Stonebarn Truffles Pemberton

Stonebarn Lodge and Truffle farm

Oh the lure of the truffle! That delicate little nugget highly prized by gourmands and well to do pigs the world over for it’s musky and intoxicating aroma, and its ability to sex up any dish it’s added to.

I’ve been very lucky over the years to have my winters punctuated with some very special meals where I’ve indulged in my fair share of fungi, and so this year when I was invited to go and stay at a working trufflerie, I gladly accepted.

Now it might seem that truffles are popping up all over the place lately, but I can assure you they are no overnight sensation. A tree that’s been inoculated with the spores to produce black truffles (tuber melanosporum) can take up to 7 years to produce its first truffle. So it’s not exactly a business to enter into lightly.

Stonebarn Lodge and Truffle farm

Fortunately for us Sharon and Dion Rangé were just the hopeless romantics needed to pull such an undertaking off. They originally discovered a piece of pristine bushland 15 minutes out of Pemberton on the banks of the Warren River and only had thoughts of buying it so they could bring their kids up in the country. Of course a property like that tends to have a life of it’s own, and after ideas of planting grapes proved…fruitless, a fortuitous conversation with a former colleague of Australian truffle pioneer Dr Nick Malajczuk put Dion onto the right path and a plan was formed. A guest house and a truffle farm.

Stonebarn now exports it’s truffles to restaurants around Australia, and the world, and have increasingly large harvests each year. The trees are a mixture of Hazelnut and Oak (Dion sourced the acorns from the 100 year old Oak tree in the main street of Donnybrook), and Nick Malajczuk is entrusted with the important job of inoculating them with the truffle spores.

Stonebarn Lodge and Truffle farm

So there we were, a mere 12 years later, with my beautiful wife and son, owners Dion & Sharon, their business partner Graeme, Executive Assistant Adrianne, bride to be Hannah, and pasta guru Danny, eating one of the finest truffle meals of my life. Harold had a great time playing with Peri the truffle dog, and made some more new friends on Sunday when were joined by Aviva Shpilman and her kids. Aviva is the Paris based, Australian architect of the Stonebarn.

Stonebarn Lodge and Truffle farm

We took their generous offer to come and relax for the weekend in the guest house, and stocked up the pantry with some great produce from Newy’s Vege Patch in Kirup, enjoying a Jeruslaem artichoke soup, wood oven roast chicken, and the most decadent Colombian arepas with truffled scrambled eggs. Suffice to say we enjoyed ourselves. The accommodation is wonderfully luxurious and we felt immediately at home. With ducks and guinea fowl living around the house, and Peri the truffle dog entertaining our son, it was a magical weekend.

We managed to do some truffle hunting of our own, and watched the process as Peri marked locations in the trufflerie and every time a truffle was uncovered in that exact spot. It’s still a hard and very manual process mind you. Following a dog through a few kilometres of farm land and digging small holes is not a way to make quick money. Thus the lure of the truffle continues.

Stonebarn Lodge and Truffle farm

I for one am very grateful that people like Dion and Sharon are around to do the hard work to make sure we can enjoy a little taste of perfection every winter.

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Stonebarn Lodge & Trufflerie
phone +61 8 9773 1002
email info@stonebarn.com.au

Singapore Celebrity Concierge

Sambal Stingray from Adam Road Food  Centre

What do you do when you plan your trip to a new city? If you’re anything like me you spend days scouring blogs, twitter, and various travel sites on the internet trying to put together a list of the “must do” (realistically “must eat”) places to visit.

So what if instead of spending all that time, you just relaxed and put yourself in the hands of a trusted advisor. A well informed local who could put together a list of awesome things for you to do/eat? Such was the proposition I received recently as an opportunity to visit Singapore on behalf of the Singapore Tourism Board was put forward.

“Impossible!” I thought, as the email came in from the PR reps. There was no way the itinerary could possibly satisfy someone with my obscure culinary obsessions… Oh how wrong I was. Whilst being led through the dried fish and spice laden halls of the dry goods section above Bugis Food Centre with our celebrity concierge Audra Morrice pointing out where her mum comes to collect ingredients for her homemade sambal and curry. I was in the midst of musty, dehydrated food heaven.

Audra was part of Masterchef in 2012, and clearly made it a lot further along the way than I did, a fact which I tried not to hold against her, because her love of food and all that goes along with it is compelling. Based in Sydney with her young family now, she’s a Singaporean through and through, as evidenced in a small alley way in the covered markets of Chinatown haggling over the price of some freshly cut durian with a crafty operator. In short, she was the perfect person to show me the sights and tastes of Singapore that I’d been missing.

