While looking for Italian restaurants in the east side of Melbourne, I came across Il Birrificio. Located on Toorak Road in Camberwell, its far away from the hustle and bustle around Camberwell Station as this little gem is actually quite close to Burwood. What Ill Birrificio does well is its Wood Fire pizzas but their pastas, starters and desserts aren’t neglected either.
Their Salsiccia & Scamorza pizza was very tasty. I loved the cheesy topping with the meat and the fresh tomato base on a thin, crisp crust.
Il Birrificio has a few specials, on the night we dined they had the Fettuccine Gamberi which has this zingy lemon taste to it, with the fresh thyme flavour coming through.
While an Antipasti board isn’t what I would typically order, the cold meats with the rosemary and sea salt focaccia made for a pretty good starter.
I am not certain if they always have the Grapefruit beer on offer, but I do recommend trying it if you have not had something like this before. I loved the grapefruit flavour, and while the combination might be a bit odd on first looks it’s actually one of my favourite fruity beers.
The Biramisu is another winner from Il Birrificio. The beer flavour comes through well, and it’s not too rich or sweet. A great twist on the classic tiramisu.
This hidden gem has fantastic Italian dishes on offer in a very chilled environment.
1385 Toorak Road
Camberwell VIC 3124
Shortstop is a popular donuts and coffee spot in the Melbourne CBD. Located on Sutherland Street and walking distance from Melbourne Central Station, the donuts there tend to be sold out before closing time so I’d recommend getting in there early or pre-ordering! At Shortstop, they usually have around 10 different donut flavours to choose from and their flavours do also change from time to time. Whilst the flavours may change, they usually have at least one of each type of donut (Raised, Cruller, Filled and Cake). The first time I visited Shortstop I had to try all the different types. Obviously.
I ordered the Thai Milk Tea (Raised), Maple Walnut & Brown Butter (Raised), Tiramisu (Filled), Cookies & Cream (Filled), Triple Matcha (Cake) and Australian Honey & Sea Salt (Cruller) which sadly, is not pictured above.
The Cake donuts are as you would think by the label given. They are cake shaped donuts. Freshly made, this Triple Matcha Cake donut is fluffy, with a bold matcha flavour to it with just a slight bitterness coming through. The white chocolate and matcha glaze is heavily on the sweet side but that’s par for the course for white chocolate and donuts in general. Love the matcha flavour but not the glaze so much.
Eaten the Shortstop donuts fresh is amazing and I highly recommend you don’t keep the donuts for too long after as the texture, taste does change a bit. The Maple Walnut & Brown Butter Raise donut is incredible. Like the best damn donut I’ve ever tried. Crunchy and toasty maple walnuts with the just sweet enough brown butter glaze on top of this so fluffy raised donut it’s the perfect combination.
The Thai Milk Tea donut is interesting and in a good way. I love fusing Asian flavours with traditionally Western food so this one works for me. The Thai Milk Tea flavour does come through but it’s a bit more subtle than I would have liked but again the donut is top notch. Fluffy and not dry.
The Tiramisu filled donut has a lovely coffee cream filling inside. The coffee flavour is surprisingly intense and might be a bit too strong for my liking with the fluffy donut. However, for those that love their coffee creams strong, this one is for you.
Usually you can’t go wrong with a Cookie & Cream flavour or filling, and this is no different. The Cookies & Cream filling is tasty, the flavour comes through perfectly and the cream is so light and delicious paired with the fluffy donut.
The Cruller’s are interesting. The texture of these donuts is quite airy which is nice, but the honey glaze is incredibly sweet. Too sweet to have the entire donut all to oneself to be honest. The sea salt seasoning does try and put the sweetness back in balance a bit but I wouldn’t order this particular flavour again.
Interesting flavours and more importantly tasty donuts. Donuts done right.
12 Sutherland Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Before coming to Italy 1 on Bourke Road, Camberwell, I checked out the reviews for it on Urbanspoon and it was very mixed. Having that in mind, my overall experience with Italy 1 is good, it definitely is on the upper scale of your dining experience ($$$) but I found the food here to be mostly fantastic bar a few.
As an entree we ordered the Mussels it is cooked with a tomato sugo and seasoned with garlic and tomatoes (mainly). The staff mentioned the mussels here are of a higher quality and so that’s why the mussels are tinier than in most places. The mussels were indeed lovely and fresh and I really couldn’t get enough of the slightly salty, spicy tomato sauce that is flavoured with mussels.
