Journal Canteen Melbourne CBD Review

FeaturedMelbourne journal cafe

journal canteen melbourneBest for: Early mornings, solo coffee lovers, weekday brunch, sitting in, work friendly space 

I can’t believe that I’ve been in Melbourne for almost six weeks collectively and I’ve not done a cafe feature yet- believe me it’s not for lack of coffee drinking. Melbourne is an Australian city that’s famed for its coffee: supposedly there’s not a bad cup of coffee to be had here and so far I have to agree with that. As someone who has a severe caffeine addiction, I feel right at home in Melbourne and the irony is that I’ll look for food in the reduced section of the supermarket but will always splash out for a coffee or two.

Since arriving in Melbourne, having got myself a job and being busy with christmas and New Year, indulgent coffee dates with myself and lazy mornings have been a rarity. However today I had the day off work and made it my mission to wake up early and accomplish everything I wanted to- and that primarily included going somewhere nice for morning coffee.

Journal Canteen

Today I went to Journal Cafe which is located right in the heart of the hustle and bustle of the city in one of my favourite roads,  Flinders Lane. I though this cafe would be a good one to do a bit of a feature on as it’s about as Melbournian a cafe as you can get.

journal canteen melbourne

The Decor

Journal canteen is not quite a cafe, not quite a restaurant, a description that is apt for a lot of Melbourne’s coffee shops. However unlike a lot of the eating and drinking establishments in the city centre, Journal has lots of room to sit in. It’s open plan decor means that it’s spacious, bright and best of all it’s not imposing if you’re just wanting to have a coffee by yourself.

The Menu and prices

Whether you’re just after a quick coffee, a cooked breakfast or a sit down meal, Journal’s simple but accommodating menu has something to offer for everyone. The cafe offers all of the usual options for breakfast and then a small selection of pasta dishes and roasts for lunch and dinner. The staff were really welcoming and the service was so efficient. Prices in the cafe are average for Melbourne, around $16 for mains and $5  for a coffee.

melbourne journal canteen

I didn’t have anything that fancy this morning apart from a coffee and a croissant: obligatory despite having just had breakfast. The coffee was excellent and the croissant was warm and flaky. They have a handful of newspapers on the counter ready to read. All in all it’s a nice place to start the day off in the city.

Journal Canteen, 254 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, VIC, 3000

Combi Byron Bay Cafe Review

Featuredreview byron bay brunch combi

Best for: Brunch, lunch, vegan, raw, organic and gluten-free options

After a couple of months travelling down Australia’s East Coast, It’s almost time for the ‘holiday’ part of my Working Holiday to end and for me to start looking for some work back in Melbourne. The end of this bit of the trip also means that it’s sadly time to say goodbye to my friend and travel companion and instead embark on my own new solo adventure. 

However, our East Coast travels aren’t quite done yet as we haven’t reached Sydney and we still had one more place to tick of the bucket list first: Byron Bay.

Byron is infamous worldwide for being a little oasis of hippies and backpackers in Australia and as soon as we got here, it really did feel like this place is in it’s own little  bubble from reality. In a way Byron is how I imagined all of Australia to be: surfers everywhere, smoothie bowls galore, great coffee, beach parties and chilled clubs. Of course all of Australia isn’t like that- and I’m glad that it isn’t but Byron Bay really fits the stereotype.

Over the past few months I’ve had a hard time justifying spending $5 on a coffee when I can cook dinner for the same price, let alone spending four times that on brunch, which has resulted in an abnormally absent presence of cafe reviews on this blog.

However its turns out that two months of scrounging for leftovers in the free food section of the hostels and debating over which peanut butter is cheaper per kg has paid off and by some miracle I have some money left so, the other day we decided to treat ourselves to brunch out, in typical Byron Bay style. 

review byron bay brunch combi

review brunch byron bay combi

review brunch byron bay combi

Combi, Byron Bay

Out of all of the overpriced and ‘totally me’ cafes in Byron, we decided to go to Combi because it has everything you could want out of a Byron cafe: Beautiful smoothie bowls, buddha bowls, vegan cakes and a minimalist open decor. 

