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Mörk Chocolate Brew House

When I was at University, I used to indulge in some hot chocolates whenever I could. I was a poor student though, so I was not able to go too often.

When a place proudly sells chocolates, and chocolates only, you would assume they know about their chocolates. And they do. As I started to slow migrate away from being a poor student, you sometimes wish to visit those places you have fond memories of. It was a sad day when I found the shop I used to go to had closed, was a pleasant surprise when I was driving down North Melbourne for a coffee, to find this guilty pleasure.

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Entrance sign to Mork

The shop doesn’t have flashy lights, or anything else that suggests the greatness that is within. However, I have since learnt that this is Melbourne style. The subtle signs that only those who know will find.

As delighted as we were, we had come straight from a brunch meeting so both my friend and I were quite full and only wanted a place to have a drink and spend some quiet time. However, both of us forgot about the coffee we were craving, but just the pure indulgence of hot chocolate we could remember from this place.

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Once inside, we were greated with a fresh interior decor and the scent of chocolate wafting about. There is a little corner set up for people to buy the hot chocolate to make at home, as well as a section with cakes and cookies.

 

 

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Eat in menu

There are different menus for take away and eat in. I guess some of the chocolate indulgences are too difficult to pack into a box or cup for take away. Since we had the time, we decided to try their ‘signature’ dishes.

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The layered chocolate was a fine mix between cake and drink. I was advised to drink it first and then use the spoon. It was a fine experience of hot and cold mixed together. A chilled chocolate oozing through the warm creme custard was definitely an experience.

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The campfire chocolate was another popular drink, with many people around us having at least one of these on their tables. As my friend describes it, the subtle scent of smoke intensifies the experience of the hot chocolate. Also, the marshmallow is apparently the best she’s tasted.

 

So, all in all, a great find, and a pleasure for chocoholics like me.

Mörk Chocolate Brew House

 

Tues-Sun 9:00-17:00

 


 

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King of the Castle

Although coffee, food or anything shouldn’t really be the reason for your life, I consider coffee to be one of the guilty pleasures that I enjoy. And living close to good coffee is definitely a delight and when you find one so close to you that you didn’t expect, that’s a bonus. Enter: King of the Castle.

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Entrance to King of the Castle cafe

Walking by, driving by, and even lingering and contemplating what this place was, it was only until recently that I found this place was actually a cafe. There is no obvious sign, and you may well be tricked by the crafty barber at the front that this place is for something else. Maybe this displays the pride (or arrogance?) of the owner that the people who will come, will find it. This seems like the theme for modern coffee places, where I’ve even heard slogans such as ‘Great things are often hard to find’. Well, I guess it is partially true, because if the coffee is good, Melbournians, and even Geelongians (?) DO go out of their way to visit. As you step in past the entry, you are welcomed in by the empty yet bright warehouse with a waft of coffee scent.

There aren’t many tables and seats available considering the size of the place, but enough for couples, families and friends to sit down for a coffee and a meal. When I discovered this place, I had tried their coffee already, which was marvelous, and hence this time, I came along with guests.

They do serve all day breakfasts, but it’s the coffee that is worth coming here. We sat down, studying the menu, and made our selections. I think there is a distinct Vegan theme going on in the menu, which makes many ‘healthy-eating’ people happy I guess.

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They use Padre Coffee, roasted locally (Melbourne). Not only is the coffee sourced locally, but the ingredients for the food as well as the dessert (Pana Chocolate) and ice cream (Dolce House) is sourced from local traders.

Feeling a bit boring, I just wanted some eggs. My guests on the other hand ordered the Kings Breakfast and the Quinoa Salad.

The food could be described closer to a ‘Paleo‘ dish, where the raw ingredients seem to burst out in their original flavour. Some may taste a little ‘raw‘ because of this, but I thoroughly enjoyed my dish as I do like my food a bit on the bland side.

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They also have small stalls for some local arts and crafts, which I saw from their website that they were using the profits for a charity called ‘Feed Geelong’.

All in all a delightful place to visit, or stop by just for the coffee.

 

 

 

King of the Castle

24 Pakington Street, West Geelong

Mon-Sat: 6:30-15:30

Sun: 07:30-14:30

 

 

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The Vertue of the Coffee Drink

It was a rainy morning and as I was in Carlton anyway, I thought of making my time worthwhile by visiting another hidden coffee spot. The Vertue of the Coffee Drink is a seemingly hidden place, where you wouldn’t even imagine a cafe would be.

You have to go down a street next to a fuel station, which doesn’t even look like a street in a normal person’s eye. As I was doubting my google maps gps in finding the correct location, I came to the street sign and had to salute google maps again.

