Friday, March 20, 2009

when the red, red robin, comes a'bob bob bobbin' along...

A combination of too much wine, mortadella on toast at 4am in the morning, and not enough sleep was the perfect excuse to tramp back over to Northcote to check out RED DOOR's homemade crumpets with honey and FRECH butter ... well, me not being a sweet tooth, the artist cousin, Keegan and her delicous emo (esque) boyfriend shared these fluffy discs of heaven. It was extremely busy, and the staff, even though i know they were 'pushed' just forgot to do one thing... SMILE! Coffee was ok, pulled from a three group la marzocca, but was under extracted i felt. We all started with the special 'juice of the day' - watermelon, strawberry and mint.. i think the ratio if strawberries (10%) to watermelon (90%) was a bit of a letdown, very tasteless and watery (how unusual for a WATERmelon to be watery you say?!!!)

So onto that plate of good ness that was going to make my day all the better... PERFECT poached googies, half an avocado, and Divine bacon (top points for using such a lovely QUALITY bacon here....) perched on two slices of a sort of sourdoughy / wholemeal toasted bread.. excellent really and very quick... keegans breakfast on the otherhand was the cottage breakfast, and consisted of unripe sliced tomato, which was oversalted with maldon sea salt, a HUGE handful of raw baby spinach, a dollop of cottage cheese, a piece of the mystery bread and a perfectly poached egg. No real substance, and was just put together sloppily, making it a very dull breakfast dish.

The room is good, buzzy and hight pitched.. lots of quirky little red things around and there really is an ABSOLUTELY fantastic selection of takeaway filled rolls, baguettes, sweet things, tarts etc all bursting out of a glass diplay cabinet. It is a great "locale" for Northcote... and now i have two places to visit when visiting Keegs now - Palamino + Red Door..

FOOD: 14


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

everybody loves RAY(mond)

There are truly some things in life which are just meant to be. I have a true love relationship with this amazing cafe. It was indeed, love at first sight, and even though I don't get back there as often as I would love... when i waltz back into this incy wincy teeny weeny cafe... i feel i have come home.

It all started when we lived in Brunswick, just around the corner actually. I was on my way to spotlight when i drove past a dingy looking shopfront with a red awning and people spilling out of the window.

i fell in love. though i didnt even know his name...

Never has coffee tasted so good to me... they were using Supreme there at the start, and in the last couple of years they changed to Atomica (apparently it is owned BY Atomica now..)

Every coffee was incredibly consistent, be it made by Lauchie, Mark, Jase (now Batch and Seamstress) or any of the team.... and as soon as you finished the first - they were right on your back to slam another down you.. heaven... sigh... ahhhhhh.

It all really started with Ray. I found out his name when we ordered a pide one day, there it was, stamped on a piece of wax paper that wrapped the pide (was almost like getting someones digits that you secretly admired..!!)

They all started popping in up in Brunswick after Ray - some were like little ray's - Minor Place, Small Block, Green Refactory, 3A, Mule, even a place that thought they would cash in on the overflow TWO doors down from RAY - but it went under within half a year... even though they had copied mostly everything, and done a bloody awful job.

Marks passion for coffee (since selling Ray, started St Ali, Brother Buba Budan fame) was obvious.. timers, temp controls, computers set up with links back to NZ (hell... who doesnt need to know the temp in NZ?) a souped up La Marzocca linea... it was a great time.. and i am so glad to say that after all these years, he (ray) has not lost his oomp pa pa...

A very simple menu, consisting mainly of pides, features standouts like bircher muesli in the glass w/ pistachio and honey yoghurt, or turkish toast with rose jam and labna... poached eggs (done in an electric kambrook frypan in the open kitchen which would be the size of a a decent jayco caravans kitchen) with red peppers and dukkah - the menu has always had a slighty middle eastern punch to it... and is simple but always consistent and fresh - the turnover and space demands that.

Jason, the mad Irish man is now the face of Ray and he has a solid team behind him. This is truly a great representation of what a great MELBOURNE cafe is and should be. Cool tunes, groovy staff with the RIGHT amount of 'tude, the feel of a place that might have cost only $50k to set up, but has the groove, professionalism and feel of a place that you could never HAVE enough money to set up...

Ray, he is a real Brunswick boy - no one will ever copy it as well. Some have come close. i wanna kiss you ray. and being from Brunswick, I am sure you wont worry what team i bat for!

I am not afraid to scream out, above the madding crowd - i LOVE you ray... whoever the &*%# you are... x