top notch at the paddock

by Elizabeth Lennox

Greens and eggs on sourdough!

Greens and eggs on sourdough!

When you're scrolling through Instagram on your morning commute and you realise that you're viewing more photos of coffees, cakes and doughnuts (or cronuts, anyone?) taken from tasteful angles than actual people, scenery or anything else, then you know you have an obsession. This may or may not be me that I'm referring to here - but I am quite positive that I'm not alone in this food photo phenomenon. Yes, it may mean that I find myself with cruffin (re: croissant/muffin - yep, they exist too!) cravings at unusual hours of the morning, and YES, I am indeed guilty of re-orienting my way home from uni in order to strategically pass a cafe with good carrot cake and purchase a slice "for my boyfriend" because I saw a picture of it on Instagram the night before. But alas, I will not be ashamed… much ;)

Apart from being a regular #instafood stalker, I suppose, I must admit that I fuel the foodie photo hype by clogging the feed from time to time with either my own sweet creations or a beautifully presented meal at a restaurant… sorry :') It wasn't long after I arrived in Melbourne that visiting the city's numero uno brunch haven, Top Paddock, situated on Church St. in Richmond, became a TOP priority… I've been back many a time since my first taste - most occasions naturally accompanied by a series of photos which are, indeed, not very tastefully done as it is impossible to be both sneaky about picture-taking AND incredibly artistic. Photography is not my calling.

Mmmm pancakey goodness.

Mmmm pancakey goodness.

Any Melbourne frequent brunch muncher will tell you to order the blueberry ricotta pancakes here. They're deliciously indulgent and I tell you now, having tried to recreate these exact beasts on Sunday morning in mia cucina, I have a whole new admiration for pancake creations and whole lot of important questions, like, how do they get them so damn fluffy?!?! Besides, every second day these beauties (to the right!) are thrown in my face on my Instagram feed so who am I to resist? I'm definitely going to cave… many times.

You may inquire, why it is that they are number one in Melbs? Well, I may tell you. It just ticks all the checkboxes on a cafe-goer's list - great coffee, fast service, cakes to tempt you on arrival (damn you doughboy donuts!) and a super vibe. Due to its now celebrity cafe status, I must say that it really does lack that distinct Melbourne-cool combo of chillaxity (totally a word) and sweet hipster tunes which were probably present once upon a time but then, people cottoned on to how good it is. Now, it's busy - always.

More to the point, the salient thing here is that they do more than the eggs on toast - they make it different. They make it special. So basically, this is why I can forgive them for spamming my Instagram with pictures of their glorious food and coffee. And in turn, why you should forgive me for spamming yours ;) Just making your commute a little more yummy!

Top Paddock on Urbanspoon

tallest timber in the land

by Elizabeth Lennox

Having lived in Melbourne for close to four months now (WHOA!), I feel like I can almost call myself a local. That is, trams are my second home, I get that AFL is ALWAYS a big deal, when asked the 'Sydney or Melbourne?' preference question, I have to actually pause to ponder the answer for a moment, there's always time for a skinny (because what's skim again…?) cap and while you may not be able to tell, I now leave the house simultaneously prepared for a heat wave and/or a blizzard. Above all, however, is my favourite pastime and number one local-esque endeavour - cafe hopping.

Cafe hopping is pretty much a sport. One, in which I invested some time as a Sydney sider, but now, as a Melbournite, feel as if I'm training for the gold at its event in the Olympics (wouldn't that be one to watch?!) Cafes just seem to be the perfect location for the greatest elements of life - catch ups with friends, sneaky mid-uni day breaks, quality coffee, weekend brunches, quiet study dates with yourself (can be great?) and people watching. Now, to clarify, cafe hopping can take place over the course of a day where you may dine (or sip!) in one or two different coffee abundant venues OR it may transpire over a longer period - whereby at the conclusion of a few days you discover that you've eaten more meals in cafes than at home.  

It's a good day when you find an amazing cafe - but what's even greater is when it's around the corner from your abode. tall timber, located in Melbourne's southern CBD suburb, Prahran is just that. As a cafe hopper, I realised pretty quickly here that the brunch menus at a lot of the cafes don't differ very much, so when tall timber comes along and spices up what's on offer - well, it's already stepped it up a notch in my book.

That amaze pumpkin bruschetta that I'm going on about!

That amaze pumpkin bruschetta that I'm going on about!

tall timber's winning dish, in my opinion, is the pumpkin bruschetta on quinoa loaf with hummus, pepitas and two poached eggs - but their menu is so seasonal that by the time you get back there the next time, it'll be something different! If you roll up there soon (make sure this is before 10am on weekends or you'll have to wait :O), I can also strongly recommend the smashed avo, harissa goats curd and corn salsa on multigrain with poached eggs - ordered it this morning and it was just the best start to my week ever.

