Primal Paleo at Patch

Patch
32 Bendigo St
Richmond, VIC
(type Burnley into Google)
(03) 9029 0328

It was only a matter of time before the Paleo trend made its way out of cyber world and into real world Melbourne. Tom Davidson and business partner Jacob Burke met through Davidson’s personal training business ‘Tom Primal’, through which Davidson teaches clients the Paleo lifestyle. After a trip to America where the Paleo diet is commonplace, the pair decided to open Melbourne’s first Paelo cafe, Patch, in Richmond.

The Paleo diet is based on the premise that if our ancestors didn’t eat it, we shouldn’t eat it. Also known as the caveman diet or hunter gatherer diet, followers only consume natural products grown from the earth, with the premise that humans haven’t evolved to properly digest new foods such as grain, legumes, or dairy.

The menu is small but packed with nutritionally dense options so delicious you won’t even believe it’s good for you. “Healthy eating should be fun, not a chore” says Davidson, who has created a menu that while Paleo focused, is flexible enough to offer sourdough toast as an option. Ingredients are sourced locally, only adding to the feeling of healthy euphoria.

The all-day menu has a slight Asian leaning, with options like daikon tuna rolls ($20.00), pork belly with cabbage ($22.00), or the spanner crab omelette with Asian herbs, toasted coconut and chilli jam ($24.00). The latter has apparently been going gang busters and it’s easy to see why. It’s light, silky and delicious, a great way to start the day.

MFF_Patch_Omelette

If you can’t handle crab for breakfast, a few on-trend favorites receive the Paleo treatment too, like the Patch bircher muesli made with nuts and seeds ($15.00) and the breakfast salad with kale, avocado, pomegranate, almond, cauliflower and soft boiled egg ($16.00).

If you enjoy eating like a caveman, try the caveman breakfast ($22.00). It’s kinda like you’re regular big breakfast, but without the guilt. On it is poached eggs, bacon, wagyu steak, sautéed kale, cherry tomatoes and sweet potato fritters, with the fritters bumping this dish into the next level of deliciousness.

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Still a little dubious of Paleo? Don’t worry, there’s menu options you will recognize. The classic eggs benedict is there ($16.00), available with either the usual English muffins, or if you feel like dabbing a toe in the Paleo pool there’s the option of ‘Paleo Toast’ or on special request, sweet potato fritters.

MFF_Patch_Benedict

Think you can’t have your cake and eat it too? You’d be wrong. At the register is a cabinet laden with treats made by Addicted 2 Goodness who handmake organic, paleo, gluten-free, sugar-free and dairy-free treats in St Kilda. Their blueberry cheesecake isn’t like the regular artery-clogging variety from your local; this version is light and just the thing to finish off your delicious guiltfree meal.

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Inhabited by athletes both professional and not (Davidson is a former AFL player), gym junkies, and foodies alike, Patch has a feel-good buzz that is infectious and sure to get your weekend off to the right start. Even if you’re not serious about healthy eating, the food is good enough for anyone to enjoy.

Patch on Urbanspoon

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Kale, chicken and cauliflower winter salad

MFF_KaleChickenSaladEach Sunday, I make up a weeks worth of lunches for work. It saves time during the week, is cost efficient, and I know that I will be eating reasonably healthy. Last week’s lunches were a winter salad of kale, chicken and cauliflower. I enjoyed it so much I decided I had to share it with all of you today. I usually get about 5 lunches out of this but I have said serves 4 just to be on the safe side.

1 bunch of kale
1 rotisserie chicken

1/2 head cauliflower
1/2 bunch parsley, roughly chopped
100g almonds, roughly chopped
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 clove garlic
salt and pepper

  1. Strip the leaves from the kale and wash well. Drain. Shred finely and place in a large bowl. In a jar, combine lemon juice, olive oil, cumin, paprika and garlic. Season to taste. Pour over kale and using your hands, massage the dressing into the kale to soften, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Peel the skin off the chicken and discard. Pull the meat from the bones and flake into bite sized pieces. Place in the bowl with the kale.
  3. Remove the stem from the cauliflower and cut into small florets. Place in a food processor and process until the texture of cous cous. Tip the cauliflower on to a clean tea towel and squeeze the liquid out. Place cauliflower in the bowl with the chicken and kale.
  4. Add the parsley and almonds to the salad, drizzle with a little extra olive oil and season to taste. Toss well before serving.

