28 April, 2008

Tasmania - Restaurant dining

One thing about living in Melbourne is that you sometimes feel a bit silly heading out for Greek or Italian when you're interstate. We did sample a couple of the Apple Isle's offering of the latter, but on other occasions were left with just what was open in the town that night.

T's Chinese Restaurant, Main Street, Sheffield

Our plan had been to eat at Weindorfers, a restaurant attached to our accommodation, on the first night. It's only open for group bookings, however, but the proprietor was kind enough to recommend a Chinese restaurant in nearby Sheffield. We would have eaten there without the recommendation since I think it was the only place in town serving up, but it was good to know it had had good reports.

It got good reports from me as soon as I stepped into the dining room. The restaurant is in a converted house and the dining area at the back defines 'bright', both in its lighting and decor. The menu kept things pretty simple: there were three meats on offer for mains and they came with something, usually a vegetable or a herb. Our picks were the garlic pork and the beef with sweet corn.

We started with some vegie spring rolls, which came served on a sweet blue dish. The dough managed the happy duality of being both crispy and very oily and the cabbage, onion and carrot filling suitably flavoursome.

The garlic pork preceded the beef dish by some minutes. While the amount of meat was undoubtedly generous, it was ably matched by the quantity of garlic laced through the dish! Not that there's anything wrong with that. From the taste samples I took while awaiting my beef dish I thought the meat had been well-handled, the vegetables were suitably crisp and the sauce was undoubtedly stocky, but worked well with the meat.

I wasn't as convinced of the kitchen's merits by my beef and sweet corn. The sauce here took on more of a gelatinous texture, and there wasn't a lot to distinguish it from what had already been served with the pork. Again, however, the meat serving was sizable. It would want to be, however, since the dishes described plus rice for two (no drinks) came to a $50 meal! Most of the mains were priced at $17 or $18.

La Calibrisella
56 Wellington St, Launceston

We sourced a winning recommendation from our hostel to head to nearby La Calibrisella for dinner. We twinged momentarily at heading out to a good pizza joint while on holidays, since we live in rolling distance of a couple of the better ones in Melbourne, but this restaurant had an ultimately redeeming feature: it was BYO-only, charged no corkage and was across the road from a BWS!

The menu was extensive Italian: a range of pastas as entree or main (with some thought to sauces), pizzas, and more substantial meat dishes (stuffed chicken breast, veal scallopine etc). SG went with the inexplicably named 'surprise' pizza: the listed ham, capsicum and mushroom topping wasn't particularly unexpected, either on the menu or plate. The base smelled wonderful, as only freshly cooked dough can, but it was actually quite bready and a bit too sweet.

I chose the Penne Fontana, which, unlike the pizza, actually did come with some surprises. The menu promised hot salami, chilli and mushrooms. The dish arrived with capers and olives as well, so it was a welcome addition. It was properly hot and more enjoyable for the salty extras.

We shared a tiramisu for dessert, which was really more of an espresso sponge cake with a mascarpone layer than a traditional rendering of the dish, but the caramel sauce was a nice touch.The restaurant was well-patronised by locals, and the service was excellent.

Ristorante Da Angelo
47 Hampden Road, Battery Point, Hobart

The last night should always be a special dining night. I'd spied an intimate-looking Spanish restaurant called Franciscos across from the famous Jackman and Ross bakery, but they'd decided to take Anzac Day off. Almost straight across the road was Da Angelo and when we went in at 8pm to find there were no tables until 9pm, we took it as a good sign.

Clearly a local favourite, Da Angelo's was chocked with both diners and customers waiting to collect takeaway pizzas and pastas. They make all of their pasta on site, daily. This really came across in the moistness of the dough and its ability to absorb the sauce.

What to order?? The menu offered spaghetti, fettucine and macaroni, each with their own half dozen sauces (though you're welcome to mix and match), plus three types each of ravioli, gnocchi and risotto plus veal and chicken dishes. Feeling our hunger enhanced by the Tasmanian beer we'd already consumed, we hastily ordered some garlic bread. It came as grilled squares of fresh bread, actually dribbling with oil and butter and sprinkled with garlic pieces.I could have eaten several bowls of that and gone home happy.

SG mixed his pasta and sauce, going with a heavy option of ravioli di carne with molisana sauce: bacon, onion, olives (first time he's ordered those!), capsicum, tomato and garlic.The ravioli was particularly fine, al dente in the way only freshly made specimens can be. Like me, however, there was no way he was going to do justice to the size of the portion.

