prepared to wait for a table in peak times!
Must order dish: Classic Skookie
For more info: Click here

Le Clec, Hawthorn
French-Asian fusion is the name of the game at this extremely underrated cafe. Don’t be deterred by the seemingly small seating area at the front, as they also have two more dining areas at the back, one of which is a comfortably peaceful indoor-outdoor courtyard. Staff are enjoyably friendly and accommodating, whilst their¬†daily house-made pastries will make you question the need for that New Year diet.
Must order dish: Blackberry Buttermilk Hotcake
For more info: Click here

Bentwood, Fitzroy
A latecomer on the Melbourne cafe scene for 2017, this cafe is the perfect example of the phrase,¬†‘slow and steady wins the race‘. Their inspiringly intriguing interior design and fit out contributes to the warm and relaxed ambience, with twists on brunch classics that will leave you hankering for more.
Must order dish: Golden Gaytime Pannacotta
For more info: Click here

Temperance Society, Hughesdale
Nothing groundbreaking in the variety of their breakfast-and-lunch offerings, yet the food is executed with a level of skill and fine-tuned balance that can be hard to come by in today’s saturated cafe industry. Dishes are aesthetically pleasing, and taste super delicious too. A renovation of their venue, however, may benefit their aesthetics.
Must order dish: Brulee Bircher
For more info: Click here

48h Pizza e Gnocchi Bar, Elsternwick or South Yarra
One of the more recent places I have visited, these guys are authentically Italian in everything they do. Now with two locations in Melbourne (South Yarra and Elsternwick), there is double the opportunity to visit them. Specialising in wood fired pizzas and gnocchi, the focused menu and high quality of their products (some of which are imported directly from Italy) demonstrate the genuine nature of their concept.
Must order dish: Mare Nostrum
For more info: Click here

Medah Kitchen, Knox O-Zone
Contemporary Mediterranean cuisine in a casual outdoor dining precinct, it can be easy to pass this ordinary-looking restaurant with so many other choices at Westfield Knox. However, their breakfast dishes are hearty and plated beautifully, whilst their slow-cooked meats unwittingly steal the show.
Must order dish: Meat Tray
For more info: Click here

Rockwell & Sons, Collingwood
Encompassing a rustic American diner and bar theme, their American-influenced fare draws in couples and groups of friends alike. Their fried chicken dinners on Wednesday nights (only) are something worth booking ahead for, with the standard of food and drinks on offer significantly higher than what you would find in an actual American diner.
Must order dish: Double Patty Smash Burger with added bacon
For more info: Click here

Pane e Pizzico, Essendon
Primarily an Italian bakery, secondarily a cafe. Serving barista-made coffee, freshly prepared foccacias and to-die-for pastries, this is a bakery worth driving across town for. The staff are extremely friendly, greeting both regulars and non-regulars with an energetic “Hello” or “Ciao”. Sit down and order a croissant, or take home loaves of their house made bread (Panettone and Pandoro available at Christmas time).
Must order dish: Jam or Nutella Tarts, any of their breads or foccacia’s
For more info: Click here

Addict Food & Coffee, Fitzroy
Instagram-pleasing plates of food consistently emerge from the kitchen, decorated with edible flowers and loads of vibrancy. Although within walking distance of competitor cafe’s, this place holds their own thanks to their innovative brunch fare, whether ordering a simple granola, or more complex beetroot cured ocean trout.
Must order dish: Chocolate Brownie Waffle
For more info: Click here

Penta, Elsternwick
Sleek and modern in design, it’s rare to find this cafe without a queue going out the front door on weekends. The numerous owners of this cafe are extremely wealthy when it comes to experience and knowledge in the cafe industry, with an abundance of popular venues under their belt, and a menu that unfalteringly draws the crowds in.
Must order dishes: Okonomiyaki with added bacon
For more info: Click here

BEST SMOOTHIE OF 2017

Fourth Chapter, Prahran
This light-filled cafe embodies healthy living through both their menu and their plant-drive interior. Catering to the gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan populations where possible, there’s a reason why queues form out the door, and people buy their house made granola to take home. Their Peanut Butter Cup is a decadently sinful smoothie whose thick, nutty and chocolatey textures are attributed to the blend of¬†almond milk, Skippy’s peanut butter, vanilla plant protein, chia, banana and maple syrup. Dessert or drink… who cares, just order it.
For more info: Click here