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The street at which Raffa place is connected to

Even though I could see the street sign, walking down the alleyway was still a little bit of a mystery for me. Feeling uneasy, I turned the corner, and there it was, welcoming me with the ‘now open’ sign. Maybe if it wasn’t raining, the self-doubt could’ve been less, as I would just follow the wafting scent of coffee. As I came closer to the door, I could feel my inner caffeine sensor kick in. All in all, at least I knew I was welcome here.

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Entry into the cafe

As soon as you walked in through the doors, you’re welcomed by the wait staff, and a nice cozy looking area filled with the scent of coffee. It’s not just the scent of the coffee, but a gloriously positioned coffee roaster and a display counter filled with coffee beans for those who are brave and skilled enough to make their own at home.

After taking in the fullness of the coffee scent, and also since I was holding up the wait staff in taking me to my table, I finally stepped into a whole new environment. If the entrance and coffee drinking area was a dark but cozy and comfy feeling, the dining area was bright and sunny, with plenty of sunlight pouring in through the skylights even on a gloomy rainy day. The addition of real greenery inside the room surely helped liven up the place too.

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Once I was seated, it didn’t take long for me to decide I wanted some COFFEE! and also some food. The menu is a seasonal menu, and hence not the usual favourites are on the menu, but more little twists of this and that which trickled my curiosity.

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Summer menu, courtesy of vertuecoffee.com.au

The coffee and food was served in a timely manner, and although the food was a little too much in quantity for me (I always make the mistake of trying to eat everything on my plate even when I’m too full), the flavours were delicious, and the coffee definitely worth coming. And all through our meal and our extended conversation after the meal, we didn’t feel rushed or ignored, which I would have to give a lot of cudos to the wait staff for having that fine balance. It is a little on the far side for me, but I wouldn’t say no to venturing up here once in a while.

 

If there was a hiccup in the whole experience, it would maybe be the fact we ordered one flat white and one latte, and got delivered two flat whites. Although my friend didn’t mind the flat white, the wait staff were so worried they wanted to give the latte too. They’re still humans and make mistakes, but they acknowledge it and make you feel valued and cared for.

 

The Vertue of the Coffee Drink

8 Raffa Place Carlton,

Mon-Fri: 7:00-16:00

Sat-Sun: 7:30-16:00

Entrace to James Street Bakery

James Street Bakery

So It’s been a while since I’ve posted, and it is definitely not because I haven’t been gallivanting around eating and experiencing, but because I was too lazy to post.

I have taken a step back on the exercises though, as my body wasn’t feeling well, but that doesn’t stop me from eating, does it?

There are a few places in Geelong that seem to be famous. (Check out goodfood or 30 best cafes). So when a place appears in both lists, plus your foodie friend who doesn’t even live in Geelong, as well as your friends living in Geelong recommend a place to try, I have no doubt but a desire to try as soon as I can.

The choice was James Street Bakery.

The first trial was a failure as I for some reason automatically assumed cafes are open on Sundays. I did go after church, so it was around lunch time but found the place to be closed. I found this cafe is a little special, where they close on Sundays and only open on the last Sunday for high tea, and high tea only.

After a while, I finally got there on a weekday, and sat down in anticipation of the greatness that was to come.

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Taking a seat at the end of a long table, I can take in the essence of the atmosphere in this place. It seems many locals visit here for a sit down and chat with friends over coffee and lunch. The ambience is bright, friendly and relaxed. It feels as you have escaped the rush of the buzz in a CBD. But then again, this is Geelong.:-)

I ordered a coffee while I waited for a friend.

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I’m not a coffee snob, but I have distinct likes and dislikes. Although the flat white was well presented, I wasn’t too overwhelmed by the coffee here. Especially when there is a coffee specialty shop just on the corner of this street called Cartel Coffee Roasters. However, it was the food that my friend had recommended here, so I’m still waiting my ‘awe’ moment.

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After a quick study of the menu, we decided on two sourdough sandwiches, the chicken and brie for my friend, and for myself the roasted vegetable and goat’s cheese. (Who can say NO to goat’s cheese?)

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Chicken and Brie sandwich
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Roasted vegetable and goat’s cheese sandwich

And the awe moment arrived with the sourdough sandwiches. The fillings were just right in flavour, and not too overwhelming creating a nice balance with the sourdough taste of the bread. I do love my sourdoughs though, so it might not be for everyone. The addition of the small salad on the side does ease away the slight cheesy taste afterwards.

As we were preparing to pay and leave, we found the sweets aligned so beautifully waiting to be picked and eaten. The sandwich did leave me a bit full so I think I’ll have to come again for the treats..

Overall, definitely a place to try in Geelong!