I needed assistance and decided to run with the waitress' recommendation of the fettucine matriciana (top tip: order entree size on the pastas!)It was hot! The sauce was well-balanced though, as the bacon contributed salty flavour to balance the sweeter tomato.

I would have liked the red wine I'd ordered to be at hand to complement the sauce and temper the chilli, but our drinks were absent. One enquiry to a waitress elicited that 'they're probably on their way'. Even in a rammed restaurant, when the patrons' food is already at the table that's an insufficient answer. An enquiry to our original waitress revealed that she had in fact forgotten to order them. After tasting my wine I mustered courage to check with the manager as to whether I had actually received the Ninth Island (Tamar Valley) pinot I'd ordered, since the wine had all the aroma and earthiness of what I'd expect from the house cab sav. I was assured it was correct, but after the other issues I remained a little sceptical.

It was a small downer to what was otherwise potentially a near perfect Last Night Out. Suffice to say that on the up side we were very happy (though distressingly over-supplied!) with our food.

Tasmania - Flippers Seafood

1 Constitution Wharf, Hobart

Here's a W&F Top Tip: if you are in Hobart, take the advice of Flippers Seafood and order yourself a Bag of Treats.

Along Constitution Dock are four 'floating wharves'; two selling fresh seafood for you to take home and create your own masterwork, and two selling cooked seafood. Flippers (closest to town) has an extremely approachable menu, once you get your head around just how many choices there are! In this seafood savvy town there is rarely something as straightforward to order as just 'fish and chips'. Here you can pick exactly which variety of piscine meat you want encased in batter - trevalla, blue grenadier, couta, etc. There is a daily special, based on that morning's catch, as well as packs galore. And then there are the various morsels, each of which you can order individually and hence mix and match to put together your own paper bag of fried fish heaven.

I approached the morsel situation with some guidance, going for Flippers Bag of Treats. I've received good value fish and chips with change from $8 before, but this $7.20 bag of deliciousness was absolutely the gastronomic highlight of the trip (and only just pipped for Number 1 Highlight overall by the fact that we saw a wombat in the wild!).From the menu, the Bag comprised of: 1 x battered scallop, 1 x garlic prawn, 1 x prawn cutlet, 1 x crab stick, 2 x seafood bites, 2 x calamari rings. I scored a bonus Bag, with an extra portion of both garlic prawn and scallop, both of which were so moaningly wonderful I couldn't believe my luck. I didn't expect much from a crab stick but it too was sensational. The calamari rings were plump and one could actually bite through the ring and keep the batter-flesh union intact. The seafood bites (in picture below) were surprisingly dense and covered in more of a crumb than a batter. Each reach into the bag had me expectant to discover which new portion of fabulousness I was about to bite into.
SG got seafood envy and mixed and matched to get himself a bag with three seafood bites and a small serve of chips.As would be expected, their chips were also superb (Tasmania does also do a rather fine line in potatoes). Plenty of crunch, but not overcooked.
This was the holiday moment where you start to wonder if you need to pursue any other food avenues in town, or instead return to what you've just discovered for a second, third, fourth experience.

27 April, 2008

Tasmania - Seafood

Tasmania: an island of visual delight, geological wonder and notable gastronomy. Seafood is particularly renowned, with the east coast especially providing the opportunity to sample many of the ocean's finest as 'catch of the day'. Providing of course, in the smaller towns, that you've sat down to order by 7:30pm, otherwise you may find doors barred and staff pointedly ignoring the image of your wan, hungry face gazing alternately at the menu or through the window, imagining what delights you're missing out on!

Bayside Inn
2 Cecilia St, St Helens

One such night, in St Helens, we were left with the Bayside Inn as our only dining option. They provide bistro style dining, and while I wasn't expecting much I was firstly impressed that they were still serving (unlike everywhere else in town that advertised 'Kitchen Open until 8pm' but really meant about 7:40) and that the bartender took time out from his TasKeno duties to give us good information about the seafood options. He spoke at length about the Fish of the Day (trevalla) and explained that a poor scallop season meant what they had to offer 'wasn't local' (it was from Triabunna, less than 200 km away) and had been frozen. Concerned that, despite assurances to the contrary, our last feeding option within many kilometres could close at any moment, we both went simply for the battered flathead and chips (with vegies from the salad bar). They certainly do love their seafood here: so much so even some of the chips were of the prawn variety!

www.baysideinn.com.au (a website far more sophisticated than the hotel's exterior)

View Point Restaurant
3 Maria St, Swansea

View Point in Swansea is a delightful restaurant. Like many other buildings in the town it's perched above Oyster Bay with views across to the Hazards of Freycinet. Its interior decor is distinctly maritime, but drops anchor just short of kitsch. The food is not extraordinary, but most importantly it focusses on local produce, plus it's reasonably priced.

