30 July, 2015

Blue Chillies

If you find yourself looking for one area of Melbourne to best show off our city's eccentricity  characters and taste for the alternative, Brunswick Street is your one stop shop. Known for it's cultured dining district, bars and live music venues, you'll also find Blue Chillies quaintly snuggled in. 

Best known for their signature takes on classic Malaysian flavours with a Melbourne flair, Blue Chillies have served locals and visitors alike for the past 15 years. And on Sunday, we celebrated their 16th birthday - Happy sweet 16th birthday Blue Chillies !

In celebration of such a milestone, a few lucky bloggers were invited to attend a fun-filled dinner experience. Drawing from Blue Chillies' vast experience of hawker-style cooking on the Streets of KL and Penang, and exciting fusion of fresh local ingredients with authentic spices, we were treated to a specially designed menu of their signature dishes and cocktails.

Whitebait and Sweet Potato Fritters

Black Pepper Soft Shell Crab

We started with the Whitebait and Sweet Potato Fitters which were oh so light and oh so crispy, allowing the natural sweetness of the sweet potato to shine through. Coupled with a chilli lime dipping sauce, these were seriously addictive. We also indulged in their Soft Shell Crab dressed in a ground peppercorn sauce. Unfortunately, the soft shell crab lacked a crispy exterior, with it's moist, delicate flesh taking over. Nevertheless, delicious. 


Next up was the Rockling, and in my eyes, the star of the show. Gloriously crunchy rockling fillets dusted with potato flour and wok hei'ed with fragrant curry leaves, chilli, spaced and fluffy buttered egg floss. It rocked
my world.

Yee Sang Salad

Traditionally eaten during Chinese New Year, the Yee Sang salad is a popular festive dish symbolising good luck, prosperity, health and all things auspicious. Always a dish I look forward to eating every year. At Blue Chillies, it consisted of fresh salmon with a variety of crunchy vegetables and roasted peanuts in a apricot plum sauce. Super saucy.

Duck Rendeng

King Prawns

Pork Ribs

Thrice Cooked Duck

For the mains, we tried the Duck Rendeng slow cooked with roasted coconut and Malaysian spices, fresh ginger-root garlic and chillies, the crispy King Prawns twisted in rice noodles on a bed of tomato puree with pineapple and coconut milk, their Pork Ribs caramelised in chilli jam and their Thrice Cooked Duck served with a blend of wild ginger flower, lemongrass, chilli and lime juice. The flavours, the textures, the presentations - all ticked.Somehow, by the end of the night, we still had room for the dessert, and boy was it a treat. A modern take on the glutinous black sticky rice pudding, layered with rich coconut cream, palm sugar and toasted coconut flakes.With food full of flavour and flair and service to boot, Blue Chillies is exactly where you need to be to beat the winter blues.

Black Sticky Rice Pudding

Somehow, by the end of the night, we still had room for the dessert, and boy was it a treat. A modern take on the glutinous Black Sticky Rice pudding, layered with rich coconut cream, palm sugar and toasted coconut flakes.

With heartwarming food full of flavour and flair and service to boot, Blue Chillies is exactly where you need to be to beat the winter blues.

confessions of a little piggy was invited to dine as a guest of Blue Chillies

Blue Chillies

182 Brunswick Street
Fitzroy, VIC

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25 July, 2015

Phat Milk

On an unsuspecting corner along Mt Alexander Road lies Phat Milk - modern Middle Eastern fare meets Melbourne cafe culture, pumping out St Ali brews to locals in the gateway to Melbourne’s North West.

A visit to Phat Milk promises an eclectic list of breakfast and lunch stand outs, inspired by Owner, Sean Halabi's Middle Eastern background. We're talking Warm Sahlab Puddings, (Middle Eastern pudding topped with crushed pistachios and berries), Shredded Confit Duck on zucchini and corn fritters with beetroot relish and drizzled with pomegranate molasses, to their Shish Baraks (Lebanese dumplings in hot garlic coriander yoghurt).

And behind the counter ? It’s all family affairs. Not simply in featuring mum’s home pickled olives recipe or grandma’s moghrabieh salad, but physically bringing in Mum and Dad into the kitchen to run a weekend traditional Middle Eastern BBQ. All the warm fuzzies.

