Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

My little blog has been badly neglected this year.  If you are still reading thank you so much and I promise much more regular posting in 2015.

This delicious glass of Cava was enjoyed in Barcelona and my post on this amazing city will be published in the next couple of days.  

Happy New Year!  May 2015 be a good year for us all!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

San Lorenzo via MENULOG

San Lorenzo
688 Mt Alexander Rd
Moonee Ponds 3039

Four and a half years ago I moved out of a house and into an apartment and not once in that time have I had take away food delivered.  Somehow it just seemed strange to get someone to come to the apartment building and buzz me from the foyer.  How that is different to coming to a house and ringing a door bell I don't know. There is no logic to this delivery phobia I developed.  It just was what it was!

So when Menulog contacted me with an offer to try out their website my first thought was I can't do that, I don't get food delivered!  But a few weeks later, after a busy week and with my nieces coming for a sleepover I changed my mind and I am glad I did. Now I know how easy it is to get takeaway delivered and my phobia is cured!  Hmm - maybe not such a good thing!


The Menulog website is very easy to use.  The girls and I entered my postcode and then scrolled down the extensive list of restaurants comparing cuisines before deciding we wanted italian. A lot of the restaurants offer discounts and this was clearly marked on the search page. After clicking on a few different options we decided on San Lorenzo.

The ordering process is easy and intuitive.  Within minutes we had placed our order and received a confirmation email and text message from Menulog confirming the order details.  The estimated delivery time was 40 minutes and the food was delivered in just under that time.  We also received a phone call from the restaurant because one of the items we had selected was unavailable on the night. We confirmed we were happy with the substitute. 

Now for the food! Everything we had was delicious.

The Calamari were divine and just melted in your mouth.

The Aranchi were crispy on the outside and nice and gooey on the inside.  Comfort food bliss! 

The Gnocchi Napoli was delicious. Soft, light pillows that also melted in your mouth.

san marzano tomato, fior di latte, fresh basil with a hint of olive oil
Margherita pizza.  Some would say a simple/plain choice but sometimes you just want plain and simple. This was a tasty, cheesy version of the classic.

We also ordered a garlic pizza and the item the girls were most excited about - Nutella pizza!

I'm not a big fan of nutella but it was good.

We all thought the food was lovely and wouldn't hesitate to order from (or visit) San Lorenzo again.  

I will definitely be using Menulog again now that I am over my delivery phobia.

Disclosure: Piecey Num Nums received a $40 voucher from Menulog for this meal. The remainder of the bill was paid independently.

San Lorenzo on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Le Grand Cirque

Le Grand Cirque
21 Daly Street
South Yarra 3141 

I seem to have a knack for reviewing restaurants that close soon after!  I must say I am very surprised that this is one of them.  I visited Manu Feildel's restaurant, (backed by George Calombaris' Made Group), a little while ago and really enjoyed it.  I was planning on returning soon and was going to blog about it after that, (with hopefully better quality photos), but it has just been announced that the restaurant will close next week.  After some consideration I decided to publish my post anyway. 

You enter the restaurant to a 'ticket box' reception/cloak room and billowing black curtains which part to reveal the restaurant proper. In keeping with the 'circus' theme a bowl of popcorn was offered whilst we perused the menu.  I liked this idea though the spice could have had more bite.

There were four of us and we shared a number of dishes.  The ham croquettes with cauliflower cream were delicious.  Cheesy, creamy, crunchy. They were the pick of the entrees.

The baby fish burgers with tartare sauce were very tasty. I liked the brioche bun. The school prawns served with aioli were fine though they didn't overly excite me.

For mains we shared the traditional cassoulet which was hearty and delicious.

And the beef cheeks in red wine sauce which was lovely.  My photo really doesn't do it justice. Beautiful tender meat in a rich, hearty sauce.

For sides we had the creamy potato puree. Divine! Pure comfort food.


We also enjoyed delicious baby green peas with lettuce, leeks and lardons.  
Meat, potato and peas elevated to great heights.

Of course we had to have dessert.  The salted caramel crème brûlée was rich, sweet and delicious.

Our final dish of the night was the highlight for me and one that I would have happily had as my main course! Melted goat's cheese on toast.  Rich, creamy and superb.  I became slightly obsessed with goat's cheese when I was in France last year and seriously could have made a meal of this dish.  Yum, Yum, Yum.  For this alone I would have returned to Le Grand Cirque!