Combi isn’t cheap and I did have a bit of a- ‘how much?!‘ moment, when I saw the $20 veggie bowl prices, but the food is fantastic and if a girl can’t treat herself to brunch out in Byron, then where can she? When it comes to brunch I’m always divided between sweet and savoury (if it’s encompassing breakfast and lunch then I need both sections fulfilled right?) So me and my friend took the only sensible option and split two dishes. We went for Combi’s vegan veggie bowl: a really filling dish of lemony rice, tempeh, loads of veggies and an incredible peanut sauce, along with the organic acai bowl, topped with lots of fruit and granola.

If you’re after something smaller then Combi also do the most aesthetically pleasing range of vegan and raw deserts as well as a huge selection of coffees and smoothies.

Combi: 5b/21/25 Fletcher Street, Byron Bay, NSW 2481.  

Main dishes cost around $15-20 USD. Open for breakfast, brunch and lunch.  There are Loads of vegan, Gluten Free and Raw options to choose from.

Attendant cafe review, Shoreditch, London

Best for: Brunch, lunch, coffee with friends, takeaway

As much as I love Brighton, sometimes I do feel like I’ve exhausted all the coffee shops. Luckily for me London is just an hour away. However the issue is with London is that everything takes that little bit more planning and it’s not often I just happen to walk past good independent coffee shops in the city centre so a day trip means that some prior research is always involved.

After looking online I decided to head to Shoreditch, East central London, which is apparently where all the cool people hang out. I’ve been to Shoreditch before but I feel like I’ve never really understood it. Sure,  I’ve found a few vintage shops, some street graffiti and a couple of coffee shops but nothing like the hipster haven that it’s hailed to be online. Anyway this time I decided to do a bit more research and try to get to grips with the area.

BAB958D6-4414-4F2F-BDCC-A996A62FA977.JPG

The Decor

I decided to head to Attendant,  a cafe that I’d read about online, hailed for its Australian style brunches and good coffee. The cafe was easy enough to find and I immediately fell in love with its arty and contemporary decor and chilled vibe. Undoubtedly it’s mainly a brunch with friends kind of place because the main seating area is dominated by large tables although it has nice window seats at the front that are good for solo coffee lovers too.

The fact that you get seated in this cafe and pay at the end kind of put me on edge as it felt a little formal. Still the decor is fantastic. Clean, not grungy with lots of hanging plants and loads of space to relax.

The Menu and Prices

As I’m off travelling in Australia in a couple of weeks I thought I should save some money so I just went for a flat white. It was good and punchy and everything a flat white should be. At around £3 a coffee it’s pretty average for london prices and they bring over a bottle of cucumber water which is an added bonus.  There’s a lot to choose from on the menu with all of the typical brunch dishes on offer like waffles, breakfast bowls and things on toast. If I wasn’t so stingy I would have probably gone for the house waffle with apricot compote, lemon mascarpone and meringue. Most dishes cost a reasonable £8.

After pretending to be productive on my laptop and taking up one of the window seats for a lot longer than I should have, I set off exploring Shoreditch. I randomly bumped into one of my best friends and ended up making dinner plans,  scouted out a whole load of cool graffiti, admired some very cool vintage shops but couldn’t find anything that I’d actually wear and ended up at Spitalfields market which was a quirky mismatch of fruit and veg stalls, fancy restaurants, more vintage stalls and a dancing flash mob: Ok Shoreditch, I totally get you now.

A 20-Something’s Travel Guide to Paris

 A 20- something’s travel guide for the best vegetarian food, vintage shops and exhibitions in Paris

When one of my best friends told me she was going to be in Paris for July I couldn’t resist booking a long weekend to visit her and explore one of my favourite cities. I couldn’t have been more lucky with the timing because not only was I blessed with gorgeous weather but my trip also coincided with Bastille Day and France winning the World Cup Final so it made for an amazing weekend.

Paris is a city that oozes romance and beauty more than any other European city and it’s a place that’s totally captured my heart. I absolutely adore the French capital for its culture, the effortless Parisian chic style, the magnificently detailed architecture and the fact that there’s a patisserie or boulangerie on almost every street, each as equally wonderful as the last.