Now of course the rest of this post should be read with the knowledge that I was invited to come to Singapore on behalf of the Singapore Tourism Board. The flights, accommodation, and daily activities were all paid for. In fact, if I didn’t have a massive craving for Bakkwa that needed to be satisfied with frequent nightly trips to Lim Chee Guan, I’d have struggled to pay for anything. I stayed at the very trendy Dorsett Hotel in Chinatown and had a friendly mini bus driver named Steven who let us bring durian puffs on board as long as we double bagged them.

Disclaimers aside, I can’t think of many things on the itinerary that I wouldn’t have done of my own accord. The tour was designed by Audra to give us an idea of what her Singapore was all about, and it was a feast for all the senses. It was facilitated by local tour guide Wee Tee, a lady whose innate Singaporeanness is second to none, and who only got funnier as the days went on. She took great delight in introducing me to the wonders of foot reflexology, which should actually be known as foot murder.

So in no specific order here are the highlights in photo form for you to peruse:

Chin Mee Chin Confectionery

Soft boiled egg at Chin Mee Chin

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An old school bakery of much repute on East Coast Rd. This was the spot Audra chose to take us to experience the joy that can only come from a sweet cup of kopi (strong coffee brewed with or without a sock and loaded with condensed milk) and some kaya toast with soft boiled eggs. Kaya is a sweet coconut jam made with eggs, and the best way to eat it is on some plain white toast with a slab of butter. Our group fortunately arrived early as a line started forming out the door not long after we arrived. I managed to eat about 4 soft boiled eggs with liberal doses of soy sauce and white pepper sprinkled over them. The kaya toast just works, I could eat it anytime of the day. Soft white bread lightly toasted and loaded up with melty butter and thick coconut jam is a superb match.

Chin Mee Chin Confectionery
204 East Coast Rd
+65 6345 0419

Tiong Bahru

Chwee Kueh from Tiong Bahru Hawker Centre

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Tiong Bahru is an old area close to the centre of Singapore. It was Singapore’s first housing estate, built in the 1930s to the west of Chinatown, and has in recent years undergone a “gentrification” of sorts. With all kinds of new coffee shops, bars, and designer stores appearing in what previously was home to kopitiams full of mahjong playing old timers.

We took a little of the old and a little of the new on this visit. First up hitting up the hugely popular Tiong Bahru Bakery for breakfast pastries and specialty coffee supplied by hip new roasters Common Man Coffee (A collaboration between Perth locals Five Senses and Singaporean coffee trail blazers Forty Hands). My Kouign-Amann was crispy on the outside, soft inside, sweet and perfect. The coffee expertly poured by one of the most eager to please baristas I’ve ever met.

We took a short stroll down the road and Audra pointed out some pandan growing in a street front garden that I encouraged her to steal. We settled for a photo in front of it. Then onwards to the Tiong Bahru Food Centre and a little breakfast treat called Chwee Kueh. I discovered this on my last trip to Singapore, and was super happy when we made a bee line for the Jian Bo Chwee Kueh stall with aunty dutifully scooping steamed rice cakes out of their moulds onto a sheet of wax paper and lathering over a healthy dose of preserved radish and sambal. I played it cool for a while but when it was obvious that the rest of the party were lacking in the power eating department I stepped up and finished most of them. I can envision a future in which I eat this for breakfast everyday and am totally happy.

Tiong Bahru Bakery
#01-07, 56 Eng Hoon St
+65 6220 3430

Tiong Bahru Food Market & Hawker Centre
30 Seng Poh road

Lolla

Chargrilled octopous with chorizo and calamansi

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Now a slight divergence from the hawker stalls and local food as we headed to a little restaurant in Chinatown called Lolla. I was all ready to not like this place with its Spanish this, tapas that, and this is our version of what. Plus the distinctly not-hawker-customer-friendly price tags on the dishes… but damn if the food wasn’t good. Chef Ming is a young guy who is clearly keen to impress. We arrived for a lateish lunch and he was prepping pork skin for dinner service which was slow cooked overnight, then dried, before being deep fried into perfect crackling. The dishes I tried could not be faulted… a sublime seafood custard (think Chawanmushi with squid ink) topped with sea urchin. Then a slow cooked tripe that fellow offal fiend Rebecca and I could not go past, crispy gelatinous honeycomb. Then octopus, clams, smoked cheese. Washed down with a Spanish Albariño I could have quite easily forgotten I was still in the heart of Chinatown with ducks hanging in windows all around me.

