166 Station Street
On the corner of Station street and Raglan street in Port Melbourne sits a busy little cafe with a laid back attitude. Frequented by locals grabbing a coffee on their way to work, men and women meeting up on their lunch breaks or those just out for a stroll with their dogs; Station street Trading Co is clearly a favourite amongst Port Melburnians. I must admit I came across this gem when I got a little lost in the local streets while house hunting, finding myself in dire need of a coffee and something to eat. Lucky for me this cafe across from the tram tracks and overlooking a park had everything I was looking for and more.
What has kept me coming back has been their ‘Cajun chicken, with chipotle aioli roasted bell peppers’ which is nestled between two slices of the softest gourmet bread (I have an inclining it might be sourdough but I can’t be sure). I am a self proclaimed sandwich avoider (my mother was forced to keep my school lunch boxes SW free) but this meal has me converted.
Apart from a selection of tasty gourmet SW (pictured above) they provide breakfast all day which include the essential sweet corn and herb fritters with poached egg.
There is ample seating inside however its hard to pass up on alfresco dining outside on a sunny Melbourne morning.
97 Errol Street
T: 9329 0693
Just two doors down from one of my all time favourites (Auction Rooms) is Fandango; a quaint little cafe on errol street with a whole lot of charm. Not sure if preserved foods or pickles are a theme here but they feature all over the menu and the place is decorated with an assortment of jars of what I assumed were home made chutneys.
The coffee was perfection, in both appearance and taste, using a blend from Supreme coffee.
I was famished when I tried this place and so went with the house burger with home made pickles and tomato relish of course. The dinner plate pictured above is normal size and the burger is actually that big…so it’s safe to say I was completely full half way through eating it! All in all a great burger with a juicy patty with melted stringy cheese, crisp lettuce and that much needed tanginess from the pickles. Wonderful meal for sure, but can’t say its the best burger I have had in Melbourne.
Should definitely come for the coffee and stay for the quirky warm atmosphere
8 Rankins Lane
T: 9600 4054
Best bagels in Melbourne and it seems everyone already knows! Once down the alley to Manchester Press you will usually find a wait at the door, however with such a quick turn over of patrons you shouldn’t be waiting too long. The staff are incredibly friendly and highly efficient too; making sure people have a lovely experience inside yet mindful that people outside aren’t waiting too long for a table to be cleared and seated.
D and I headed there after one of my night shifts to have an early breakfast (dinner for me) and after a 30min wait we were finally inside. They had done a great job of turning this former warehouse into a rustic, casual yet quite sophisticated cafe and managed to keep the draft out too. Large sketches of a few ‘melburnian’ persona’s hung off large canvases and the tables appeared to be old seamstress, woodwork and craftsmen benches.
While we waited in anticipation of our famous bagels I sipped on chai latte (I didn’t want caffeine) served with honey while D had his regular latte. Stealing a sip of his coffee I instantly wished I had ordered the same. It was deliciously nutty yet smooth and reminded me of a blend served at St. Ali’s. Turns out the coffee is from 8oz coffee company and they have another cafe like this in Elsternwick.
The bagels themselves did not disappoint and we devoured each sizable portion. The tuna and mayo whole grain bagel with jalapenos and melted cheese had a great combination of salty savoury tuna filling with a much needed spicy bite to cut through the richness.
My favourite remains their fruit bagel topped with a generous serving of mixed berry mascarpone, fresh strawberries and pistachio dust. Just yum! Must try this sweet creation and share with others (only if you can’t finish it on your own).
Apart from waiting for a table (which is only an issue if you are stretched for time) there is nothing I can fault with this is place. Incredibly tasty, affordable food with great coffee, what more could you want.
323 Victoria street
T: 9429 1665
Move over 3 bags full! There is a new place in Abbotsford with exceptional food and great service without a 30 minute wait at the door. Situated on busy Victoria street, the only downside to eating here is finding parking close by. A non issue if you are taking a tram as there is a stop right in front with frequent services.