I think that Paris is really under rated as a European city as it’s often thought of as a bit stuffy which is a HUGE misconception and whether you’re looking for vintage shopping, quirky cafes or late night bars, Paris has got everything to offer and more. So, if you consider yourself a bit of a hipster then read on.

A1CB06B4-47A8-4ABC-9233-E0AC1D4588C2.JPG547A6849-F61B-49B1-B5BD-50AB44A6756A.JPG0ACD2169-5ACF-4A75-8347-76A30931057A.JPG

Areas you need to visit 

La Marais district

La Marais is an area that’s spread over the 3rd and 4th arrondissement of Paris and its most definitely the ‘hipster’ part of the city. This was my first time knowingly visiting this area and now I’d say it’s my favourite part of Paris. I can only describe it as very ‘London Shoreditch’ with lots of street art, vintage shops, proper coffee shops (which are harder to find in Paris) and boutique stores.

Be sure to check out Mad Vintage for inexpensive second-hand fashion, the quirky Igor Stravinsky fountain and surrounding square and the Jewish district at Rue des Rosiers.

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Montmartre

I’ve been to Paris a few times and I always have to go to Montmartre. Probably one of the most obviously beautiful parts of the city, Montmartre is the artists corner of Paris and the entire area with the beautiful Sacre Couer church and the surrounding cobblestone streets are a photographers paradise.

There’s so much to do in this part of the city but one thing that can’t be missed is taking a walk up to the Sacre Couer because its hard to beat the view over the city from up there. Any film buffs will recognise this church from the classic film, Amelie starring Audrey Tatou- one of my personal favourite films. (Speaking of which make sure to check out the Cafe des Deux Moulins if you’re in the area as it’s the cafe that Amelie was also filmed in).

I love Montmartre because its known as the artists part of paris and along with the portrait artists in the main square you will find lots of independent galleries and exhibitions here. More about these further on in this post. 

CCA2CC39-4884-4175-A73C-57E914E10C2B.JPG

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

1514D11F-3C5E-4869-9033-D8EF590D67A7.JPG

Bastille (like the band)

Not just great for shopping, Bastille is packed full of record stores, trendy bars and music venues.

Be sure to check out Supersonic, a live bar with a New York loft style design, cheap drinks and a party that keeps going until the early hours of the morning at the weekend.

If you’re after somewhere a little more low-key then try Le Berliner. This german bar had a vintage, rustic vibe with squishy arm chairs, a Photo Booth and underground music.

Rue Crémeiux (the 12th arrondissement)

You don’t need to look hard in paris to find gorgeous architecture. However  Rue Cremiux, a quiet Parisian cobblestone street with multi coloured houses is more beautiful than most and the perfect place to go and take your Instagrams (Come on, you know you want to).

passport please blog

The Latin Quarter

Although touristy, the Latin Quarter has too many beautiful narrow streets, bookstores and cafes to be ignored. One place you can’t miss is Shakespeare and Company. Surely one of the most famous bookshops in the world, I could spend hours pondering over the books in this chaotic jumble of a bookshop located right over the road from the Notre Dame.

Since opening in 1951 Shakespeare and Company has become world-famous however wandering around between the narrow rows of books,  you’ll still feel like you’re one of the first people to discover this literary oasis.

If you’re a film lover or if you’re just looking to take a break from walking then the Latin Quarter has lots of Arthouse cinemas such as Le Champo and Le Reflet Medicis for you to escape in for a couple of hours and watch a movie.

shakespe.JPG

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

IMG_8621

Exhibitions

La Villa Extraordinaire

On reccomendation of my friend we went to La Villa Extraordinaire which is a really crazy and quirky immersive exhibition that’s open until the end of July in the Montmartre area. This building has loads of rooms full of interactive and contemporary exhibitions, each totally mental and different from the last. It also has a really nice garden area that you can sit and have a drink after.Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

Palais De Tokyo 

I’m really annoyed that I didn’t have the time to visit Palais De Tokyo on this trip as its somewhere I really wanted to go. This really cool modern art museum has more than most with cutting edge contemporary art exhibitions that are fun and edgy. It has a few different exhibitions at a time of which vary every few months and tickets cost $12 with concessions for students. It’s located near the Eiffel Tower so you could stop by if you’re looking to take a break from sight-seeing.

