LBSS, Abbotsford and a 1st Birthday

Can you believe it? Exactly one year ago, I sat here in angst ready to lay my soul on the line and expose myself to the criticism of others. I must have read the piece a hundred times and then proceeded to make my boyfriend read it one hundred more. With heart racing and a lump in my throat, I clicked that little ‘post’ sign with the apprehension one makes the jump out of a moving plane. Amazingly, nothing happened. The world didn’t explode, I didn’t implode and LBSS Cafe didn’t come knocking on my door carrying pitchforks. Since then it’s been a wild ride of new people, travel, blogger ethics, social media and, of course, some incredible food. One year on and I feel I have grown and evolved and my own identity as a ‘blogger’ has changed many of my views.

Little Big Sugar Salt
www.lbsscafe.com
385 Victoria St
Abbotsford
(03) 9427 8818

LBSS Cafe on Urbanspoon

Interestingly, LBSS opened just over a year ago as well and I figured it may be an idea to revisit an old haunt: see how they’ve grown on a similar timeline to myself. Sometimes a year changes a lot and sometimes it changes nothing. You can read about my first experience here.

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Like all good birthday breakfasts, I rocked up hungover. Now, there are two types of hungover. The ‘I ravaged my body last night so I need to make up for it now’ or the ‘inject grease, carbs and caffeine directly into my veins’. On this visit, we encompassed both: my being the former and the boy being the latter. Not to worry, LBSS had us both covered.

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The little space hasn’t changed much since my last visit bar the addition of the #selfiestation mirror in the bathroom. The intimate, tiny cafe space ensures privacy however sectioned rooms and few staff can give some the impression of a lacking in service. This particular morning, jazzy Amy Winehouse tunes floated through the converted residential house. I still haven’t decided whether they helped or hindered the hangover.

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The coffee beans haven’t changed either, being Peoples Coffee, maintaining their flavour and body. Jax Coco is a new addition, however, and I sipped the accompanying stripey straw with vehemence hoping that the coconut water rumours are true and the magic drink would rehydrate my throbbing head.

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LBSS isn’t a magical random jumble of letters but rather stands for Little Big Sugar Salt: a reference to their approach to a breakfast menu. A big and little version of sugar or salt are presented on a page that would make any graphics designer drool. As a list that limits itself to less than ten options, it is updated quite of often and safe to say my visit a year ago yielded some very different results.

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Not only does this keep a cafe interesting but also allows them to get with the times, enter acai bowl. Unless you’ve been living under a very large pile of raw cacao, you couldn’t miss the superfood craze of the moment. This acai bowl was thick and cold, with flavours of banana and other fruity goodness. This was enhanced by pretty pieces of fresh fruit (namely peach and pear) and a crisp toasted muesli. The bowl was the perfect mix of smooth, sweet, crunchy and, of course, healthy.

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On the other side of the spectrum, you have you salt. Perhaps the opposite to an acai bowl, the Ron Swanson is dripping in lactose, gluten, meat and eggs. A triple decker Croque Monsieur with a rich bechamel oozing from all sides. Thick chunks of ham hock, sourced from Bertie’s Butchers, hide themselves away in the layers and a soft fried egg perched over the top rather mischievously.

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It is true that the only thing constant in this world is change. As we develop and progress, so does everyone around us. I love LBSS for the atmosphere, the individuality and the sense of fun propagated over social media (and a rather cheeky menu: I highly recommend you read the fine print). An intimacy is imparted like nowhere else; perfect for the kind of catchup in which your deepest secrets are revealed. Congratulations on your first birthday and I only hope we can both further expand on our knowledge, skill and passion for what we love.

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please note: LBSS did a sneaky on me and changed their menu two days after my visit. I thought I’d better warn you in case you were expecting to order the same dishes. What did I say? The only constant in life is change.

Touche Hombre, CBD

Touche Hombre
http://www.touchehombre.com.au/
Cnr Tattersalls Ln & Lonsdale St Melbourne
9663 0811

Touché Hombre on Urbanspoon

The Mexican food storm flew over Melbourne in a frenzy. Restaurants, fast food and food trucks exploded everywhere and the words burrito, taco, quesadilla, margarita and jarrito became a part of everyday vernacular. I was getting prepared for sombreros and ponchos to appear in fashion week, that was the level of obsession. Like everything else in Melbourne, however, it was over before we could even blink leaving a trail of destruction in its wake: Mexican food overload. Only the greats can survive.

