Review: Chloe’s Restaurant and Cider Bar (Young & Jackson)

My last dinner in Melbourne, I met up with my friend from Perth, K, who has recently moved over here.  We selected Chloe’s Restaurant at Young and Jackson hotel, as we were after a Modern Australian menu (we were both thinking steak and salad sounded appealing).

When we arrived (without a booking) we were asked to wait on the couches for a few minutes while they prepared a table for us.  To our surprise we ended up with one of the best tables in the house – a four person table set at an angle so we were both seated with a view out the windows across Flinders St to the station steps and clocks.

The service was perfect, there was someone available whenever we needed, and everything we could have wanted was offered, but not in a pushy way.  We were busy talking so they gave us plenty of time to chat while we looked at the menu, and then took our orders as soon as we looked ready. 

I was pleased that there were a lot of gluten free options marked on the menu, at least half of the menu items in each category (except pasta).  I was tossing up between the Wild mushroom risotto with oregano and thyme, finished with parmesan and truffle oil ($16/$26) and the Oven baked duck breast on wild mushroom, spinach and plum risotto ($32) (do you see a theme here?), but eventually settled on Rare cooked kangaroo on salad of chickpeas, parsnips, pumpkin and spinach, drizzled with wattle seed jus ($16/$32).  That was a great choice, the meat was cooked perfectly, rare and tender and sitting on a bed of tasty salad.  I don’t know how much longer I can eat chickpeas as they are restricted food on the low FODMAP diet, but for now they’re one of my favourite legumes.  I chose the entree sized serve which was perfect for me, I managed to eat everything on the plate instead of guiltily leaving half my food behind and feeling the need to apologise for not eating it all.

K selected the Beef and Guinness pie with creamy mash and buttered vegetables ($29), which apparently tasted just as amazing and decadent as it sounds.  It was a generous serve, which big chunks of meat throughout the pie.

I had a glass of a Shiraz Cabernet with my meal, and K washed his down with a Becks.  As tempting as the desserts on the menu sounded there was nothing that was both gluten and dairy free, so it was an easy decision to skip dessert and head up to check out the Rooftop Cider Bar.  You may already know I’m a huge fan of cider (what’s not to love about something that lets you feel like a beer drinker but is gluten free and, in my opinion, much tastier?), so this was a must-visit place for me.  Apparently it’s the only Cider Bar in Australia, and has 8 ciders on tap, including Scrumpy Jack from their French Oak Barrels.  Delightful.  I also love the garden setting that they’ve built up there with astroturf, lounge furniture and shade sails (great for protection from the Melbourne weather!).  This could easily be a local favourite for me if I lived here.

Details:

Name: Chloe’s Restaurant / Rooftop Cider Bar @ Young and Jackson Hotel
Address: Corner Swanston & Flinders St, Melbourne
Website: http://www.youngandjacksons.com.au
Urbanspoon: http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/71/1492139/restaurant/CBD/Chloes-Lounge-and-Restaurant-Young-and-Jackson-Hotel-Melbourne

Review: Bar Humbug

I was meeting up with my friend T after work for a drink yesterday afternoon.  We did a quick lap of the block around my office looking for an appealing place, and landed at Bar Humbug in Little Bourke St.

Happily for me they have Rekorderlig Cider ($15/500ml), which is a sweet guilty pleasure of mine.  While I’m a big fan of the traditional dry apple ciders, I am also fond of the occasional sweeter cider, like pear or the Rekorderlig Strawberry and Lime. 

They also have Little Creatures Bright Ale on tap ($10/pint), which is what T drank.

I was going out for dinner later so didn’t order any food, however T ordered the Baked cheese quesadillas w guacamole($12).  This came out as 6 quarters of quesadilla with jalapenos and melted cheese inside, and a side pot of guacamole.  While I don’t believe there can ever be enough guacamole served with any dish, the pot was an appropriate size for the amount of quesadilla on the plate.

I’d definitely go here again.  I was tempted by a few things on their dinner menu, and if the quesadillas were anything to go by I’m sure it would be fresh and delicious.  There were plenty of gluten free options on the menu, and the staff seem very knowledgeable about the ingredients in the dishes for people with allergies.

Details:

Name: Bar Humbug
Address:
Website: http://www.barhumbug.com.au/
Urbanspoon: http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/71/760143/restaurant/Victoria/CBD/Bar-Humbug-Melbourne#

Review: Seven Seeds

I was meeting an old school friend for lunch today, and she suggested meeting at Seven Seeds in Carlton.  I suspect this was highly influenced by the proximity to where she works at Melbourne University!  Nonetheless, I managed to work out the tram network and get myself from my temporary Bourke St office to Carlton on time, which is an achievement I’m a little bit proud of. 

Seven Seeds is a specialist coffee shop that also serves breakfast and lunch.  A quick glance at the menu suggests it is very heavy on breads, but there was a nice note on the bottom saying that gluten free bread is available upon request.  The reviews on Urbanspoon all point towards the brioche french toast being the highlight of the menu, however that wasn’t an option for me.

When we arrived and looked at the daily menu I was pleased to find a chickpea and brown rice salad available, marked as GF.  That was my selection, while my friend had prosciutto, ricotta and a dip (capsicum?) with some freshly toasted bread.  Her meal looked amazing, it’s meals like this which make me wish I could eat fresh crusty bread again.  My salad was delicious, I’m a huge fan of brown rice salads with pistachios and currants.  This also had chickpeas, coriander, dried figs and a few other seeds and nuts.

Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to try the coffee as I had to rush back to work, but if their food is only the supporting act I’m sure they make a damn good cup of coffee.

