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Gourmet Girl in Blackburn is a tiny little restaurant in Laburnum/Blackburn, situated close to Laburnum Train Station. Frequented by many of the locals, and it certainly piques my interest. Gourmet Girl by day serves your typical breakfast, brunch/lunch affair. Toasted sandwiches and Focaccias, salads, wraps, pies and pastries as well as a wide selection for breakfast such as pancakes, eggs, muffins, toast and of course your big breakfast. Variety is there and it’s certainly its strong suit and of course they serve your typical hot and cold beverages as well. By night they have a tapas menu with wine for an enjoyable evening out.

We ordered the Smoked Salmon topped with red onions, and served with scrambled egg with toast and a side of greens and tomatoes. It certainly looked inviting, the smoked salmon had a nice smokey flavour to the fish, but not over powering. The scrambled eggs however were on the bland side, and lacked any sort of pepper or salt seasoning. However, I guess the saltiness from the salmon is supposed to carry the dish so you are not overloaded with salt, but unfortunately the eggs did not have any richness to it, nor did it taste like eggs. It was honestly disappointing. The bread was also leaning on over toasted as well (the edges are slightly dark brown) and almost had a burnt taste to it. Care and attention to detail is key and it’s what made this a real letdown.

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The “Canadian” Focaccia that we ordered was also a Smoked Salmon dish with cream cheese, capers, red onions, avocado spread and mayonnaise served with a lightly dressed garden salad. Again you can see it was burnt on several parts of the bread, definitely over toasted. The bottom of the Focaccia was also visibly dark brown unfortunately. Flavour wise (apart from the burnt-ness), was decent. Although, on this occasion too salty. The capers and smoked salmon add the saltiness but there is nothing there to really balance it as you also have the richness of the mayonnaise and cream cheese. The avocado attempts to provide a milder flavour to the dish but the avocados here also lack fragrance.  The garden salad was basically a small pile of rocket and sliced cucumber with a huge chunk of grated carrot, with a generous drizzling of dressing. Presentation is not their strong suit. Again, I was not impressed with how this was served, lacking in any consideration and served blackened that definitely should not have gone out in any decent cafe.

Impressions

Gourmet Girl, leaves a bad taste both literally and metaphorically in my mouth. The customer service at Gourmet Girl was one of the bad experiences I’ve had to sit through. They forgot one of our orders (which was served to another table that came after us), which I admit can happen when its busy and I do understand. When we finally received our order after more than half an hour of waiting, what we received was above, a charred sandwich (as mentioned above). The kicker, no apologies made when they informed us of their mistake nor when actually providing the dish to us. They even asked if we would like to order drinks (to pay for) while we are forced to wait! Absolutely amazing.

I know this sounds like a rant, but good or even mediocre service can go a long way in providing a satisfactory dining experience. One poor (or many in this case) experience can ultimately damage any good will the place as brought with its dishes. Which unfortunately, in this situation it did not generate any.

To top everything off in our visit to Gourmet Girl, they misplaced our entire order when paying. So having to repeat ourselves of what we ordered, we were questioned on our one coffee. In which, the staff leaned over the counter to check the number of cups on our table. You know, that coffee we ordered while having to wait. That one. Served by three staff during our time there, none was positive and that’s not a good sign. Gourmet Girl certainly is a popular place but I’m unsure if its as a result of desperation for a decent coffee around these parts or if my situation was out of the ordinary.

Overall, I cannot overlook the poor service over the sub-standard food served. It would be dishonest of me to recommend this place to someone, but I do hope that if you do dine here that your experience is wonderful and pleasant and unlike mine. I do although prefer Red Cup Cafe which is minutes away by car over Gourmet Girl (both in service and quality of food).

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Gourmet Girl
21 Salisbury Ave
Blackburn VIC 3130

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 Cafe Crepe on Queen St, Toronto was highly recommended to me by my sister and it appears very popular amongst the locals. I love crepes because you can eat them with something sweet or savoury but also because they are like pancakes but ultra thin and light but with a hint of sweetness and buttery flavour.

Other than their specialty crepes, they also serve Breakfast Baguettes which are basically baguettes with egg, tomato, lettuce, basil and bacon with tomato sauce as a side. It’s quite lovely, with the lightness of the egg and overall feels fresh for breakfast that doesn’t bog you down.

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The Europa Ham and Egg crepes are on the salty side but light and delightful. I love the thinness of the crepes, just a bit crisp and although the filling isn’t as generous as I would like, I still found it satisfactory.

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I love spinach and feta so I had to order the Spinach and Feta cheese crepe, again the crepes are just perfection. Not too floury or buttery and thin enough. The saltiness of the melting feta balances against the fresh spinach. Again, it’s not a heavy breakfast but it does fill you up.

Impressions

Cafe Crepe isn’t the most generous with their dishes but they are incredibly tasty and that’s why people keep coming back. If you want fantastic crepes, of the savoury or sweet kind, this is the place because they have so many varieties to choose from.

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Cafe Crepe
246 Queen St W
Toronto ON M5V2Z5

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Le Lapin Saute is this little cafe/restaurant/brunch eatery on rue du Petit-Champlain just on the outskirts of the inner walls of Old Quebec City. They seem to specialise in Rabbit cuisine which I’ve never really tried previously so it made it all the more tempting to try. We ate here for breakfast/almost lunch and it’s a very cute homely shop on this small but bustling street.

I ordered a rabbit dish (of course) that comes with scrambled eggs, rabbit rillette, crisp potato slices, cheese, mushrooms, bread, homemade jam and fruit. This was a large dish, probably best shared between two.

