Third Wave Cafe – Prahran

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Third Wave Cafe in Prahran is the sister cafe to their first cafe/restaurant in Port Melbourne. The Port Melbourne location specialises in American BBQ, and that also carries over to the Prahran restaurant. Third Wave Cafe Prahran mostly does breakfast/brunch/lunch but from Thursday to Saturday they do open their doors for dinner. The chef is Ryo Kitahara who is the protégé of Iron Chef Sakai, which I must admit is pretty special. I was a big fan of the Iron Chef series.

Their location might be easy to miss if you don’t know where you’re going, Google Maps took me into the other direction! It’s located across from a gym (could be an after gym workout meal), on the side of the Woolies and close by to the Prahran Market on Cato Street.

I was invited here by Third Wave Cafe to try their menu and I thank them for the opportunity.

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It isn’t your typically cafe in the sense that it lacks outdoor dining but it’s such a pleasant atmosphere it isn’t missed at all. They have a bar stools area as well as your standard dining setting with plenty of lighting.

Their menu is diverse and you may find it difficult to finally decide on what to order. Having gone for brunch/lunch we ordered a couple of different dishes to try.

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Third Wave’s Pulled Pork Slider with fries tastes as good as it looks. The burger itself contains the pulled pork, with pickled cucumber and fresh coleslaw and their own BBQ sauce. The just cooked pork is seasoned well (and not too salty), adding a bit of the spicy BBQ sauce it complements the slider well. The cold coleslaw in a burger is something I’ve often not tried but here it makes for an interesting combination and certainly feels fresh. The coleslaw itself is light and not too rich in its use of mayonnaise.  The fries are also light and crispy, and not heavy in its use of oil. A very pleasant surprise on how well everything was cooked, without feeling guilty over eating a burger with fries.

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One of Third Wave’s specials is their Texan Fry Up and just maybe one of my favourite dishes ever, really no joke. The slow cooked smoked brisket is the highlight of this dish. It is just simply cooked to perfection. The smokey brisket practically teleports you to an American Steakhouse. It’s most definitely the best meat I’ve ever tasted. Tender and flavourful.

The mushrooms, potatoes, tomatoes all complement the star of the dish and with a small amount of the spicy BBQ sauce it is just simply delicious. The poached egg oozes yolk although the outer most part of the yolk is hard boiled.  Overall, it really makes me want to try their dinner menu because this dish is cooked so well here.

On a side note: this dish was oddly on the breakfast page of their menu under specials, but it seems more like a lunch item to me.

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Their Spicy Ratatouille Baked Eggs also looks as good as it tastes. I’ve actually only recently tried a similar dish at Red Cup Cafe in Box Hill, both are similar in the ingredients they use and both I say are more than satisfying. 

The Spanish Chorizos add the spiciness to the dish, and with the addition of zucchini, eggplant, red peppers, tomatoes and of course eggs topped with Asiago cheese is another winner. Served with toasted Ciabatta bread it is one of those feel good warm dishes that I can see myself eating on a cold morning. The saltiness of the dish comes from the chorizo’s and it could be too much for some but eating this injunction with the crunchy bread and baked vegetables I couldn’t be happier with the meal.

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From my understanding, their hot drinks come with this bite sized mini meringue that has this surprising ginger and possibly cinnamon flavour. Eating this with your coffee, you may even find yourself thinking you just ordered a Chai Latte. Their Latte is light and not too intense. I usually prefer much richer, fuller coffee with not too much foam on top. This isn’t the case here but it is in no way bad, just a decent cup of coffee.

Impressions

Third Wave Cafe definitely impresses with their selection of dishes and the quality of the dishes as well. I really cannot recommend enough the Texan Fry Up and to a lesser extent their Spicy Ratatouille Baked Eggs and with Third Wave Cafe’s Sweets, Paninis, Russian Menu. I don’t think you’ll be bored by the menu anytime soon. Whenever I go back to Prahran, a visit to Third Wave Cafe is on order.