Lolla
22 Ann Siang Road, Chinatown
+65 64231228

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To get us back on the local track, after lunch at Lolla we took a stroll around Chinatown, checking out the Buddhist temple (home to part of Buddha’s tooth), and the wet markets where old and young guys used very large cleavers to take the heads off very large fish. Small cages of frogs who had lost all hope of escape sat complacently awaiting their fate, and all manner of person haggled with vendors for the best prices. Outside the market old men played Xiangqi (Chinese Chess) and we wandered through streets of covered markets til that all too familiar smell of Durian filled our noses and Asian food novice Aleisha was given the baptism of fire into that most special of fruits. It didn’t go well.

Bugis

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Another day another market and this time it was Bugis. An area previously famous for lady boys during the second world war, we had no Adam’s Apples to be wary of unfortunately, just more great street food from the hawker centre and market stalls. Wee Tee our guide happily procured rojak for a snack and ice kachang and ice cendol for a snack dessert. I’m pretty sure it was mostly for her, but she let us have a taste as well. The hawker centre doesn’t just stop at the food level, head upstairs and you find yourself in the aforementioned dry goods section. Audra pointed out dried persimmon, all manner of dried mushrooms and fungi, giant bags of dried scallops and ikan bilis and a whole stall dedicated to dried sea cucumber, a food that must surely be close to the top of the list of ugly things that are crazy expensive.

Little India

Madras New Woodlands Restaurant

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Little India is an area like no other in Singapore. I have yet to reach India, but I have a pretty good idea of how it would feel from spending a few nights in Little India Singapore. The streets are heady with the smell of incense and dried flowers, and spices. Road rules and the regular orderliness of Singapore goes out the window and in the evenings an otherworldly noise envelopes you as the sound of thousands of voices speaking a hundred sub-continental dialects fills the night air.

On this trip Audra took us to a favourite restaurant of hers, the Madras New Woodlands Restaurant, which I was somewhat shocked to find was totally vegetarian. Of course the health conscious need not get too excited about that as plate after plate of fried breads like poori, dosai, and vadai rolled out onto the table. I mopped all of them up with coconut sambal and chickpea curry and washed it down with mango lassi. Meatless what?

Madras New Woodlands Restaurant
14 Upper Dickson Rd
+65 6297 1594

Adam Road Food Centre

Sambal pipis

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Back to the hawker centre for dinner, and one I’d never been to before. Adam Road has a wide selection of classic hawker dishes. We started with some excellent sambal stingray, and sambal pipis, dabbled with some hokkien mee, satay, and a little black carrot cake (not actually made from white carrots, but with radish and sweet soy). I may also have downed a few of bottles of frosty cold Tiger beer with the help of Rebecca. Singapore is so far the only place where I will reach for a beer before anything else. The humidity in Singapore can feel like walking around in a warm bath sometimes, and who doesn’t like drinking beer in the bath? Am i right? Anyone…

Adam Road Food Centre
2 Adam Road
Singapore 289876

Boon Tong Kee Chicken Rice

Boon Tong Kee chicken rice

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You know what has been conspicuously absent during this post so far? Mentions of chicken rice. You only need to go to Singapore once to realise what a phenomenon chicken rice is, and how hotly debated the “best” version is. Don’t know how to break the ice with that cute girl at the hawker centre? Ask her where the best chicken rice is. It is undeniably Singapore’s national dish and for good reason. The perfect chicken rice is a transcendent experience. Perfectly steamed chicken bursting with succulent juices and umami packed rice that’s been cooked in chicken stock with some fat mixed in for good measure. Paired with the right chilli sauce, and some sweet sticky soy (and a little broth if you’re lucky), this is about as good as food gets for $3-$5 on average per serve.

Audra chose to take us to the River Valley outlet of Boon Tong Kee chicken rice, a chain that features in mostly all the “best chicken rice in Singapore” lists. Despite having been eating constantly for 3 days at this point, I had no issue in partaking in lusciously plump steamed chicken and flavourful rice, the chilli could have gone up a notch for me, which I guess means I’m becoming Singaporean because splitting hairs over amazing/cheap food is pretty much a national pass time.

Boon Tong Kee
425 River Valley Road
Singapore 248324

Singapore skyline from the Super Tree grove

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On the non edible side of the country, we also visited the S.E.A Aquarium (which was amazing, but made Audra hungry for seafood), and the alien landscape that is the Super tree grove in the Gardens by the Bay. The one certain thing about Singapore is that it is constantly reinventing itself. For an island state that turned itself from a collection of sleepy fishing villages to a global financial power player inside of one generation is astounding. That it continues to morph and grow and adapt is certainly no surprise.