The specials board posed the linguistic problem of how to make a plural of 'Fish of the Day', as there were in fact three: prawn cutlets, battered flathead or whole flounder. My choice was the latter.It was all one could wish for from a FotD dish, really. Slices of flesh fell easily away from the bone, and I was left with a satisfying whole-fish skeleton at the end of the meal. Any guilt from my second night of chips was assuaged by the 10 km walk I'd done that day and the contrastingly light piscine meat and accompanying salad.

Ordering was easy for SG: Tasmanian lamb with demi glace sauce, which came with sauerkraut and without the promised mint jelly, plus veg.The sauerkraut was a surprise and the demi glace more of a gravy, but the meat was both wonderful and plentiful. Both meals were happily accompanied by a Tamar Valley sav blanc.

Dessert - sticky date pudding - suited our desire and represented the restaurant perfectly.The pudding was sweet and spongy and the butterscoth sauce thick and buttery. The ice cream was certainly garden variety vanilla and the cream was definitely squirted onto the plate (with a maraschino cherry atop, no less!); but altogether the dish was warming, pleasing and hit just the right spot.

The best seafood moment of all, however, deserves its own post.

19 April, 2008

Artisan Espresso

438 Lygon St, Brunswick East

I think this is a first for this blog: neighbouring posts for neighbouring businesses. 438 Lygon St was a blank shopfront when I was lured by India on Lygon's neon at Number 440 earlier this week. On Thursday morning, however, it revealed itself as Artisan Espresso. Hurrah, I say, finally this ever-burgeoning strip of Lygon St has itself a dedicated coffee shop.

The new shop's owners are currently involved with the Appetite Food Store in North Melbourne. Artisan Espresso is an existing venture, summed up pretty well by its name, that has been roasting small batches of coffee for supply to customers via their website, or to a select few cafes. The roasters will be moved from North Melbourne shortly and the shop already has their own blended, roasted beans available for sale.

The roasting area will be separated from a bright, welcoming dining area. The space has been well-used in the front room: the coffee machine affronts the door, so it has an almost magnetic pull on coffee-lovers, who will find their feet turning and their mouths ordering before they can say Colombian free-trade. The paint job and floor are straightforward, with the colour in the room coming from a range of knick-knacks on tables and shelves: scales, coffee paraphernalia and bottles of drink from the Phoenix range. There are some great canvas prints on the shelves and walls too.

To the drinks. Their house blend is Padre, a mix of Dominican, Brazilian and Sulawesi beans. The coffee formed a bitter crema, but the body provided the smooth start you want to your Saturday. A bowl of hot chocolate resisted being too sweet and would be a happy alternative if you've reached your caffeine limit for the day/week/month. Sip tea and Phoenix Chai are also available.

It's only Day 3 of operations, and I'll be very curious to watch the business grow over the next few weeks, as well as excited to finally have a local coffee haunt.

Update: Artisan Espresso existed only briefly before re-opening, with one original partner, as The Brunswick East Project. The other partner, Josh Bailey, now runs his own coffee supply business, Bailey Coffee.

16 April, 2008

India on Lygon

440 Lygon St, Brunswick East; 03 9388 8339

The shopfront of this northern-end Lygon St diner is all spattered paint and bright neon. It's relatively new, probably 12-18 months old. I'd picked up a menu early on, and had on a couple of occasions when walking past encountered someone out the front proferring small sample cups of curry. As a small, local business, I hoped things were going well, but from the amount of traffic I witnessed going in and out I had my doubts.

But then lo, someone from the all-knowing supplement that is Epicure paid them a visit, and wrote up one of their dishes for the Under $10 column. The dish in question was a goat curry, and coming in a full $4 under the column's maximum, it sounded like too good an opportunity to miss. I was suitably impressed when I first tried it for myself many moons ago.

Travelling home this week with a dismantled bike on the back seat, its back tyre as deflated as its rider was when he heard it go 'pop', some cheap, impromptu curry sounded like a good way to rescue the evening, so India on Lygon finally got its repeat visit.