With retro chic decor and funky art, the place is quintessentially hipster without trying too hard. Yet still family friendly with spacious interiors and a comfortable waiting area where you can sip coffee if there is a wait. And it is definitely worth having a cup or two of their house blend over breakfast, especially when it’s your first cup back in Melbourne after being away.
Although I always want to try something new I tend to order an old favourite when hungry to avoid disappointment. On this particular morning I was starving and needed a large meal before D and I headed over to Ikea. So I ordered the corn and zucchini fritters with poached eggs, avocado salsa, tangy tomato relish and smoked salmon. Just delicious, nothing else left to say. They have perfected this dish with the right balance of sweet, sour and savoury.
D also went with a favourite of his, quinoa porridge with almonds, honey and banana. Creamy rich flavours without being overwhelming.
417 Sturt street
T: 5333 1789
Anzac day in Ballarat called for a visit to L’espresso for coffee and lunch outside in the beautiful weather. A cafe frequented by locals and our gracious hosts, S and N, it offers scrumptious food and a collection of music CDs from all around the world for purchase.
Confit duck with roasted figs, fresh snowpea sprouts and balsamic reduction. One of the best duck dishes I’ve had for awhile; crispy skin with moist duck leg flesh that falls off the bone matched perfectly with the sweet figs and tart sauce.
S decided to have the martelli pasta with roasted eggplant in creamy tomato sauce and grated sheeps cheese. A great combination of flavours with a sharp bite from the unique salty cheese.
N and D both ordered the traditional fettuccine bolognaise with beef wagu; al dente pasta with a slow cooked sauce.
With a cabinet filled with delectable pastries and cakes to complement any cup of Amanti coffee for next time, I left this place with anticipation of my next visit here when I am back in Ballarat.
326 Lygon street
T: 9347 8482
Part of the D.O.C family, Carlton Espresso is my favourite Italian restaurant on Lygon Street hands down. There coffee is always fantastic, the atmosphere is very relaxed and the place is buzzing with people who share meals on long communal tables. Having said that, all of the D.O.C restaurants are exceptional and expanding to new locations like Mornington it seems.
It was the perfect place to meet up with girlfriends, H and MR, after work for a casual dinner.
H and I happened to get there a little earlier than MR and while sipping on our drinks a waiter brought over a tasting platter courtesy of the house. It was a lovely gesture and we got to nibble on tasty olives, crumbly cheese and gourmet crackers.
Italian beer and lemon ice tea.
MR had the farro salad with rocket, vegetable and fresh ricotta.
The lasagne at Carlton Espresso is one of my favourites, using fresh pasta and generous layers of beef bolognese.
H had her favourite dish too, the spaghetti pomodoro with san marzano tomato and fresh bazil.
303 Coventary Street
T: 9645 7311
Opposite South Melbourne markets the coventary street café’s are always filled with locals having brunch on a Sunday morning. One particularly busy cafe is Qeleven, a cosy little eatery that serves wonderful food.
The best thing about dining with friends, apart from the company of course, is being able to try a host of different dishes.
Corn and zucchini fritters with poached eggs and rocket salad. A healthy breakfast with savoury fritters that have a burst of sweetness from corn in each mouthful.
Mexican extravaganza, my choice and possibly one of their best dishes. Sunny fried eggs with sweet potato rosti, refried beans with roasted capsicum and chipotle mayonnaise. Everyone else at the table definitely had food envy and I recommend you try this once if you ever come here.
The indian spiced eggs with roti brought back memories of breakfast at home with mums spicy omelette. Basically creamy scrambled eggs with a twist, that being cooked with indian spices such as garam masala and tumeric and finished with chopped coriander.
Simple mushrooms on toast, though nothing simple about these with smashed avocado and goats cheese.
Needing our morning caffeine fix we all devoured our coffees. However the coffee itself was very average and if you are heading here just for coffee then I would advise you to go elsewhere.