Friday Brunch @ Shanklin Cafe @ Friday, July 13, 2018

Charlie & Co. dined as guests.
Friday 7th July

The weekend started with brunch at Shanklin, located on a strip in residential street, near Pizza Religion and just a bit less than a mile away from Camberwell Junction. We'd looked up the place and found that the name came with the building, rather than being name after cheese (source).

Housed in a Terrence house (those long houses) I'm intrigued by, though have never been inside, the lighting was pretty good with sky lights, what a great idea! Though I do wonder if the true Victorians just relied on candle and then gas lighting?

Outdoor heating makes these tables pretty desirable, this spot has the best lighting.

Airy and spacious with an exposed brick wall on one side and timber in the other, it's lovely and very inviting inside (also very warm) so we abandoned our idea to sit out front. On arrival we were offered a choice of still or sparkling water, by our equally as welcoming waiter. 

 Oreo Shake - Vanilla Ice cream, crushed oreo, whipped cream & fudge sauce

Who can resist the perfect combo of pretty and practical in a milkshake? And I just love those paper straws. Andy meanwhile had an espresso milkshake served in an old fashion very large cup, that was just right with two shots, though he still eyed my milkshake. 

It was a Friday lunch and it was buzzing, though our waiter said this was actually quiet for a Friday! In the background jazzy music played creating a cool relaxed vibe, the perfect start to the weekend.

Baked Eggs Shakshuka
With red peppers, cherry tomato, chorizo & goat cheese 
served with sourdough (vegetarian option with mushrooms).

A great balance of flavors, a tomato base with lots of herbs and textures with the crunchy buttered toast, the soft goat's cheese and eggs. Delicious and healthy without compromising taste or kale. A hearty, very filling dish, the perfect truly brunch dish. - Andy

I always love getting something different, not smashed avocado on toast and sometimes not the dessert hotcakes, but something no one else offers. The signature dish was just that.

Eggs and Shanklin 
Scrambled eggs with fresh herbs, cherry tomatoes, spring onion, 
wilted spinach and mint, + with smoked salmon on the side

Beautiful silky fluffy scrambled eggs, with herbs and feta, sprinkled with spring onion. Added freshness from the tomatoes and mint. Your veggie serving of spinach hidden beneath a blanket of egg before reaching the toast. This dish is huge!! And probably the best scrambled eggs I've had, and I went through a crazy scrambled egg craving phase.

Andy preferred the shakshuka as it has a stronger base. I really liked them both. He went into a food coma shortly after, despite the espresso 'shake.

Tempting bakery good including ginger bread men/girls in a gingerbread bus. We couldn't resist! There was also a tip trick instead of a jar. Love the pun.

Service was exceptionally attentive, knowledgeable and friendly, think fine dining. Like everyone said on zomato. We felt really well taken care of in the hour that we were there. And no our waiter didn't know we're bloggers. Can't wait to return soon!

With small side streets and limited/timed parking - we found one 2hr spot, right out front is 30mins, down a bit more 1hr. Highly recommend tramming here, especially on weekends. 

Shanklin Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Saturday 30th June
Charlie & Co. were invited as guests.

This evening we were delighted to attend a 'Home Style Vietnamese Cooking' Class in the cafe kitchen of Two Kings Cafe, at Bentleigh Station (well super close) hosted by 'The Food Affectionist' Lillie.

A chef of Cantonese and Vietnamese descent, growing up in Vietnam there she's an expert on all things fresh, delicious and balanced while never compromising on flavour (there's no kale here :P). With 25yrs of experience in the kitchen she just knows how much of what to pop into the pot, without measuring it - something I see as a magical skill, as being a baker-ish we measure everything, it's precise and according to 'the girl next door' who's a cook, no fun (though as a maths person I don't agree :P).

Full Disclosure - I don't cook (though occasionally dabble, like witchcraft XD), le beau cooks, I bake - sweet things. I also have no knife skills that don't make me look like a serial killer...

With an apron on, rings removed, and hands washed we were ready!

