Sunday, March 01, 2015

Smith & Daughters VI

February 15, 2015

Smith & Daughters was our go-to venue a second time within a week; on this occasion we shared brunch and cocktails with Melbourne blogger-turned-Sydneysider AOF and some mutual friends. Co-owner Mo and the youngest Moody Noodle did their best to photobomb our beverages. Michael ordered a gin-based Basil Luchador ($18) but was ultimately envious of others' Bloody Fridas; I went for a Citrus Kick ($8) that burned the throat with ginger and cayenne rather than alcohol.

To eat, we fell back on ol' faves. The gluten- and pea-tolerant all requested tuna & pea croquettas to start ($5 each) - I'm not sure I'll ever tire of their golden crusts and salty centres.

AOF and I shared the queso dip ($15) - she enjoyed the cashew cheese topping as much as I do, and we were treated to extra corn chips at no charge when the first batch failed to scoop it all up. A tart rocket-fuelled artichoke and chickpea salad ($16) was a great way to offset the dip'n'chips.

Michael had a Mexican Hash ($16) all to himself - a skillet of potatoes, peppers, corn and jalapenos topped with queso, salsa and cashew cream with corn tortillas on the side. His verdict? "Killer."

The S&D staff let us linger over our table a while, and we shared a bowl of quince-filled Spanish doughnuts ($12) - if it's at all possible, these are getting better every time we order them. 

Choosing among the confirmed faves and new creations on the menu is always tough, and it's bound to get even tougher soon when Mo and Shannon make an exciting announcement. Keep your eye out and your appetite ready for that one!


You can also read about one, two, three, four, five of our previous visits to Smith & Daughters.

Smith & Daughters
175 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
9939 3293
brunch, drinks
facebook page

Accessibility: The entry is flat and narrow and the tables are pretty crowded. The interior is dimly lit and loud at night. Toilets were located up several steps, were gendered and of standard dimension. There's full table service.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Mankoushe Bakery IV

February 13, 2015

We had a small moment of panic recently when we travelled past Mankoushe and saw that their bakery was papered over. Actually it was a sign of good things to come - a new wood-fired oven and renovated bakery space! On a rainy Friday night, we tested out the new stools instead of retiring to the back courtyard.

The Mankoushe folk aren't ones for staying still, and we typically notice new things on menu with every visit. Nevertheless they're consistent in offering numerous vegetarian options and a friendly nod to vegans - this time there were thirteen vegetarian items, six of them vegan.

Our first experience with the Iraqi pizza ($9, pictured right) was a good one - crispy edged and spread with tomato sauce, filled with spicy chickpeas and potatoes then topped with rocket. I was even more enamoured of the Phoenician ($10.50, last slice on the left); here the rocket concealed sauteed leek, silverbeet, celery and dabs of fresh ricotta. Gosh, do these guys know how to saute - thanks to their skills with a skillet, the oft-maligned celery becomes some kind of vegetable legend here.

Mankoushe classics like the za'atar bread, haloumi pie and falafel wrap are still for sale, but it's well worth trying out what else is new in that wood-fired oven.


You can read about one, two, three of our previous visits to Mankoushe Bakery. Since then they've also been written up positively on Ordinary Girl, Extraordinary Dreamer.

Mankoushe Bakery
323 Lygon St, Brunswick East
9078 9223

Accessibility: There's a small step up through a narrow-ish entry and a bit of space in the front room. Toilets and courtyard are accessed via a couple of steps and a narrow, bricked path. We usually order and pay at a low counter.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

New Day Rising IV

February 13, 2015

New Day Rising is a charming vegetarian sandwich nook that we don't visit often enough. But I've found the perfect excuse to stop by a little more often - getting my hair cut and coloured next door at Lucky Buster

It's a long time since my last CLT, but I resisted its sweet smoky temptation and tried the Reuben on Rye ($10). This Reuben doesn't make any pretense at replacing the traditional pastrami, relying on good Swiss cheese, a bit of seeded mustard, and plentiful sauerkraut made by their mate Keegan. It's simple but satisfying. 

Noting that the bread was a little on the small side, my server generously offered to toast up a third half if I was still hungry. But having washed this much down with a bottle of orange and passionfruit soda ($4), I had no need.

