Tag Archives: Carlton

it only takes seven seeds to yield visits aplenty

I miss Alex.

Seven Seeds interior

There, I admitted it.

Months and months of trawling through random bits of paper and I found a (deliberately) silly poem I wrote about Lenin, Russia and global warming on a receipt. On the other half, I found coffee blends and single origins he’d recommended to me and realised I missed him quite a bit, despite having seen a fair bit of him for some serious fat bastardry in Hong Kong this January just passed (he’s actually a killer karaoke singer – wouldn’t have picked that).

Though Alex looks to give the impression that he’d be the first person in the world to possibly accidentally offend you, one of the things I’ve always admired about him is that if you straight-up say “I have no knowledge of <insert appropriate topic here>” then he is happy to share the knowledge he’s acquired in said area.

I’d initially met him at a Libertine pigfest that I’d somehow successfully managed to arrange and so we got to chat more via that dreaded microblogging social platform and confessed, look, I can’t drink a lot of coffee due to side effects of meds AND idiot IBS, but I want to learn more. Care to help a nigga out?

Seven Seeds, back counter

Thus, he took me to Seven Seeds and my coffee initiation begun.

Seven Seeds counter

I think that date we had four or so coffees each – I had as much as I knew my body would handle – espresso, the Magic (a double ristretto in case Courtney crucifies me for referring to it as thus), Clover, long black.

the 'magic'

Clover coffee

Man, why didn’t Seven Seeds exist when I was actually still at bloody uni? No matter, I was stuck in a soulless job just round the corner (though many of my bosses and coworkers were rad) and it became my pre-work ritual to pick up a soy Magic with the SS house blend. Pretty sure that their soy Magics are what kept me sane. I remember negotiating door, takeaway coffee and various things in hands and once dropping said takeaway coffee on floor. People from another project rushed to my aid but it wasn’t the humiliation, it was the sheer loss of wondrous caffeine goodness that I most lamented. Screw my dignity.

squee! bikes!

On the more common occasions, I’d show up with a grin (don’t worry, the grin wouldn’t be around for too long after), sipping my precious. “Where did you get that?” my favourite team leader would ask. “Oh, Seven Seeds, just up the road a bit…” and after explaining just how far, it was vetoed as a work coffee run place due to being too far.

Oh, did I mention they do great nibblies too? I never feel lonely eating here by myself – the staff are always so lovely and happy to explain the coffee to you till the moment of epiphany hits. Here’s one of the heartier baked beany type meals I had. Infinite comfort food.


If you want something more breakfasty rather than brunchy, then how about granola?

granola with berry compote and honeyed yoghurt

Or if you’ve survived an onslaught with the public and private health system (as I seem to be doing of late) and are feeling like a treat, then go with the special of the day – smoked salmon, radish, red onion, watercress, rocket and mixed salad with creme fraiche dressing – salut, Monsieur Decadence.

smoked salmon, radish, red onion, watercress, rocket and mixed salad with creme fraiche dressing

If you can’t eat in, then why not grab a takeaway coffee and some delectable snacky-wacks? I admit these were initially chosen due to their looks but they most certainly did not disappoint. You can see they are divided exactly down the middle so no one has to fight for their share…

flourless mandarin cake & hummingbird cake with takeaway coffee

It’s not just a Carlton institution, it’s a coffee institution. Still feels weird to visit now that Alex isn’t in Melbourne anymore, but it’s a treasured haunt.

just general Seven Seeds prettiness

Seven Seeds on Urbanspoon

lightning-fast ramen hunt

A while back a bunch of Melbourne food bloggers got together and hunted around for Melbourne’s best ramen. If Twitter’s not playing up, you can probably find live updates of these adventures by doing a search for the hashtag #ramenhunters.

Momo Sushi

I finally had long enough for lunch up the road from my work and decided to check out a place called Momo Sushi on Swanston Street. I’ve walked past it countless times and never been able to have sushi. When I finally made it, the sushi offerings were scant as it was past the lunch rush. I took a punt on the place’s chashu ramen instead.

charsiu ramen

To be honest, it was pretty disappointing as far as great examples of ramen go. The noodles were unremarkable, the meat (shredded, rather than finely sliced) was so chewy that it made eating a chore. However, it came out very quickly. I slugged it down quickly like my old Japanese coworkers used to slurp their noodles. I still can’t quite do it as well as them.