Serves 4

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Third Wave Cafe

Third Wave Cafe
30 Cato St
Prahran, VIC
(03) 9510 2991

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Recently, I was invited to try Third Wave Cafe, an American-ish style cafe & restaurant in the back streets of Prahran. Open for breakfast and lunch Mondays & Tuesdays, and dinner the rest of the week, it’s a cute place, small and bright with a modern fitout.

The breakfast menu plays it safe by covering all bases, offering both unusual options like the Cherry Cheese Blintzes ($16.90) or Risotto Hash Browns topped with mushrooms, chorizo, tomato and poached egg with rocket ($19.40), as well as typical options like a rather standard Big Breakfast ($21.90) or a Breakfast Panini ($13.90). It’s an alright menu, sure to keep the general population happy, but is a tad safe by Melbourne standards.

The rest of the menu is.. a little confusing. On the lunch menu is a selection of salads, paninis and burgers, but also available is a scaled down version of the American BBQ section from the Dinner menu, PLUS an additional Paleo menu, PLUS specials… It’s a little disjointed.

The dinner menu is a little more focused, with a definite American leaning. Divided into “Slow Smoked BBQ” (a selection of meats and salmon), sides, or “more”, it’s a little confusing to see the “Paleo” menu there again with “eggs any way”.. I thought this was the dinner menu? But order from the BBQ menu and you’ll be safe.

The beef ribs come recommended to us and like all the BBQ dishes come as either a medium or large serve ($23/$44). They come with 2 sauces (though the menu says 3) served in tiny ramekins that are a bit outdated and are empty after a couple of spoonfuls. The waitress must have encountered this issue before, as she is quick to offer us a refill. The ribs themselves are actually really tasty – melt-in-your-mouth tender, and the sauce has a great balance of sweet and sour.

There are also pork ribs available ($29/$54) which may sound pricy, but these are no ordinary ribs. “We use the most expensive cut of pork ribs available – the belly ribs. This cut is not available from butchers because in Australia this part of the pig is left for pork belly… This allows for a much more juicy finished product. ” says owner, Greg Rips.

MFF_ThirdWaveCafe_RibsAlso recommended to us is the lamb shoulder ($22.00/$42.00) which has been flavoured with a blend of herbs and spices. Served with a BBQ sauce and salsa verde (again, where is the 3rd sauce promised on the menu?) the meat comes as thick, grey slices of meat that aren’t all that appealing. But looks can be decieving as the meat is actually beautifully tender and moist. It’s a shame the meat hasn’t been pulled apart instead.

MFF_ThirdWaveCafe_LambThe sides menu is varied, with options like crispy coleslaw ($8.00/$14.00), kipfler potatoes cooked in duck fat ($9.00/$16.00) or Russian salad ($9.00/$16.00). The smoked mac and cheese ($9.00/$16.00) is a great rendition, with a subtle smokiness that matches the BBQ menu. The pancetta peas ($9.00/$16.00) are another great classic, finished with fresh mint making them an excellent accompaniment to the lamb. The Georgian salad – a mix of parsley, coriander, dill, mint and basil with tomato cucumber and red onion – comes recommended, but is coarse and unremarkable.

MFF_ThirdWaveCafe_Sides

On the sweets menu, the cherry cheese blintzes and orange French toast from the breakfast menu pop up again. There’s some ordinary additions that dilute the good stuff – pastries and muffins that would be better left off. But dig a little deeper and you’ll find an excellent key lime pie ($13.00) or pecan pie ($13.00) that fit the American theme.

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There’s a good selection of beer as well that are an excellent match with the BBQ menu. The Rogue Dead Guy Ale ($11.00) is very drinkable, but if you’re after something special try the Bacon Maple Ale ($35/700ml). It’ll polarise diners but is a great talking point.

