HOT: Saluministi, 8 Atkins St, North Melbourne

Saluministi, 8 Atkins St, North Melbourne

Saluminsti is an Italian-style warehouse cafe in North Melbourne, hidden at the intersection of two cobblestone laneways.

Saluministi, 8 Atkins St, North Melbourne

Saluminsti is a labour of love for Frank, one of the co-owners, despite being a pop up for only 12 months (at this stage) as it sits at the back of the building that’s slated to be turned into apartments.

Saluministi, 8 Atkins St, North Melbourne

Frank fitted out the warehouse kitchen, storage and dining space all himself and he’s passionate about the food at Saluminsti. It has an authentic honesty about it and it turns out that all of the recipes on the simple menu are from Frank’s family. He wanted to bring to diners the sort of food that he grew up with and he’s taken these traditional dishes and given them a modern twist. My Italian companion remarked on how many of the dishes she also remembered from her childhood.

Saluministi, 8 Atkins St, North Melbourne

Currently the menu has three ciabatta options – a melt-in-the-mouth free range porchetta stuffed with artichoke paste, rocket and shaved pecorino ($12), a cotoletta just like nonna’s with a vincotto mayo, Italian coleslaw and provolone ($12) and a slightly spicy pork and fennel sausage with roasted peperonata and pecorino ($11).

Saluministi, 8 Atkins St, North Melbourne

The ciabatta is quite remarkable – pillowy and soft and not so crusty it hurts your mouth. Frank wouldn’t divulge his secret supplier but did wax lyrical about the 36 hour proven dough and stone-baked bread.

Saluministi, 8 Atkins St, North Melbourne

The smallgoods hanging in the fridge are currently for show only – until they’re cooked they can’t be sold. It’s worth ordering the Salsiccia ciabatta just so you can try the pork and fennel sausage. Later the plan is to retail and wholesale the salumi and to run sausage-making and salami-making classes.

Saluministi, 8 Atkins St, North Melbourne

We accompanied our sandwiches with a cup of patate fritte, crispy chips zhuzhed up with fresh herbs and reggiano ($5).

Saluministi, 8 Atkins St, North Melbourne

The coffee is made with Italy’s favourite Lavazza and the cafetiere is a bargain – a traditional Neapolitan-style 2 cup with a syrupy crema on the bottom could easily satisfy 3 or 4 people and it comes with some sweet biscotti on the side for only $5.

Saluministi, 8 Atkins St, North Melbourne

Finally, try the sugar encrusted bomboloni, made fresh every day on site. These are Italian-style doughnuts so a bit denser than the standard American-style doughnut, but still very light.

Saluministi, 8 Atkins St, North Melbourne

Both the Nutella and slightly citrus crema paticcera are delicious.

Saluministi, 8 Atkins St, North Melbourne

Saluminsti is a small Italian gem hidden in North Melbourne, a place brimming with enthusiasm and passion while serving up some authentic, old school Italian goodness. Buon appetito!

Saluminsti, 8 Atkins St, North Melbourne 0413 082 253

Tue-Sun 7:30am-4pm

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HOT: Code Black Howard Street, 119 Howard St, North Melbourne

code black north melbourne

Code Black Coffee is a cafe and specialty coffee roaster in Brunswick who have opened up a second outpost in Howard Street North Melbourne.

Like the original location the Code Black Howard Street roasts its own coffee but the roasting machine is really more for decorative purposes as most of the coffee is still roasted in Brunswick.

code black north melbourne

The new cafe is a gorgeous light-filled warehouse conversion by  ZWEI Interiors Architecture, The bricks have been painted white punctuated by lacquered green steel beams and blonde wood abounds. I particularly love the slatted staircase.

code black coffee north melbourne

Seating encircles the barista station and open kitchen and a mezzanine level upstairs, though I’d avoid the awkward mini tables at the banquette unless you’re up for holding yoga side twists during your meal.

The food menu has a similar quirkiness as the Brunswick menu and takes inspiration from the fact that the space used to be an old car garage. I’ve explored some of the options over several visits.

code black north melbourne

Black beans with jalapeno cornbread ($12) was a punchy dish of spiced beans, a fried egg and a spongy, cake-like slice of cornbread. I opted for a side of pork belly ($4), a thick cut of belly cooked a little too dry for my liking. Overall I would have liked to up the ante on the chilli – just felt like a dash of hot sauce would have really enhanced the flavours.

code black north melbourne

For something lighter the seared tuna salad is ah-mazing ($17). Super-fresh slices of herb-crusted rare tuna with a wholesome mount of cucumber, snow pea tendrils and bok choy plus grains of millet and chia for crunch.

code black north melbourne

If you have a sweet tooth I recommend the apple salted caramel hotcakes ($14). Ricotta makes the hotcakes very light and inside you’ll find shreds of apple. It’s served with salted caramel sauce, crunchy candied pecans and slices of freeze dried apple.

