The Fishmonger’s Son

After the closure of much loved Canals fish shop in North Carlton, another business supplying fresh fish has opened on the same site. The aptly named The Fishmonger’s Son is the son of a long time trader at the wholesale fish market.  He will be personally bringing in the catch from the wholesale market to his new retail business at 703 Nicholson Street each morning, so you can be assured of the quality and freshness. The space has had a new fit out and the smartly uniformed ladies serving behind the counter are only too happy to help you with all things piscatorial. Still only a couple of weeks after opening, they are slowing building up the variety of fish and grocery items with the aim of creating a one stop shop for your seafood dinner. So far I have very much enjoyed the John Dory, morwong, salmon and green prawns. The fishmonger’s son is eager to please, don’t hesitate to have a chat with him about your favorite fish or put in an order.

Tuesday – Friday 10 am – 6pm /  Saturday 8am – 1pm

inside newly opened Fishmongers Son

Lavezzi Gelati – From Italy With Love

Lavezzi Gelati has come to Melbourne from the town of Formia, North of Naples, bringing with it all the love that goes into making top quality gelati from premium fruits, nuts, coffee and dairy ingredients. I enjoyed wonderfully flavoured ricotta and pear gelati and, by way of comparison, also tried the ricotta and citrus. Both were exceptional in texture, freshness and flavour. I could really taste fresh ricotta but with the creamy, smooth texture of gelati. I guess this is not surprising given they are all prepared fresh daily by a qualified gelato maker.  You can watch him preparing the gelati at the back of the stylish new store in Lygon street but it is hard to tear your eyes away the long list on the wooden menu board as you agonise over which flavour to choose. Rather than mountains of gelati with eye catching decorative fruit or nuts as flavour credentials, these luscious delights are hidden inside metal pots with lids to retain their freshness. There are a couple of tables inside where you can finish off your gelati indulgence with a coffee.

Lavezzi Gelati has two stores in Melbourne: 334 Lygon Street, Carlton and Eastland Shopping Centre, Ringwood.

Lavezzi gelato Lygon Street

Japanese Summer Festival

The Japanese Summer Festival is on at Federation Square next Sunday February 25 and along with all the traditional Taiko drumming, dancing, kimono and cosplay competitions you can experience some Japanese street food. A common street food in Japan is taiyaki, a fish-shaped type of waffle with green tea, custard, red bean or chocolate cream fillings. Takoyaki is another food that is cooked in dedicated iron moulds, this time as round balls of crispy batter filled with chopped octopus and spring onion or prawn. Look for the Zero Lam stand cooking these two dishes to order but be careful not to burn your tongue. Probably more familiar to most will be the yakatori, skewers of meat cooked over a charcoal fire. Horse Bazaar will be turning the skewers for the Japanese Summer Festival this year.  Shimbashi Japanese Soba Noodle and Sake Bar will also have takoyaki in addition to their wonderful noodles. A classic  street food for those with a hearty appetite is okonomiyaki. It might be difficult to get your tongue around this word but it means “grilled as you like it” and takes the form of a savory pancake layered with anything you want but typically okonomiyaki will have left over tempura bits, pork belly pieces, vegetables and lashings of Japanese mayo. Contrary to the usual Japanese approach of restraint with food this multi layered heart stopper is definitely one for the boys. You can wash all this down with some Japanese beer or cider.

Ovens Street Baker

I have been buying a very nice fruit loaf and sourdough bread from Senserrick Green Grocer recently. The bread comes from a baker that operates out of a small warehouse in an industrial street in the heart of Brunswick and aptly named Ovens Street. It is only open on Sundays, so I guess you could say it is more of a pop-up retail bakery, its main business being wholesale. Baker, Pip Hayes, was baker and part owner of the wonderful Wye River General Store; a great stopping off point for Great Ocean Road trekkers. Melbourne is fortunate to have this recent addition to our small but expanding group of artisan bakers but given we are a city of 4.8 million more of these dedicated people are sorely needed. There are plans to open on Saturdays this year and hopefully expand the reach of their wonderful breads and pastries. Ovens Street has a wide variety of breads, including a light rye, seed loaf, white sourdough, croissants, tarts and Polish doughnuts. The fruit loaf is moist, fragrant and full of juicy chunks of fruit and is fantastic eaten fresh or toasted.

19 Ovens Street, Brunswick, 3056. Open Sunday. No website, facebook page or phone – this baker is too busy.

Bread also available Monday, Thursday and Saturday from Senserrick Green Grocer, 687 Nicholson Street and 384 Rathdowne Street, North Carlton.

Do You Know The Muffin Man?

The muffin man, the muffin man.  Do you know the muffin man, who lives on Drury Lane?  He’s a bit of a mystery; no website or Facebook page, just a few very old tweets and Instagram pics of his amazing handmade English muffins. I guess this baker, like many artisan bakers, is just too busy baking to keep up with demand to worry about marketing. If you manage to find these muffins at select grocers and cafes give them a try, they really are fantastic. While cheaper supermarket varieties have a weird taste that I have never liked, these are beautifully tender and delicious, with a dusting of crispy polenta and no added sugar. Lightly toast them and then smother in butter, honey, marmalade or jam or perhaps top with a poached egg; believe me there is no better way of starting the day.

Drury Lane English Muffins are available, if you are quick, at: Toscanos, Kew; Boccaccio IGA, Balwyn; Wild Things, Fitzroy North and Millstone Cafe and Patisserie, Malvern. Retail price $10.