Italy 1’s Baked Scallops were a bit of a downer, the scallops were tiny comparatively to the shell it comes in with the cheesy crust on top being mostly too crusty to gel well with the soft scallop. The scallop was very tasty I must admit but for the price, I don’t believe it’s worth it.
Onto the mains, the Roast Duck with greens was fantastic. The duck was perfectly cooked, and melts in your mouth with all the juices. The sauce that accompanies it, is interesting. I couldn’t quite put my finger on the ingredients sued but it went well with the duck and salad.
The “Rotolo” (hand rolled egg pasta) filled with Spinach and Ricotta, baked and served with burnt sage butter was absolutely divine. You certainly can’t have too much of this because it’s so damn rich with cheese, but the flavours of the ricotta and spinach are bursting out, and the cheesiness of it mixes so well. The baked pasta is crispy and almost pastry like, like a quiche but slightly delicate inside. Yummy
The Duck Ragu with Sage and Pancetta Risotto wasn’t too great to be honest. Overly salty, either from the cheese or duck and slightly under seasoned. It lacked any real distinct flavours but the duck was very tender which is a plus along with the risotto itself cooked al dente.
The Linguine Marinara with mussels, clams, prawns, scallops, fish and seasoned with chilli, parsley and garlic was another winner at Italy 1. The linguine was cooked perfectly (there wasn’t enough!) but I guess the centre pieces of the dish are the seafood so that’s understandable. Seafood overall were fresh and tasty and seasoned well. Really lovely.
For dessert we ordered Tiramisu. Very light but creamy and chocolatey, and with just enough liqueur to keep it moist. Distinct and defined layers. I do prefer Tiramisu to be slightly chilled and although it was served room temperature, it was delicious.
I believe the desserts change slightly on their specials board, but when we dined there the gelato selection was Raspberry, Goat’s Milk and Cassata with crunchy caramel shards. For a sweet treat, the Raspberry gelato was bursting full of raspberry flavour (and slightly sour). I’m finding it that I actually prefer cream based ice cream as opposed to water based simply because the water based varieties are simply much too sweet but on this occasion it wasn’t too bad (it was the sweetest of the three)
The Cassata flavour I believe is based on the cassata cake dessert which is a sponge cake moistened with fruit juices or liqueur, ricotta cheese, cream and candied peel. This was definitely an interesting flavour, and mixed with it were I believe some candied fruit pieces. I’ve never tried this before but would definitely order it again. Tasty
The goat’s milk on first taste was slightly odd because I’ve never tried an ice cream that was just milk but after my initial shock I really enjoyed it. It was milky (of course) and creamy and not too sweet. Probably the best of the three actually.
As mentioned in my opening paragraph, some of the dishes weren’t as good as others but overall I found it to be a very satisfying experience and the staff here are lovely too. Great food, nice ambience on a Saturday night. Price might be an issue for some but it’s good for a night out once in a while.
823 Burke Rd
Camberwell VIC 3124
Bonjouk is located near Specsavers and Thomas Dux Grocer in The Glen Shopping Centre. It mainly serves cafe style food and drinks, and have more recently started selling macarons in their small expansion.
The macarons definitely look appetizing, but they cost $2.70 so it’s a bit on the high end of what they usually go for but I just wanted to try them so I’ll become some kind of skilled macaron expert (jk).
The hulk looking one was a pistachio flavoured macaron with what looks like to be a green jelly. I can tell you, the pistachio flavour was lacking and it was just too sweet for my liking and well the shell is a whole another issue.
The Tiramisu macaron also looked promising, and the filling delivers a great example of how to create a tiramisu flavoured macaron but as noted the macaron shell issue is still here. The problem I have with this shell, is how it doesn’t even seem like a macaron. It is just crisp on the outside, with no real chewy marshmallow balance that most macarons I’ve tasted have. It is also hollow inside so it just lacks the macaron appeal. The shell looks really nice, and high, but that’s what detracts from the experience, along with the lack of almond flavour to it too.
This macaron, I believe, is strawberry’s and cream, and the cream with the strawberry jelly are nice just not very interesting and again, it’s just way too sweet.
This is a Blueberry cheesecake macaron, and the filling is quite nice. Although it was sweet, the cream cheese flavour just balances the sweetness enough to make it balanced. It also has a nice fresh blueberry jam bite in the middle so overall the filling is one of the better ones that Bonjouk sell.
I won’t be trying them again for quite some time. The macaron shell is just way too sweet and the other issues with it really spoil the taste of the macaron as a whole. This is basically what a macaron shouldn’t be
235 Springvale Rd
Glen Waverley, VIC 3150
The Glen Shoppimg Centre