Code Black Howard Street is a extension, not a duplication of Code Black Coffee in Brunswick. I actually prefer its lighter, brighter interior to the original location, while the food and coffee as just as spot on.

Code Black Howard Street, 119 Howard St, North Melbourne

Mon-Sun 7am-5pm

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HOT: Mork Chocolate Brew House, 150 Errol St, North Melbourne

mork chocolate

It’s about time there’s a dedicated place for non-coffee, chocolate drinkers like me. Hooray for Mork Chocolate Brew House, a specialty cafe in North Melbourne brought to us by a Swedish chocolatier and her Australian partner.

mork chocolate

mork chocolate

Mork Chocolate was previously only sold wholesale and you would have seen their cardboard canisters stocked in cafes and shops all over Melbourne. I’m such a fan that I even own one of their tea towels!

mork chocolate

Mork Chocolate Brew House is a shop and 18-seater brew bar that only serves hot and cold chocolates, with a few house-made sweet nibbles on the side.

mork chocolate

Yes you read right. It’s a cafe with no coffee.

mork chocolate

The beautiful space is a light yet warm haven, with brass and wood finishes and curved benches and taps. Even the water taps for still and sparkling water are beautifully moulded and the carafes are miniature and super cute.

mork chocolate

Mork Chocolate Brew House serves hot chocolates of the likes you’ve never seen before and some of them are only available dining in. The classic chocolate and milk drink is available with 50%, 65%, 70% and 85% cacao ($5). The 70% cacao is their original and signature blend.

Or you can try a water-based chocolate, where the delicate notes of the 100% pure cacao Venezuelan chocolate really stand out ($5.5 for hot, $8 for a chilled chocolate soda).

But I think the drink to try is their selection of signature chocolates ($5.5-$8) where the chocolate is mixed unusual ingredients such as oat milk, warm custard…and smoke.

mork chocolate

For pure theatre you must try the Campfire Chocolate ($8). It’s a porcelain beaker of hot chocolate served with a caged glass of beech wood smoke, a sprinkle of smoked salt and a house-made pillowy marshmallow, also smoked.

mork chocolate

 

mork chocolate

You lift the glass, inhale the fumes then pour your chocolate inside while stirring it with the marshmallow skewer. You then finish it off with a sprinkle of salt.

mork chocolate

The liquid is silky smooth with a hint of smokiness and the ritual lends a tea-ceremony delicacy to the drink, with a little bit of cheekiness thrown in.

mork chocolate

mork chocolate

For little people you can order a chocolate foam, effectively a babycino ($1) or a mini Junior (50% cacao) hot chocolate with a marshmallow ($3). It’s served in the same fragile Japanese porcelain that’s been imported from Arita, Japan, the birthplace of Japanese porcelain – so do be careful with little ones!

mork chocolate

The small sweet delicacies are either made in house or made off-site with Mork’s recipes. The canele ($4) had a egg-shell like crunchy shell on the outside, though not quite airy enough within to count as an absolutely perfect canele specimen.

Instead for $4 I recommend trying one of the delicate and moist financier cakes, either hazelnut or lemon on the day of my visit.

mork chocolate

mork chocolate

The most substantial offering is the brioche with chocolate spread ($6.5) which comes buttery warm and with a generous pot of Mexican chocolate. There’s enough spread to share between two brioche so be prepared to order extras (or you could just eat any leftovers straight with a spoon!).

mork chocolate

Mork Chocolate Brew House is currently open during the day only but they will be shortly introducing some early evening hot chocolate tasting flights for those interested in chocolate education. Keep a lookout on their Facebook page for when those classes launch.

Mork Chocolate Brew House 150 Errol Street, North Melbourne +61 (03) 9328 1386

Tue-Sat 8am-5pm

Sun 9am-5pm

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HOT: Beatrix 688 Queensberry St, North Melbourne

beatrix

Following Beatrix on social media has been terrible for my self-control and my waistline. This tiny North Melbourne cafe regularly posts a mouth-watering list of the day’s specials, from the ciabattas to their famous cakes and biscuits. Many a time my newsfeed has convinced me to veer towards North Melbourne in search of a sweet fix.