That does make it pretty tricky at times to find the real Singapore, which for me is tucked away in the back streets and hawker stalls, on the ground floor of the not so trendy shopping centres, and anywhere the smell of durian and charcoal mix together and linger in the humid night air.

In case it wasn’t obvious at the top of the post, here it is again at the bottom. This trip and tour was made possible by the Singapore Tourism Board and was a part of their Celebrity Concierge program where you can take part of a unique service that pairs you with a celebrity with local knowledge of Singapore to help plan your trip. Go check out the site and see if you too can be a winner.

Thanks again to Audra and her excellent advice, and to the lovely people at Singapore Tourism Board (and the fearless Larissa) for giving this glutton another 50 reasons to love this country. If you haven’t been yet, I’m not sure how much I can stress this… go.

Eat Drink Blog – The Food Bloggers Conference

Negronis at The Black Pearl

And so it was that a flutter of a butterflies wings in Sydney, turned into a ripple in a pond in Melbourne, a wave swept across Bass Strait to Tasmania, and abnormal convection currents limped their way over the bite to Perth, til very shakily the word spread across the country and the seeds of the first ever Australian Food Bloggers Conference were sown.

I’ve just returned from Melbourne after what was a resounding success for a conference. It ticked all the right boxes for conference junkets (food, wine, abuse of taxi charges, dubious morality), but also managed to be extremely personal and very relevant to the majority of people who attended. Namely, the hard working and dedicated food bloggers of Australia, who day after day present you with alternative sources for information about where and what to eat and drink.

The event was championed by Ed and Reem, and ably assisted by a team of helpers including Mellie, April, Jess, and Tammi. They organised people together, contacted potential sponsors (Essential Ingredient, Prentice Wines, SBS Food, St Ali, Der Raum, Daylesford and Hepburn Springs Mineral Springs Co, Red Hill Brewery) and generally got the cogs turning that so often come unstuck when bloggers are left to their own devices.

So a time and date was set, a provisional list of topics to talk about drawn up, and the bloggers of Australia enlisted to share their knowledge with us all.

Presenting on the day and providing great insights into topics such as how and why we blog, how to deal with legal issues/defamation, How to handle public relations, search engine optimization, and perhaps how to make some money along the line were Reem, Gill, Zoe, Ellie, Nola, Claire, Ed, Penny, Michael, Brian, Jules and Phil

All the speakers did a great job, and I think we all got a lot out of it. I personally picked up some new techi tips I plan to implement soon on the blog, as well as a good deal of insight into how others approach things like advertising and promotions, which often throws me into an ethical quandary (for the record I rarely accept freebies or promotions, will disclose anything I’ve been given, and won’t pass opinion on anything when I feel I can’t be objective).

You can find a bunch of information about the conference, and slides from some of the other presenters on the conference blog .

Ed gets things rollingEm and MaddyJess & EllieNeil - taken during my talkThe lovely LindaJackie shows how boozing is done right.JulesJackie - master of the wry smileYou can take the girl out of Thomastown...SBS Photography ExhibitionSBS RepresentMy Rorschach cocktail testGlowing ReemPolaroid man knows no boundsGin something sorbetBoozeskiPisco Control ReservadoLiquid nitrogen cocktail prepSt Ali dinnerSt Ali dinnerEllie & Anh at St AliSuzanneNeilBrianLisaCindyMagnum SteveSteve CumperNathan of Somage Fine FoodsFood Bloggers Banquet menuZoeGillHenry chimpingSoon to be bride AnnaTammiPenny's favourite poseKat & AprilJess contemplates #momofukurageNolaA rather excitable TammiOxtail won ton soup.Fear my rosey cheeks.Jules et moi.Tresna the waif saysTresnaMellieAngelic glowing waitress at St AliPrentice 'Ramato' Pinot GrisEmmaPatKateEm gets seriousEllie, Tammi, Claire, ZoeJackieCeriRoasted Kingfish headsLamb... somethingPim !Jackie gets all silver service on usMatt Cumper ?Radiant KateEd the gypsy kingMellie mid thank youFruit platterPim mid chokeReem looking deviousJo wondering about her second helpingThis photo looks how Michael probably feltChef Ben chats to EllieLittle did he know...Claire in the secret gardenPhil Lees, lone man on lounge, 3am, Fitzroy.NegroniNegronis at The Black Pearl

So at some point in the organisational process, I was asked if I’d like to speak about photography and bring some of my “wisdom” to the discussion in the guise of practical steps to improve your photos. Always happy to be given a platform to espouse my view on how things should be (and keen to do more Melbourne dining), I gladly accepted the offer.

