Melbourne report and a little hiatus....

Melbourne report and a little hiatus....
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Two fabulous Melbourne restaurant finds; ChinChin and Coda, both located on Flinders lane in central Melbourne CBD

This place ~ St. Ali, cooks my favourite poached eggs in Melbourne and serves them with a super spicy yummo relish.

Great coffee, great atmosphere, cool design and wonderful staff (Hi Salvatori.....)

Vasette - quite possibly THE best florist in all of Australia...

Bar Open on Brunswick Street has always been one of my favourite Melbourne bars. In US terms it would be described as a 'dive bar' - which really are my favourite kind of bars - probably stemming from my life-long love of music. I've jumped around to many a Pixies song in this bar... It's a very laid-back, music-focused place and a trip to Brunswick Street in Fitzroy just wouldn't be the same for me without a quick stop off here. Also next door the Brunswick Street Bookstore always has one or two golden finds and uber pretty Kleins Perfumeryis always a must.

Merricks General Storewas a superb find on the recommendation of my Father-in-law; Bob, who has eaten here recently with friends. We enjoyed a lazy Monday Bank holiday lunch over a bottle or two of locally produced white. A really lovely setting and interior decor to match. Very relaxing, super friendly accommodating staff and wonderful food.

All images above (with the exception of the St. Ali illustration and St. Ali window shot) © Katie Quinn Davies 2011

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Firstly I just want to say a huge thanks to all who wrote such fabulous comments on my last post regarding the Cosmo win. I really appreciate all your great, supportive words. As mentioned unfortunately I wasn't able to attend the actual awards as I was in Melbourne last week on a shoot, however I decided to stay on over the weekend and managed to get some great meals in the city and had a potter about my local haunts. I still find it hard at times to get my head around the fact I lived in Melbourne for four years as it seems quite foreign to me now, but after a day or two there I usually find my feet again pretty fast and really respect all this great city has to offer from a foodie perspective and also all it's great bars and shopping.

One restaurant I adored and a new find during this trip was Chin Chin – an incredible Vietnamese restaurant located in Flinders Lane in the heart of the city. When we got there (didn't have a reservation as they don't take them unless you have a party or 12 or more) even though it was heaving, we managed to secure a place at the Kitchen Bar – right next to the chefs working away plating up their dishes. I am going through a bit of a Vietnamese food infatuation at the moment, just loving the clean flavours and sweet/sour/chilli tastes. Also as a recent convert to coriander – a herb I used to detest with a passion, I am starting to really come round to this well-used Asian fave, especially when it's paired with mint, as I find commonly in Vietnamese recipes. We ordered a selection of started and mains including their: Chin Chin Pork "Roll Ups" - Red Braised Suckling Pig with Pancakes, Slaw and Sour Herbs; Spicy Eggnet Omelette Rolls with Spanner Crab and Chilli Jam; Caramelised Sticky Pork with Siamese Watercress and Chilli Vinegar and finally their Crispy Quail, Soy Marinated with Sichuan Salt, Lemon and Sauce Siracha. All were totally drool-worthy and I am now counting the days until I return the Melbourne to visit again. All booking/contact info on Chin Chin can be found here.

Sunday I headed down to my in-laws on the Mornington Peninsula and enjoyed a great meal cooked courtesy of my Father-in-law who is a whizz in the kitchen. On Monday we decided to opt for a lazy lunch at a great little bistro restaurant and cellar door located in the Merricks area called The Merricks General Wine Store

The focus of the restaurant is:

"Modern country (with a hint of French) inspired cuisine and wine-friendly dishes with an emphasis on simplicity, seasonality and flavour"

"The Store's casual indoor setting is fun, relaxed and bursting with light. In summer, one of the peninsula's real hidden gems is a table on the casual deck at Merricks, a glass of wine in hand, great company with the beautiful scenic view of Western Port Bay in the background.."

It was a great suggestion on my father-in-law's (Bob) behalf as the food was truly top-notch. Very rustic in style, presented beautifully by incredibly friendly and welcoming staff. I adore a good cheese platter and all things paté/relishes/pickles/terrine etc. related so their menu offerings which contained all of the above had be stumped for choice. I finally opted for the Potted Pork & Duck Rillettes with Pickled Quince, Spiced Grapes & Toasted Turkish Bread which was fab and has me now on a mission to try my hand at creating a potted pork recipe for myself. Especially so having watched one of my all time favourite chefs Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall's Christmas Fayrespecial last week on the food channel here in Oz, where a potted pheasant recipe totally had be intrigued....

Finally and most importantly, another reason for this post is to let you all know I am now entering a very intense stage of writing the first What Katie ate book and as such have to take a bit of a hiatus from online updates as I just simply (and regretfully) cannot juggle this stage of the book with regular work and updating the blog as frequently as I would like. Therefore I am going to be taking a break for the next 8 weeks but will be back with gusto and try and will post sporadically if I can. I want to thank all the readers and followers of WKA for your continued interest, support and promotion of my blog.

*Corny alert* As Arnie would say…. "I'll be back" ;) x

EDITED TO SAY - The below cake recipe is up now HOWEVER Blogger.com seems to have suddenly (literally 20 mins ago) changed it's format and posting options, I am unable to size the recipe to what I normally would so just remember to click on the link and it'll enlarge and should print out at A4 or A3 size. I am taking the site down off a blogging platform in the coming months to create  a stand alone WKA website which will allow me much more flexibility and also be able to offer readers a more user-friendly site.