The coffee never fails to impress and the staff are wonderfully attentive. They have an array of delicious treats on the counter to tempt you at the end of your meal too - the peanut butter chocolate cookies are SO VERY JUMBO with their gigantic choc chips with hunks of peanut butter.

Hmmm, I know this blog post does indeed have a point! I guess… all I'm trying to say here is if I could only cafe hop between one cafe and my home, this one would most likely be it ;)

Tall Timber on Urbanspoon

K-food; 405 kitchen

by Elizabeth Lennox

Okay, so anyone that has spent any ounce of time with me since my return from South Korea in November last year will be undoubtedly well aware of the fact that I've become slightly obsessed with all things Korean. It's a problem, don't worry, I know. All I can say is at least I've expanded my musical horizons once more… there was a period there around the Christmas season where only cheesy K-pop lyrics filled my ears. Slightly embarrassing to admit but true nonetheless. The food, however, is a whole other situation - in short, I feel like the period I spent in Seoul lay down the foundation for a lifelong obsession with Korean cuisine.

"But wasn't the food spicy?!"

My friends here in Sydney have questioned me on occasion as to the chilli factor of the food in SK to which my answer is this: "oh yes. But, bar one or two EXTREME spice memorable experiences involving a Korean menu that I couldn't understand and not enough rice, it was glorious." But really nowadays, spicy or not, hardly a day goes by where I don't crave some quality sam gye tang (chicken stuffed with rice in ginseng soup) or tteokbokki (rice cake with sweet and spicy sauce). 

Having said all this, on my first night in Seoul, I was introduced to a delight that would change me for life and now back in Australia, I still long for every day. To be honest, pale as a ghost and not daring to venture any further than a block from any given subway station, I met up with a dear friend in the middle of Hongdae. Seeing a familiar face among the seas of people was the best that happened to me that day. Or rather, so I thought… we dined together, retreated to the cutest cafe, 405 Kitchen, and I tried... patbingsoo.


Mmmm. Milk iced shavings with red bean and mochi...

The best.

Oh, and my goodness, was it a nice combat to all the spicy food too ;)

Now, I had patbingsoo many, MANY (MANY!!) times after this in Seoul (yolo) but I actually think that 405 Kitchen had the best. I tried Oreo flavour and green tea scented but this one had the milk/sweet balance just right. And besides, there was indeed something deliciously cosy about sitting in a cafe late at night with an old friend over a shared bowl of a creamy, sweet dessert. Absolute perfection in the hotter months, not so much in the colder months… but that's why we have internal heating and in SK, heated floorboards ;)

The takeaway message from this post? Korean food is amazing. Patbingsoo is on the next level. You all know that I kinda have a thing for food (seriously!) so trust me when I advise, next time you're out - give K-food a try. Please stay tuned for the best Korean restaurants on the Australian East coast ;) (East coast because I literally have less than a fortnight left living in Sydney :( Bring on the Melbourne reviews!)

they like it salty

by Elizabeth Lennox


"Sugar is no good" exclaimed Mum's Swedish pen-friend of 38 years as we casually rode the ferry from Slussen, located in Stockholm's centre, to Nacka "but salt - now, that you can have as much as you like! it's summer! it's fresh!"

Okay so, this remark didn't mean much at the time - however, I must say that at the time, I hadn't yet let my tastebuds be privy to the famed dish of the nation. We docked at Nacka Strand and ambled toward the restaurant of the yacht club perched on the water's edge - I ordered myself a tantalising dish of salted salmon and dill potatoes. Despite the fact that I jealously ogled my brother's choice of Swedish meatballs (complete with aesthetically pleasing loganberries - see picture!) when our waiter placed the plate in front of him, as soon as I overzealously took the first bite of my salmon, I knew I made the right call. OH MY IT WAS GOOD.


Before long, I indeed understood the Swedes' partiality to the salty seasoning. Simply put, I was so damn thirsty... for so, SO many hours afterward. Stopping for a coffee on Stockholm's main shopping strip mall, I downed three or four glasses of water, no worries, while my family chuckled on the sidelines. Naturally, in consuming this much water, I left myself predictably nauseous. 

 Nacka Strand Yacht Club  (although slightly off the tourist track - 15 minutes by ferry from Stockholm City), is an absolutely stunning place to dine, eat quality, relatively well priced Swedish cuisine and spend a bit of time NOT WALKING when in Stockholm. (Because, let's be honest, traveling is awesome but everyone is looking forward to the next seat opportunity.)

Wherever you eat in Sweden, you'll learn pretty quickly that they like their marine life and they like it salty. And really, for the amount of cheesecake I eat, I'm probably due a wee bit o salt in my diet anyway so I'm cool with it ;) I'm actually just itching to get back to Stockholm... why is Australia so far away again?

PS. GREAT to be back posting such food ramblings again!  ;)