Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Melbourne - St Kilda

My bf and I went to Melbourne for a celebratory long weekend after his birthday and finishing his masters degree. We hadnt made many plans aside from eating and drinking, walking around exploring and figuring out what to see next!

One of the days was spent in St Kilda, by the water and on the famous Acland St, renowned for its cakes! I had this street recommended to me if I liked cake. Who DOESNT like cake? I also met an old friend there for lunch. (HINT - scroll down for cake!)

We took the tram from our hotel and got off at the esplanade, as we had planned to meet my friend at The Espy, a live music venue for a few drinks and lunch. The Espy is by the harbour, but you cant really see the water... There was a market over the road which sold all manner of homemade wares such as candles, jewellery, pictures and clothes, none of which really interested S or myself. We found the Espy easy enough and its looked pretty dingy. Plastic chairs n old tables, it was shabby chic without the chic. It was pretty big inside and its got uite a few different rooms for all the live bands they have there all the time. On the previous friday they had 5 bands on! There were plenty of alternative types there, and next door they have the Espy Kitchen, which serves up pretty standard pub grub, but it was all pretty cheap! We ended up eating somewhere else, but the servings looked massive and we both agreed that this would be a good place for a cheap hangover feed when you needed it!

The Esplanade Hotel (Espy Kitchen) on Urbanspoon

We decided not to eat here though, and headed around to Acland St to find something delicious. We ended up at Bluecorn, a mexican place that was busy and smelled great! The menu wasnt too long but had enough different options to suit everyone who might be there. They had sangria for $8 a glass that they made in house, and a good beer list, which suited S. I went with the cacao mole lamb ribs, with grilled red pepper and tomato sauce, which was $13.50 on the specials menu - I went with the main course size which ended up being $27. S ordered the "too big to wrap" burrito, and my friend got the smoked ocean trout quesadilla. We were advised not to get any sides with these meals as they were big! Our waitress was right, both the burrito and quesadilla were huge portions! They were both filled with black beans, guacamole, meat, cheese, sour cream - the lot! They looked delicious. I was a bit jealous, as my ribs just came as ribs, nothing else. The quesadilla, we all agreed wasnt was any of us expected, as it looked the same as the burrito - thought it would have been flatter but it was a huge mound of filling! The sangria was really sweet and not really to my taste, I think it was filled out with lemonade which I dont like because its too sweet - soda water I can live with.

I didnt take any pics, because I was with  an old friend and we were talking and I just forgot really... My meal was ok, but based on that I wouldnt go back - however Id go back to try the burritos/quesadillas cos, while huge, they looked great. All up with 3 main courses, and 3 drinks it was about $100 which, for lunch, is pricey really. It was about $25+ per main.

Bluecorn on Urbanspoon

But the real fun started when we said goodbye to the mate, and went exploring the cake shops! Acland St is famous for its cakes, and we didnt go away disappointed at all! The choice is monumental. 

Its a little bit ridiculous! But AWESOME if you love cake! We love cake...

We ended up choosing the more upmarket looking 95 Espresso. The cakes in the window werent as numerous but looked amazing.

I apologise for the poor quality of the pics but the fluorescent lights dont really help out the old camera phone!  But they all looked amazing, great colours, beautifully presented... Along with the gorgeous cakes, the sign that said they had been voted the best coffee in st kilda by Beanhunter was another winner. Best coffee in a burb known for great coffee? Winner! I chose the salted cashew caramel slice and S chose the flourless chocolate brownie, and shared a coffee (I know it was the best coffee in St Kilda, but we had been drinking ALOT of coffee! I have my limits!). For a start the service was really good, the waiter was friendly and smiley, he looked stoked to be there. He got our coffee quickly, and it looked fab. Its not really standard in Perth to get any kinda coffee art on your flat white, but in Melbourne it is. This looked so nice - and the little sugar bottles were cute, I thought it was a really nice little touch!

The coffee was really really good. It was creamy without being too milky. It wasnt too bitter, it was pretty much just as I like it. Ill be honest though, we had the coffee for about 2mins before the cakes came out, and I kinda forgot about the coffee - so thats not really a great description! At the end of the day... great coffee!

But the cakes... WOW! My salted cashew caramel slice was heavy going, alot of caramel but DELICIOUS! The caramel wasnt toothmeltingly sweet, it was buttery, creamy and rich. Not easy to eat with a fork, I just picked it up and bit into it. Crunchy nuts, and crumble... a buttery biscuit base... caramel... love at first bite.

S fell in love with his flourless choccake. It was dense, rich, chocolatey... the swirl on top was cherry sauce which gave it a black forest cake feeling, and the cream lightened the dense chocolate perfectly. It was really good... S didnt talk for a while, as is his habit when hes got something delicious in front of him!

You get 50c off your coffee if you check in on facebook, which is a cool incentive! The place is clean and spacious enough, the staff were friendly and attentive and the coffee/cake were great. It was pretty pricey though, with 2 cakes and 1 coffee coming to $17 (the coffee was $3.50), but for a once in a while treat it was totally worth it. I took the other half of my slice away with me for the flight home, and the staff were more than happy to take it and bag it up. The bags are even cool, waxed paper inside, and sealable. Nice. Id go back here in a flash!

St Kilda is pretty cool, with Acland st having a real beachy feel to it (even though the beaches are average), with PLENTY of places to eat. There is a cool community garden around the corner and an oval where S and I laid in the sun n read a book for a while to recover from our food coma! Its a cool place, and Id love to go back there again!

95 Espresso Bar on Urbanspoon