Category Archives: Places to go

Perfect Pho

Beef Pho from Lam Lam in Northcote

Beef Pho from Lam Lam in Northcote

It’s been very chilly in Melbourne lately. Despite the cold, life continues to set a cracking pace. So after an early start this morning, by midday I was obsessed with the idea of noodle soup to warm me and wake me up.

I headed to one of my favourite local Vietnamese restaurants, Lam Lam in High Street Northcote, for a Chicken Pho (Pho Ga). This light and fresh soup is simple, steaming goodness that works its magic from your sinuses through to your stomach. It is satisfying, healthy and cheap – perfect and reliable for a quick lunch to perk you up ready to face the second half of your day. Choose chicken, beef or a combination of the two, add beansprouts, mint, lemon and chilli to taste. It’s all sorts of yum!

I loved my lunch so much and gobbled it up savouring every slurp. Some days I can’t possibly get through all the silky rice noodles, but today was not one of those days. If I could have tipped and licked the bowl I would have – but that would have been a very bad look.

Of course in the comfort of my own dining room, such social graces are easier to overlook. So very soon I will be trying this recipe for Chicken Pho and I can guarantee not a bit will be wasted.

Have you tried pho? Where is your favourite pho restaurant? Have you tried to make it at home?


Vue To Make You Smile

Novelty hot chocolate - unexpected, but it made me happy!

Novelty hot chocolate – unexpected, but it made me happy!

The Heide Museum of Modern Art in Templestowe, Victoria is one of my favourite places. At any time of year, it is juncture where art, history, nature and food combine in a space that displays the best of modern culture, yet is an intriguing throw back to a Melbourne of times past.

Heide sits on 15 acres in the midst of what is now a residential-heavy Melbourne suburb. Back in the 1930s and 40s the property was owned by John and Sunday Reed and became a hub for Australian artists including Sidney Nolan, Albert Tucker, Joy Hester and John Perceval. As you wander around the property it is easy to imagine how the Reeds and their guests lived back then and appreciate the legacy they left. It is truly amazing in this era of mass development that this unique destination has been able to survive and flourish throughout the decades (recently with lots of corporate philanthropic support).

I’ve been to Heide half a dozen times in recent years, most often with my three kids in tow. The experience is a juxtaposition – open, green hills and garden-rich outside areas perfect for running, rolling and exploring, against the white and tight gallery spaces inside where Don’t Touch is de rigueur. So it can be a bit confusing for kids, but we try to balance lots of outside time with short bursts of the art within.

Our visits are always memorable, such as the time about five years ago when our then three year old son wanted his photo taken in front of every outdoor sculpture, but he insisted on squishing his eyes closed in every shot. Very funny photos.

A recent visit was sans kids. Instead I joined girlfriends for lunch at Cafe Vue at Heide.

The Friday afternoon crowd was less frenetic than the weekend crush, when a wait for a table can prove longer than any preschooler can bear.

I was keen to try the kitchen garden menu where the chefs use fresh produce straight from the extensive herb and vege plots on site.

A crispy duck salad with garden greens was followed by snapper fillets with broth served on a mound steamed chard and topped with a fragrant fish foam. It was simple, seasonal, light and flavorsome – all washed down with a generous glass of bubbles (there’s nothing worse than a skimpy pour). My friends chose a mushroom broth with a light garlic custard which looked, smelled and tasted superb. The waitress mentioned that we might catch the waitstaff sipping mugs filled with the rich mushroom broth, instead of coffee.

Small sweet things were shared to finish, including my semi-sweet hot chocolate presented in a way that made me smile and remember the delight that Heide brings to people of all ages.

Have you been to Heide?

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