Beatrix is housed in a former 1890s butcher’s shop and is strictly for locals or knowledgeable folk – there’s no obvious sign and the part of North Melbourne where it’s located is very quiet.

 beatrix

The squeezy space has bench seating for about five people and a total of three tables inside, with a smattering of pavement tables under the trees of Queensberry Street. 

beatrix

Inside the space is dominated by an array of hanging vintage egg-beaters (beat-rix, get it?) and a cake cabinet to die for.

beatrix

Owner Nat Paull makes everything from scratch, daily, from the tiny kitchen out the back using a single fire-engine red Kitchenaid mixer.

beatrix

The choice is overwhelming but first I must turn my attention to lunch. 

beatrix

There are two regular ciabatta fillings on the blackboard menu and then two specials which rotate regularly. On my visit I ordered a Warialda Beef pastrami with dill and Nicola potato salad and carrot crisps with caraway salt. Since I was planning on eating cake I thought I’d better opt for a small ($14). Good decision as the small was still enormous! A surprisingly soft bun from Crumbs Organic Bakehouse in Ascot Vale, piled high with full-flavoured and fresh ingredients. 

Time for cake. Beatrix focuses on old-fashioned items, the sort of cream-filled beauties you find at CWA stalls. The Strawberry Shag ($8.50) was layers of buttery sponge, cream and preserved strawberries covered in buttercream and coconut shaving. 

beatrix

I had to try another one so ordered a slice of red velvet cake (the last piece left at 1pm!). A soft red velvet sponge with a classic cream cheese frosting, not too sweet, and garnished with miniature maltesers.

beatrix

Beatrix is a sweet cafe serving excellent sandwiches and cakes which are worth travelling for. Just don’t take too many people at once and leave some cake for me!

Beatrix, 688 Queensberry St, North Melbourne (03) 9090 7301

Tue to Sat 9:00 am – 4:00 pm 

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HOT: Lavazza Gran Riserva Blend Launch, Sosta Cucina, 12 Errol St, North Melbourne

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It’s been a long time between visits to Sosta Cucina but I was happily reminded by how much I like this North Melbourne stalwart. It’s the kind of place that I’d love to have as my Italian local – the mainly Northern Italian menu is delicious and unpretentious and the owners, executive chef Maurice Santucci and his wife Melissa, work the front of house, clearly loving what they do. It’s hospitality with a capital H.

I was recently invited to rediscover Sosta Cucina as they were hosting the launch of Lavazza Australia’s premium, invitation-only coffee blend, Gran Riserva.

Long time readers will know that one of the quirks of my stomach is that I don’t drink coffee – but I will happily eat it in food! So while I can’t comment on the quality of Lavazza‘s Gran Riserva blend (80% Arabica and 20% Robusta sourced from Brazil, Central America and India) I can report that it is delicious in an Espresso Martini and tiramisu (more on that later).

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The dinner included some of Sosta Cucina‘s current and past menu items and some special one-off dishes. It started with antipasti – a vitello tonnato with lightly poached veal, tuna mayonnaise, seared yellowfin tun and capers. I found the meat to be slightly chewy but the unusual (though traditional) surf-and-turf combination of flavours was well-balanced.

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Next up was Sosta Cucina‘s version of a steak tartare. It was made with hand cut pasture fed beef fillet marinated with garlic, anchony and olive oil and then you were invited to make a Pro Hart mess with the nettle puree and egg cream. The whole combination was then piled onto some toasted brioche.

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From the savoury courses the highlights for me were the primi piatti. First up, fat agnolotti filled with veal and rabbit and a classic sage and butter emulsion. So bad for your waistline, so great for your tastebuds.

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Then a masterful risotto made with generous slabs of porcini mushrooms, with just the right bite to each rice grain and bringing an autumnal earthiness to the nose. If you’re eating at Sosta Cucina then you must try their pasta/risotto dishes.

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Of the secondi meat dishes my favourite was a braised rabbit with pancetta, thyme, chestnut honey and pearl onions, with its blend of sweetness, saltiness and pickled sourness.

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The dinner concluded with a unique take on tiramisu which I hope will end up on the Sosta Cucina menu. Each person received a traditional silver coffee platter with the ingredients and equipment to ‘make your own’ Gran Riserva tiramisu. The espresso coffee was inside the miniature percolater and then you layered and mixed the sponge discs and marscapone cream inside. It added a little bit of interactive theatre to enhance a quintessentially Italian dessert.