James Street Bakery

10 James St, Geelong VIC 3220

7:30-15:30 Mon – Sat

Operator 25

It was one of those mornings I could afford a breakfast in the city. I also needed to treat a friend to a good breakfast. So we decided to try out operator 25. I have seen this place pop up here and there on my Facebook, instagram, coffee reviews and what not. So I thought let’s give it a try.

Whenever I go visit a place that is full of hype I try to go on a weekday. This is my magic hour when I  can get to enjoy the vibe without too much crowding and queuing that tends to annoy me.

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The entrance was a little hidden in a side street (Wills street) off Latrobe. It was conveniently near flagstaff station, and hence was perfect for me and my friend who needed to go our separate ways from there on.

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As soon as you step inside you feel the hip ambience. The tiled walls and the back lit signs and decorations make you feel like you’ve stepped into a diner, but the wooden furniture and central coffee station with sweets screams out “cafe”.

The serving staff is very friendly and attentive and the coffee was great.

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The menu was interesting though. Both my friend and I had trouble deciding on what we wanted as the usual wasn’t there.

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Nowadays melbourne cafes seem to have a changing seasonal menu all the time. Which makes it interesting to visit the same cafe again and again. But sometimes you want your staple. I guess I was craving a bit of bircher muesli.

In the end we ordered the Matcha crumpets and the smoothie bowl.

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Although the flavours were a bit strong for my taste, overall very interesting mix. Cudos to the chef for creating such interesting mixtures. The Matcha crumpets don’t have the Matcha bitterness but more of a fruity tang because of all the berries on top. Which mixed well with the pear and lychee sago. Having these small bubbles pop in your mouth bursting out lychee flavour was definitely a wonderful start of the day.

The smoothie bowl was very interesting as it had a mix of pineapple mango and coconut, which brought out a very sweet flavour, and the rosewater infused watermelon tasted like Turkish delight. There are oats at the bottom of the bowl which my friend only realised after eating half the bowl.

Overall a delightful getaway from the buzz of people heading to work, and most of all, great coffee.!

Operator 25
25 Wills St, Melbourne VIC 3000
7-4 mon-Friday
9-4 weekends

The Hungarian

This may be a bulk post, but it was Australia day public holiday, and hence I was out and about for the whole extended weekend. Monday night was a dinner out at my friend’s local. It was a Monday hence we decided let’s find anything open, and ear there. How bad could you go on Bridge Road in Richmond?

But this place was a little cutie waiting for us, with Monday night specials.

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I can never say no to a special deal, so I ended up ordering a goulash, whole my friend ordered a pork schnitzel.

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The interior was quite cute with obviously a European touch, and I thought might as well join the European ambience with a grape and apple fizz from Austria. You can also use your time waiting for the food learning hungarian. The waitress is more than happy to teach you the correct pronunciation.

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All in all a delightful place to visit for an affordable meal whilst reminiscing the times I spent in Europe. Great service too. Only downside is the surcharge in credit card use and no split bills.

The Hungarian

362 Bridge Rd, Richmond VIC 3121

Mon-Sat 6pm -930pm
Sun 12pm-930pm

Alfa bakehouse Seddon

As I am not going out often enough, I am tending to post all the places I go to. I think this post will be like that.

I have been to Alfa bakehouse originally in Yarraville. I remember it fondly as I used a voucher with my friend and they had given us good food and service.

Now it has expanded to Seddon too. The place was nothing like the normal Melbourne Hipster quirkiness that I have come to like. It is very professional looking and clean, and the place is huge. Even with the size of a double shop-front restaurant, you have to wait for a table on weekends. If it’s not the crazy Melbourne breakfast culture, there must be something to this place then I guess.

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As you walk in the door the first thing you notice is the line of fruits. Apparently their smoothies are very nice, but I didn’t get a chance to try. There is definitely enough choice for breakfast, and if you are a lazy person, you can come have your very late breakfast at this place with their ‘all day breakfast’ option.

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Menu featuring all day breakfast

 

The coffee was just a normal quality that you would expect from a cafe. Nothing grand, nothing extraordinary, but not a total waste of your money. The food was great though. And the service very profficient. The serving size is quite big though, so I couldn’t eat much for the rest of the day.

 

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One flat white, one latte

 

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farmers omelette and avocado smash

 

All in all, a great place to catch up with friends if you’re in the area, with the clean and neat interior making you feel like you’re in a restaurant. As long as you don’t get the mean eyes from people waiting for a table you could spend a good morning/afternoon catching up with friends over a decent breakfast meal.

Alfa bakehouse

42 Anderson St, Yarraville VIC 3013

6:00 -17:00 Mon-Sat
7:00-17:00 Sundays