BEST FREAKSHAKE OF 2017

The Fish & Burger Co., Doncaster
2017 has to be the year of the freakshakes. At this local crowd favourite, their offering of both regular milkshakes and freakshakes are hugely popular, with the latter attracting the attention of all those it passes. Think, whipped cream, cakes, chocolate bars, syrup, lollies, and plenty of it. Not only do they look amazing, but the milkshake itself also¬†tastes amazing, accurately depicting the flavour that it is described as on the menu, and deliciously textural, proving that it’s not just made of milk.
For more info: Click here

Special Mention: Three One 2 One, Richmond

BEST DONUTS OF 2017

Shortstop Coffee & Donuts, CBD
With a single store in most Australian states, these guys focus on maintaining the quality of their donuts day-in, day-out. Rotating specials and holiday-themed flavours are on display, as are a select few staples that keep regulars happy. Expect the donuts to be light, fluffy and incredibly flavoursome. If choosing one donut, you will never be led astray with the Maple Walnut Brown Butter.

Special Mention: Bistro Morgan, Windsor

BEST CROISSANT OF 2017

Lune Croissanterie, Fitzroy
You will often see owner, Kate, hand-making Lune’s famous croissants and pastries throughout the day in the central windowed kitchen, proving the freshness of their products. Whether ordering a simple croissant, cream-filled cruffin or specialty themed pastry, it’s hard not to appreciate the amount of love and care put into these sweet treats. Focused on a constant level of refinement, improvement and innovation, they are worth lining up for first thing in the morning.

Special Mention:¬†Faraday’s Cage, Fitzroy

BEST TIRAMISU OF 2017

48h Pizza e Gnocchi Bar, Elsternwick
If you still have room after eating their amazingly delicious wood fired pizzas or freshly hand-made gnocchi, their Tiramisu is something to rave about. Simply served in a cylindrical glass jar, the ratio of sponge-to-mascarpone cream, and the balance of coffee and chocolate flavours rank this Italian pick-me-up pretty highly on my list.

Special Mention:¬†Caterina’s: Cucina e Bar, CBD

BEST HIDDEN GEM OF 2017

Juliet Melbourne, CBD
A hidden basement bar located along Flinders Lane, this newcomer is fast becoming known for their impressive raclette cheese (a giant cheese wheel, melted, then scraped onto pickles and potatoes, or in a reuben sandwich). Their venue comes alive later in the evening, when wine conoisseurs and fun-loving groups of friends taste their way through the mostly Australian, female-championing wine list. For more info: Click here

BEST NEW CAFE OF 2017

Bentwood, Fitzroy
Named after the Bentwood factory that previously occupied its location, this cafe pays respectful tribute to this particular design of furniture through their warm-hued interior design, gold-plated flooring and bentwood chairs throughout their indoor seating area. When you manage to take your eyes off of the stunning decor and ceiling, you can then appreciate the level of finesse and detail that is put into their food and drinks (namely, smoothies), bursting with flavour, texture and well-plated beauty.
For more info: Click here

BEST INTERNATIONAL CUISINES OF 2017

Bhang, Brunswick – Contemporary Indian cuisine
Hawker Boys, CBD РVietnamese Street Food
MOMO Dumpling + Tea, Prahran – Authentic Chinese cuisine
New Shanghai, Emporium or Chadstone – Authentic Shanghainese cuisine
Sabai, Richmond – Fusion Thai cuisine
Shukah, Windsor – Modern Armenian cuisine

BEST OVERALL DINING EXPERIENCE OF 2017

Attica, Ripponlea
Ranked No.32 in the world, and No.1 in Australia, this restaurant should go on every food-lovers bucket list. Their concept is simple: source produce locally, and use it to show off the beauty of Australian nature. A set menu is compulsory, and necessary to take the diner on a culinary journey unlike any other. Despite their reputation, the atmosphere within the restaurant is quite relaxed and down-to-earth, promoting an enjoyably honest and unpretentious experience.
For more info: Click here

Happy New Year everyone!

 

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