Details:

Name: Seven Seeds
Address: 114 Berkeley St, Carlton
Website: http://www.sevenseeds.com.au

FODMAPs

What is FODMAPs?

For the best information I’ve found available on the internet, check out Sue Shepherd’s Shepherd Works site.  There are info sheets on Fructose Malabsorption and Low FODMAP diet which explain things way better than I can.

I’ll try to provide a brief summary of the information from the Sue Shepherd website.  Fructose malabsorption occurs when your body can’t absorb fructose normally (through the lower bowel).  Fructose malabsorption can cause symptoms of stomach bloating, wind, stomach pain, loose bowel motions and / or constipation.  Fructose is a sugar found in many foods including honey, wheat, fruits and vegetables.

Dietary strategies to assist with minimising symptoms include

  1. Avoid foods that contain excess fructose
  2. Avoid dietary sources of fructans
  3. Reduce the fructose load

FODMAPs are found in the foods we eat. FODMAPs is an acronym for

Fermentable
Oligosaccharides (eg. Fructans and Galactans)
Disaccharides (eg. Lactose)Monosaccharides (eg. excess Fructose)
and
Polyols (eg. Sorbitol, Mannitol, Maltitol, Xylitol and Isomalt)

Where are FODMAPs found?

A few examples of food sources for each of the FODMAPs are listed below.

  • Excess Fructose: Honey, Apples, Mango, Pear, Watermelon, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Corn Syrup Solids
  • Fructans: Artichokes (Globe), Artichokes(Jerusalem), Asparagus, Beetroot, Chicory, Dandelion leaves, Garlic (in large amounts), Leek, Onion (brown, white, Spanish, onion powder), Raddicio lettuce, Spring Onion (white part), Wheat (in large amounts), Rye (in large amounts), Inulin, Fructo-oligosaccharides.
  • Lactose: Milk, icecream, custard, dairy desserts, condensed and evaporated milk, milk powder, yoghurt, margarine, soft unripened cheeses (eg. ricotta, cottage, cream, marscarpone).
  • Galacto-Oligosaccharides (GOS): Legume beans (eg. baked beans, kidney beans, bortolotti beans), Lentils, Chickpeas
  • Polyols: Apples, Apricots, Avocado, Cherries, Longon, Lychee, Nectarines, Pears , Plums, Prunes, Mushrooms, Sorbitol (420), mannitol (421), xylitol (967), maltitol (965) and Isomalt (953).

Source: http://shepherdworks.com.au/

So, you can see that there are some basic staples, such as onion, fruit and loads of vegetables, that need to be reduced or excluded from a low FODMAP diet.  For me, wheat and rye are already out of my diet, as well as large amounts of lactose.  I can see already that following this eating plan will make it very difficult to eat out, as most foods cooked in restaurants and cafes would have onion or onion powder used in a stock or sauce.  I foresee lots of grilled or steamed chicken and vegetables, rice, sushi etc.

Review: Earl Canteen

I’m in Melbourne at the moment, and for the next few days will be working in the CBD.  When using Foursquare to find a decent coffee place near my office (more on that later), I found a highly rated sandwich bar called Earl Canteen.  After reading some reviews about the pork belly roll and drooling over the descriptions of other options, I went onto their website to find out if they would accomodate a gluten free diner.  Luckily for me, the answer is yes, for no extra cost they will give you a gluten free wrap instead of the baguette.

Review:

Earl Canteen‘s philosophy is that they make ‘restaurant quality sandwiches’, or sandwiches made with ingredients that could be on the plate in a good restaurant.  The fillings you can choose include Wagyu meatballs, confit duck, lime poached chicken and of course the signature pork belly.  There are some great vegetarian options too, but after spending the weekend eating vegetarian food, I was in the mood for something else.

After taking the advice from Foursquare and Urbanspoon reviewers I selected the Pork Belly for $13.50.  It contains Crisp skin Otway pork belly, apple, cabbage and fennel coleslaw and wilted silverbeet on a gluten free wrap.  The macarons in their cabinet also looked delightful (if tiny), and at $2.50 each I picked two to eat later in the afternoon.  I chose salted caramel, which I can’t go past if it’s an option, and white peach.

Upon opening my sandwich, I was amazed at how much pork was inside.  The first bite of the wrap didn’t appeal to me, this is common with gluten free wraps.  This one was hard and cardboardish, reminding me of the Freedom Foods gluten free wraps which I dislike.  So I unwrapped my sandwich and ate the fillings with a fork.  That sorted, I really enjoyed the rest of my lunch, as the pork was amazing, the crispy crackling was perfectly crunchy and salty, and the coleslaw was fresh and delicious.

I ate the macarons a few hours later.  The white peach one was nice, although I felt the flavour was a little too much like jam for my liking.  The salted caramel macaron was amazing though, I want more of those!

Overall I was highly impressed with the offerings at Earl Canteen.  If you’re not gluten intolerant then the baguette would most likely enhance the meal.  If I get a chance to go back I’ll try one of their salads, or ask for my sandwich filling without the bread or wrap.

Details:

Name: Earl Canteen
Address: 500 Bourke St, Melbourne (enter from Little Bourke St)
Hours: 7:30 – 5pm Monday to Friday.
Website: http://www.earlcanteen.com.au/

EARL Canteen

Welcome

Dining Without is my food blog, talking about restaurants and meals which suit my food intolerances.

Currently this means gluten free and low lactose, however my dietician is starting me on a low FODMAPs diet for suspected fructose malabsorbtion, which will further restrict the foods available to me.

Despite this, I love cooking and eating out, so will be using this blog to document successful meals.