Thursday, October 22, 2009

Belgian Beer Cafe: Heritage

First off the list from my Sydney weekend trip is the classic Belgian bistro at the Rocks. Friday nights are usually packed and even making a booking a few days before, we still had to wait for our table.  We made our way to the bar where Arthur ordered a 500ml  glass of Hoegaarden. 
 Famous Belgium beers on tap.
Vintage beer poster. One of the many other vintage pieces and decor that gives the place a classic distinctive style. 

After waiting a while, the guy escorted us to our tables but was surprised to find our table occupied! He told us there might have been a mix up with the bookings on a busy Friday night so he apologised and kindly offered us a round of drinks, on the house! Not long after we were seated at a table.
Wide selection of beers.
La Guillotine, Hoegaarden, Piraat. Each drink comes in its very own labelled glass.

Now for the food!
My dish: A kilo of mussels cooked in a pot with white wine, vegetables, mushrooms, bacon and a hint of cream. Yummy ingredients but the soup turned out quite bland to my liking.
The mussel pots come with chips and mayonnaise which was oh-so-good.
Arthur's dish: twice baked crispy pork belly served with mash potato, sauerkraut and apple sauce. The pork belly was gooood. I actually liked this more than the mussels. Crunchy golden skin with the soft layers of fat and juicy meat. Now I know to some, the idea of pork belly can be a bit revolting but this is delicious. Eating it on its own can be a bit full on so it's wise to have it with the sauerkraut and apple.
Andrew's dish: Belgian style meat balls with potatoes. It was rather ordinary.

That's it for the mains! I was tempted to get the Belgian waffle with Callebaut warm chocolate sauce for dessert but Andrew convinced me to head to Guylian instead, so we weaved our way through the crowd of people and off to the next hunt!

Belgian Beer Cafe: Heritage
135 Harrington St
The Rocks NSW 2000
(02) 9241 1775

Heritage Belgian Beer Cafe on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Dolls at the Mount Tea House

Situated within 5 minutes walk from Heidelberg train station, this Edwardian house can be easily mistaken for one of the other residential houses around the area, if not for a sign which reads "Tea House & Doll Museum". Ring the doorbell and be greeted by a lovely lady ushering you into an old fashioned tea room. 
The tables are lined with doily looking plastic tablecloth and fine china teacups, saucers and plates. A separate room further in  houses a collection of delicate hand made porcelain dolls to Barbies, Noddys and everything in between.  If you have vintage dolls, you can bring them in for restorations or valuations.  Some of the porcelain dolls can be a bit scary looking but don't let that deter you from going (You'll see why as you read on).

There are a few options for the high tea selections and we opted for the one with a combination of savoury and sweets. The scones and tea are a definite must. 
Their own version of Roly poly sandwiches. Range of egg, ham and tuna sandwiches. Delicious. Except for the alfalfa sprouts which I gladly discarded aside.

Samosa-like pastries with spinach and cheese.

Sausage rolls and mini quiches.
Now the scones! 

They bake them fresh when you order so it's definitely worth the 15 minutes wait while you chatter away. The scones are perfect. Light, fluffy and warm complemented with whipped cream and homemade berry jam. 

They have other variety of scones like cheese and vegemite but the second time I went there, (yes, I went back again after a few months!) I tried the chocolate scones, which are plain scones with chocolate chips that comes with a cute little jug of chocolate ganache to go with it. Yum. 
The English Breakfast tea is brewed perfectly, with just the right amount of tea leaves, well to me at least! 
Last but not least, the 2 tier tray of goodies like cakes, eclairs, cupcakes, yoyo cookies and fruits. 
Whilst enjoying our scones and tea, we were also entertained by a group of children playing dress up in a birthday party, parading around the front room with their costumes. Very cute. 

Definitely a place to catch up with girlfriends over Devonshire tea. Men are most welcome too, of course. Can't let ego get in the way of yummy scones! 
Bookings are advisable, especially during the weekends. Closed on Mondays. 

Dolls at the Mount Tea House
54 Mount St 
Heidelberg 3084
(03) 9457 3356

Dolls at the Mount on Urbanspoon

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Bar Lourinhã

This cosy little tapas bar is definitely one of the hidden gems in Melbourne. It’s a small place with cushions by the window, a bar area and tall long tables. We were seated at the bar where we got a good view of a range of antique bottle openers to dried chillies hanging on the wall.
I heard they're well known for their range of wines and spirits.
 To start off with drinks, I asked for Sangria but they didn't have it so the lady serving us recommended me something similar instead.
Tinto Verino:  Pink wine with lemonade and mint leaves.  Light and sweet.

Octopus with potatoes and aioli sauce. The octopus was tender and it went well with the aioli sauce.


Clams with chopped tomatoes, herbs and bacon bits (or maybe chorizos). I really liked the sauce. Full of flavour with a sour tang to it!
Seafood Paella. One of my favourite dishes of the night! I could taste the sweetness of the crabs, prawns, mussels and chicken wings infused in the saffron rice and the dark crunchy crust at the bottom of the pan gave it a deeper flavour.

Prawns 'a la plancha'. The other favourite! Sweet large prawns grilled and served on a mini metal pan. 
And not forgetting desserts!

Churros with dulce de leche (milk-based sauce). The dipping sauce reminded me of butterscotch. 

Orange creme caramel. There weren't many choices for desserts so I opted for this one. I liked the churros better. 

Overall it's a nice place for drinks with good tapas to share. Mains are around $15 but specials can cost more. Be sure to head there early for dinners as they don't take dinner reservations and it gets pretty full after that!  

Bar Lourinhã
37 Littlle Collins St
Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9663 7890
Bar Lourinhã on Urbanspoon