Joining the likes of Little Tommy Tucker and Merchant's Guild, District Brewer is the newest kid to join the neighbourhood. I must say Bentleigh, I am impressed. Melbourne's north-side feels down in the south-eastern suburbs ? Hell freakin' yeah !
Skinny Flat White
Duck Rillettes ? Why the duck not ? Paired with the tenderness and sweetness of the grilled pumpkin brioche, richness and creaminess of the cauliflower cheese, the crispness of the salt & vinegar kale chips, the crunch of the Asian granola and runny goodness of the poached eggs ? It's pretty hard to say no.
Stuffed Fig French Toast
My brunch buddy, a sucker for anything and everything sweet had to have the Stuffed Fig French Toast. Complemented with a chocolate & coffee crumble, mango pop rock sherbet, brie custard and strawberry bitters, a sugar coma was inevitable.
Head on over and say hi to District Brewer. Go on, don't be shy.
District Brewer 36 Brewer Road Bentleigh, VIC 3204
Welcome a third sister to the family, Tokyo Tina - Windsor's newest contemporary Japanese restaurant-dive bar ! From the brains behind Hanoi Hannah and Saigon Sally, the guys have combined the best eats, beats and vibes inspired from the streets of Japan and brought us the exotic country as it is today.
Jade green tiles, distressed manga posers and timber features set the scene. The menu ? We're talking Japanese street food with a helping hand from neighbour Korea and touches of inspiration from other parts of the world. Tokyo Tina dares to walk the walk and walks a fine line between fusion and modern Asian cuisine.
Open California Roll / Crispy Avo Bao
We started off with the Open California Roll - a delicate wafer of crispy nori topped with plump sushi rice, shredded WA spanner crab, crunchy salad and toasted sesame seed. An elegant and light start to our meal - I could have only wished for more than a mouthful !
We also tried their Crispy Avo Bao - a soft pillowy bun encasing a battered piece of creamy avo, pickled ginger and gochujang. Unfortunately, this dish didn't really do much for me, with its aimless fusion of flavours which were easily overpowered by the pickled ginger.
In contrast, the Tonkatsu Croquettes drizzled in bulldog sauce were ever so lovely, crunchy and packed full with flavour. Accompanied by a refreshing coleslaw, these bite-sized morsels were easily my pick of the night.
Medley Tomato Salad
Next up was the Medley Tomato Salad with smoked tofu, slippery knot noodles and shiso. Sadly, a dish that I was not very fond of at all. I understood that it was a simple side dish, however I felt it was far too simple and a little too effortless.
Karaage Chicken Ribs
To finish off the night, we nibbled on Tokyo Tina's Karaage Chicken Ribs slathered in hot sauce and dotted in sesame seeds. Chicken ribs have a special place in my heart and with Melbourne's food scene offering such top notch chicken ribs and wings, I could not help but feel a little let down with the ribs at Tokyo Tina. Again, I felt that ingredients and sauces had just been thrown around, without allowing sufficient time for sauces and spices to marinate and soak in, resulting in rather dry and bland ribs. Luckily, the hot sauce and a spritz of lemon picked up its game. Whilst the overall dish was tasty, the results weren’t as amazing as I imagine they had hoped for.
Regrettably, Tokyo Tina did not leave me salivating. The potential is definitely there so I'm just thinking of giving her a little more time to grow, learn and find her feet before heading back.
If you're a fan of sourdough at all, I am confident you have come across Rustica Sourdough's artisan breads. Baked using traditional sourdough techniques and using only Australian produce and ingredients, it's not hard to see why Rustica Sourdough's breads are a popular choice among cafes all across Melbourne.
But little did I know that they had a café of their own. Oh, the shame. You can imagine how eager was to be invited to taste their award-winning, mouth-watering menu. Eek !
Skinny Flat White
I was instantly drawn to Rustica's dish of Sautéed Greens - a sweet medley of broccolini, beans, snow peas and grilled haloumi (squeak squeak) on a bed of luscious smashed avo and pesto. Of course, all layered on a crusty slice of their famous sourdough. Topped with an oozy poached egg, this wholesome and nutritious dish was flawless.
House Cured Salmon
Equally as keen, my brunch buddy went for the House Cured Salmon on rye accompanied with a rich and tangy lemon & chive crème fraîche and microherb salad. A poached egg was requested because, well really, who doesn't love a good poached egg. Extra protein, extra smiles !
Lime & Basil Cronut
After finishing our dishes, our eyes could not help but wonder to the pastry cabinet. The most delectable looking danishes, tarts, cookies, croissants, donuts… you would only understand if you were there. After much drooling and contemplating we settled for the Lime & Basil Cronut - layers and layers of buttery pastry injected with a fragrant lime and basil filling. Personally I found the cronut a little too crispy for my liking, with just a bite causing the whole pastry to fall apart. Regardless, still a scrummy treat !
With no hesitation would I recommend Rustica Sourdough - food is fresh and full of flavour coupled with friendly and attentive service. I mean come on, what is not to like?
confessions of a little piggy was invited to dine as a guest of ID Collective and Rustica Sourdough Rustica Sourdough 402 Brunswick Street