Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Huckleberry Finn

538 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn

Coffee Machine

He says

Glenferrie Hill is by no means the peak of cool. It’s suburban functional in its purest form; there’s a supermarket, a descent fish & chip shop and a pharmacy. Its only real claim to fame is that you can change tram lines at the corner. We live around the corner, and although it’s nice to have all those amenities close by, I never really get excited about taking the walk down there. That is, until Huckleberry Finn opened.

When the previous café in the location suddenly closed down (due to family issues, thanks Gumtree stalking of businesses for sale), I was hoping for something a little more edgy. And from the moment Hucklberry Finn’s oversized Edison bulbs appeared in the window, I suspected my culinary dreams would be answered. So the fit out was going to be appropriately stylish, but was the food going to be just as exciting? There is nothing worse than having your dreams dashed at the last minute, particularly when food is involved.

So the day after it opened we snuck down, without the camera, for a quick spot of breakfast. The staff were delightfully energetic, and I thoroughly enjoyed my bacon and eggs, but we decided not to review it until we’d come back for lunch, mainly so I could try the sliders (of course).

Coffee With Tiny Teddy

She Says

As Gerard mentioned we live around 200 meters from Huckleberry Finn so I was pretty darn excited when it opened up just before Christmas. We went for a first breakfast, where I had a good sweet potato hash brown (v tasty, but could have done with some relish) and I was excited to check it out again over the Christmas break. Unfortunately it closed for Christmas about a week after it had opened and stayed closed for another 2 weeks. It reopened just in time for me to be back at work and unable to visit during the day.

Luckily Gerard and I got back for a lunch the other weekend and I really enjoyed it. The fit out is fun, the staff are friendly and I enjoy the food. The menu isn’t particularly innovative, but it offers a solid brunch selection with a couple of cooked lunch options plus sandwiches. I enjoyed both my visits and will definitely be back for more. I would even visit again if it was more than 2 minutes away.

We Ate

We shared two dishes, first up was the baked eggs & maple beans (cannellini beans, prosciutto and baked eggs with toast – $12.50). We added sides of avocado($3) and Pork and fennel sausage ($3.5). The eggs were great. I particularly liked the thick cut prosciutto. The sausages were good, but maybe a little overcooked.

Baked Eggs & Maple Beans

From the rather small lunch menu we tried the pulled pork sliders in brioche buns with appleslaw, potato skins and chive sour cream ($15.5). We both really enjoyed these, the bread was a particular highlight in the way that only really delicious bread can be.

Pulled Pork Sliders

To Conclude

An exciting new addition to a not super exciting spot, we think there’s plenty of potential.

Huckleberry Finn on Urbanspoon

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Oh brother

Brother Burger and the Marvellous Brew

413 Brunswick St, Fitzroy

Brother Burger Sign

He says

One of my friends, lets call him Mr Bump, has recently moved into Fitzroy with his girlfriend, and he’s been slowly making his way around the restaurants in the area. One of the establishments that has caught his eye was Brother Burger on Brunswick Street: “Best burger in Melbourne” were the words that came out of his mouth. So with that kind of praise, we headed out to Brother Burger and gorged on the delicious burgers and accompaniments, not to mention the Moo Brew Pale Ale on tap. The place had produced a polished burger, in a location with great atmosphere and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience.

Fast forward a month or so, and I convinced Marg that we should go for lunch. I wanted to share that Brother Burger magic that I had experienced the first time. I spent an entire week building it up. The delicious union rings, the brioche bun; I was so relentless in my campaign that you would have thought I worked there.

The lunch did not go well. It wasn’t very busy, which was surprising, but the lone waiter seemed to be completely allergic to the end of the bar where we were sitting. After waiting a painfully long time to order our food, we then waited even longer to receive it. At the end we didn’t even have the opportunity to ask the waiter for the bill, that’s how difficult it was, we just stood next to the cash register until he finally acknowledged us. It was a shame, because the food is rather good. I know Margaret’s going to say differently, but on my second visit I still enjoyed it. My burger had a Huxterburger feel to it, with just a little bit more polish, and the fat chips are a must. The moral of the story? Brother Burger is a great place to grab a bite with your mates, just don’t tell the missus.

Hungry Patron

She says

Gerard came home a few weeks ago after dinner with some friends and was raving about Brother Burger. He said it was the best burger he’d had in Melbourne. Given how many burgers Gerard eats, that got me interested. So, despite my reservations about having almost every meal out recently be a burger (see my rant in discussion of Parlour Diner), I agreed to go and try it out.

