Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Reading Room Cafe

Reading Room Cafe
Victoria University
Building "P"
88 Ballarat Rd
Footscray 3011

The Reading Room Cafe is located at the Footscray campus of Victoria University.  It is a bit tricky to find but their website gives excellent directions and parking information.

The cafe is currently nearing the end of an 8 week 'Pop-up for Charity' initiative. For each of the 8 weekends they will donate 20% of cafe proceeds to charities & organisations in Footscray and the local area.

After reading many great reviews I arrived at the Cafe full of expectation and anticipation only to have it deflate like a balloon when I was greeted with a nearly full room and the news that they had no record of my booking for ten!  The staff was lovely and quickly offered the alternative of a long table in the empty university space adjoining the cafe.  Whilst lacking ambiance it turned out to be quite handy as it gave the children in our group room to spread out and play without disturbing anyone!

Despite the shaky start things improved.  The coffee was good.  The food, for the most part, delicious.

We started with a few hot drinks .. impressive coffee art.  

A little case holds our cutlery, napkins and salt whilst pepper is in small glass jar.  Cute!

Even though there were a few of us there was some duplication in the ordering so unfortunately I don't have 10 dishes to show you!    What can I say, we have similar tastes!

Savoury Muffin ($4.50)

Sweet Muffin - Apple and Cinnamon ($4.50)

 Eggs Hemingway - Poached eggs, dry cured bacon, sauteed mushrooms, tomato relish ($9.50 for eggs, toast and relish, sides $3-4.50 each)

From the specials board - Pancetta, white beans, fresh tomato, feta, poached eggs and pear relish ($15)

Fritter's Lane - Sweet corn, pumpkin and coriander fritters, poached eggs, avocado, tomato chutney ($14.50)

Soft poached egg - perfect!

I had the Fritter's Lane and it was divine.  The fritters were beautiful - crispy and flavourful.  The eggs were perfectly poached and all the flavours married together beautifully.  I would return for these alone!

The muffins were freshly baked and delicious and the Eggs Hemingway was a hit - the eggs also perfectly poached and the sides were all very generous serves.

Unfortunately the white bean and pancetta special was not as well received.  The eggs were nice but the tomato based sauce was a little strong and monotonous and the pear relish overpowered the dish.

Prices are reasonable and servings generous.  I can't wait to return!

Reading Room Cafe (Victoria University) on Urbanspoon

Saturday, May 12, 2012


38 Siddeley St
WTC Wharf 3005

The WTC (World Trade Centre) Wharf precinct is still largely unknown though it has some great places to eat and drink.  Located on the north bank of the Yarra River opposite the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (known to many as "Jeff's Shed") the WTC Wharf is easily accessible from Spencer Street or Siddeley Street.

Byblos is a bar/restaurant specialising in Lebanese and Mediterranean cuisine.  The interior is beautiful, very lush and extravagant.  It is somewhere you can drop into for a cocktail, a quick coffee or a meal.  On this occasion I was dining with my sisters and we decided to share a selection of plates from the Mezat section of the menu, plus a salad and dip.

Fattoush Salad - Mixed green salad with radish, tomato, cucumber, toasted Lebanese bread and a lemon and olive oil dressing

Falafel - Ground chickpeas, broad beans, onion, parsley, garlic and traditional Lebanese spices.  Served with homemade tahini sauce

Pumpkin Kebbi  - Pumpkin, spinach and feta cheese, onion, garlic and spices
Hommos and pita bread - Chickpeas, lemon and tahini.  The picture was taken after we had all had a dip!  It looks a bit oily in the photo but was very tasty
Fatayer - Homemade pastry with spinach, walnuts and Lebanese spices

Calamari and homemade tartar sauce
Whilst everything was fine the calamari and falafel were definitely the picks of the night.  The calamari was tender and beautifully cooked.  The falafel was full of crispy chickpea goodness. The pumpkin kibbi was a bit bland - no discernible pumpkin flavour which was disappointing.  By contrast the Fatayer was quite tasty.  The salad was fresh and crisp, the dip and bread very moreish. 


After all the deep fried goodness we were quite full so decided to share a dessert just to have a little sweet something with our coffee.  It was very good BUT I'm embarrassed to confess that I can't remember what it was!!  Maybe I had too many of these ...

... and not enough of this ;)

Byblos on Urbanspoon