I didn’t want to prepare too much content because I think basically anything that I could put together you could find on the web. Flickr, Google, camera review websites, and photography forums are where I found most of what I know in the first place. So my talk was mostly an off the cuff discussion about how I take the photos I do and why.

So to make this post useful, and not just another “what I did on my holiday” gloatfest, I’ll hopefully encapsulate for you here what I had to say at the conference. I’m recollecting it as best I can because sadly the few notes I did manage to scrawl down onto paper were lost along with my SBS goodie bag, somewhere in a bar in Melbourne between 11pm and 4am. If you found them, please make sure my Gabriel Gate DVD doesn’t go to waste. I love that man.


What Matt thinks about how to take nice photos: A list

1) Light is your friend. If the lighting conditions inside a restaurant or house simply aren’t good, your shots will always struggle. I’ve taken photos in terrible restaurants that make the food look amazing because there’s a nice lamp overhead, and have horrible shots taken in the near darkness of some of the best. You can try and improve the lighting by rearranging candles or using the light from a mobile phone to provide a focus point, but it’s always going to be an uphill battle.

2) Gear matters (a little bit). Whilst it’d be nice to detach yourself from technology, the creative process I employ is based fairly closely around the camera and lens I use and what they offer me. Surprisingly perhaps, I’m still using a rather old dSLR, the Canon 350D. This has been my stalwart shot maker for a few years now, and as many times as I think about upgrading I always come back to the idea that if I just improved my technique my existing camera would be fine. The lens I use primarily plays a big part in that too. It’s a Sigma 30mm f1.4. This lens on my camera lets me take photos of tables in front of me at a nice range that suits my style, and the f1.4 part of the name means it lets a lot of light in with each shutter flip. Meaning low light situations can still be captured well. This doesn’t mean that these are what you *need* to buy or use. But it’s a combination that works for me, and the more comfortable you get with your equipment, the less you need to think about it when taking your shots. Buying an expensive camera and lenses will not make every shot you take look awesome, but eventually it’ll help.

The Pour @ Coda Post roast : Market Lane

3) Do what you need to get the shot. This is mostly about shooting in restaurants where you don’t have the luxury of changing lighting, rearranging things on a plate, or really messing too much with what’s there. I set my camera to aperture priority because I know there is little available light, and I choose the lowest f-stop (1.4). I then bump my ISO up to it’s maximum (1600), which is a cardinal sin to a lot of photographers. The reason I do this is because if I didn’t I wouldn’t get the shot, period. I could try messing with tripods and remote triggers, but really, if you’re trying to capture any kind of dynamic process or action, you just don’t have time to mess around. The only rules you should have are making sure you do what you need to take photos you’re happy with. This combination of low aperture and high ISO (reactivity to light) means that I can obtain faster shutter speeds, in turn leads to the shallow depth of friend blurry goodness that you see above you.

4) Post Process. This doesn’t mean spending 3 hours in Photoshop trying to remove smudges from plates or superimposing the best elements of one photo into another. Of course if you’re good at that kind of thing, go for it. But for me post processing is basically bringing the photo back to how I saw the scene when I pushed the button. Sure if my white balance and exposure levels had all been calibrated at the time, I likely wouldn’t need to do much, but they never are. If you think post processing is cheating somehow then consider this: If you’re shooting in JPG mode on your camera, the moment you take a shot your camera has already applied it’s own processing settings to the shot, and compressed the image down from it’s original, losing quality and resolution. Why let your camera decide how things should be ? Take charge of your photographic destiny by shooting in RAW and using a program like Lightroom (my tool of choice), Aperture, or even Picasa to process your shots the way you want them. I generally adjust exposure levels, fill light, black levels, and colour balance, and apply a healthy dose of noise reduction to get the style I like.