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Sosta Cucina are the first restaurant in Australia to serve Lavazza‘s Gran Riserva blend and the launch demonstrated the skill of their kitchen in interpreting traditional Piedmont dishes. It’s worth a visit, with or without a coffee.

Lavazza Gran Riserva Blend Launch, Sosta Cucina, 12 Errol St, North Melbourne +61 3 

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HOT: Twenty & Six Espresso, 594 Queensberry St, North Melbourne

Twenty & Six Espresso, 594 Queensberry St, North Melbourne

Bored of the same old cafe breakfast menus of toast, muesli, eggs and pancakes?

Never fear. At Twenty & Six you’re not likely to meet any smashed avocado on your plate. You can still order the breakfast classics but why would you when you can use the opportunity to explore the creative dishes being offered by this neighbourhood cafe?

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The space is effectively just two rooms. For colder climes there’s the indoors room at the front with a wide communal table, window bench and a few small tables along the wall. Naked light bulbs dangle from the ceiling and sprout from the walls decorated by the humorous illustrations by Able and Game.

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There are some gussied-up milk crates made of plywood which act as an interesting sculpture as well as holding the shared reading material.

Twenty & Six Espresso, 594 Queensberry St, North Melbourne

For sunnier days there’s the outdoors ‘room’ in the form of a quiet, hidden courtyard out the back. The two rooms are spanned by the tiniest kitchen which is quite astounding considering the inventiveness of the menu.

Twenty & Six Espresso, 594 Queensberry St, North Melbourne

The coffee comes from Collingwood’s Proud Mary but for a blustery rainy day I decided a Mork hot chocolate was more in order ($4.50). It was bitter in a good way, being made of cocoa powder, 100% cacao liquor and some unrefined coconut blossum sugar which lended the drink a deep molasses-y flavour without being overly sweet.

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I’ve never been one to shy away from bold flavours at breakfast so I naturally gravitated to The Leroy – crispy fried king prawns, jalapeno cheese grits, kataifi and a slow poached egg ($16.90). Not only was this dish visually spectacular but it was an inspired combination of crunchy and creamy textures with a huge hit of umami from the migas (fried breadcrumbs with garlic and paprika) dusted liberally over the top. It is one of the most exciting breakfast dishes I’ve had in a long time.

When I eat breakfast solo I normally like to splash out on two courses and Aphrodite was calling my name. However, my appetite got the better of me so I’m going to have to return for the amazing-sounding poached quince and lemon curd brioche french toast, goats’ cheese ice cream, pistachios and freeze dried berries. The incredibly photogenic sweet treats by the coffee machine are courtesy of Matt Forbes.

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Even if your morning tastebuds are more towards ‘two poached eggs on gluten free toast’ (as I overheard from one patron) I’m sure you’ll enjoy the friendly, warm atmosphere of Twenty & Six. But I really urge you to go out of the breakfast comfort zone – you’ll love it.

Twenty & Six Espresso, 594 Queensberry St, North Melbourne +61 3 9329 0298

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Giveaway: Equinox, a mystical circus adventure

What better way to start the working week than by giving away more stuff! This is a giveaway for theatre/circus-loving folk – I’d be going too except that baby is ready to pop any time now!

Equinox is a new show by Melbourne’s Retina Productions featuring National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) alumni which is running for a limited season at North Melbourne’s Meat Market from February 9 to 12.

The 65 minute show involves aerial ballet, acrobatics and contortionism and is a journey through history’s most significant times starting with Ancient Egypt and taking in Ancient China, 50s New York and inspired imaginings of a new era 2012.

Tickets are on sale online at OzTix Ph 1300 762 545 and OzTix Retail Outlets. And for one lucky reader I have two tickets for the opening night performance of Equinox on Wednesday 9 February 7:30pm! All you have to do is leave a comment below and the winner will be drawn randomly and announced tomorrow.

Update 8 February: Thanks for all your entries! The Kitchenaid of Fortune has picked not one, but THREE winners thanks to the generosity of Retina Productions – Alissa, Kate and Teeo, you each receive a pair of tickets for the opening night performance of Equinox.

Ask the Doctor: Small dishes for big eating

Movida Aqui 500 Bourke St Melbourne

Help me Doctor!: We are in Melbourne for a long weekend next week and want to fit as many great eateries in as possible. Can you suggest ones that serve smaller dishes so we can visit more than one a night/day/meal? Thanks – Louise

Your prescription: Hi Louise, great to hear that you’re planning your Melbourne eating in advance :–)

My suggestions for eateries that serve small dishes (all of which I’ve reviewed except the last one):

Hope that helps! – Jetsetting Joyce

HOT Spots Winter 2010

P1050628v1Once again the City of Melbourne have produced a free pocket-sized booklet full of lots of ideas to inspire you to get out of the house and enjoy winter in Melbourne. This is a post to bookmark!

I sat down with a cup of tea and flicked through the booklet, which you can pick up at many inner city shops, cafes and bars, as well as the Melbourne Visitors Centre, NGV and ACMI. It covers new places and old classics split up into five geographical sections, some of which have been reviewed on the blog before and some of which I’ve earmarked for a visit. Here are my highlights:

Central

The Wheeler Centre. The new heart for Melbourne’s literary culture, the Wheeler Centre holds frequent author’s talks, some of them free. I’m going to hear Ayaan Hirsi Ali speak on Thursday 29 July.

Melbourne International Film Festival. I look forward to MIFF every year – for three weeks I get to hibernate in the city’s cinemas and feast on great films. Last year I managed to get to fifteen of them!

Previously blogged Izakaya Den, Tessuti Fabrics and Movida Aqui get a mention and I’m aiming to hit pizza specialists Barbagallo, new bar 24 Moons and hot new Mexican eatery Mamasita (again, with better lighting).

Northside

The North Melbourne Market has become a regular event held every two months. So many new options for me here – cheese galore at La Latteria, take home cassoulet at La Parisienne Pates, authentic Indian food at the Classic Curry Co, browsing vintage furniture and bric-a-brac at The Junk Company and having a pub lunch at Hotel Lincoln.

Cultural

I’m not going to see Mary Poppins the Musical because I saw it recently in London, and it was one of the most magical, fun and joyous theatrical events I’ve ever been to. When Mary Poppins flew into the air the whole crowd spontaneously broke out into cheers! Highly recommended.

And I’m definitely going to try Tsindos, a 30-year old stalwart of Little Greece in Lonsdale Street and I’m told home to great mezethes.

Westside

I was excited to hear about Urban Reforestation, a community garden, eco shop and educational centre in the middle of concrete-and-glass Docklands. Their aim is to inspire urban farming for sustainability and food security (they’re currently investigating the possibility of rooftop farms!) through consultation with corporates and for helping individuals with gardening lessons and cooking classes.

I think I’ll combine a visit to Urban Reforestation with a stroll around the Docklands Sunday Market and maybe a late lunch as part of Slow Sundays, where you get a $15 tasting plate with beer or wine between 2-6pm every Sunday from 20 June – 29 August.

Southside

I’ve just renewed by NGV membership so I will be heading to NGV’s Winter Masterpieces 2010 European Masters: Stadel Museum 19-20th Century between 19 June – 10 October.

ACMI is hosting a huge Tim Burton exhibition direct from New York’s MOMA from 24 June – 10 October which I’m quite excited about.

State of Design, Victoria’s design festival, is happening between 14-25 July and once again I’ll be immersing myself in all things design for two weeks. As part of the festival Melbourne Open House is on 24-25 July where lots of heritage buildings will be open to the public – a great way to learn some of the stories and history behind the city.

Last but not least, Melbourne Design Market is happening at Federation Square carpark again on Sunday 11 July. This year will be extra special for me because the lovely Kath and Ben from Jellybean Bikes and my new cycling clothing and accessories business CycleStyle will be setting up a cycle-licious stall at the market! Come and say hi.

For details and more winter ideas, check out That’s Melbourne.

HOT: Corporate Audio Visual, 103 Boundary Rd, North Melbourne

When RM and I were planning our wedding I vetoed a dance floor, wedding waltz or bouquet throwing – but the one thing he did insist on was speeches.

So I asked on Twitter whether anyone could recommend a good microphone/AV rental company. Thanks to Miss Kish, we found Corporate Audio Visual and spoke to Justyn Pawsey. Justyn personally delivered the radio mike on Friday, showed us how to how to plug it in and use it and picked it up on Monday.

In comparison to some other places I called, Corporate Audio Visual were very reasonably priced at $146.52 and in fact when I cheekily offered to pay $100 they took it!

Corporate Audio Visual provide all sort sof audio visual hire and staging for exhibitions, meetings, launches and special events. My experience with them was efficient and fuss-free – just what you need for a big event.