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Monday, January 27, 2014

Northside eats: La Condesa Taqueria, Grace & Penny Farthing Espresso

La Condesa Taqueria is not breaking new ground, you've heard it all before - it's a small taqueria with the total items on the menu being so concise that you could count them on the fingers of your hands. Apart from the small window front, the rest of the area is in a sort of makeshift beer garden hidden off a back alleyway.



There is no alcohol being served due to the lack of liquor license although that is due to change with the imminent opening of the inside area. Instead, the pineapple water was sweet, not artificially so, and incredibly refreshing with the addition of chopped basil.

Pineapple and basil water ($4)

The corn in a cup was topped with quark, spices and a tangy sauce. Addictive and delicious.

Elotes ($5)

At the front counter, a tray of jarred condiments filled with a variety of hot sauces, salsas and avocado sauce. Although I had better fish tacos, I still enjoyed the tangy sauce and the freshness of the salad in the taco. The marinated steak taco was my favourite, completed with a spritz of lime and some avocado salsa.

 Pescado and arrachera tacos ($4 each)

Mr A was in agreement with me about the fish taco but he deemed the chorizo taco a winner as well - spicy, meaty and well flavoured.

Pescado and chorizo tacos ($4 each)

The tacos here are on the smaller side, although during weekdays at lunch, they have a special offer of three tacos for a tidy sum of $10 - something I'll be keeping note of for future visits. The menu is concise and tacos are simple but they hit the spot. Nothing fancy here, very chill and enjoyable.

Food: 7.5/10
Service: 7.5/10
Value: 7.5/10
Will I return? Yes, a little on the smaller size but the tacos are nice.

La Condesa Taqueria
234 Johnston Street
Fitzroy VIC 3065
(03) 9123 4567
 

Wed to Sun 12pm - late

La Condesa Taqueria on Urbanspoon

The weekend following Christmas, Mr A and I both had our hair appointments in the city. Unfortunately, by the time we were done, majority of the cafe kitchens had closed. So lucky for us, Grace in Fitzroy were open for an extra hour longer.


Being a superbly hot day, it felt bothersome to down a hot, milky coffee but in my books, caffeine is non-negotiable. When I sighted iced lattes on the menu, it was a light bulb moment - of course, that's the answer for summer, that alongside cold drips over ice and the like. We requested that our drinks to be made strong, so our iced lattes were made with two espresso shots. Strong, creamy and best of all, completely refreshing in the suffocating heat.

Strong iced lattes ($3.50 each)

From the recommendation from our waiter, I went with the smoked salmon breakfast plate. The beetroot dip encompassed such freshness with its natural sweetness while the mix of herbs, especially the dill, complemented the smoked salmon incredibly well. The avocado half was best enjoyed simply - with a squeeze of lemon and cracked pepper on top. It was a basic and simple dish in terms of presentation and flavour but sometimes, that's all you need.

Smoked salmon breakfast ($15)

Mr A's toasted tuna melt consisted of tuna, pickles, red onion, rocket, tomato, mayo and melted cheese topped with a cornichon. Altogether, an enjoyable toasted sandwich which Mr A gobbled up with no complaints.

 Cheesy Tuna ($13)

Grace is eclectic and retro with the staff all being very accommodating and friendly, even in the extreme heat. Another plus is that they're open an hour longer than most cafes, to help caffeinate the population when the rest of the cafes close up shop.

Food: 8/10
Service: 8.5/10
Value: 8.5/10
Will I return? Yes, our meal was simple yet, spot on.

Grace
76 Rose St
Fitzroy VIC 3065


Mon to Fri 7am - 4pm
Sat & Sun 8am - 5pm

Grace on Urbanspoon

The temporary cafe closures over the festive season most likely disrupted more plans than anticipated. Despite compiling a lengthy list of cafes open and closed over the holidays, Ms L and I had arrived a week too early for the reopening of Mixed Business in Clifton Hill. Luckily, there wasn't a shortage of cafes in the area so we hopped over to Northcote and settled into a window table at Penny Farthing Espresso. Starting off with some deliciously, strong coffees made with Industry Beans' Fitzroy St blend. Even Ms L, who is particularly picky when it comes to her long macchiatos, was impressed with their brew.

 Flat white ($3.80)

The hanging blackboard was filled with daily specials, however we decided to refer to the menu and were recommended a few personal favourites from our welcoming waiter.


Like many other Melbournians out there, Ms L is unfailingly drawn to the corn fritters. Unfortunately, they deviated far from the crispy description - accompanied with an almond capsicum relish, wood smoke bacon and a poached egg, the corn fritters were undercooked and doughy inside. We were sharing our dishes so while I was cutting into the fritters, even the knife came away with sticky batter, so we weren't able to finish the corn fritters.

 Corn Fritters ($18)

Hidden underneath a fried egg and a mix of fennel and orange salad, was a crisp potato and ham hock hash. It ended up being the better dish, the freshness and sweetness of the salad marrying well with the salty ham hock hash and pide bread.

Ham Hock Hash ($18)

The undercooked corn fritters were a hiccup in our meal, however our waiter deducted the coffees from our bill which was a nice gesture. Considering corn fritters are done so well elsewhere and the volume of fantastic cafes in the area, I would most likely only return for the coffees.

Food: 7/10
Service: 7/10
Value: 7.5/10
Will I return? Only for coffees.

Penny Farthing Espresso
206 High St
Northcote VIC 3070
(03) 9482 2246
 

Mon 7:30am - 5pm
Tues to Fri 7:30am - late
Sat & Sun 8:30am - late

Penny Farthing Espresso on Urbanspoon

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