The rabbit has a light texture, and similar to a pate, it’s wonderfully soft and shredded very thinly. A delight to eat, and probably not very good for you. The scrambled eggs were also light and just cooked to perfection, buttery and simply how it should be. The hard cheese melts ever so slightly against the just cooked eggs, but still retains its shape, and eating those crunchy chips as well. Wonderful. My first experience trying rabbit and rilletes and it leaves a positive impression.

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The mushroom soup here is also packed full of flavour (I think this was the soup of the day), creamy and fantastic on a nice cold winters day. Not too creamy though as some soups can be. Really tasty.

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This cheesy little thing is their Casserole au Gratin with scrambled eggs, rabbit, bacon, onions confit, potatoes, hollandaise sauce, and of course cheese. I loved this, just out of the oven nice and warm. Perfect for winter, and absolutely satisfying.

Impressions

Le Lapin Saute is simply a gem in Old Quebec. I’d put this as a must visit during your stay there. Rabbit as its specialty but everything else is just wonderfully delicious as well. I can’t recommend it enough for a Canadian-French meal.

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Le Lapin Saute (Breakfast Menu)

52 rue du Petit-Champlain
Québec QC G1K4H5

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 I heard about Three Bags Full from a colleague and since it was near where we worked we decided to give it a try. I’m not big on brunch, it’s basically just breakfast late or lunch early and none of those sounds overly enticing to me. Cafe food on the other hand is something I’m quite fond of, it’s not too expensive nor heavy but just enough to satisfy the stomach.

Three Bags Full is quite a large place, I was really surprised at how large the space was and it was very busy. I guess people in Richmond really like their brunch and coffee.

I ordered one of their specials which was a Beef Burger with tasty cheese, onions, tomatoes, pickles with wedges and tomato relish.

It is similar to the Steak Sandwich on the menu but you get a couple of wedges too. As a burger, I did really enjoy it apart from the pickled red onions. I found these to be too sour for my liking. The beef was cooked just right, still a bit red inside so definitely not overcooked and the cheese lent itself. What I mean by that is, sometimes cheese can be almost tasteless and I find that most with hard cheeses. There is very little fragrance around them, but this had a good cheese taste so I’m happy about that.

I had to eat the burger using a knife and fork (shock and horror) because it was too large to eat by hands. The aioli they dress the salad with gave it a nice mayonnaise like taste to it and overall I couldn’t be happier.

The wedges with the tomato relish was decent enough, I found they weren’t overly crispy but I did prefer them to be a tad more crisp. The tomato relish on the other hand I have no real opinion on, it was slightly sour but I felt lacked the tomato flavour. It was neither here no there.

Impressions

You can see why people come to dine here. For people just wanting to relax, chill and drink a cup of coffee this is the place. However, if you want some satisfying meals, Three Bags Full, luckily does that too.

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Three Bags Full

60 Nicholson St
Abbotsford VIC 3067

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I heard so many good things about LuxBite that I had to force myself (not too hard, obviously) to make my way to their South Yarra location. LuxBite serves primarily sweet desserts and confectionary, but they also serve coffee, breakfast and lunch too! What makes LuxBite slightly different is that they have a slight Asian influenced to some of their desserts, for example one of their macarons has a Kaya filling. Kaya is a Malaysian term for Coconut Jam and homemade Kaya is absolutely delicious.

Their store is quite close by to South Yarra station, so it makes it convenient for those without cars or car-averse.

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In the above picture, hopefully you can see their selection of macaron flavours. There are your popular flavours such as Salted Caramel and Hazelnut have more interesting flavours like Rose and Ribena Lemonade.

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Their store has quite a number of sweet delights to choose from, with many having that French flair ala Elcairs as shown at the bottom of the image.

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It was really hard to choose a couple of desserts to try because they have so many on offer! We were still heading towards the city for the day so I couldn’t choose anything that needed to go to the fridge quickly so that helped.

As shown above, we chose the Chocolate Hazelnut Macaron. It’s this plus sized macaron with chunks of hazelnut pieces and a hazelnut and chocolate ganache. I quite enjoyed the macaron, it’s as you would want from a macaron. Crispy, slightly chewy and sweet. The hazelnut flavour of the chocolate and nuts really helped blend everything together. A real treat.

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We chose the interesting Lemonade Ribeena and Kaya Toast macarons. The Kaya Toast macaron has kaya as it’s filling. I think it’s homemade, but their kaya was unfortunately too sweet for my liking. I would even have preferred the Kaya jam jars you can buy from an Asian grocer with pandan. Even that jam is less sweet. For those that haven’t tried Kaya before may like it though but for me it lacked the coconut flavour and was way too sweet to be enjoyable.

The Lemonade Ribena on the otherhand was very interesting. It has this cream based lemonade flavour filling but inside there is what I believe (or remember) a small Ribena jelly cube. The Ribena jelly was delicious and made that macaron one of my favourites because it had such a pleasant flavour and was different to things I’ve tried before.

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Last on my list was LuxBite’s Lychee Raspberry Macaron. I love all things Lychee too so I couldn’t help to be intrigued by a Lychee and Raspberry Macaron, plus it looked amazing.

Inside this macaron, there is a whole lychee, but the salmon pink filling as you can see in the image was also slightly Lychee flavoured. The combination of the sweetness of Lychee along with the sourness of the icing sugar dusted Raspberries worked a treat. It melded together really well as the freshness of the Raspberries cut through that sweetness of basically everything else. A joy to eat.

Impressions

LuxBite impresses with its well crafted pieces that look amazing and taste great too. It’s no wonder people keep coming back for more. I really do recommend giving LuxBite a try.

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LuxBite (Menu)

38 Toorak Road
South Yarra VIC 3141

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