Prices are up; but at $8 or so for most curries they're still at a suitable price for Epicure's column. Goat is available as either masala or biryani and, as before, I went for the former.If it all looks a bit indistinct in the bowl, it's not just due to the quality of photography! The goat meat comes on the bone: big slabs of it, with plenty of sinew to tear through to get the meat free. Don't bother with a knife and fork. Go traditional and get your hands and teeth in there! I like to imagine when I'm eating this dish that I'm in a tent in the mountains and in the distance I can hear bells from a herd of goats that, in order to meet our appetites, is now one less in number. On my first try the only obstacle to such a fantasy was the undeniable fact that I was actually in a flat in Brunswick East, and while there may have been bells, they were of the bicycle, not bovid, variety. This time, however, the meat let the dish down. I know it's not meant to be the tenderest of varieties, but it was too tough. It was saved, however, by the sauce, which was enjoyably spicy.

The butter chicken turned out to be a better option. When done poorly, this dish is just foul - just a bowl of oil and cream with some white meat floating in it. India on Lygon's version is a lot more subtle however, and they've taken care to make sure the spice dominates rather than the liquid ingredients.

We really enjoyed the garlic naan first time around as well. It was a bit singed on this occasion, unfortunately. It still held its consistency, however, to do a fine job of mopping up sauce.
And given two curries, rice and two naan cost just over $20, I think we got about what we paid for.

Update: India on Lygon underwent a change of management a few months ago. It's still the same look outside, but the decor inside has been schmicked up a little bit. I can't report as yet whether there are marked changes to the food.

15 April, 2008

Abendessen bei Katharina

For English, click here

Am Montag hatten wir 'Unterricht' (tatsächlich Abendessen) bei meiner Deutschlehrerin. Alle hatten einen Teller mitzubringen. Wir haben uns ausgezeichnet! An der Spitze hatten wir die Pasteten der Esther, mit Korbis, Kiefernüsse und Fetakase gefüllt. Seit Tagesanbruch aufgestanden, hat sie den Tag in der Küche verbracht, diese lecke Stücke vorzubereiten. Die Müh hat sich gelohnt!
Eva hat mariniertes Huhn mitgebracht, die Jackie brachte Brot mit Lachs oder Fleisch bei. Durch Les hatten wir Quiche. Ich brachte zucchini fritters, die ich am Morgen gekocht hatte. Sie sahen wie nicht so viel aus, so bereitet ich zusätzlich hausgemachte Pestomayonnaise vor. Von Anthony kammen Kreks und dips. Wir hatten auch Salate und damit ein gleichgewichtes Mahl.
Wen habe ich vergessen? Egal, weil alles, was dort war, hat wirklich gut geschmeckt. Hier ist mein gepackter Teller. (Bin ich in Heidelberg, Baden-Würrtemberg; oder Heidelberg, VIC??)
Die Männer versahen Wein (sehr wichtig!) und die Katharina (unsere Lehrerin und Gastgeberin) die Anstrengung, alles kaltes Essen warm zu machen. Sie hat sich auch für Untersetzungen zwischen Tisch und heißer Platten zu liegen gesorgt. Der baldheiratende Robin hat Miles Davis für Musik gewahlt. Leider konnte die Kris nicht dabei sein, aber sie hat, wie immer, ihre Vertreter da geschickt:

Zum Nachtisch war Katharina super. Himbeerclafoutis, frisch gebackt.Oder noch interessierer: schnell gespinnt

Zusammen verbrachten wir einen echten schönen, zivilisierten Abend.

14 April, 2008

'The Sound of One Hand Clapping' - Richard Flanagan

The Sound of One Hand Clapping etches the story of Sonja Buloh and her destructive, catastrophic relationship with her father, Bojan. The novel oscillates between two timeframes. The earlier location stretches from mid-fifties to mid-sixties, and is set amongst a group of European immigrants working on a hydro-electric site in Tasmania, during which time Sonja's mother leaves her three-year-old daughter one snowy night, never to be heard of again. In 1989, Sonja returns to Tasmania, after 23 years of her own unbroken estrangement from her father.

The novel is heavy, very heavy, on motifs and imagery. It is a rare piece in that the central relationship is between father and daughter. The exchanges between Sonja and Bojan are frequently brutal, both physically and emotionally. Despite the anger, spite, and unbearable miscommunications, however, a bond remains. Just as Bojan and his workmates cannot separate themselves from their respective homelands, despite thoughts of their former homes conjuring images of torture and war, nor can he and his daughter ultimately extricate themselves from one another.

