Sunday, October 21, 2012

Mini Footscray Foodtrail: The Reading Room Café and Footscray Milking Station.

** some parts have been edited due to my own mistakes for ridiculous preconceived doubts about Footscray. Thank you to those who have given me the criticism, I'll learn and rectify my mistakes.

The walk to Victoria University, where we were supposed to meet Michael, wasn't too bad after hitting the housing area. The shops there really reminded us of Kota Raya etc in KL.

The Reading Room Café
88, Ballarat Road, Footscray VIC (Building P, Victoria University)
03 9919 4091
Mon - Fri, 7.30a, - 7pm, Sat - Sun, 8am - 4pm. 
[ train to Footscray, then a 15 minute walk to Victoria University ]Reading Room Cafe (Victoria University) on Urbanspoon

I've been meaning to come here since Ken Vern posted up a picture of their famous pork belly (below). It might be a little tricky to find the place. I bet without Michael, who studies here and knows the campus fairly well, we'd be lost for quite a while.

I liked how I could reserve a table online, and that the staff was extremely gracious over the phone when I informed them that we'd be a little late (cause we got lost in the dodgy as area).

The whole place didn't look at all like what I've seen in photos online. It was a lot smaller than I expected. But then again, the picture I saw was from a relatively long time ago.

I was mildly pleased that they removed their sign asking customers to 'PLEASE consider their choice of coffee blend before placing your order'. 

If my mother saw a sign like that, she's probably tell me that they're really 'ba pai' (not sure if the pinyin is correct), meaning haughty in Cantonese. 

Cappuccino, $3.50.

This is about the prettiest rosetta both Jason and I have ever seen in our life. 

Stong latté, $3.5

Jason: The coffee here came from Sensory Lab, and they occasionally get their beans from Auction Rooms as well. It was slightly sour, with a mild taste of berries and an exceptionally strong body (though surprisingly, it didn't have much of a linger). Definitely a good, savory coffee.

Soy latté, $4.

I just can't get over how pretty the barista's rosettas are. It's really hard to get good latté art with soy milk, and the one on mine was as good as you can get.

The BFG: Brioche French toast with crispy bacon, candied walnuts and maple syrup, $15.

One of the popular dishes there, named after the popular novel by Roald Dahl. I didn't try the bacon, but the brioche was great. Fluffy, and the maple syrup gave it a great taste: not to sweet, and not too gooey. The candied walnuts, to me, was a bit of an afterthought; but maybe I was a little too hungry to pay attention to detail at that point.

Though, Zack did say that he wasn't at all used to having something savoury like bacon with maple syrup. But to be fair, other places do it too.

South of Provence: French country style omelette, dry cured pancetta, golden potatoes, caramelized onions, petite peas, and gyuyere crostini, $16.50.

Michael's dish was a little disappointing; it was very under-seasoned. I'm not sure if it was intentional cause we did have salt and pepper on the table, but the eggs were pretty tasteless. The crispy bread was nice though and the eggs did fill Michael up quite a bit as well.

Colonel's Mistress: Crispy fried chicken, mango, lime and peanut slaw and smoked jalapeño aioli, $16.50.

So it's not very likely for me to order any dish that has fried chicken in it, but I had a massive battle choosing between this and the 'Not your Prawn Cocktail'. No regrets though; the chicken was very well  fried and it wasn't oily at all. The slaw and the aioli went really, really well with the chicken, and the magoes were so, so sweet. I even finished up all the bean sprouts (taugeh) that I'd normally (loathe) not touch.

Crackle's Ultimatum: Pork belly, haloumi potato roesti, kohlrabi, apple remoulade, and chilli jam, $16.50.

The dish I was looking forward to the most. The potatoes were a little salty, but it had a good flavour. That crackle- Oh, Lord, forgive me for I have sinned- that CRUNCH.. was just unbelievable. The taste of it was good too though it did have a bit of the porky taste towards the end of each bite.

Pretty damn worth the price, for sure. Jason preferred the pork belly from Luxbite, but i definitely preferred this. 

Buttermilk panna cotta, salted toffee pistachio and mango yogurt cream, $8.50.

Okay, so I was on the greedy side and i ordered dessert. I can't ever say no to panna cottas. The panna cotta itself was a little firmer than the usual, and the salted pistachios were a nice touch. The mango yogurt cream was really good though- it added a whole lot of zing to the dish.

Food: 8 (actually, 7.5 cause of those under-seasonsed eggs)
Coffee: 7
Ambience: 7
Value: 6
Staff: 9

As we were leaving the café, we decided to go to another café, nearer to the station. Both Zack and I were still relatively hungry, and since this café was pretty well known, we thought, 'Why naahhttt?'

Footscray Milking Station
35, Burnbury Street, Footscray VIC

03 9029 9240 - Sun, 7am - 3pmFootscray Milking Station on Urbanspoon

After reading countless blogposts and reviews about this place, I can't believe we actually came here on a whim.

It's just a very short walk on the other side of the station. There's no signboard outside, but it's the only café around the area so it's unlikely that anyone would miss it. 

I love the green colour scheme of the place. The café was narrow, but somehow, it wasn't cluttered or uncomfortable in any way. 

A small part of the café was a retail shop, and I loved the hardwood floor. I didn't get a picture of the it, but they had a really pretty courtyard at the back as well.

Cappuccino and strong latté, $3.50; Soy latté, $4.

Personally, i thought the coffee here was really good. 

Jason: Compared to the savory coffee in Reading Room, the coffee here came from Padre, and was sweet with a tinge of caramel and salt. It had a clean flavor that would fare well with more heavy dishes to cut through the strong flavors.

Toasted pulled pork panini with pickled cabbage and caramelized apple, $9.

There was nothing too fantastic about the panini. The bread itself was pretty alright, and so was the pork. What bothered me was the ratio of bread to pork though. It looked so volumed over the counter, but maybe the press toaster flattened out the pork.

Corn cakes with guacamole, tomato relish and bacon, $16.

I'd recommend this though. It's very different: not corn cakes or corn fritters but more like corn pancakes. The guacamole was pretty good as well. I didn't get to try the bacon though.

Crépes with ricotta, blueberry, roasted pecans and honey, $12.

Michael and I shared this and the panini, and we were both very disappointed with the crépes. We both agreed that it looked a LOT better than it tasted. The crépes had a very strong egg taste, it felt like i was eating an omelette. The ricotta was heavy and the blueberries didn't taste like much. The only saving grace was the honey and the pecans. Maybe it was just an off-day, cause the waitress mentioned that it was pretty popular.

Milking station breakfast: eggs any way with bacon, tomato, hash brown (that Zack switched out) and toast, $15, with chorizo, +$4 ***

Zack was craving for scrambled eggs the whole morning and he finally got to order some. It was an average dish overall: the bacon wasn't crispy enough and the bread was dense and hard. The waitress told us that it would only cost $1 if we switched the hash brown with chorizo, but we were billed $4 for it.. The guy at the counter seemed slightly irritated when asked about it. 

Food: 6
Coffee: 8
Ambience: 7
Value: 6
Staff: 6.5 - the irritated guy at the counter threw me off a lil bit cause he was relatively friendly when i was grabbing the bill for the table.

Thanks for accompanying us on our little café adventure today guys! It's great to have more than just the two of us sometimes. We'll definitely do this after our exams are over. Poor Michael, all bored with nothing left to do now that the exams are over.

Because of the double café today, we aren't going anywhere tomorrow. Nope, really can't afford that. Gotta have poverty meals for the week till the next café.

it's time to bring the books, audio lectures, and panic out! 2 weeks!!!!

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