5) Don’t be scared to take photos. Yes it can be intimidating sitting in a fancy restaurant surrounded by people and waiters with a camera in your hand, but if you’re respectful to your dining companions (or have trained them well), and to the rest of the restaurant (turn off the flash!) then you shouldn’t be scared about taking out the camera. I take my same setup with me mostly everywhere, and will leave it up to anyone who’s had the pleasure (?) of dining with me to tell you if it’s annoying or not. If I were a chef / restaurateur, I’d be a lot happier about someone with an SLR taking shots of my food than someone with an iphone…

That’s basically all I have to say for now. Hopefully you’ll take something general out of it, rather than anything prescriptive.
All the shots in the gallery above were composed, shot, and processed using the methods I just described. Photography is a creative art, and as such ultimately a personal thing. I guarantee 8 out 10 people reading this will completely disagree with most of what I have to say :) But choose your tools wisely and apply your skills as best you can.


So to the food bloggers of Australia (esp those lucky enough to be at the conference) it was great to meet you and I hope I didn’t managed to offend too many of you over the course of the day / night. To the organisers, fantastic job, and congratulations. I’m already looking forward to next years event, which I’m sure will be bigger and better.

Le Pain Quotidien – and more of London

You *are* being watched *

And so we walked… and walked…. and walked. I guess that’s what you do on holidays when you actually want to see some of the city. In London it’s pretty easy to get into a rat like mentality. Using the tube system it’s pretty easy to stay underground all day and only pop up in a few places. Super convenient once you get used to where to change lines and how not to get your arm caught in the doors, but not the best way to see the sites.

So we strolled through town, down Regent Street, and Oxford St, though we did not pass go, and did not collect $200 (and there is no such thing as free parking). Then down past the horse guards and over the bridge to the London Eye. Being one of the touristy things I figured I should do, we bit the bullet and got in line. 30 minutes and a couple of cavity searches later we were at the top. Surveying the shabby historic beauty that is London.

Le Pain Quotidien Swirly

With a fierce hunger now brewing but no idea where good food was to be found in Southbank we did a little divining and ended up at Le Pain Quotidien, which looked like a chain, but an up market one. Turns out they are a chain, and in fact have stores in most of the known world… including Australia.

The basic premise at Le Pain Quotidien is quality bread, made on the premises from organic flour, and shareable plates of organic charcuterie and other tastiness. Founder Alain Coumont was apparently a Belgian chef dissatisfied with his choice of bread to serve in his restaurant, so he ended up developing his own loaf and then opening a bakery. From humble beginnings it’s now spread to 10 countries and many stores.

So I went for a simple charcuterie plate loaded with hams, prosciutto, sausage, bread, sun dried tomatoes, pickled veges, and olive. Just what I was after, and a lovely way to relax after a long walk, with a delicious glass of Chteau Couronneau Bordeaux to wash it all down.

Probably highly presumptuous, but this may have been my most enjoyable experience in a franchised establishment to date… which normally exude a cold sterile vibe that makes me want to wash myself with steel wool.

Le Pain Quotidien
Royal Festival Hall
Festival Terrace, Southbank Centre
Belvedere Road
London SE1 8XX
Tel.: 0207 486 6154

Our next destinations were more snapshots of the city. We went to Camden and checked out the infinite row of piercing places and enjoyed the parade of Camden Leisure Pirates swaggering about. A peak through Camden Markets unveiled rows and rows of crap, and then even more crap hidden behind that crap. I did particularly like the “Chinese Food All Mixed Together” sign hanging above a particularly fine example of salmonella fodder, but yes was strong enough to resist the lure of cheap greasy nasty looking food.

We then hopped back on the tube and jumped off at Covent Garden. I forget why, but Amanda said there were some nice places there. Though the only one we actually ended up going into was the Australian Shop, so Amanda could buy twisties… which apparently are no readily available in the UK (the horror).

More walking and now it’s getting late and we pick up another Perth ex-pat, my friend Sam, who proceeds to lead us on another merry dance through the streets once more. Giving the seedy Soho by night tour that every tourist really wants but doesn’t know how to ask for.

A chance to see the London Eye by night as we cross back over the bridge, and then meander our way towards The Cut near Southwark to try our luck with some of Davy’s recommendations. Sadly we couldn’t get in to most of the places on the street as they were completely packed on a Thursday night and not taking bookings meant we were out of luck.

So then, we made our way via Black Cab to Farringdon Road to check out The Eagle, the original gastropub… which is where the story will continue shortly…

The Bars of Melbourne

There are many. We made it to a few.

Yes, this is a lazy post because I’m too slack to write anything at the moment. But I figure that whole picture is worth a thousand words thing must make up for something. Cheers to Ed for fuelling much of this exploration with the careful eye that only a bad uncle can :)

List of places in these photos, chronologically :

Seamstress
Supper Club
Misty
Croft Institute
Comme
Gin Palace