Third Wave on Urbanspoon

Third Wave Cafe – Prahran (Menu)

30 Cato St
Prahran VIC 3181

Opening Hours (Correct as at 15 November 2013)
Monday to Wednesday – 8am to 3pm
Thursday to Saturday – 8am to Late
Sunday – 8am to 4pm

T: 03 9510 2991
M: 04 1255 0854

Luxbites

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I heard so many good things about LuxBite that I had to force myself (not too hard, obviously) to make my way to their South Yarra location. LuxBite serves primarily sweet desserts and confectionary, but they also serve coffee, breakfast and lunch too! What makes LuxBite slightly different is that they have a slight Asian influenced to some of their desserts, for example one of their macarons has a Kaya filling. Kaya is a Malaysian term for Coconut Jam and homemade Kaya is absolutely delicious.

Their store is quite close by to South Yarra station, so it makes it convenient for those without cars or car-averse.

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In the above picture, hopefully you can see their selection of macaron flavours. There are your popular flavours such as Salted Caramel and Hazelnut have more interesting flavours like Rose and Ribena Lemonade.

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Their store has quite a number of sweet delights to choose from, with many having that French flair ala Elcairs as shown at the bottom of the image.

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It was really hard to choose a couple of desserts to try because they have so many on offer! We were still heading towards the city for the day so I couldn’t choose anything that needed to go to the fridge quickly so that helped.

As shown above, we chose the Chocolate Hazelnut Macaron. It’s this plus sized macaron with chunks of hazelnut pieces and a hazelnut and chocolate ganache. I quite enjoyed the macaron, it’s as you would want from a macaron. Crispy, slightly chewy and sweet. The hazelnut flavour of the chocolate and nuts really helped blend everything together. A real treat.

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We chose the interesting Lemonade Ribeena and Kaya Toast macarons. The Kaya Toast macaron has kaya as it’s filling. I think it’s homemade, but their kaya was unfortunately too sweet for my liking. I would even have preferred the Kaya jam jars you can buy from an Asian grocer with pandan. Even that jam is less sweet. For those that haven’t tried Kaya before may like it though but for me it lacked the coconut flavour and was way too sweet to be enjoyable.

The Lemonade Ribena on the otherhand was very interesting. It has this cream based lemonade flavour filling but inside there is what I believe (or remember) a small Ribena jelly cube. The Ribena jelly was delicious and made that macaron one of my favourites because it had such a pleasant flavour and was different to things I’ve tried before.

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Last on my list was LuxBite’s Lychee Raspberry Macaron. I love all things Lychee too so I couldn’t help to be intrigued by a Lychee and Raspberry Macaron, plus it looked amazing.

Inside this macaron, there is a whole lychee, but the salmon pink filling as you can see in the image was also slightly Lychee flavoured. The combination of the sweetness of Lychee along with the sourness of the icing sugar dusted Raspberries worked a treat. It melded together really well as the freshness of the Raspberries cut through that sweetness of basically everything else. A joy to eat.

Impressions

LuxBite impresses with its well crafted pieces that look amazing and taste great too. It’s no wonder people keep coming back for more. I really do recommend giving LuxBite a try.

LuxBite on Urbanspoon

LuxBite (Menu)

38 Toorak Road
South Yarra VIC 3141

Mocha Chiffon Cake (Gourmeted Goldilocks Recipe)

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I was searching high and low for a nice looking Mocha Cake to bake for my mother. I came across Gourmeted’s Goldilocks Mocha Cake Recipe which looked fantastic. I’ve tried this a few times following the exact method however on both occasions my cake sank like a rock. One my third attempt I thought, why not use the tried and tested Chiffon Cake way. Here is my slightly adapted Gourmeted recipe below. A big thanks to Gourmeted because it’s a fantastic recipe.

Mocha Cake ala  Goldilocks (Gourmeted)
Ingredients

For the Cake:
6 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon coffee/espresso granules [Nescafe instant coffee recommended]
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon water
½ cup canola oil
1 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

6 egg whites, at room temperature
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

For the Mocha Buttercream
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, soft, at room temperature
1 teaspoon coffee/espresso granules
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
5 teaspoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
5 teaspoons amaretto (Or Kahlua)
Tools & Equipment

Stand mixer (preferred) but a hand mixer will be sufficient
1 Chiffon cake baking tin

Preparation

1. For the Cake: Preheat oven to 375°F (~160 C)

2. Whisk together egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer) over low, then medium speed, until creamy and light yellow in color.

3. Dissolve espresso or coffee granules and cocoa powder in water and vanilla in a small bowl, getting rid of lumps while stirring. Pour into the egg-sugar mixture, along with canola oil, and beat until well combined.