I liked the atmosphere at Brother Burger and I loved the bar stools, I am going to go ahead and claim that it was the most comfortable bar stool I’ve sat on in Melbourne. The bar itself is also great, an extra long slab of stone that runs along one side of the open kitchen and seats about 20.

Unfortunately what I didn’t love was the food. There were some good things (like the chips, see below) but I was just completely whelmed by the burger. Underwhelmed even. Maybe I just made a bad ordering choice, maybe my expectations were too high, who knows. All I know is that I walked away disappointed.

We ate

We shared a side of the fat chips ($6). These were the highlight of the meal, they were incredibly crispy and addictive. I would go back and just eat these.

Fat Chips

We also shared the onion rings ($7). They were ok. Personally we prefer the versions at Parlour Diner and Rockwell & Sons though.

Onion Rings

In terms of burgers, Gerard had the lot (bacon, egg, cheese, pineapple, lettuce, pickles, onion and mayo – $17). At $17, I think that this burger is pushing the limits of what can be charged for a bun and meat that doesn’t even come with chips.

The Lot

A friend who was with us for lunch had the royal blue (blue cheese, bacon, onion and pickles – $15). This was probably the pick of the burgers and has won over a number of my friends.

Royal Blue

I had the Jolly Jumbuck (lamb burger with beetroot, lettuce, pickles, preserved lemon and minted yoghurt – $15). I was so excited about this burger, I wanted to think it was great, heck, I would have been happy with just enjoying it! I didn’t enjoy it. I liked the toppings and thought the combination was good but the patty really let the whole burger down. It was dry, it was chewy and it just wasn’t good. Maybe I caught the lamb on a bad day, but I wouldn’t risk ordering it again to find out.

Jolly Jumbuck

In the end

I’ve heard good things about the burgers (including from Gerard!) but when we visited together they just weren’t very good. Let’s call them variable at best.

Brother Burger and the Marvellous Brew on Urbanspoon

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Colonel Mustard, in the Parlour, with the Rope

Parlour Diner

64 Chapel St, Windsor

Parlour Dinner

He Says

Being North Eastern suburbs born and bread, I get a little uncomfortable any time anyone mentions Chapel Street. I sort of screw my nose up and then do a little wiggle, which translates into “oh, you haven’t been to Gertrude street”, or back when I was younger “Brunswick street is so much more Melbourne”. Chapel Street was always that kilometer too far to get to, and I’ve kept that attitude into my productive years. Even now, at only 7 kilometers away from our apartment, I still prefer to drive to Collingwood or Northcote. So I was a little bothered when Marg suggested (she does a lot of suggesting, doesn’t she?), that we try out Parlour Diner on Chapel Street. I was annoyed up until she mentioned they serve burgers and milkshakes.

On arrival at Parlour Diner, we were squeezed next to a couple of people who were either having the most awkward date in the history of awkward dates, or were “friends” that hadn’t worked out the basics of having a conversation. The waitress bubbly handed us the menu, and I straight away ordered a Dr Pepper. I know it’s cool to hate on Dr Pepper, but it’s one of those drinks that grows on you. You’ll hate it the first nine times, and then on the tenth time you’ll love it. I’d psyched myself up so much for the Dr Pepper that I was heartbroken when they didn’t have it. To make myself feel better, I ended up ordering a half rack of ribs.

Parlour Dinner

She Says

We seem to be on a bit of a burger streak recently, almost every time we go out recently we seem to end up at a burger place. I feel like burgers are our new mexican. Some of the burgers are blending together a little, but Parlour stands out in my mind, partially because the burger was really good but mainly because they had great onion rings and milkshakes.

My name is Margaret, and I am addicted to onion rings. I don’t remember when my obsession started, but for as long as I can remember I’ve insisted on ordering onion rings anywhere they are served. In the last 12 months my onion ring intake has exploded. It has been delicious. My waistline is not so thankful for the huge increase in the number of American diner style cafes though, maybe I should just trade my scales for more onion rings – that’s healthy right?

We Ate

As I mentioned above I have a weird obsession with onion rings so we had to share a bowl. The pale ale onion rings ($5) were pretty, pretty darn good. They were probably the best onion rings that I’ve had recently (better than Brother Burger and Rockwell & Sons for sure). Just look at them! I can almost taste the crunch.