Middle Eastern

Based on our waitress' suggestions, it would have been a sin not to order the Middle Eastern. Golden folds of scrambled eggs, falafels oh so crispy on the outside yet light and crumbly on the inside, Sean's Mum's home preserved olives made with TLC, thick and creamy labne, humus, sweet beetroot relish, spicy sujuk and a side of zataar bread. Lip-smackingly good.

Polenta Hotcake

I must say though, the ultimate breakfast showstopper here at Phat Milk must be their Polenta Hotcake, with devotees regularly making repeated visits over one weekend to get their Polenta Hotcake hit. Crispy-edged on the sides and tender in the middle, topped with a rainbow of seasonal fruits and berries, whipped Nutella mascarpone and a house made mixed berry coulis. Perfect for the gluten intolerant (and everyone else) !

I'm a sucker for fusion. And Phat Milk's unique fusion of traditional Middle Eastern cuisine with modern elements has made this Little Piggy very happy.

confessions of a little piggy was invited to dine as a guest of Phat Milk

Phat Milk
208 Mt Alexander Road
Travencore, VIC

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20 July, 2015

Frank Green - Innovative SmartCup

Our beloved social currency … aka coffee, has taken on a whole new way of life with Australian brand, Frank Green launching their SmartCup - an innovative, reusable and sustainable coffee cup that literally picks up the bill at the end of your cafe visit. 

Embedded with a microchip, each SmartCup provides the user with the ability to go cash free; tapping the lid of the cup to a sensor to process their payment instantly and securely at their local café.

Boasting vibrant on-trend colours and smooth lines, this product will complement every look. I absolutely love the matte colours !

The SmartCup can: 

  • Pay for your coffee with just the swipe of your lid 
  • Allow you to pre-order your coffee and ‘gift’ coffees to friends (yes please) 
  • Earn loyalty rewards and points with every cafe purchase - it is 100% spill resistant ! 

The Frank Green SmartCup - revolutionising your daily grind with innovative payment technology embedded in your cup.

confessions of a little piggy was sent a Frank Green SmartCup


13 July, 2015

The Hunter's Kitchen at Lucky Penny

Now, we all know Lucky Penny as the bright and air space coated in fresh white brick walls, warmed up with furnishings of pale wood, tanned leather and soft lighting. Vintage modernism vibes coupled with quality coffee and an all-day breakfast menu full of flavour and variety. But did you know about their exciting winter dinner concept, The Hunter's Kitchen ?

Created by Head Chef Jason Chan,The Hunter's Kitchen concept focuses on home style, sharing dishes, inspired by traditional Nordic, Scandinavian and Viking food. Yup, that's right, the ultimate winter comfort food to warm the heart.

Thinly Sliced Rare Wagyu, cauliflower, mustard, freeze dried horseradish

Cured Salmon, celriac puree, cornichons, dill, celery leaves, salmon roe, rye

Bannockburn Free Range Farmhouse Chicken, bacon, roast celery and kale chips

Slow Cooked Venison, venison sausage, confit red cabbage, spiced pear chutney

Inspired by the traditional Danish snack smørrebrød, we started our Viking feast with the Cured Salmon and Thinly Sliced Rare Wagyu, followed by the hearty Slow Cooked Venison and Bannockburn Free Range Farmhouse Chicken served on heavy cast iron pans. Oh man, the most succulent chicken smothered with smooth creamy potato studded with salty bacon bits, roast celery and crispy kale chips. Hands down, the favourite of the night.

Roast Beetroot and Rhubarb with buffalo mozzarella 

 Burnt Broccoli, brown rice, currants, almonds

Complementing the heavier dishes, we enjoyed a smokey Burnt Broccoli Salad with nutty brown rice, sweet earthy currants and crunchy almonds together with a Roasted Beetroot and Rhubarb Salad with soft buffalo mozzarella.