4. Remove large bowl from stand mixer (if using one) and sift cake flour and baking powder over it. Stir with a wooden spoon until well blended, scraping the sides of the bowl once.

5. Whisk egg whites and cream of tartar into stiff peaks in a medium bowl, and fold into the mocha batter, a dollop or two first to liquefy the thick batter, and then in thirds.

6. Place the batter in the pan. Bake on two racks for 30 to 40 minutes. The cake is done when the tops become golden brown and the cake tester comes out clean when inserted in the middle.

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7. Once ready, take out of the oven and cool upside down on a mug. If you want to make the icing, the cake must be left to cool completely.

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8. For the Buttercream: Whisk sugar and egg whites for 3 to 5 minutes in a medium heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (water should not touch the bottom of the bowl), until meringue is hot to the touch. The sugar granules will be dissolved and you will be left with a fluffy marshmallow cream-like froth.

9. Remove bowl from heat and beat for 5 minutes with a hand mixer set to medium speed, or pour into a bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment to mix.

10. Add half of the butter and beat with a hand mixer (or paddle attachment for stand mixer) until smooth before adding the next half to combine. Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula and give it a quick stir. Beat again on medium-high for another 6 to 10 minutes to thicken.

11. Dissolve cocoa and espresso/coffee granules in water, vanilla extract, and amaretto in a small bowl. Pour into the buttercream and beat for 2 minutes, scraping the sides at least once.

12. Spoon about ½ cup of frosting on top and spread it evenly with a flat metal spatula.Spread a thick layer of frosting over the side, working from the bottom up to the top. Frost the top by placing a mound of icing and spreading it to the side. You can decorate the cake with the remaining frosting as you wish.

 

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As you can see I didn’t do the icing this time around. I have done it previously and it is indeed delicious. I used Kahlua instead of Amaretto but I believe Amaretto gives it a nice almond flavour to it.

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Impressions

This  Mocha cake… I’m just going to call it a Mocha Chiffon Cake is beautifully soft. I put it only for roughly 30/35 minutes, just done and it is as moist as ever. If you’re a fan of Chiffon Cakes, and want a slight coffee hit. This is for you! I think if you try the Gourmeted way, you may still find success, it’s just that I used a hand mixer on my previous two attempts. My planetary stand mixer works wonders with egg whites and is excellent in producing stiff peaks so that could be the reason why I found success on my third attempt.

This is slightly smaller than my Orange and Pandan Chiffon Cakes, as it only uses 6 eggs, but it’s still quite nice as you can see. It’s just a tad shorter. I might try a Black Sesame Chiffon Cake sometime because I seriously can’t get enough of Black Sesame.

 

Gânache Chocolate Macarons

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I’m just such a sucker for macarons. I just love how creative people can be with them and the many different flavours and combinations that can be made with them. I recently came across Gânache Chocolate on Collins St, close to the corner of Collins and Swanston. I didn’t get to try their chocolates, and their cakes look really appetising but I wasn’t in the mood at the time. I think they only recently opened and by recently as in within a year but I can’t be too sure.

Macarons, however, I will always snap up that opportunity. There were 6 flavours to choose from but I can’t really remember them all that well. From memory, there was Passionfruit, Hazelnut, Coffee, Chocolate, Vanilla and Blueberry variations.

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I picked up the Passionfruit, Hazelnut and Coffee and they all had quite a good taste and texture and just how I like them to be.

The Passionfruit Macaron, I’d prefer a jam of sorts for the filling but of course, I was at a chocolatier, and what else are they famous for? It was still really fresh and just had a nice balance between the creamy texture of the chocolate with the crunch and chewiness of the shell.

Similarly, the hazelnut and coffee ones were just as good and being know for their chocolates, of course the chocolate taste would stand out! Definitely one of the better servings in the CBD.

I’m going to go see their cakes and chocolates next time I’m around there so be on the look out for that post in the future.

Ganache Chocolate on Urbanspoon
Gânache Chocolate

245 Collins St,
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Tel/Fax: 03 9650 8388

Mon – Thurs: 8am – 8pm
Fri: 8am – 10pm
Sat: 9am – 10pm
Sun: 9am – 6pm

They also have a store in South Yarra, check out their website for details on the address of that one.