Green spaces

Paris lacks the volume of outdoor green spaces that you find in other cities like London however there are still lots of pockets that you can go to and escape the urbanisation of the city.

The Seine

Every city needs its water source and in Paris that’s the river Seine. If you’re visiting the city in the summer then you can take advantage of the deck chairs and makeshift beach areas set up along by the river or alternatively just take a stroll along in the sun. Also it’s obligatory to grab a friend and spend the early evening by the river with a bottle of wine.

4EB77DB5-27A5-4036-A5CD-C35F0B56CBCA.JPG

Parc de Belleville

The only other place to rival the view from the Sacre Couer is the one from the Parc de Belleville. Unlike the Sacre Couer this park actually has views of the Eiffel Tower and it’s more of a popular choice with locals rather than tourists ( it’s a bit further out in the 20th Arrondissement) so it’s a much quieter place to go and escape the hustle and bustle.

Jardin des Tuileries

If you head over to the Louvre then you’ll come across the Jardin des Tuileries, a beautifully manicured park with a lake, a few cafes and views of the Eiffel Tower. I picked up some hummus, baguette and french tarts for a makeshift picnic here. 91046C02-B0C8-4F4F-84E3-4CAEA89F1DFF.JPG

Eating out

8115DC7A-46DF-483E-BC22-C7C32A77A585.JPG

Paris really is the ultimate city destination for foodies and I’m completely enchanted with the french relationship to good food. Parisians understand that there’s more to food than just energy and shopping for food is an essential part of the day. While there are plenty of supermarkets in the city Paris’s streets are also adorned with speciality food stores like fromageries, wine stores, chocolatiers and delicatessens as well as patisseries advertising colourful and ornate pastries and tarts in the windows and boulangeries with bundles of freshly baked sourdough bread. In the mornings there are also lots of markets selling fresh fruits and vegetables too.

While traditional french brasseries and cafes are still the most common restaurants around, being a huge cosmopolitan city it’s possible to get every cuisine you could ever dream of. As I prefer to eat vegetarian I tend to favour the more contemporary eateries in the city however there were no limitations to the amount of times I would pop into a boulangerie in one day.

Here are a few of my favourite places from this trip

Soul Kitchen

Soul kitchen is a charming canteen style cafe in the heart of Montmartre that serves home cooked food and great coffee with vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options available. It’s a really great place to go for lunch where you can sit on one of the little tables outside and it has a small but ever-changing menu that focuses on seasonal produce with meals for around 13 euros. I had the vegan quinoa salad which came with bread topped with the most fantastically fresh savoury lemon spread on top. They also do really good coffees.4EBEF9D3-2E21-4AD8-9D3F-5EAD7057B358.JPG

A L’Ouest Creperie

I’m very grateful to my friend for introducing me to traditional french galettes which we ate for dinner at L’Ouest. This fantastic creparie that’s also in Montmartre, has an extensive two page menu of galettes which are thin savoury crepes made with buckwheat and then topped or filled with ingredients like cheese, vegetables or eggs.

There were lots of vegetarian and Gluten free options at this place and it’s very affordable with prices starting at 9 euros. I went for the summer galette with tomatoes, ricotta pesto and pine nuts and we had them with a jug of traditional french cidre. We couldn’t resist ordering another crepe each for dessert (and an extra jug of cider) and my one (which was topped with very tart lemon curd) was absolutely phenomenal.IMG_9143.JPG

Motors Coffee

In Paris a cafe tends to be an eatery so if it’s a brew that you’re after then it’s coffee shops that you want. We stopped off at Motors Coffee, a really great, grungy style cafe not far from the Notre Dame. They do proper coffees, teas and cafe snacks like bagels, pancakes and english muffins. They also serve oat milk which brings me great joy.