Tonight we made...

1. Fish sauce - the basis of Vietnamese food, used to dip and dress any salad, dress any rice/noodle/carb-y dish. (Sorry didn't get a picture of this).

2. Vietnamese Chicken Slaw Salad - So tangy and fresh with an amazing dressing I would order this dish as a main any day, and add green papaya. "It was very fresh, had that balance if sweet and sour, tangy-ness. Felt very healthy and nutritious" - Says Andy. 

This is the filling for the spring rolls. 

Ready to deep fry!

3. Spring Rolls - Not your typical just a prawn, or just lettuce and carrot from the freezer kind. With mince, mushrooms (type), carrot, plenty of sauce and seasoning this is THE spring roll!. Especially served wrapped up in lettuce, herbs, vinaigrette carrots/dikon and dipped into a homemade fish sauce. We had so much fun wrapping these delights up! Ticking 'make spring rolls' off the list.

Andy says "Spring rolls were great, very hot,  crunchy and crispy. Flavours were enhanced when eaten wrapped with pickled carrot slices, herbs and lettuce and dipped in the homemade fish sauce."

Tip - Make heaps, freeze them in a tub, tap on counter to separate while frozen.

4. Pork Meatballs - to be honest felt it was lacking something. Wasn't as meaty, or sweet as I'd expected, but was wrapped in the same tasty salads as the spring rolls. - Andy

Mixing it up with a spring roll in a rice paper roll. I do love rice paper rolls done properly.

5. Grilled Pork - No comments as I didn't eat this.

Lillie's plate, how lovely is this dish?

We're loving these knifes, second recommendation from a cooking class. 
They're like $5 from those asian homeware shops that sell everything. 

Work in Progress.

6. Banh Xeo (that yellow crunchy flour pancake, it's savory) - Surprisingly easy to make and not mess up, though ours (first time we're making them) was pretty meh, not very crunchy and kinda a flop - but we shall practice!

We made so much that we couldn't eat it all! There were seven dishes and we all got our hands in there for five, the other two were demonstrated, and we all got to try some.

Those chilies are for decoration only. :P

7. Banana Tapioca Pudding in Coconut Milk

I love all things creamy and coconut, this was quite lovely and light! Little gel like balls. It was slightly sweet, and perfect. Easy to make, with cheap ingredients too. Oh and you can substitute the banana for mango in summer (add when the pudding is chilled though).

Andy says it was really good, very delicious. The banana was the perfect ingredient that complemented the dessert. Not too sweet but satisfying.

The group was quite small with just two couples (though 6 people were booked in), Lillie as our instructor and Tara & Pafu, assisting chefs. Seven people in the kitchen, everyone got a go at creating each dish, and plating it up. One of the best cooking classes we've been to. The only thing that could make it even better is a drink on arrival, related to the cuisine eg. Vietnamese iced coffee or a lemongrass pandan mocktail. 

The workshop was well paced over 3hrs, we had fun and never felt rushed or bored. An excellent presenter and instructor there was always opportunities for questions, and Lillie gave out some awesome tips along the way. Like with rice paper rolls, the secret to them not all sticking together is adding coconut cream/milk into the water when you're hydrating/wetting the wrappers. That is so brilliant!

Workshop was great overall, Lillie was an excellent instructor, very high level of skill and knowledge, an expert in Vietnamese food - Andy. 

Highly recommended as a fun date night activity or outing with friends, or even solo for some up skilling and to surprise the husband/wife. 

Tickets are $125pp or $100pp for groups of up to 8 people, and can be purchased hereAnd while you're there check out the other cuisine workshops, we can't wait to do the Japanese one soon!

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Charlie & Co. dined as guests.
Friday 29th June

Someone isn't a fan of waiting for me to take all the pictures... not wanting to comprise the temperature of the food. lol, someone doesn't know that being a food blogger is eating more warm-ish meals that anyone would admit. I am seeking a plus one by the way, as my friends are busy/not interested/trying to sabotage the blog. 