Bojan lives a rootless life, as he fails to integrate himself into the Australian culture. Sonja, similarly, marches through a life deliberately devoid of a significant relationship with another man. Each grip instead onto aspects of the land. For Bojan, water and wood are constant motifs. His emotions are dammed, just as is the river where he was laying concrete when his wife disappeared. He crafts his feelings into wooden furniture, made from Huon pine, an elusive, almost inexplicably strong material, forged in the wilds of an island that has broken many willing and unwilling refugees. Sonja returns herself to the earth, either physically at the site of the camp where she grew up, or in dreams where she imagines the feel of blades of grass on her body.

The images are well-chosen, but many of Flanagan's techniques in this book are overblown and his style overwritten. There is an excessive use of adjectives throughout the novel: "The noise manifested itself as flesh in the form of a large, brown-uniformed woman slashing through the green curtain"; "A pair of translucent plastic gloves peeled off and fell into the alligator mouth of a bright yellow bin". At times, too, the similes are cliched, but then Flanagan redeems himself with something wonderful, for example rain on a window "like tears" is followed by a sunrise "like a rainbow trout". Sometimes extended descriptions lose their perspective: a character sees a raindrop fall on a tulip from some distance; or rain changing from soothing to oppressing within a passage. In the sections set in the past, Flanagan often begins with generic stories, describing repeated events, which then morph into a recount of a specific event that has bearing on the tale, a particularly frustrating technique.

While it is overwritten, the novel is not poorly written. It evokes a place - Tasmania - that remains mysterious even for many who live in the same country. It takes that powerful force of isolation and chaos that Tasmania holds - the island that offered prisons within prisons, an island of "wild, mad [weather], its reason lost somewhere out in the aching emptiness of the fish-fat sea" - and thrusts it upon characters whose lives have seen too much turmoil to have the strength to try and tame their new home. All of the relationships in this novel are fraught, often with an excess of affection that remains dammed as unnaturally as the Tasmanian river.

See also by Richard Flanagan: 'The Unknown Terrorist'

12 April, 2008

Wild Yak

350 High St, Northcote; 03 9486 2733

Time to try a new cuisine: Tibetan. Wild Yak in Northcote is a laminex-tabled, plastic-chaired, faded-postered kind of restaurant, run by an effusive native who works the floor with enthusiasm. The food is extremely well-priced, the restaurant is BYO, the atmosphere is simple. It's fundamental international suburban dining.

But what to eat? A bit of research reveals that Tibetan cuisine is based around barley, the flour from which is used to make noodles and dumplings (are we the only country in the world without a national dumpling?). Yak, goat and mutton meat also feature. Wild Yak is no doubt true to the spices and cooking style of Tibetan cuisine, but serves no eponymous meat. Choice instead runs to beef, chicken and, bizarrely, calamari. The menu is broken down in the traditional way of Asian restaurants: entree, soup, then repeated dishes featuring the different meats or a vegie or tofu option.

Momo, the Tibetan steamed dumpling, features first up. It's available as a main (at $9.50 I'd rate it as one of High St's best bargains) but we choose the beef variety as entree (fried and vegetable are also available).My, they were good. The dough was so pliant, but held its shape, even if the lightly-spiced but beautifully cooked meat fell out while one was utilising the dipping sauces. The ying is a soy-style sauce, while the yang was a notably piquant mixture, masquerading behind the appearance of satay.

I had some difficulty choosing a main and enlisted the help of our host. He steered me from the sha gogpa (lean beef with rich garlic sauce) to the sha nyamo-kyurmo (tender beef cooked with lemon, honey, tomatoes and herbs). His recommendation was spot-on. Here we had something that little bit different and very striking. The sauce was rich, perhaps a little runnier than tomato soup, and the balance of tomato with the sweet and sour of honey and lemon was exact. The meat had been treated gently and was indeed 'tender'. The beans and red capsicum were fresh and crisp and I was thoroughly pleased.

Just as well, since I'd been pipped in my first choice by my dining partner, that dish being thukpa: a Tibetan soup with noodles (egg, not barley in this case), beef, chicken, vegetables and 'fungus' (luckily she's a scientist, so is adept at assessing fungal risk and decided to give this one the go-ahead!) in a rich soup.The broth was hearty and not too salty. The dish featured an excellent distribution of meat, veg and noodles to liquid. Maybe a little excessive on the fungus side of things (though not in a health-inspector-concerning way) but that earthy, warming flavour and effect was a big winner.

Two mains, a starter, rice and corkage was $35. I'll be back - those dumplings are calling.

