1. A tour of the Cadbury factory. It took us longer to travel to and from the factory via the suburban bus system than it did to embark on the 50 minute tour. At $12.50 per person, the tour is quite reasonable but it's more a demonstration of the moulding and packaging of Cadbury chocolates than the actual tempering/production. Each person receives a 95g box of Favourites on the way out, and there are discounted seconds available from the gift shop. I was mightily pleased that they've recently been making runs of Turkish Delight, scoring 750g of the stuff for $5.
2. Brunch at Kafe Kara. We were very restrained in our early morning chocolate consumption and keen for some real food by 11:00. Kafe Kara was the perfect fit, with a few unusual items on the menu and all the gluten-free, vegetarian and convertible dishes clearly marked. Michael's poached eggs on toast with spinach, KARA relish and sweet potato rosti (~$16) were above average but outdone by my savoury Scottish pancakes (~$15), containing caramelised onions and aged cheddar and served with spinach and relish. With a sleek but unpretentious look, good coffee and great orange juice, this cafe is a winner all round. Highly recommended!
3. Afternoon tea at Jackman & McRoss. We worked off our brunch and then some, spending almost four hours exploring the city, the Botanic gardens and the Cenotaph on foot (again, you can see our best non-food pics at Flickr). Late afternoon refreshments were had at this bakery, located very close to our hotel. There's a huge array of loaves and rolls, but the real temptations are the savoury and sweet pastries. Most go for about $6 apiece, they're generously portioned and of the utmost quality - my sour/sweet raspberry and rhubarb tart and Michael's poached quince, rum and marscapone tart are prime examples. My new favourite dessert partner is an unsweetened T2 Madagascan vanilla black tea.
4. Dinner at Sirens. Just when we thought the day's eating couldn't get any better, along came Sirens. This vegetarian restaurant is as organic, free-range, composting and recycling as possible, but it's no crusty commune. With its sophisicated and eastern-influenced decor and meticulously prepared and presented food ($15-20 for a main), it has a lot in common with Melbourne's Shakahari. Yet it seemed to offer something a bit more - maybe it was just receptive service on a slow weeknight, but each dish seemed a little surprising and perfectly balanced. Our parsnip and apple salad with walnuts, peppery greens and parsnip chips ($13) included the most exquisite miniature patties of roasted and mashed parsnip with a walnut, nigella and sesame crust. Michael's roast cauliflower and blue cheese lasagna with walnuts and grape concasse ($19) similarly hit the mark, with the blue cheese taking a supporting role rather than smothering the dish. For me it was roast pumpkin, goats cheese and sage souffle with golden shallot cream ($17), creamy and comforting for winter with pumpkin seeds and a rye toast crouton to add some crunch. My only regret is that I had no room for dessert!
Could our holiday eating possibly get any better than this? At the very least there might be a couple of repeat visits ahead to more fully sample some mouth-watering menus...