This post is brought to you by Nuffnang and Cats The Musical.

I remember back in Year 7, we studied the poetry of T.S. Elliot and some of the music from the musical Cats. I recall the poetry being slightly quirky, and our drama teacher went as far as to give us a task to create a performance around one of the poems. It was a lot of fun, and one of my few memories from my first year of high school. Fast forward a few decades, and T.S. Elliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats has been adapted to a stage musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, and has come to Melbourne for a strictly limited season.

I was lucky enough to be invited to go and see the show just before Christmas and needless to say, I was just a tad excited. Whilst, I knew the trademark song, Memory (who doesn’t?!), and I had a vague memory of some of the poetry, I really had no idea what to expect from the show. This was just the way I liked it though, no expectations and all anticipation is the perfect formula to enjoy most things for me!

After a delicious burger at Grand Trailer Park Taverna (more about that in another post), we made our way to the Regent Theatre. The Cats production which is in Australian is the 2015 Olivier award nominated hit revival, which was reworked for the most recent season in the West End by the original creative team. It received excellent reviews and extended its season due to overwhelming demand, so it was quite a privilege to be able to see it in my home town.

Sitting in the grand Regent Theatre, the stage was set up in an elaborate manner, and as the lights went down and the music started, a stream of cats flooded the aisles, purring to audience members, jumping on the seats, and generally creating a hushed excitement through the crowd. It was one of the few times I have been grateful for an aisle seat!

The show begins by introducing the Jellicle cats who are preparing for the Jellicle Ball. Who or what are the Jellicle cats? You will just have to watch the show to find out! Amongst the Jellicle cats are a variety of characters, and as the show progresses, we get to meet them and learn about their characters.

The dancing in the show is one of the highlights. From acrobatics, to tap dancing, the dancers are all high class, and the co-ordination and timing is impeccable. As a dancer myself, I always pay particular attention to dancing of any kind, and on this occasion I was more than impressed. Two of my favourite dancing cats were Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer. They performed as a fun duo, and as they co-cartwheeled off the stage the audience broke into rapturous applause.

Delta Goodrem was cast as the ostracised, old cat, Grizabella. Her first song, Memory, coincided with the half time interval, and the theatre was awash with an eerie solemness as the power of her voice filled the space. She had, by far, the most impressive voice in the whole cast, and the part suited her perfectly.

Cats the Musical is playing for a strictly limited season at Melbourne’s Regent Theatre, and the touring to Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth. For further information, or to purchase tickets, you can visit the Cats The Musical website.

Disclaimer: I attended Cats The Musical as a guest of Nuffnang and Cats The Musical, however all opinions are my own.
One Saturday, just after picking up our City2Sea race packs, myself, the other half and the other half’s cousin, J, were wandering down Gertrude St trying to find a place for brunch. Generally when we go out, I have always done my research and have a place in mind, but this time I had no idea where to go.

As we meandered down, we passed numerous cafes that were either too full to get a table at, or too empty for us to have any confidence in them. Eventually we stumbled upon Arcadia. It had a reasonable crowd, but there were still some empty tables, and the menu looked interesting enough for us to give it a go.

We sat down, and grabbed some water from the table behind us. Not long afterwards, menus were handed to us and we set about deciding on what to have. We decided against coffees. We were running the next day, and it was probably a smart decision to stick to water for maximum hydration. Plus it was basically lunch time, so coffee really wasn’t necessary.

J stuck with his standard choice of a muesli variation. We always laugh when he goes out and orders muesli, but he loves it, so who are we to judge! This time he chose a porridge. It was an eclectic mix of oats, quinoa and chia seeds, combined with pepitas, sunflower seeds and almonds and topped with a poached pear, cranberries and pomegranate molasses. He was very impressed with his dish, even going as far as to say it was pretty close to his own muesli mix which he makes, and prides himself on. The serving was huge too, which was appreciated.

Whilst J’s choice was a traditional breakfast choice, the other half went the opposite way and chose a clear lunch option, the Arcadian burger. This burger was described with lots of flowery language on the menu: a Angus beef burger infused with spiced basil and tomato salsa, topped with cheddar on a bed of leaves and tomato, drizzled with baconnaise and served with pickles and hot mustard. The other half pretty much stopped reading when he came across the word baconnaise, because according to him, nothing could go wrong if it had baconnaise. He had never had this mystical baconnaise but the knowledge that bacon and mayonnaise were two of the greatest ingredients on earth gave him confidence that baconnaise must be amazing.

Alas, when his burger arrived, he tasted it and the baconnaise was really that much of a key ingredient. He commented that his burger was good, but not amazing, and definitely not at the lofty heights he had hoped it would reach.