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There’s a lot to like about Third Wave. The staff are friendly and helpful and the space is cheerful and bright. There’s also something nice about being able to order a salad with my ribs – there’s all the flavour of American food without the guilt. Overall, the food is quite good though a little confused. The American theme is on trend and well executed, but this is diluted by some people-pleaser dishes. It’s also a little on the pricey side. But with a few minor tweaks here and there Third Wave has real potential.

Third Wave on Urbanspoon

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I Love Dumplings delivers more than dumplings

I Love Dumplings
298 Bridge Rd
Richmond, VIC 3121
(03) 9428 9201

MFF_ILoveDumplings_01It isn’t a new restaurant, or one with a famous chef, but I Love Dumplings on Bridge Rd, Richmond, delivers exactly what you’d expect with a name like that: delicious dumplings. Located opposite the Richmond Town Hall, the place is minimalist and modern, with a subdued Asian feel. Exposed brick walls, dark wood and fat, plush chairs give an luxurious quality not usually associated with dumpling houses. But this is a kind of new age dumpling palace.

The menu is extensive, featuring all your traditional Liaoning style favourites including chicken or pigs feet and blood tofu. But it’s the dumplings that are the star attraction. There’s plenty to choose from available either steamed or fried, but the steamed dumplings in Sichuan chilli sauce take the humble dumpling to a whole new level. You can have any of your favourites with the sauce: pork, lamb & beef or chicken & prawn, but the seafood are the standout ($7.50/6pc, $13.80/15pc).

MFF_ILoveDumplings_04MFF_ILoveDumplings_03Even if you’re not into dumplings, the main dishes are pretty tasty too. The fried eggplant with sweet chilli sauce ($16.80) is exceptional, and sure to turn even the meanest of carnivores into an eggplant fan. This meaty vegetable is served thick cut in a thick, sweet sauce with thin shavings of carrot and herbs that might almost make you believe this dish if healthy.

MFF_ILoveDumplings_EggplantOther meat centric dishes like the stewed beef in hot soup ($19.80) are also good. The broth the meat arrives in is warm and comforting, perfect for the winter weather. Don’t be scared by the chilli floating at the top: eat around it and you won’t have a problem with the heat.

MFF_ILoveDumplings_Beef

There are plenty of dumpling houses around Melbourne, some good, some bad. But I Love Dumplings is a particularly good one that goes above and beyond what the name promises. Be warned: the service can be a bit hit and miss, and there is often a long wait on the dumplings, but they are well worth the wait.

I Love Dumplings on Urbanspoon

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In the mood to splash out on seafood? The Atlantic fits the bill

The Atlantic
8 Whiteman St
Crown Entertainment Complex
Southbank, VIC

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I mentioned in my last post on Sake that I’m a little dubious of restaurants along Southbank – to me, many lack any real ‘soul’, translating into standard, boring food. So when I was recently invited to a bloggers’ dinner at The Atlantic, I was a little hesitant. But while it may seem like this is “just another Crown restaurant”, one distinguishing fact sets it apart from all the others: the chef is Donovan Cooke.

Over 10 years ago, Cooke ran one of Melbourne’s best restaurants, Est Est Est. In it’s day, Est Est Est was at the forefront of Melbourne cusine, bringing fine dining back in an era where diners were wanting a more casual, brasserie type experience.

More than a decade later, Cooke is back running the enormous Atlantic kitchen. Capable of seating 300 people, it may seem that a place of this scale would produce food that is formulaic and ‘standard’, but Cooke’s drive for quality and his dedication to sustainably sourced seafood ensure the menu is not only innovative, but devised in such a way that it can be revised on a daily basis to work with what species of fish are available. This means that the fish on offer one day may not necessarily be available the next.

It would be a mistake to visit the Atlantic without trying their freshly shucked oysters, which are proudly on display at the entrance to the restaurant. The night we visit we are treated to oysters from Wallis Lake (NSW), Smoky Bay (SA), and Moulting Bay (TAS), which are served with a light vinaigrette and fresh lemon.