So, all in all we liked everything we ordered, some more than others.  I can't remember exactly how much we paid but with a couple of bottles of wine and coffee I think it was around $70 a head.

I certainly hope we see Manu take another chance on the Melbourne food scene one day!

Le Grand Cirque on Urbanspoon

Monday, July 14, 2014


Last June I travelled to Europe with my friend and work colleague Lucy. We had a stop over in Dubai, 4 nights in Paris and 4 nights in Barcelona before flying back to Paris to join the Avalon Cruise for Mates where for 16 nights we floated through France visiting beautiful places, meeting amazing people and eating delicious food. Lucy then returned to Australia whilst I spent two weeks in St Remy de Provence with my sister and her family.

In November Lucy collapsed at work and was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour. Tragically Lucy passed away on Australia Day 2014. It has been a struggle to post anything and writing about our trip is painful.  However it was a wonderful holiday and an amazing experience that I was so privileged to have shared with Lucy. Lucy was an avid traveller and she said this was one of the best trips she had been on. Hopefully I can share some of how wonderful it was with you. 

I have managed to write two posts about the trip so far.  One detailing our visit to the home and garden of Claude Monet and another documenting the amazing way the French celebrate their National Day.  The visit to Monet's garden was during the cruise part of our trip and Bastille Day was part of my time in St Remy.  But now I am going to try and document our travels in a logical manner and start at the beginning of our trip - which brings us to magical, amazing Paris.

We stayed at the Holiday Inn Notre Dame on Rue Danton in the 6th Arrondissement. We loved the location.  Surrounded by cafes and restaurants, minutes from the Seine, Notre Dame (naturally), Boulevards Saint-Germain and Saint-Michel and close to a number of metro stations.  The hotel also had an amazing rooftop bar/terrace which had a panoramic view of Paris.  The sunsets were breathtaking.

We packed a lot of exploring, shopping and eating into our four days.

Breakfast was enjoyed people watching either in the beautiful Jardin du Luxembourg or at a local cafe.

Lunch was generally something quick, consumed in transit - including an amazingly fresh pre-packaged sandwich purchased at a train station!  The French do fast food very well!  

However, one day we indulged in a very special lunch at 58 Tour Eiffel on the first level of the Eiffel Tower.

Perrier with a twist and a view!

Naturally the view was amazing...

Lunch was described as a 'chic picnic' and reasonably priced.  Waiters served the food in cute baskets, bread came in a paper bag and my chicken dish (chicken fillet, divine mash and jus) was served in a glass bowl! The food was delicious but really it was all about the view and the experience.

I loved the interior of the restaurant.  The feeling of being tucked into a corner of the tower was very special.

It was still light until about 10pm so after a full day of sightseeing we would just wander abound our local area and pick a restaurant that appealed.

Of course you have to have crepes in France. One night we stopped at Creperie de Cluny.  I kept it simple, Crepe Maison - Jambon, fromage, champignons (Ham, Emmental cheese, mushroom).  Thin, cheesy, delicious.

Lucy wanted to find the perfect French onion soup.  I don't know that we succeeded but we certainly had some delicious versions!

This was a very cute restaurant. I loved the jug my wine was served in and the quaint decor.

Where ever possible we would sit outside and soak up the atmosphere.  I loved sitting on the cobblestone sidewalk watching the world go by.  

As I mentioned we managed to do a bit of shopping whilst in Paris. One afternoon we headed to Boulevard Haussmann and the beautiful Galeries Lafayette. I loved the interior of this stunning department store.  

Another day we went to Le Bon Marche on the left bank.  Less opulent, but still with gorgeous interiors and a magnificent gourmet food hall.

And we walked and explored...

The beautiful Sorbonne University just off Boulevard Saint-Michel

'The Thinker' in the gardens of the Rodin Museum
Due to time constraints we didn't actually go into the Musee Rodin. For one euro you can explore the gardens and they are magnificent.  Full of amazing sculptures including 'The Thinker'.

The clock window at the Musee d'Orsay

Notre Dame Cathedral viewed from the terrace

And again - looking across the Seine

A very wet Place de la Concorde

Champs Elysees looking back towards the Arc de Triomphe

Majestic Montmartre

The stunning view from Montmartre

Sunset casting a beautiful glow over rooftops

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse of our time in Paris.

Next - colourful Barcelona!