Sunday morning was all about St Kilda. We headed down to check out the Esplanade Market, which is held every Sunday. Before checking out the arts and crafts on offer we needed some sustenance, and found ourselves at Barcelona on Fitzroy Street. They had a selection of Spanish breakfasts for those wishing to "try something different" such as Patatas Bravas (diced potatoes tossed in spicy sofrito sauce, served with garlic aioli), Barcelona style eggs (oven baked eggs with chorizo, mushrooms, spinach, red peppers in a sofrito sauce, with toast on the side) or churros con chocolate. We all ended up ordering from the non-Spanish style menu however, as although I was tempted by the Barcelona style eggs they sounded a bit too similar to the breakfast I had eaten the previous day. All our dishes were quite nice, nothing magnificent to say about them apart from the fact they were very large and filling and only cost $10. Oh Melbourne, why must you be so cheap compared to Perth?
After eating and braving the toilets which were accessed through a dingy little downstairs alley, and equally as dingy as the alley, we headed off down the esplanade and ended up buying some really cool bags from the Cybertart stall. In fact my bag is so cool that when grocery shopping with a friend the other day, she almost felt compelled to defend my honour after noticing a couple seemingly admiring my arse and smiling. Turns out it was actually my bag attracting the attention. I'll have to remember this lest I get cocky about having a super attractive arse.
Next on the list of must-do St Kilda attractions - the cake shops on Acland St. We thought it wise to give the main ones a going over before committing to any purchases, and then found ourselves unable to reach any easy decisions. My sister's friend decided to go with an iced cupcake and a slice of black forrest cake, my sister went for a chocolate wafer and cherry custard danish, and I chose a delicious looking almond twist, a slice of chocolate kugelhopf/babka and a brandy snap.
Clutching our loot we found a bench in the park near Luna Park and got eating. Disappointment quickly followed. The cupcake was too dry to eat, the black forrest cake had a weird layer of jelly running through it and the almond twist was so strong with the taste of almond essence it was inedible. Luckily the chocolate wafer and brandy snap were both fresh (with a nice crunch) and deliciously filled with a chocolate and coffee cream respectively. The chocolate kugelhopf/babka and cherry custard danish were saved for a late night snack, and miraculously survived being carted around Melbourne and sitting in a bag during a footy match at the MCG. Both were fantastic. I really need to find a recipe for the babka and try my hand at making it. I've not ventured into bundt cake territory in my baking repertoire yet, so I'm looking forward to it.
After seeing my sister's friend off safely to her train home, my sister and I headed back over the Yarra to enjoy dinner at BearBrass. The menu was quite good, with a range of small dishes, pizzas, larger dinner dishes and specials. Despite the pork belly pizza piquing our interest when we checked out the dinner menu while having breakfast the day before, we decided against it. We are both terribly picky about pizza, making it fairly regularly at home, although we did see a few come out of the kitchen during the night and they looked quite good.
We decided to share one of the specials to start with, the mushroom polenta with rocket and parmesan salad. The polenta was beautifully moist and very flavoursome, and quite a generous size for only $8.50. As with all the salads and garnishes we ate with our meals in Melbourne, the rocket was very fresh and contrasted nicely with the warm gooeyness of the polenta.
Feeling like some seafood, I chose the baked paella with chorizo, pippi clams, chicken and black tiger prawns. Like with the breakfasts the previously day, I also got an added bonus with the dish - some mussels this time. The paella was packed with flavour, and again I was very happy with the quality of the chorizo they used. I think chorizo should pack a nice strong punch, and this delivered. The rice was cooked well, with a creamy texture without being gluggy. All in all, an enjoyable dish which I ate too much of.
My sister wasn't quite as hungry so she selected a dish off the "something small" section of the menu - lamb kofta balls topped with bocconcini, served with a garlic flat bread, and a mixed leaf salad to accompany it. She enjoyed the dish but found the tomato sauce a little overpowering and the amount of bocconcini somewhat stingy. The garlic flat bread however was fantastic, as was the salad. It was a salad that required no hard work of the eater. No cutting, no digging out brown bits, no crunching massive chunks of carrot. A user friendly salad. It was also served in the tardis, apparently, as it was seemingly neverending.