MFF_Atlantic_Oysters

There is a definite “classic” leaning to the menu, which is divided into cold and hot starters, fish whole and filleted, and a ”from the land” section that lists steak options, a rogue chicken dish and a token vegetarian offering. To begin, drawing on his classical training Donovan reinvents the seafood cocktail, combining crab meat, scallops, moreton bay bugs, prawns, iceberg lettuce, rockmelon, apple, basil, and soft boiled quail egg in a creamy dressing ($30). It’s a simple dish that may not knock your socks off but will bring a nostalgic smile to many faces. The crab bisque, however, is the better of the remastered classics, carefully balancing scallop mousse, preserved lemon, basil and rockmelon balls ($25.00).

The extensive starters menu continues with pan seared scallops and calamari with celeriac and apple remoulade, squid ink mascarpone, salmon roe ($26.00). It’s a great example of Donovan’s artistry as a chef, and there’s no shortage of beautiful dishes here. The Alaskan king crab with red capsicum coulis, crab mascarpone, balsamic gel and smoked paprika ($26.00) is again a meal to be eaten with the eyes.

MFF_Atlantic_StartersMFF_Atlantic_Crab

It’s not just pretty food though, it’s delivers on taste as well. The Wood-fired grilled calamari with marinated kipfler potatoes, radicchio, parsley, capers, garlic croutons ($27.00) is sure to please even seafood beginners. The wood firing adds an excellent smokey flavour to the calamari, which is matched by the bitter radicchio. The tian of kingfish, pickled king oyster mushroom, semi dried tomatoes, bonito flake and chilled mushroom consomme ($27.00) is another excellent starter.

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Onto mains, and one of the best options is to have a whole fish cooked on the bone, either wood fired, roasted or steamed. The night we visit there’s whole baby snapper on the menu ($41.00). Served simply with fresh lemon and the option of an olive oil, garlic, chilli and anchovy sauce, it’s treated with the simplicity and respect it so deserves. Scared of eating fish on the bone? Take advantage of the offer to debone the fish at the table. It’s tableside theatre at it’s best.

MFF_Atlantic_SnapperMFF_Atlantic_Snapper2If fish bones aren’t your thing, the signature confit Ora King Salmon with braised baby savoy cabbage smoked bacon, baby carrot and jus gras ($40.00) might be for you. Aptly named the wagyu of the sea, this salmon has all the flavour of the wild variety while adhering to the strictest sustainability standards. Plus, it comes with bacon.

MFF_Atlantic_Salmon

If you’re after something more exotic, there’s the pan fried hapuka, served with risoni scented with prawn and aromatic vegetables with fennel salad and shellfish foam ($44.00). It’s a real celebration of seafood, successfully marring a range of seafood elements.

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If you’ve been dragged along to The Atlantic but don’t really enjoy seafood you can relax: there is something for you. The 250g Sher Wagyu Sirloin ($58.00) has a marble score of 8+ and is as good a steak as any along the Southbank strip. While it does come with a little side salad, make sure you order some extras; the brown butter roast cauliflower ($12.00), sautéed baby spinach ($11.00) or the radicchio salad with fennel and pear ($12.00) are all winners, or choose from one of three potato sides – thrice cooked potatoes ($11.00), Russet Burbank chips ($11.00) or Mashed bintje potatoes ($11.00).

MFF_Atlantic_SteakMFF_Atlantic_Sides

Down to the sweet end of the menu, the hits keep on coming. The pistachio cassonade with chocolate sorbet, pistachio praline and coffee chocolate crackers ($20) and the champagne and strawberry parfait with basil and orange ice cream and strawberry salad ($22.00) will bring a smile to any sweet tooth’s face. But it’s the Valrhona chocolate delice with passionfruit centre, coconut foam, and chilli chocolate soup that’s theatrically drizzled over at the table that is my favourite.

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The prices are relatively high, but the restaurant experience justifies them. The service is sophistocated, the food is refined and well balanced, and the surroundings are affluent. If you are ever in the mood to splash out on seafood, The Atlantic fits the bill.

The Atlantic on Urbanspoon

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