05 April, 2008

Aloi Na

59-61 Hardware Lane, Melbourne; 03 9670 8889

Hardware Lane. It's a bit like the Lygon St tourist strip but for locals. Business workers inevitably wander through there in office hours, and during the day many of them sit down for steak/burger/focaccia and chips and, if their company is that way inclined, a wine or beer. Even when you're using it as a thoroughfare between Lonsdale and Little Bourke St, alone, clearly distracted and not by food, the spruikers endeavour to lure you in.

Having finished Happy Hour at Word Bar, however, Hardware Lane's proximity could not be ignored. We settled on a Thai dinner at Aloi Na, whose menu both comforted and disturbed me. Everything seemed extremely well-priced: a relief since it meant I could order more liberally, but also a concern, since we were in the dead middle of town and I expected to be overcharged.

We started with chicken satay sticks. I was hungry enough that when they arrived they didn't appear quite so sickly as they do in this photo!The satay sauce was acceptable: very creamy, and unctuous. The chicken was far too dry, however. Looking back on what we ordered, chicken was a prolific ingredient and the dryness featured throughout the meal.

Our second starter was tempura vegetables.Lovely presentation, and a nice light tempura batter. The curled eggplant wrapped around carrot and zucchini. The vegetables were a little bland, but the soy dipping sauce lifted the flavour.

I was particularly torn ordering my main. The restaurant offers a red duck curry for just $18.90. It met my craving, but what could I truly expect from such a dish at such a price? I went for the more generic green chicken curry.The clay pot actually came sat over a tea candle - another nice presentation feature. This dish had the best chicken of the night and generous pieces of zucchini, capsicum and carrot. The green curry sauce was, again, sufficient, but had no subtlety of spice to really lift it to a memorable dish.

Aesthetics seem important at this establishment. The chicken and cashew stir fry looks sensational:The chicken was dry and the sauce somewhat salty, however. The vegetables, on the other hand, were crisp and fresh and added a lot to the dish.

Similar reports came from the sweet and sour chicken.Nice colours again, and I like the battered chicken mixed in amongst the vegetables and sauce. The vegetables were the winner out of this dish, as well.

It is good to know that one can eat at a reasonable price amongst the schmaltz of Hardware Lane. The noodle dishes at Aloi Na, for example, are mainly around $13. The quality is about as exciting as the serving staff, however, who looked surprised every time they arrived at our table with a bowl of food. The restaurant also offers a modest, predictable and cheap selection of wines by the glass, as well as Chang beer for $6.

A Minor Place II

103 Albion St, Brunswick East; 03 9384 3131

Ah, the mid-week, mid-afternoon lunch. It's a wonderful time to be lazily perusing a menu; taking time over a coffee; stretching out a conversation over repeated top-ups of table water. And A Minor Place is as funky and fitting a venue for these activities as you could wish for.

The cafe uses organic bread and eggs, and takes some care to make standard cafe offerings a little bit unfamiliar. I did notice, to my chagrin, that their french toast has changed. Since it is pistachio season I should use that as an incentive to get some fresh nuts and cheese and whip up my own batch of pistachio ricotta.

My lunch choice was the Xanadu toast:The riot of green rocket covered fresh tomato, wonderfully thick wedges of avocado, and chevre, all sitting atop two pieces of aforementioned organic bread. The bread held its texture well, especially given the sandwich was drizzled with pesto oil. A good sprinkling of dukkah completed the flavour spectrum. It was quite delicious and met my late lunch requirements aptly.

My dining partner went with the fabulously titled 'Forget About It' meatball wrap. Try ordering it without either a straight face or a New York accent!The wrap came with tomato sugo, spinach and yoghurt. Rocket was rather more prevalent than spinach, and I would call that pocket bread, rather than a wrap, but they're very minor points (about a clearly ironically named Minor Place!). Each of the ingredients was subtle, but fresh, which meant they worked together to create a fulfilling lunch dish.

A Minor Place has had a development application in the window indicating that they are going to become licenced. If one can linger as contentedly as we did over a plate of food each and a coffee, imagine what a glass or two of wine will do!

02 April, 2008

Baker's Delight II

I'm at it again. As the weather cools, the urge to bake seems more reasonable to indulge. And we are coming into the abundant apple season, so there are always a couple left over in my fruit bowl at the end of the week.

Today's picture-worthy effort is an apple tea cake, an item which came out of the oven looking so fine I even got out a platter for the photo shoot :)