With white and blue, Tahina really does pop-up from its surroundings. Opening up a second restaurant in Hipsterville, already with quite a few vegetarian/vegan joints (more than any other town we've seen) Fitzroy welcomes Tahina Bar, a restaurant specializing in Israeli vegetarian street food (guessing that explains the colors of the front).  

Inside there's limited bar seating, though there's more seats outside in the courtyard. 

Vegan Carrot Hot Dog 

Black smoked bun with pickled cabbage, spiced cured carrot, tahini amba 
mustard and sweet tomato sauce sprinkled with sweet potato chips. 

I never thought a vegan hot dog would be this good, but is it! And there's no tofu involved. All the textures and flavoured were well balanced and pretty amazing - I can't wait to return and get this again! Even Luna liked it, and she doesn't even like carrots! It's got those three textural elements that make any dish amazing: crispy, crunchy, chewy. - Charlie (that's me).

The "sausage" is actually carrot but it's hard to identify it before you cut it. It's serves with sweet potato chips on top of it which bring more texture. It smells like a "normal" hot dog (lol - I should tell you all that Luna doesn't eat sausages, so we do question her judgement, she's borderline vegetarian). But when you eat it, you will be amazed by the balance of sauce and the carrot. Even a hate-carrot person will enjoy it. - Luna (that's my +1 today).

Luna says carrots are stinky (?!! - that's what she said, don't think it's lost in translation here)/funky where she comes from (HK). So she actually hates carrots, though I insisted she order this dish. :P

It's as amazing as it looks. We have to get this again next time.

The Shakshuka Platter comes in three different versions: classic tomato, green veggies and white with mushrooms and cheese. Spicy and hearty it's the perfect winter food, full of flavour and it's not too spicy. The serving is HUGE! As in all this is one dish/menu item. 

Served on the side was the pita & hummus, which Luna didn't like (they don't have hummus where she comes from), but I liked it, it's lighter than the supermarket dips, housemade. 

This is the white Shakshuka platter; two free range eggs, wild mushrooms, fennel, fennel, chili, fresh thyme, oregano and Meredith goats cheese. Served with Israeli salad, spicy green salad, pickled cabbage, hummus, tahini and pita bread.  

How is it? A little spicy, with a great mix of textures, chewy mushrooms, soft eggplant, a fresh salad with something that reminds me of sauerkraut. It's a great balance, with the hearty dish contrasted with the salad. 

On a warm summer's evening it would be lovely out here, under the fairy lights. 

Though for winter there are outdoor heaters, but it all depends if it's windy or not.

Coconut Golden Latte

A coconuty turmeric latte, equal parts coconut and turmeric, it's lighter than the last one we had (the au79 blend). Being lighter this one's perfect if you want to give the golden latte go but not sure about it, our lovely waitress said it's the cinnamon that make it different.Though at the end of the day turmeric is something you either like or hate.

Vegan Chocolate Souffle

With chunks of vanilla halva and topped with halva fairy floss.

Who could resist the chocolate souffle? Especially when it's topped off with pistachios and fairy floss. Warm chocolatey though not too sweet you'll want to get one each lucky for me I didn't have to share, cause my plus one isn't a sweets girl (or dog person O.O).

It's vegan but tastes normal. I love my butter, sugar and creams (we're definitely not vegan) but I love this. It's not as sweet as usual though still sweet, and being rich this is the perfect serving size for one.

Luna skipped dessert and had the 'Immunity Tea' to finish off which she commented had a 
"Refreshing herbal flavour with mild sweetness after taste. It's recommended to have it with salad and brownies". 

If you've been waiting for Tahina to come closer to the city (their first restaurant is up North) your wishes have been fulfilled! Even if you're not vegetarian I definitely recommend checking out this place (it's opposite a chinese bbq place, lol). It's actually the only vegetarian place I've been to and liked. Luna loved it, as where she comes from (HK) where been vegetarian means ordering that one side salad dish. Definitely order the hot dog and dessert!

Tahina Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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