I decided to order fried eggs with red and green salsa and spicy beans on stuffed cheese and jalapeno corn tortillas. Firstly the dish had us somewhat confused. It was listed on the menu as ‘Huevos (fried) eggs.’ Now, huevos is Spanish for eggs, so was I going to be having Eggs (fried) eggs? Perhaps double fried eggs? Or maybe an egg wrapped in a fried egg? It was confusing. Nevertheless I put a stop to the questions in my head and ordered the dish anyway.

What arrived was infact fried eggs on stuffed tortillas with beans and salsa. Just standard fried eggs. Not that I’m complaining, I love fried eggs and these eggs were good. The beans were also OK, but they definitely didn’t reach the spicy heights that I was hoping for.  But the real problem of the dish was the tortilla. As I attempted to dig in, armed with a knife and fork, I realised there was no chance I was going to be able to cut my tortilla. It was as hard as a rock. I think would have struggled to make a dint in it, even with a steak knife. As a result, my meal was a bit of a disappointment. Having to struggle so much to even eat my meal, meant my level of enjoyment was seriously hampered.

Other than the food the café was quite nice. The décor was pleasant, the staff were friendly and the service was prompt. It was unfortunate that the food didn’t hit the mark for me, although J was impressed and the other half was satisfied. Perhaps I had just picked a bad dish. Oh well, there’s always next time!

Arcadia Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
Thai restaurants have become very popular in Melbourne, popping up all over the place, but it is often tricky to find a good one. On our explorations of the Northcote food scene, we decided to try and nail a trusty Thai option. Some Zomato research led us to Inthanon Thai, and so together with the other half’s cousin, J, we decided to see if it was worth the high reviews.

Located almost directly opposite the Northcote Town Hall, the restaurant is set slight away from the main strip. This possible means that it gets less traffic that the other places, but don’t let that deter you, it’s obviously a very well kept secret.

We went on a Sunday evening, and the restaurant was very quiet. We were seated immediately and as our menus were handed to us, I stopped to appreciate the décor. The interior of the restaurant was not overtly filled with Thai knick knacks, but there were a few pictures on the wall, and a rather grand light fitting hanging from the roof.

With both J and I as vegetarians, we decided to exercise our balance of power and opted for a full vegetarian meal. The menu had a whole section dedicated to ‘Vegie Lovers’ so we were spoilt for choice. As a vegetarian, I am used to only having to choose from one or two dishes, so when faced with two pages of options, I didn’t know where to start! On top of that, as the food blogger, I was entrusted with the responsibility of ordering for the table. Talk about pressure!

Eventually we settled on a selection of dishes to share, so that we could all try some different things. The items are all listed with their traditional Thai names, so ordering was a fairly comical affair. The staff are very friendly though, and after a few mispronunciations and lots of laughs, we eventually managed to explain what we wanted!

We were all pretty hungry, so the wait staff were given instructions to not worry about what order the dishes were made in, and to just bring everything out as it was ready, so it wasn’t long before the food started to arrive at our table.

The first thing to arrive was some complimentary prawn crackers. Probably not the best choice when you have a table ordering a vegetarian meal, but nevertheless the other half was happy to munch on these as a starter! The food came almost immediately after, starting with Pad Thai Jay, or vegetarian pad thai. Full of bean curd, egg, vegetables and flavour, this was a good dish. Our pad thai standards are pretty high. I’m not sure if what we like is even traditional, but this version was good. If I had one criticism though, it’s that I felt that the dish was slightly too sweet. The other half disagreed though, saying that he thought it was perfect, so I guess it just depends on each individual’s tastes.

We also ordered a Gang Dang Puk, or vegetarian red curry. This curry was wonderfully creamy, with the slightest hint of spice. I wouldn’t go as far as to say it was spicy, but it was fragrant and flavoursome. This curry was probably my favourite dish, and also a favourite around the table.

To complement the curry, I decided that we should also have a wok tossed dish and had ordered Pad Ruammit. This was a dish of stir fried vegetables and bean curd with garlic and soy sauce. This is a fairly classic combination of flavours and whilst it was nothing exciting, everything worked well together and it was a welcome addition to our meal.

Our last dish was actually an entree! Taw Hu Tod involved battered, deep fried pieces of tofu served with chilli sauce. It is no secret that deep fried food is my weakness, and this dish was no exception. The tofu itself had little flavour, but the batter was so crunchy, and the sauce sweet, and everything combine made a great little dish to go with the meal.

Our meal at Inthanon Thai was great and we all agreed that this was definitely a great Thai option in Northcote. While we were there having our meal, the restaurant slowly filled up, and there was a regular stream of takeaway customers, so it was clear that the locals knew how good the place was!

Inthanon Thai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato