rmitintstudentguidetoliving

for all new international students

Month: June, 2011

Cafe BBS in Bundoora


Today I was in RMIT Bundoora taking pictures of the scenery for my website. I got some really nice pictures of trees and the sporting field.
But then I wanted to have a break so I decided to head on over to Cafe BBs. Cafe BBs is one of the things on my wishlist.
Cafe BBs is in Brand Junction where it is a little bit quiet and desolate. Some of the shops have closed down. Last time I was here it was bustling with loads and loads of people.
I went there around 1 pm. It had a nice and clean atmosphere and it is an actual cafe unlike Muffin Break. Remember how I talked about the scones in my earlier post on Muffin Break? Well here they are much better, full with flavour and really warm and moist. They came as a set for $6.90 with tea and clotted cream and real jam not like the from Muffin break. You can taste the strawberries in the jam.

B&B Cafe Brand Junction on Urbanspoon
I also ordered a chocolate yoyo for $2.90 and it melted in my heart.
I saw some of the customers order breakfast things when the menu said that breakfast finished at 12pm. What is going on there? I was going to order hot cakes maybe next time if I come before 12pm.
The server was really nice. She smiled a little bit and one of the guys helped two ladies sitting in front of me with their muffin choices. The guys said goodbye as I left.
Next time I will come back with my friend and my buy one get one free regular muffin voucher from my Entertainment book.

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Organic lunch and tastings @ Nespresso and Lindt Chocolat


Habib Wholefoods on Urbanspoon
Lindt Chocolat Café on Urbanspoon

It’s been quite a while since I last had organic food. It has been three weeks in the making. Realfoods is closed for the holidays so I couldn’t get my fix.

So today I went down to:
1) Habib wholefoods
Here they are a supermarket selling some seemly organic food. They also have a cafe but it is only take away and like David jones salads they charge by 100 grams of salad. It is $3.50 per 100 grams of salad and that is not a lot. Expensive isn’t it.
They also have some meat products, but I try to eat vegetarian meals 7 times or more a week. they have a bolognaise wrap but it did not look too appetising so I ordered a noodle and quinoa salad. there was not many vegan pies and meals. For a shop that specializes in organic food, they should have some vegan pies and meals.

The noodle salad was drenched in dressing and was not nice at all. The dressing made quite a few oil  marks on the box. There were only a few strands of noodles and only a small amount of chicken. The quinoa salad fared a bit better. Altogether it costed me $8.50. Except for the quinoa and the noodles the food didn’t seem like it was organic

They should have eat in options available and plates instead of boxes for the noodle salad. You can buy those eco friendly take away plates online. I had to go to TOWFD to enjoy a few cups of tea (which by the way at Halib’s is $4 for a large cup and everytime you want it refilled you have to pay another $4. TOWFD a refill is free and a cup of green tea is $3.50)
I would rather go to TOWFD than to Halibs anyday. Sorry but TOWFD fared much better.

2) Next stop is the Nespresso shop in Collins st between Elizabeth and Swanston st. Here I got a chance to try some of their coffee range and have a look at the machines. Earlier on in the blog I said that you can save money if you do your own cafe style coffees at home. It is so true. Here I got to try a decaf coffee and it was really nice, just like the one in the cafes.  Here the personal, small coffee machines range from $300-$399. If you are in a share house with your coffee minded friends or housemates, you can easily split the cost of the coffee machine between the four of you. For each person the coffee machine ranges from $75-$99.75 per person. A coffee nib costs around $0.70 per nib ( a nib is enough for one cup of coffee). You can choose your coffee nibs with the staff there to guide you. They can also guide you on which machine to buy and how to use it. There are daily demonstrations with the machines and you get to sample a free coffee.
The total savings if you make coffee at home with an Nespresso machine is from $408.50- $433.20 per person. A normal coffee outside costs around $3.50 and if you multiply it by 33 (1 week has 7 days) weeks it is equal to $808.50 per year.

3) last stop is the Lindt Chocolat cafe. Lindt is very famous in Australia for their chocolates and there are a few Lindt cafes in Aus. These cafes also sell Lindt products to take home as well as overpriced drinks and desserts. I had to wait a while to be served. I had no idea which counter I had to go to pay for my products. No one really helped me. Here I bought three chocolates ($1.70 altogether) and one strawberry macaroon ($2.70) to try. Here I found that the strawberry macaroon was crumbly and hard to eat.
The dark chocolate fared much better than the others, but if you have a really sweet tooth go for the caramel chocolate. That really gives you a sweet kick. The milk chocolate crumbled and melted a little bit in my hand making it hard to eat.

Sushi ten @city


My Mix Chirashi don (top), my miso soup (bottom)

The sign outside

The menu- they don’t have paper ones

This place is hidden away in the Port Phillip arcade. It was hard to find at first, but in the end I found it. There were a lot of good reviews on Urbanspoon and I had found out that the place is pretty cheap.
It was so cramped inside and it took a while for my order to come. When I came at 12:30pm the place was packed with caucasians (and sone asians). So whilst I was waiting I helped myself to the free tea. Unlike the “How to cook and eat” blog (http://xyrecipes.blogspot.com/2011/02/bcritic-sushi-ten.html) the server did not watch over the chopsticks, neither were they disposable. But I do have to agree about the food though.
Today I had a mixed chirashi don ($15) and miso soup ($2). It had cooked salmon, fresh salmon and tuna, rice, avocado and cucumber.

The cooked salmon was overcooked. At first I thought it was pork. But it turned out to be salmon. It was really tough.
The fish was fresh though. Although I loved all the fish, they could have put more vegetables in my dish. And even a beancurd skins and eggs would have been better.
One mistake though that most cheap Japanese restaurants make is serving warm rice for the chirashi don. The rice should be cold and not with the wrong sauce. That sauce that they used is for wam dishes like tempura. The rice should be vinagared. I forced myself to eat the whole thing.
The soup was the only thing that saved the meal. It had lovely beancurd pieces. The seaweed was lovely.
This place was just meh. I would only come back just to try their sushis. But it would take a while to persuade me.
My advice to them is to employ a new chef. Someone who is actually Japanese and who knows how to cut sushi rolls properly

Sushi Ten on Urbanspoon

the provincial food store


I was in Brunswick today, working away on some assignment in the library, when I thought that I will pop by the Provincial food store. It is about a 15-20 minute walk from the Brunswick campus, but a short tram ride on the number 55 tram from the city campus.
I have read that this store is gluten free and organic and healthy. I love organic food. This shop sells a lot of stuff for people to take home such as chocolates, museli, ready made meals, sauces etc. I bought some museli for $7.50 per packet. The food is expensive but they source the food from Victorian country towns and farms. In the end I am supporting the local farmers.

My Museli that I bought

Provincial Fine Food Store & Cafe on Urbanspoon

Because it is a food store the ambience is just like the Cerezo sandwich deli, except that it was not busy. (I had arrived there by 12pm).
Service was quick and efficient. They also do catering as well and you can phone in your order an hour  or two before hand and it will be ready.
Today I had two lovely thai fish cakes with salad. The salad is a bit small for the price of $9.50, but the dish is well worth it. The fish cakes are made freshly and have potatoes, peas, tuna (which they have in stock) and maybe a little bit of onion.
The relish is quite sweet. I had expected it to be a bit spicy with hot chilli, but seeing as some people don’t like hot chilli, one of the other less spicier version was used. I loved the onion relish. They have the jars of relish in store for about $10-$11.
Hot chocolate ($3) was really nice. It had lots and lots of froth which I love.  It packed a really sweet punch. This is a bit better than some of the commercial ones bought at cafes.

Muffin break Airport West and other locations near you


Muffin break is a franchise that is located in some suburbs. This franchise is from London. There is one outlet in the US and some in Dubai as well as in Melbourne. They specialise in making and baking products such as muffins and cakes.
I went there yesterday on an afternoon tea break and ordered scones ($3.90 for 2) and a pot of green tea ($3.60 per pot).
The server there did not smile but said thanks when I returned my tray. I think that she looked like she was fifteen and underpaid. I think that she looked a little bit sad.
The scones were nice and soft in the middle but really crumbly and dry on the outside. The jam is from Kraft.
Green tea was a bit meh, but I liked the pot (It looked so English). Milk and honey would have made it more English. The cups were really huge though and I was full after 1 1/2 scones and two cups of tea.

Muffin break on Urbanspoon

Would I return again? Likely not.

free hot chocolate and a french lunch in degraves st


Today I forgot to bring my lunch from home. I’m volunteering at the su and in the computer lab today. It looked a very wintry day so I felt like hot chocolate and french lunch
1) Chocolate @Hudsons coffee in A Beckett st
This will probably be the only time  I will have hot chocolate from Hudsons in A Beckett st, as they will be closing down on the 30th. I went there with two other colleagues and they had a hot chocolate and flat white. I had my buy one get one free drink voucher from the Entertainment book, so I used that and got the free drink.
Hudson’s sells a lot of merchandise as well as drinks and food.
The hot choc was really nice for a cold day


Roule Galette on Urbanspoon
Hudsons Coffee on UrbanspoonB3 Café Patisserie on Urbanspoon

2) Lunch in Degraves st
For lunch today I decided to try the baguettes at B3 cafe. Baguettes are a French sandwich consisting of a long (predominately french) roll and fillings. Here the little ones are $3.50 each and the big ones are $5.
It started showering on me whilst I was waiting to order. Here they have no seating, as it is only a take away place.
I had a little $3.50 baguette of proscutto and lettuce. Proscutto is Italian ham. It may taste a bit weird and salty when you first try it, but after a while you get used to the taste. I didn’t like it when I was younger but now I do.
The mayonaise overpowered the sandwich a bit, as I could not taste the proscutto much. I loved the tang of the mayonaise. But I think if they put a little less mayonaise and more proscutto I would have liked it a bit more. But the bread was really fresh, like the way it should be with French bread.

After that I went to Roule Galette. Roule Galette is a French place. “Galette” I think are French crepes. These can be sweet or savoury. Now they are having a $12 special of one crepe and a drink. I had the French green tea ($3.50 per pot) and a virginie crepe with ice cream ($8). You can see that from the last post of how the French drink the tea.

See how cute the jars are!

The drinks that they have. They also have cider (I didn’t get to try it this time, but next time)

The nice bowl of salad leaves.

I took pictures of the nearby tables because their food looked really nice too.

It just as busy as last time and the guys were really nice. But not as cramped because they have opened a second shop nearby crown.

You can find them on Facebook and befriend them

st ali in south melbourne


Today is the last day of my exam and I am psyched. So I  wanted  to  energize myself near the exam venue, I thought that I’d try St Ali. St Ali coffee place as I read online is a great place. In fact it is in the 100 best restaurants list on Urbanspoon.com. I found that it was hard to find without the map from Google. But I had a map, and still got lost, because they looked a bit like a factory. I knew that I had to take the 112 tram from Collins st in the city all the way to York St in South Melbourne.
They are from London and are known to be really hip. The waitresses sure looked cute and very retro. They were friendly, but often delivered the wrong orders to the wrong tables. Luckily mine was not wrong
St Ali roasts their own coffee. They also have barista training courses as well as do their coffee in a sypron filter. The atmosphere is like that of Stax/Miss Libertines. At times it is a bit cramped in here, because it is really popular with the locals and tourists a like. They do sell wines and beers here, as well as some European and Mexican meals. Here they do quite a few vegetarian dishes. One dish that I heard was good was the pork belly baguette which I did not try this time because I felt like eggs and fish.
St Ali on Urbanspoon

The syphon filter for coffee
look how hip the menu is!

Some of the coffee products they sell which I saw people buy

What I had:
1) Hot chocolate- $5.00. Here they use real cocoa unlike some of the other cafes. They also use brown sugar which is sweeter.

Look at the art. Isn’t it pretty?

2) Mr  Mexican Cousin Brother ($17.00)- Here the dish is not as spicy as I thought it would be, but still a good combination of things. I added smoked salmon to it for $4.50. The salmon was really fresh. I loved the corn fritters not too starchy and not too oily. I loved the rocket leaves around the plate as a decoration. I also loved the poached eggs and the yolk. It was so runny. I thought that they could have used a spicy tomato relish instead of a sweet tomato one though. Here I didn’t get the combination of flavors.

You probably are thinking that this a beer bottle. But guess what! Its a water bottle.

3) After that I ordered a pear and pecan cake ($5.00) with coffee mascarpone ($2.00). I wanted to try out the coffee mascarpone since they specialize in coffee. Guess what- it tasted divine. It had the right amount of coffee powder to give me a really good kick. The pear cake was rich in moisture and tastes great. The flavours were balanced out really well.

It looks like normal cream, but its actually coffee mascarpone.

I would come back here only on a special occasion with a friend. It is too expensive to go there on my own. And next time when I’m here I should try the sandwiches, soup or fish and chips.

in a rush soup place in QV


The weather is so cold here that I felt like a nice bowl of soup and hot chocolate to warm me up. I didn’l feel like walking far from my work so I went to a place called In a Rush. This place is in QV where Woolworths is. Lots of trams go past the QV building and it is about 2-5 minutes walk from City and Business (Tivoli) campus. They specialise in soups and salads. I came here about 1:40pm, just after the lunch rush.
Here they had quite a few lunch specials on offer, all under $11. The one I ordered was a pasta salad and a pumpkin soup at $10.90. I threw in a hot chocolate at $3 for a regular cup.
The server did not seem very friendly to me. Did not smile. I think that she must have been tired from the busy lunch rush. I know that sometimes I am too, but it does not hurt to smile.
This place is merely a takeaway place in the food court, therefore there is not much seating.

All the sandwiches and salads they have

In a Rush- Qv on Urbanspoon

The types of soup they sell. You pick the one that you want and they do it for you

My pasta salad which looked a bit squashed, but was ok.

The pumpkin soup (their speciality) did not have much taste to it. I couldn’t tell whether it was freshly done or made from a can. I think that it had a little bit too much msg in it. Next time if you are going to order a soup and salad share it with someone as the portion is big enough to fill up two people.
The bread was crusty though. It was really fresh.
But I liked the pasta salad though. It didn’t have many vegetables though, but what I did like was that the vegetables were fresh and tasty. The pasta was al dente, but they put too much in there. They should have put more vegetables though.
Next time when I come I should really order the sandwiches. They looked really fresh from the display.

International student guide- another website


http://uniaustralia.com.au/articles/study-in-australia/an-ozzie-adventure-a-survivor’s-guide-for-international-students/
All new international students should read this as it contains loads of information about Melbourne

Lunch in two French places


I went to two French places on Hardware lane for lunch. They are really good places. Hardware lane is just a five minute walk from the city and Business campus and is in between Elizabeth and Queen sts.
Hardware lane is one place known for its quality and premium dining in the CBD. If you have a chance you should visit.
La Belle Miette on Urbanspoon
Bon a Manger on Urbanspoon
1) Bon a’ manger
This place is like a school canteen; you just grab whatever you want and you pay for it, only except this place makes great quality coffee and hot chocolates. They sell salads, yoghurt, fruits, baguettes, sandwiches, pies, quiches etc. It is like Pearson’s and Murphy’s in terms of what they offer.
The server there, unlike the Vietnamese place in Moonee Ponds was lovely and attentative as all waiters should be. He was really pleasant and treats his customers well.
The lunch did not disappoint me. I had the pumpkin soup and bread ($6.50 for a large bowl) and a lovely light and foamy hot chocolate ($3.50). I had to ask for the sugars though. I could taste all the pumpkin and corn bits in it which means that it was made freshly. It tasted like it was homemade and not from a can.

Look how luscious my macaroon is. See the jam inside!

The soup pots. You choose your soup and the server fills the bowl for you.

Look at how good the artwork is.

the french tea organic blend

Next time I should come with my library group though. They would like the food here.
To promote themselves they could be an Entertainment book web offer (http://www.entertainmentbook.com.au/)

2) La Belle Miette
This place is well known for the French macaroons. These macaroons were sweet and light and puffy, not like some of the ones that I bought earlier. All of their macaroons come from their main restaurant which is Richmond.
The lady there was really nice and knowledgeable about the products sold. She reccomended the new persimmon macaroon ($2.50). Dark red in colour, this was sweet with a hint of tanginess from the persimmon. She also said that they do take away macaroons in a box- $15 per box (I think that it is for a box of 6 macaroons. I’m not sure how much it is for 12 macaroons though, but they do 12 macaroons as well).
I also ordered a cherry and sake one ($2.50), lemon ($2.50) and a pink one (can’t remember the name- $2.50). This place is famous for their French teas. I also had their famous green tea which was nice and refreshing ($3.50). It was also very relaxing. They also sell lemonade, but I didn’t feel like it on a cold winter’s day.
This place is a nice place to study in, as there was no need to hurry. Even though there is limited seating I loved their furniture, nice and cozy. I also took some pictures of the decor and the macaroon tree.
My verdict: its probably nice to go there once in a while, not every day though. I will come back with a friend or two or my library group for tea and macaroons. And to promote themselves, they could have an offer in the Entertainment book as a web offer (www.entertainmentbook.com.au).

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