Glühwein (Mulled Wine)

Blueberry and Elderflower Crumble with vanilla ice cream

Warm saffron cake with treacle sauce and ice cream

Our eyes sparkled as the traditional Nordic inspired delights came around. We satisfied each and every sweet tooth with the Blueberry and Elderflower Crumble, and demolished the most decadent Safrron Cake with treacle sauce and ice cream. Hmmm... hot and cold, hot and cold.

Let me just say, the food and drinks at The Hunter's Kitchen is exactly what you need tot cozy up in the chilly days this season. Get lucky.

confessions of a little piggy was invited to dine as a guest of Lucky Penny

Lucky Penny
481 Chapel Street
Prahran, VIC

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25 June, 2015

Mountain of Bears

Ormond locals rejoice ! From the dream team behind Manchester Press and Loco Coffee comes Mountain of Bears, bringing Melbourne's most beloved bagels and coffee to your neighbourhood. 

You'll find this humble little cafe tucked away in an arcade adjacent to Ormond train station. The bright and airy space is fitted out with polished timber furnishings, hanging plants and accents of yellow that would brighten up anyone's day.

Serving up 8oz coffee, refreshing salads and all things bagels, you really can't go wrong here. From toasted bagels with hummus, salted silver beets, grilled mushrooms, fresh avo and poached eggs to a New York open bagel with BBQ pulled pork, there is something for all. For a lighter option, there's the Chia Pudding with banana and coconut milk porridge topped with orange yoghurt, fresh strawberries and walnuts. Then there's hearty rustic stews of slow cooked brisket and root vegetables with a side of chilli salsa to warm the soul.

Pumpkin and Goats Cheese Smash Open Bagel 

The Pumpkin and Goats Cheese Smash Open Bagel was completely…smashing. The subtle flavour of pumpkin was amped up with smooth and creamy goats cheese, resting comfortably on a bed of fresh spinach leaves, smoked capsicum and onions. With added eggs for extra protein of course ! Plus, there are studies that prove that pumpkins are a happy food. Smiles all around I tell you.

Pastrami Open Bagel 

After something a little meatier, my friend decided on the Pastrami Open Bagel. Now won't you just take a look at those slices of tender pastrami served with a crunchy salad of cos, cucumber, capsicum, onion, carrot, tomato, caramelised onion and horseradish mayo.

Mama Bears Salad 

My other brunch buddy went for Mama Bears Salad, a nutritious salad packed with kale, kidney beans, goji berries, buckwheat, onion, cucumber and tomato drizzled in balsamic vinaigrette. Topped with sexy folds of smoked salmon and a perfectly poached egg of course. 

So what are you waiting for ? Climb the mountain and meet the bears.

confessions of a little piggy was invited to dine as a guest of Mountain of Bears

Mountain of Bears
556 North Road
Ormond, VIC

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20 June, 2015

The Green at St Columbs

Located in the former chapel at the St Columbs church, The Green at St Columbs is the latest wholesome, community-minded project from Jesuit Social Services. Interior by ZWEI, coffee by Code Black Coffee and a modern, all-day menu crafted by Head Chef Kevin Dick (ex Cutler & Co. and St. Ali North) ? It's all exciting stuff.

Skinny Flat White

Salmon Gnocchi and Eggs

The hot smoked salmon fillet was beautifully cooked, rich and packed with flavour, working wonderfully with a pair of oozy poached eggs. Served on a bed of horseradish yoghurt, golden pillows of pan fried potato gnocchi and a crusty slice of sourdough made this dish a substantial meal. 

Middle Eastern Vegetarian Braise

On the other end of the table, my friend picked the Middle Eastern Vegetarian Braise with poached eggs and toast - a warm and hearty feed for a cozy brunch on a winter's day.

Fig Jam Doughnut

To skip dessert at The Green would have been a crime, with their boastful display of house-made cakes and pastries glistening from behind the glass counter. Their fig jam doughnuts were absolutely gorgeous - think fluffy pastries injected with luscious fig jam that sugar-coated our lips with each bite.

Brunching whilst simultaneously helping The Green at St Columb's mission of building a just society where people can live to their full potential ? Why wouldn't you. 

confessions of a little piggy was invited to dine as a guest of The Green at St Columbs

The Green at St Columbs
5 St Columbs Street
Hawthorn, VIC

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