The highlight was the coffee. This tiny, modern place has a goddamn Synesso and someone who actually knows how to use it! After my lunch, I had a soy latte to take away. Not quite as rad as my Seven Seeds Magic fix (sadly, Seven Seeds is just a little too far to walk to get work coffee).

Given the name of the eatery, I vowed to return to get some serious sushi action. I’m not a big fan of the whole cooked fillings in nori rolls schtick, so I went two rolls of raw salmon (oi! Don’t knock the classics, you hear?) and one nori-wrapped onigiri. Beautifully fresh and way better than the prepared pizza lunch work had organised for everyone, I thought slightly snobbishly, hehe. I don’t recommend having onigiri if you’re sloshed, however. Refer to the photos below for eludication…

don't get this when you're drunk

opening is a three-step process!

Don’t worry, it’s a rewarding experience and worth the effort.

salmon onigiri

I couldn’t really contain myself and ordered a large soy latte and said to the barista that their coffee was fucking awesome. He beamed and told me he’s a big coffee geek and the blend I was drinking was a four-bean blend with Guatamalan coffee and hints of barley. His planned one for the day after was a three-bean blend. If you’re in the area, stop by, grab some coffee and fresh sushi and have a chat to the barista, he’s lovely. It erks me that they’re cash-only but I can harden up and get organised beforehand.

Momo Sushi on Urbanspoon

eat like a Malaysian here? yes please

Chai Eat Like Malaysian restaurant

There’s a good swag of Asian eateries near where I work and I felt it was about time I started to check them out. One such place on Pelham St in Carlton is the Malaysian restaurant Chai – Eat Like Malaysian. The menu is massive and it’s sleek, modern and has excellent service. The first time I went there, I ordered the bak kut teh rice purely based on its very enticing photo on the menu though I’d initially chosen something else. Would you believe it was the tofu that attracted me?

When the dish arrived, I was not disappointed. Beautiful, flavoursome soup with tofu and big, fat shittake mushrooms that soak up the broth with a few fish balls thrown in for good measure. This all came with a side of rice and some puffy balls of pastry.

bak kut teh rice

Tristan came along and ordered a rice dish – the chicken and salted fish fried rice. Very Asian and reminded me of Mum’s cooking – good comfort Asian fare. It doesn’t look overly pretty, I know, but don’t let that dissuade from trying it. Sometimes these sorts of dishes are the best reminder of everyday Asian food.

chicken and salted fish fried rice

I vowed to return as the food is fantastic and there’s heaps on the menu I want to sample.

Return I did. One freezing night after work, I didn’t feel like heading home so thought I’d visit again. This time I tried the assam laksa. The broth is sweet, spicy and sour. This laksa has small, chopped round rice noodles soaking at the base with small pieces of fish. On top, there is finely chopped cucumber and chilli. I got my chopsticks and gently submerged everything into the broth to make it nice and hot (temperature and chilli hot). This dish tastes a litlle Vietnamese inspired with the coriander and the sourness. I’m quite the chilli wimp but loved it in this. The perfect bowl of noodles for the winter! Those short rice noodles are quite hard to grab with chopsticks – I really had to work hard to get food into my mouth!

assam laksa

With my laksa, I ordered teh tarik, or Malaysian pulled milk tea. It was warming, sweet and comforting. The waiter asked me after my meal if I liked the tea – the staff here always seem interested in how you liked your chosen offerings, which has impressed me from the beginning. Chai is just around the corner from Norsiah’s Kitchen (and truth be told, I think it’s actually better than Norsiah’s). On the most recent visit, the place was very busy for a Wednesday night and so it should be: cheap, fantastic service and delicious food. I don’t know what took me so long to get into Malaysian food. Urbanspoon has its name listed as ‘Chai – Malaysian Mamma’s Kitchen’ but I can’t see this on any of their menus or the storefront hence my calling it ‘Chai – Eat Like Malaysian’ which is on the menus and store window.

Chai - Malaysian Mamma's Kitchen on Urbanspoon