8200056E-4F3A-414E-AA92-5CD41A8FA339.JPG

Patisseries and Bakeries

Staying in the apartment with my friend was great because it meant we had the added bonus that we could cook. Having a kitchen is one reason I always aim to book an apartment or a hostel for city breaks as it’s nice not to be dependent on eating out, especially in Paris when you can just grab some bread from the bakery and some cheese from the shop.

However eating pastries was absolutely an item on my Paris itinerary and I consequently happily gained a pound or two visiting the many patisseries and bakeries in the city. Here are my favourite places I spent my money at this time.

Maison Laundmaine

There are a few branches of this artisan bakery and patisserie in Paris, one of which was right over the street from where I was staying with my friend so I went there daily. Not only do they have one of the most aesthetically pleasing patisserie selections I have seen but they have the most fantastic bread selection. They stock all of the usual varieties of artisan breads as well as loads of obscure loaves like a chocolate loaf and pink coloured brioche aux pralines Roses.

It’s a great place to get a good espresso and a buttery Pain au Chocolat in the morning (which were also wonderful) and I got a box of their macarons for the journey home and instantly wished I’d bought an additional box or two as soon as I tasted one.C5664991-BCC2-45B7-AECD-3DA43D5A3216.JPG758AE443-7793-46ED-8F5B-66DA962B07E7.JPG

Odette

Odette is a lovely little patisserie that’s tucked away in the Latin Quarter with views of the Notre Dame. This was the first place I stopped when I got off the coach from Paris as I was drawn to its beautiful building and little outdoor seating area. They mainly serve mini choux buns and coffee, of which I had a praline one and a cafe au lait. A couple of these little buns are just perfect as they’re not overwhelming meaning you don’t need any excuses to eat them.

009A52F8-D33C-47E7-923A-41CCB72D2A4F.JPG13E0BC7E-C024-4391-8EB6-1F9C1C36CD2D.jpg

Getting around

Paris really is a very walkable city. You can easily cover the highlights in a weekend on foot so make sure to bring comfortable footwear.

H(appy) Paris: A couple of apps that were invaluable on this trip were:

Citymapper

Citymapper is a travel app that those in London will be familiar with. You simply plug in your start and end destination and this clever app with give you all the possible routes, be it by walking, metro, bus or taxi as well as approximate travel times and prices.

Dojo

Thanks to my friend I found out about the fantastic app, Dojo. It operates in Paris as well as London, and it’s something I couldn’t recommend enough downloading if you’re visiting either cities. Dojo lists all the best independent cafes, restaurants, gigs and exhibitions in the city with price guides, photos and a brief description. You can filter it by what’s around you or by specific categories like coffee shops, bars or vegetarian food so it’s great if you have dietary requirements. When you’ve found somewhere that you want to go it works with Citymapper to help get you there.

IMG_8565

Other useful apps and websites: 

  • Yandex:  Yandex is a good free language translation app that works without internet and allows you to translate by typing, photo or by speech.
  • https://en.parisinfo.com The official website of the Paris Tourism Bereau:  (As far as tourism websites go, the paris one is really good and it’s a great place to see what events are going on in the city and for eating and drinking recommendations)
  • Veilb: If you plan on picking up a city bike in Paris then make sure you download this app. Use the app to find the nearest Velib bike docking stations in Paris and buy a pass to use a bike.
  • G7 Taxi: G7 taxi is the main taxi booking app in Paris. You can use the app to book an immediate pickup or in advance for up to 14 days. You can also use Uber.

I hope that you guys found this post useful and that your ready to start planning a long ‘hipster’ weekend in Paris.  I really loved Paris this time around as I really saw the city in a new light. I always think there’s something lovely about revisiting somewhere that I’ve been previously because everything has a sense of nostalgia to it and when you’ve already seen the landmarks you can spend time getting to the soul of a place instead.

Of course there are many more things to do in Paris than what’s on this list (and the great thing about the city is that it’s always changing on a daily basis) but here are a few suggestions to start you off.

I’ll be writing up a Paris coffee guide soon so keep checking back and drop me a message if you have any questions in the meantime.