You can read about one, two, three of our previous visits to New Day Rising. Since then the CLT has earned praise on Veganopoulous.

New Day Rising
221d Blyth St, Brunswick East
food, drinks
facebook page

Accessibility: A small step up on entry into a fairly crowded interior. You order at the table and just pay whoever you can grab by the coffee machine. The bathroom is accessed from outside somewhere - we've not checked it out.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Smith & Daughters V

February 11, 2015

We've been keeping up our semi-regular visits to Smith & Daughters lately, but toning down the blog posts a bit - for a while it felt like every second post was another trip to Fitzroy to rave about their wonderful food. This visit, with James, coincided with an updated summer menu, which seemed like a good enough excuse to whip up another post.

The menu hasn't changed dramatically - old favourites like the queso dip, the tortilla and the croquettas (which we ordered again!) remain, but there's been a steady turnover of dishes in the year since S & D opened and we had plenty of new things to try.

The El Nino (spiced rum, lime, agave, mint, ginger and tamarind soda, $17) on the left and the pink lemonade (fresh strawberries, thyme, lemon, vodka, elderflower and lemon soda) on the right maintained Smith & Daughters' reputation for spectacular cocktails - I've yet to be disappointed.

Our first dish was the brocoli y coliflor fritas ($15), a mountain of broccoli and cauliflower in a saffron and caper batter served on a thick smear of salsa verde.

I loved the sauce, which had a warm, smoky flavour with a good hit of roasted garlic and some tangy citrus. The battered veggies were lightly cooked and had plenty of crunch, but the saffron and caper components of the batter didn't really shine through.

Next up were the taquitos (left, $15), fried tortilla tubes stuffed with black bean and cheese and topped with pickled cabbage, guacamole and a salsa of coriander, onion and a mix of pickled and fresh jalapenos. Again, the condiments were really the star here, with the filling of the crispy tortillas not really adding much to the flavour explosion on top.

We finally talked ourselves into trying the morcilla on this visit (top right, $16). This is a vegan attempt at a dish I've never actually tried - blood sausage. It's beetroot-based, with a soft texture and a strongly citrussy flavour, topped with a tangy chimmichuri sauce. After that adventurousness, we had to play it safe and throw in an order of the tuna and pea croquettas ($5 each), which remain an essential component of any meal here.

We stuck with the greatest hits for dessert - warm Spanish doughnuts filled with quince ($12) and the salted chocolate, almond and chili caramel slice with avocado ice cream ($15), both of which lived up to our previous experiences.

Smith & Daughters remains the must-visit place for visiting vegos - wonderful staff, brilliant drinks, a great atmosphere and an ever-changing selection of innovative dishes makes it pretty damn hard to top.


You can read about our previous visits to here, here, here and here. Since we last wrote about Smith and Daughters it's been enjoyed by I Spy Plum Pie, THEGLOBALRAMBLER, Green Gourmet Giraffe, The Brunch Journal and Occupie Fitzroy

Smith & Daughters
175 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
9939 3293
food menu, drinks list (although the facebook page is really a bit more useful)

Accessibility: The entry is flat and narrow and the tables are pretty crowded. The interior is dimly lit and loud at night. Toilets were located up several steps, were gendered and of standard dimension. There's full table service.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Mantra Lounge II

February 10, 2015

Five months since opening, Mantra Lounge attracts a keen queue of students and workers for their cheap, filling and veg-friendly weekday lunches. On a Tuesday date with an old friend, I enjoyed their peanutty vegetable curry served with rice, vibrantly dressed green salad and a square of carob-iced cake ($8). I also added a sweet and very green spirulina-charged Bananarama smoothie (+$2).

As of last weekend, Mantra are extending their trading hours to weekend lunches and dinners. That should render them more accessible than ever to non-locals seeking a cheap and nourishing meal.


You can read about my first visit to Mantra Lounge here.

Mantra Lounge
167 Grattan St, Carlton
0433 531 345
menu on a previous visit

Accessibility: Mantra Lounge has clearly given accessibility some thought - there's a ramp up from the footpath and plenty of space around the counter, where ordering, payment and food pick-up occurs. There's a unisex toilet with wheelchair accessibility signage on this level. There are a few moderately spaced tables downstairs; the stairs themselves are wide and sturdy with a hand rail.