Homesickness. Or maybe I just ate too much

A lot can change in two months. Relationships, seasons, waistlines… I wouldn’t say I’ve been actively homesick during my time here so far, but apparently in the international community it’s a well known fact that the two month mark brings a hint of sadness.

I went holiday shopping with a British friend the other day, and after a long, hard day and too many long, hard looks in changing room mirrors (bikini season) we decided to get some dinner. We found a place on Chapel Street in Prahran called Hooked, which, suitably, served British-style fish and chips. Obviously, these people have never been to Britain, because the food went above and beyond any chippy I’ve ever been to. Pretty much any dish could be made gluten free, and so I ordered salt and pepper calamari and sweet potato chips without a care in the world (except my impending surfing holiday and consequent wetsuit fiasco), with minted smashed peas (mushy, in English) and a chilli and lime aioli dip on the side. My pal and I agreed that it was up there in the best meals we’ve had in Melbourne. My whole meal, with a drink, came to $21.95 with a ginger beer as well; that’s just over a tenner at home, and I would happily have paid more.

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The next morning, I was up at 4.30 to drive to the airport; a friend’s boyfriend was flying over from the UK and I thought I’d tag along to enjoy the emotional reunion (I just love love) and stop my friend from falling asleep at the wheel. After a nap, we headed down to Richmond for brunch. Having heard great things about Pillar of Salt, we had high expectations. The coffee is supplied by 5 Senses, and the batch brew filter didn’t disappoint. There was only one actual gluten free option on the menu (they offer to alter dishes but I avoid the faff) which was the Fruits of Fall bowl. For $12.50 it offers ‘roasted Corella pears, strawberries and shredded kale with a honey and lime dressing, whipped micro basil mascarpone and activated walnuts.’ The dish is also free of processed sugar, which can never be a bad thing, and even comes topped with edible flower petals… luckily, the massive dollop of whipped soft cheese saved it from being too healthy, and complimented the saccharine fruits very well.

What kind of cheese can you use to hide a small horse?

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Entertainment was provided by a couple of wonderful ladies dining on the next table, who were kitted out in gym wear but who had evidently not been exercising (or if they had, I really should have asked what foundation they use). The discussion about their upcoming participation in a ‘sexy, yet elegant’ bikini competition was the perfect brunch soundtrack… It’s impossible to stay homesick for long here.

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Hooked, 172 Chapel St, Windsor VIC 3181

Pillar of Salt, 541 Church St, Richmond VIC 3121

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