Onion Rings

Gerard had the BBQ baby back ribs basted in Smokey Hickory Sauce (half rack – 6 Ribs – for $22.5). Now Gerard always loves a good rib, but I haven’t seen him looking so happy after eating a piece of meat in a long time. The sauce was also pretty good.


I had the Parlour Burger (a beef patty with tomato, lettuce, cheese and pickles for $9). This was probably the best burger I’ve had in a while. We seem to have been to a lot of burger places lately (B.East, Brother Burger etc) but this was probably my favourite burger of the last 6 months. Big call? Maybe, I just felt it had a great balance of toppings though – and bread that didn’t fall apart.

Burger Time

To Conclude

It may not be on Smith Street but Parlour serves some pretty good (and very on trend) US-style food. And some seriously good onion rings.

Parlour Diner  on Urbanspoon

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Little Train That Could

Zumbo – Dessert Train

Shop 1, Cafe Court The Star/80 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont, Sydney


He Says

So my first introduction to Adriano Zumbo was not a pleasant one. I didn’t have the opportunity to fawn over his masterpieces on Master Chef from the comfort of my living room, but I did have the opportunity to spend 40 minutes queuing outside his hole-in-the-wall Balmain store. The pastries were amazing, but the mild heat stroke and sore feet took the shine off the experience.

Balmain is a little too far from the city for a quick dash after work, but luckily Adriano Zumbo has opened an outpost at The Star (the artist formerly known as Star City).  The Star is a brief 5-minute walk from Darling Harbour, but if you haven’t been before you’ll definitely want to look it up on Google Maps, as the signage is terrible. Anyway, back to Zumbo’s; there’s a takeaway shop, where you can pick up delicious tubes of macarons, but more importantly there is a dessert train. Just like a sushi train (which by the way are surprisingly popular in Sydney), you sit down and take whatever takes your fancy off the train. And after extensive testing of the dessert train, my upper limit at Zumbo’s is two dishes, because afterwards you will be comatose with the amount of sugar you’ve ingested.

In case of emergency break glass

I really love the concept, and at first I really enjoyed the Alice and Wonderland decor, but after a couple of visits it’s just beginning to look a little tired. Like they’ve got this elaborate dessert train, but it’s very rarely even half full. Same goes with the emergency cabinets, look great, but each one holds but a morsel of Zumbo glory. They’ve obviously had all these grand plans that they executed initially, but now they’ve got a bit looser in their day-to-day execution, which saddens me a little.

She Says

When we were in Sydney Gerard and I visited his favourite after work dessert place – the Zumbo dessert/sushi train. I thought the idea was amazing. Is it just me or are sushi trains a whole lot bigger in Sydney than Melbourne? Last time we were there I noticed 3 of them when walking past restaurants, 3! I have no idea where I could find even one in Melbourne. The Zumbo dessert version was almost overwhelmingly colourful, but as Gerard mentioned was looking pretty bare (to be fair, maybe that’s because we were there at around 5pm on a Saturday, possibly not a peak dessert time).

I really enjoyed the experience for the novelty, my only real issue is that a lot of the dishes on the train weren’t labelled, so I had a really hard time figuring out what most of them were.  While I enjoyed it and think it is worth experiencing once, I’m not sure that I would  make the hike again. I don’t care what Gerard says about it being a 5 minute walk from Darling Harbour, if you’re walking that distance in 5 minutes you are some sort of super-human fast walking machine who probably shouldn’t be eating plates of macarons.

Dessert Train


We Ate

Pricing is by colour coded plates. Black plates (including the selections of 4 mystery macarons) are $10.50,  pink plates $9.50 and white plates $8.50.

Gerard had the chocolate coffee brulee, serious chocolate overload. This involved a chocolate coffee brulee, chocolate cake and a milk & espresso emulsion. Way too rich for me, but Gerard managed it (and another dish!).

Chocolate coffee brulee

I had the Violet Crunchie which had honeycomb foam, something violet and moussey, chocolate and pieces of honeycomb. It was pretty delicious. I’m not normally a huge foam fan, but put it in a dessert and I’m on board.

Violet Crunchie
Gerard also had the Chocolate Namelaka which was made up of chocolate mud cake, chocolate namelaka (a creamy chocolate concoction), salted caramel and more chocolate. It was delicious. This was probably the highlight of the train.

Chocolate Namelaka
To Conclude

The Dessert train is a great concept, and for us Melbournians craving the Zumbo blessing, it’s a perfect way to sample the magic without having to travel into the wilds of Sydney.

Adriano Zumbo Pâtissier on Urbanspoon

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