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Loud music, neon lights and a wall of tequila; no wonder the staff describe Touché Hombre as “a massive party but with food”. The atmosphere is fast-paced and buzzing; you’ll be waiting for a table if you arrive after 6:30 especially on a Friday night when the central location and alcohol-sopping food makes it a great place to start work knock-offs.

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I was not exaggerating when I spoke of a wall of tequila and there is also an entire menu exclusively dedicated to it. The tasting platter is recommended for those that can hold their liquor but for the other who may need to soften the blow; tequila based (and even beer) cocktails and Mexican soft drinks are also plentiful.

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The menu is taco focused with more than ten delicious filling options. Simple (like citrus grilled chicken) or extravagant (like salty crumbed haloumi sweetened by caramelised pear) and everything in between keep things interesting. I’d highly recommend taking the plunge with the secret taco. We were lucky enough to gobble up the last one of the evening and you find out what was in it after you’re done (except we completely forgot to ask and never found out. What you don’t know can’t hurt you).

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With so many amazing taco options, we leaned away from the mains yet entrees were appreciated to whet the appetite. The grilled corn was juicy, soft, herbed, spiced and cheesed to perfection. A great way to measure a good bar snack is how well you can imagine yourself eating a hundred without even blinking, and this was the case with the crab claw. With incredible fresh ingredients and great flavours, we were well fed and happy campers.

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Touché Hombre has done incredibly well in this Mexican Meltdown. Consistently busy, consistently serving delicious food and consistently providing great vibes, I hope that the Touché Hombre in the CBD has a better fate than its recently closed down cousin in South Yarra. I can guarantee lots of fun and lots of tequila with every visit.

Golden Child, Glen Iris

Golden Child
https://www.facebook.com/cafegoldenchild/
1-3 Bardolph St Glen Iris
9889 6969

Golden Child on Urbanspoon

My friend Sarah and I spent many an early morning or late afternoon at Burwood railway station. It was the running joke that this poor little centre of Glen Iris was a black hole for anything interesting; and of course it was just our luck to be living there. Life has since moved on and I’ve moved away from the area. However, as soon I heard that something even remotely trendy had opened up right there I contacted Sarah and we were there for breakfast days later.

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Golden Child is cashing in on a great thing; supplying commuters with their caffeine before they jump on the train and serving the highly residential area that is downtown Glen Iris their Sunday morning brunch. The space complements the area: modern, fresh but with homely touches (like rustic wooden chairs and a fruit bowl). The staff were friendly and welcoming; even to the pets who were offered their very own bowl.

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The coffee is Code Black yet my caffeine aversion continues and my poison if choice was a chai; brewed in abundance with Prana chai, soy milk and just a hint of honey. The result was thick, creamy and fragrant. It was also served in a super cute pot. It’s the little touches that I enjoy.

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The menu only really features one unique and interesting dish butthey have established a great build-your-own theme with both poached eggs and avocado on toast. Being in Melbourne, I can understand the focus.

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Of course, I had to go with the dish I wouldn’t find anywhere else: Chinese pretzels. I still couldn’t really tell you exactly what Chinese pretzels are but my experience was a crispy, deep fried dough of a star shape. They were more a side to mop up the star of the meal. Sweetened and spiced minced meat boasted flavours of soy, ginger and chilli while the yolk of the poached egg on top oozed out to blend it together. Eat it together or separate; the flavours still work.

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Even if you do go for basics, you won’t be disappointed as Sarah received perfectly poached ages accompanied by a fresh, cleansing herbed salmon tartare. Quality ingredients were evident in their simplicity.

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At Golden Child, it’s about the little things: the mince served in a little blue pot, the chai with its creamy consistency, a salmon tartare you may not usually find at breakfast and indoor plants that freshen a well designed space. While they’re not looking to push any boundaries when it comes to the menu, the food is delicious. It’s great to see a cafe making that bold move into an area previously abandoned by the very idea.