Breakfast Balls – Meatball and Wine Bar

This morning, amidst a torrential downpour, Melbourne-style, I made my way to The Meatball and Wine Bar to try out the new breakfast menu. Having previously sampled the dinner balls (see my post here), there was no way I was going to turn down this invitation so I presented my bleary-eyed self at 7.30am and prepared to get my balls on with the lovely @FiBrook who was already wide awake and ready to party.

Things started well as our delightful waitress could sense my immediate need for caffeine and brought me a sensational piccolo (coffee by Dukes). As the good stuff hit my veins I gradually regained the ability for cognitive thought and grown up conversation, and started on menu perusement and at the same time caught up on Oscars goss with @amystown and @sarahcooks.

The principle of the breakfast menu is the same as for dinner – choice of balls, sauce and sides. Between us we tried:

1. Egg, charred corn and aged cheddar with hollandaise sauce and a side of smoked salmon
2. Creamy egg with pesto sauce and a side of avocado
3. Green eggs with hollandaise sauce and a side of mushroom with taleggio
4. A creamy egg slider with italian tomato sauce and a side of bacon

The balls in this equation were actually a gorgeous scrambled egg mixture which is slowcooked in a mould so it comes out in the shape of a ball. Genius. Perfectly sized portions, seemingly endless combinations, delightful happy staff even at such an ungodly hour, and damn fine coffee.

Breakfast jackpot hit again, balls and all. Loved it.

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St Katherine’s, Kew

Shane Delia, of Maha fame, opened St Katherine’s with George Colombaris, at 26 Cotham Road, Kew, in early 2011, and no one could have been happier than the locals.

Spacious, with beautiful mosaic blue and red patterned tiles, modern with clever rustic touches, and an open kitchen, it’s a place which is both cool enough for the young and unencumbered, and so family- friendly that when kids order dessert they are ushered down the back to get their own ‘Mr Whippy’ house-made soft-serve.

On the menu (which is constantly being updated as Shane regularly creates new dishes) are a number of staples which you absolutely can’t go past, including the KFC (St Katherine’s Fried Chicken) which comes in a striped red and blue cardboard bucket, and is served with house-made Japanese mayo and BBQ sauce.

My favourite salad of all time is from St Kats: the salad of ancient grains – a bowl of goodness including lentils, almonds, pomegranate seeds, current and coriander , dressed with a red wine vinaigrette. It is both sweet and sour, crispy and crunchy, juicy and satisfying, uber-healthy, and is quite simply out of this world.

The flip side of this are the chips and tarama – resistance is useless: better hot chips you’d be struggling to find anywhere and the housemade tarama is gorgeous.

It would be rude to neglect the Rotisserie, and extremely difficult in any case, with all the meats slowly revolving in front of you, with their irresistible charcoal aroma. From the communal ‘Chef’s Table’ located right in front of the rotisserie, you can you can sit and watch the team in action. It’s hard not to get mesmerised by what’s going on in front of you and forget all about talking to your dining companions.

(Pork lovers note: you can book and pre-order a whole suckling pig for a minimum of 4 people which is served up in 3 different ways and will quite simply BLOW.YOUR.MIND.)

The lamb kibbeh, with ground lamb, burgul, parsley and pine-nuts, is fresh and full of flavour, and from the wood fired oven, the pide with sausage and onion rings is a taste sensation.

And last, but in no possible way least, if dessert is your thing, this is place to bring your sweet tooth for a party it will never forget.

The homemade Mr Whippy selections include toppings like 1. loukoumathes (fried honey puffs) with orange blossom honey, and 2. salted caramel, pomegranate brownie and chocolate pomegranate sauce.

Then there’s the peanut butter parfait, with chocolate sorbet, baklava crumbs, orange blossom foam, and that’s only half of the dessert menu.

These are temptations worth driving across town for, and you’ll have to keep coming back until you’ve tried all of them.

The atmosphere at St Katherine’s is energetic, bustling and welcoming all at once. It’s always full without being crowded, and you don’t have to shout to be heard. And no matter how busy it is, the food is never far away once you’ve ordered, and you’re always treated with a friendly smile.

The staff here are passionate and knowledgeable about the food, they are bright, happy, and genuine. We always leave feeling special and I love that. You could say I’m a fan. www.stkatherines.com 20120202-140032.jpg20120202-140112.jpg20120202-140051.jpg20120202-140145.jpg20120202-140215.jpg

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