Thursday, 27 August 2015

Innocent Bystander

When I first discovered Innocent Bystander years ago, it was much less well-known than now. I saw a tiny review in the paper about their wood-fired pizzas and decided they were worth a visit; I haven't looked back! There is lots to love about this winery; the pizza, the tapas-style food, the desserts and of course the wine. They have the best Moscato around.
We popped out last Saturday, a beautifully sunny winter's day that sees you going without a jumper for the first time in months. While we normally graze our way through the menu we decided to take things a little slower this time, starting with the house-baked sourdough (with salt and olive oil) and the smoked ham croquettes.  

One of our favourite wines to drink when we visit (aside from the Giant Steps Sexton Pinot Noir) is the Innocent Bystander Syrah. So smooth and easy to drink, perfect for lunchtime. The staff will also decant your red wine into one of their funky decanters.
For mains we had pizza; the other half ordered his usual spicy pork sausage pizza.
For some reason my favourites keep disappearing from the menu so I decided to try a new one: cauliflower and chorizo. It was very good, but I'm missing the four cheese pizza they used to do (hint hint).

We also got a side of the house cut chips with aioli. I always feel a little naughty ordering chips and these hit the spot nicely.
We decided to give dessert a miss, instead finishing off with coffees (or their amazing hot chocolate in my case). But I can definitely recommend the flourless chocolate cake, its a winner.

There are definitely worse ways to spend a sunny Winter's day....
Innocent Bystander Winery Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Monday, 17 August 2015


This Melbourne venue has been on our to-do list for quite some time, and while it was pretty darn good, it wasn't as amazing as I had hoped. Meatmother is all about American BBQ, so vegetarians need not apply.
The menu is simple; choose your meat, choose the delivery (toast or bun) and choose your side.
I'm a sucker for pulled pork, so I chose the bun. Mac n Cheese as my side.
The pork was good. But in all honesty, it was no better than what I make myself (and I make a fantastic pulled pork). The mac was nice and creamy, but a little salty hit wouldn't have gone astray. 

The other half chose the brisket, which we are told is their signature dish, served with toast and fries. The meat is beautifully melt-in-the-mouth. And the fries have that nice salty tang I was looking for.
To quench the thirst we chose the Dark and Stormy in a Pitcher; not cheap at $36 but certainly more economical than by-the-glass.
And by now we all know that I like dessert. Just two options; peanut butter cheesecake, and apple pie. I chose the cheesecake and was a little surprised to see it served in a jar/glass. I guess this is hipster territory. Fortunately it was good cheesecake, good peanut butter flavour and not sickly sweet. And no fighting over that little Oreo either!
All in all, it was a very good meal. But not the cheapest given the size of the serves. I like my burgers just a tad larger. Now I've ticked it off the list I probably don't need to return.
Meatmother Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Cote Terra

Everyone needs a good breakfast spot, and Cote Terra is ours. Tucked away in a little street in Oakleigh, the venue is intimate and the food is good.
We were lucky to beat the crowd this past weekend, snaffling the last table. If you're a hot chocolate drinker like me, you'll like this one. Proper dark chocolate rather than the sugary stuff used elsewhere.
The menu has so many great options, and I've tried a few, though I always go back to the Smashed Avocado (formally known as "The Shrek"). Toast, lashings of avocado, perfectly poached eggs and cherry tomatoes. I get added bacon just because.

My other half went for the breakfast wrap: bacon and scrambled eggs rolled up in roti with tomato chutney, ricotta, and just a hint of curry. Messy but good.

One day we will try the lunch.... Cote Terra Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Friday, 7 August 2015

John O'Groats, Los Angeles

After a relaxing evening at the Intercontinental in Beverly Hills, we needed somewhere for a good breakfast. The hotel is in a pretty quiet area right next door to Fox Studios, so there aren't many places to eat on a weekend. A quick Google search of the area found us John O'Groats.

We must have just beat the Sunday rush, as we were immediately directed to a table. On leaving there was quite a crowd waiting outside, so much so that a coffee/water table had been set up. This place is a bit funky, with the original part of the restaurant still featuring the diner counter and tiled floor; they have expanded into several adjacent stores over time.

There are so many options for breakfast that it is almost impossible to choose, so we decide to steer away from the "usual" stuff like pancakes. The poached eggs bruschetta caught my eye, and it didn't let me down. Lovely fresh olive bread, piled high with fresh tomato, feta, basil, and perfectly poached eggs.

The other half chose the Huevos O'Groats, which I had also been eyeing off:  biscuit dough tortilla topped with black beans, sauteed onions and peppers, with two eggs over medium, shredded cheese, sour cream and salsa. I expected the tortilla to be more solid but it was just a slightly thicker than usual tortilla, topped with fresh ingredients. Of course, someone had to pour the hot sauce on.

Overall a great find, though not one that we can just pop into again. The service was very attentive and we were never without a beverage. Given the line outside, it is certainly a gem.