Armed with a list of places I wanted to try in Melbourne, plus a few recommendations from friends that flowed in, meant that I was never going to make it to all of them. But as Monsieur Poisson’s training course was finally completed we were at least not restricted to only having dinner together. We decided to enjoy a late and relaxing brunch at a place of Wifey’s choosing: La Luna.
I had never heard of La Luna prior to Masterchef but the name Adrian Richardson sounded familiar to me possibly through my reading of food magazines. However he must be a man with a sense of humour as La Luna’s business cards feature a cheeky pig's bottom on the back! Or it could have something to do with his passion for meat – from where it is sourced, how it is butchered, how it is treated and how it is cooked and presented. His bistro displays copies of his book, but also a chalkboard butcher’s drawing of a pig with dotted lines demarcating the different cuts right above the table where we are sitting.
We are here on an overcast and windy day, having had to backtrack after missing the tram stop. The bistro interior is simple and light-filled with interesting light fixtures. We order a caffe latte and a flat white which is served with irregularly cubed sugar – a favourite of Wifey’s, and I wish she was with me to share this dining experience.
We order a ‘La Luna Breakfast’ which consists of many components neatly piled on a dish. There is a thick pork and fennel sausage (really juicy with whole fennel seeds), bacon, poached eggs topped with a blanket of Hollandaise, organic sourdough, half a roasted Roma tomato, onion which has been cooked soft, Kipfler potatoes and herby mushrooms. I love how the sausage and rasher of bacon both have bar marks.
Our other order is the ‘BLT’ which has neat fingers of rasher bacon arranged on goats cheese, tomato and lettuce sitting on toasted brioche. Almost half an avocado is expertly sliced and fanned out on top of the bacon before being decorated by zig-zags of mayonnaise. Another slice of brioche rests to one side and both have been toasted evenly with vertical bar marks. The goats cheese and avocado are great squished on the only slightly sweet, soft brioche. The salty bacon is balanced by the side of sweet, tomato jam and I am amazed at how neat and measured the overall appearance is of this brunch dish.
We pay our bill and stop by the drinks bar to collect our coats before leaving. From there we can see straight into the kitchen where Monsieur Poisson spots chef Adrian Richardson busy at work, and encourages me to take a picture for Wifey. A lady staff member spies me doing so and asks what the photos are for. I explain that I like a memento of my food travels and she says, ‘Oh if it’s for a blog then that’s ok. We just worry about what people use our photos for sometimes.’ Cool!
This is in stark contrast to when I was at Koko Black at the Royal Arcade earlier in the week. I was waiting in line to purchase some chocolates when I decided to take a photo of their different sized and different coloured giftboxes. A staff member en route from the kitchen stuck his hand in front of my camera lens, making me jump and said, ‘No photos’ without offering any further explanation. As this was the first time this had happened to me, I quickly apologised and obediently tucked my camera away. On further thought, I remembered I had been to Koko Black in Canberra about a year beforehand and had photoed the whole chocolate display cabinet without attracting any protest.
Sorry, but I digress.
Monsieur Poisson and I tram it back to the city and wander around for a while before I take him to a place that I passed by during the week. His friend who had previously lived in Melbourne told us there was a great waffle place but couldn’t remember the name or where it was. I was hoping Waffle On was the one, after having spotted several people crossing Flinders Street with takeaway waffles in their hands.
We purchase a waffle with chocolate sauce which comes dusted with icing sugar in a wedge-shaped cardboard holder. The waffle is freshly made, so it is warm, doughy and crusty. We walk back to the hotel eating this waffle whilst fighting puffs of icing sugar hitting our faces being carried by the wind.
320 Rathdowne St (cnr Lee St), Carlton North VIC
Tel: (03) 9349 4888
Opening Hours: Mon CLOSED
Tue-Sat 12pm-3pm (lunch)
Sun 11am-3pm (brunch)
Shop 9, Degraves St, Melbourne VIC
Tel: 0401 408 168
Opening Hours: Sorry, various sources state this place is open Mon-Fri only but I got my takeaway waffle on a Saturday… so, I guess, try your luck?