Thursday, June 7, 2012

Little King Cafe - Breadwell - Hopetoun Tea Rooms

I love the rain - whether I'm being soaked to the bone in it, or if I'm watching the little droplets collectively tumble to their demise from behind a window. It brings about comfortable solitude in the sense that yes, I'm waiting for a tram by myself, but across the city hundreds or thousands of others could also be feeling the tears against their skin and we're connected by this shared experience. 

But Winter also comes with harsh winds and the bitter cold. So what better way to combat this than a hot hearty meal? L has been wishing for a comfortable couch in front of a roaring fireplace since the warmer weather died out and since that cauliflower soup at Papa Goose, her cravings have only grown :P 

This leads us to the theme of this post: Hot and hearty!

A quick search on Google and I found some places that sounded interesting, starting with..

Little King Cafe
Shop 4/209 Flinders Ln
Melbourne, VIC 3000
You know the parking area next to St Paul's Cathedral, with the archway? That's where LK is. It is adorable! The interior is almost like a dollhouse or a living room with white lace curtains, warm lighting, and three tiny, wooden tables with seating for 6 (and even then it's a bit of a squeeze!). There's some extra seating outside, but we were lucky enough to grab the last table inside :)

Behind the counter is a range of small rolls and other sweet treats, from the ubiquitous brownie to pear tarts and crumbles. The 'menu' is a small handwritten card that sits innocently by a single flower and a cup of sugar with a koala spoon, and even the water came in these tiny glasses that would have better fitted in the hands of a child - I'm sorry, can I just emphasise how cute this place is again?
L and I had the soup of the day, Carrot and Parsnip, with bread ($9) to share. I couldn't get a proper picture of the soup without it looking strange because of it's wide rim so the above is the only photo I've got of it. On the other hand, you get a sense of the size of these tables xD  
'Cuteness' aside, this soup didn't quite hit the spot. The carrot tasted and smelt unpleasantly raw. I tried dipping the bread in but that didn't make it any better. L reaallly liked the butter though, so much that she got another plate of butter afterwards! The bread was a bit tough, but the butter was fantastically light and creamy.

While the soup wasn't a hit, LK has only been open for a month so they get some leeway. As we left, the aroma of coffee was still diffusing across the air. Definitely coming back for a cup, and maybe an indulgent treat to go :D 

Little King Cafe on Urbanspoon

But half a bowl of soup and some bread each certainly didn't completely satisfy our appetites. L craved potato and leek soup, so we tried going to another nearby soup place but none were to her liking so we left for somewhere else. After covering a small distance down Flinders lane though, the 'Button Curse' struck again. The buttons of my coats have a tendency to fall off because I tend to invest in those with heavy buttons that the thread can't actually support. 

And this is why I now carry needle and thread in my wallet. I needed somewhere to sit and fix the button back on, so we stepped into the nearby Breadwell.

135 Flinders Ln

Melbourne, VIC 3000
(EDIT: They've closed. Meatball & Wine Bar now stand in their place)
 Today's special: Lamb Shank Soup ($10.50).

This was a lot better than expected! It was slightly salty, but was eventually overcome by the inherent peppery taste. The lamb bits were soft and tender; the bowl was filled with a variety of other ingredients like celery, zucchini, those soft white things you can find in Asian desserts that I don't know the name of...

Oh the bread. Such an unassuming roll. It was warm and very crusty - there was this beautiful, crisp sound as I broke it apart to reveal the fluffy inside. My only complaint here is I needed much more bread to dunk in the soup TT

 While I was selfishly enjoying my meal, L was going through other possible place for soup. But the want for Shepherds Pie from Hopetoun Tea Rooms was too much to ignore and we were off again~

Breadwell on Urbanspoon

Hopetoun Tea Rooms
Block Arcade (Enter on Collins Street)
Melbourne CBD

While L tucked into her Shepherds Pie (don't know about the taste, but it sure looked good!) I gave in to the call of dessert and ordered a Tiramisu ($14.50). 
After the first bite, I sat for some ten, fifteen seconds just looking around saying 'Woah. Woah'.
I can't remember the last time I had a slice as good as this. Or as much fun. The coffee wasn't that dark, but was perfect with the cream. The cake is a bit dry so you can drench it in the alcoholic cream to get this fantastically smooth, moist (where the intensity is customisable too!) forkful.

This must be what they mean when they say you're destined for greatness tiramisu.

Hopetoun is a a hit and miss for me. Each time I've come I've had a different experience, from tea that almost had a disastrous consequence to a good lunch with friends. Generally, though, the staff are friendly and helpful and it's very easy to become swept along by the chattering crowd and become a bit animated yourself :)
Hopetoun Tea Rooms on Urbanspoon

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