Gypsy Hideout – Northcote

No signs anywhere at 68 High St Northcote – Westgarth end. Coffee is OK but a little simple and weak, but a very interesting and bold menu. We were here on a hot day – no fans inside – lights were all on – why? There is a fan in the backyard terrace area? Why?
Food is interesting though service is hit and miss. There appear to be a lot of people in the kitchen – too many for the amount of food that has to be prepared. Too many cooks …….! Worth a visit – but go on a cool day!  Coffee 3 stars, food 4 stars, service 2 stars. Average of 3 stars. Will revisit!

Has potential to be a Five Star Cafe (or even 6) but inconsistency of service, coffee quality and overall ‘feel’ needs to be improved!

On a recent visit ( January 6th 2012) we can report that the coffee was excellent. Dishes were of very good quality and portion size was good and service was quick. Only comment is that there is a certain ‘sameness’ across the entire menu. Everyone is now doing, poached eggs, chorizo, fetta, harissa etc.  You would think that for a ‘Spanish’ inspired cafe you could find something a little more interesting and authentic.  So for now up to a 4 star rating – which is damn good.  Still no fans or aircon inside – so on a hot day maybe this is not a good choice for those trying to keep out of the heat!

Artisan Champagne Tasting – The French Brasserie – Melbourne

A great evening had by all – 65 Champagne aficionados. Wines on tasting were

1. J.L.Vergnon Cuvee Conversation Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru.
Crisp and complex, really complex savoury aromas – chalk and citrus but with hints of forest, palate is expansive and complex – a really superb entry level Champagne that drinks way way above its humble pedigree.

2. Launois Cuvee Quartz Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru.
Crisp and tight – leaner and greener style than the Vergnon – but with lively lifted fruits on the palate. Reliable and as good as always.

3. Lilbert Cuvee Reserve Grand Cru Blanc de Blanc.
All minerals, chalk, dried fruits – really complex but needs a few months in the cellar to blossom.

4. Jacques Lassaigne Les Vignes de Montgueux Blanc de Blancs.
Spice and smoke on the nose – oak aromas in abundance but this wine gets very little oak treatment. Palate has the classic chalk and quince of the area – huge length. Superb.

5. Voirin-Jumel Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs.
Pure and elegant – not a big wine – all in balance with lovely white fruits and citrus.

6. Francis Boulard Les Murgiers Blanc de Noirs.
Smoke and red fruits here – lovely spice – great balance and lovely mousse.

7. Francis Boulard Millesime 2005.
More finessefull version of the Les Murgiers – complexity and spice – great food wine.

8. Francis Boulard Rose Saignee.
An elegant saignee rose – nice citrus tang, lovely crushed strawberry aromas. Perfect with food or aperitif.

9. Eric Rodez Crayeres Grand Cru.
Great richness and savoury spice – minerals and lovely salty overtones. Superb.

10. Laherte Brut Tradition.
White stone fruits in abundance with lovely acidity and balance. A great wine for such a humble cuvee.

11. Laherte 2007 Les Vignes d’Autrefois.
Pure Meunier – wow – this is huge – over the top on all fronts and can be cellared – will become something very special in two years.

12. Henriet-Bazin Blanc de Noirs Grand Cru.
Ruch red fruits. All round fun wine which everyone likes!

13. Jacky Charpentier Prestige.
Really elegant – poise and finesse – great length and just a hint of spicey oak. Very popular.

14. Jean Vesselle Saignee Rose.
A sparkling ref burgundy almost – great food wine – with quail or guinea fowl.

15. Marc Hebrart Cuvee Selection.
Lovely weight and sophistication – the elegance of Mareuil-sur-Ay shines strongly in this one!