Melbourne: Where I Ate In 2013 (Part 1)

In 2013 I ate a lot of great meals, a few average meals, and a few not so great meals. When I write my reviews, I tend to stick to writing about the places that interest me and that I liked – it’s why anyone who reads my site regularly will notice that my reviews are generally positive. I don’t bother writing about things that I don’t like unless there’s a good and specific reason to do so.

I don’t take my camera with me everywhere, and I don’t take photos of everything that I eat. There’s a time and a place for that and more often than not I’m out with friends in a social setting and taking out a camera all of the time isn’t something that I feel like doing, nor something that I think my friends would appreciate!

What does all of this mean? There are a lot of places that I ate at in 2013 that I never wrote about and never took photos at that, looking back on the year, I’d like to talk about. These aren’t detailed reviews like my usual posts, just a brief run down on some of the places that I ate at that I’ve not mentioned on this blog yet.

Part 2 of my “Where I Ate In 2013″ list can be found here.

Rockwell And Sons

The fact that I didn’t do a review of Rockwell and Sons in 2013 is unusual given that it’s the place that I ate at more times than any other in Melbourne in 2013. Owners Casey Wall (Head Chef) and Manu Potoi (Front of House) serve proper American comfort food in a pared back, fun venue with great hip-hop tunes as an added bonus. The double patty smash burger is a Smith Street institution and, along with the Raph from Beatbox Kitchen is in my opinion the best burger in Melbourne. The lamb ribs and duck wings are amazing, and you’ve never tasted devilled eggs this good before. Add to that a decent, rotating selection of craft beers and you’re set. I’ve never had a bad feed at Rockwell and Sons and it’s my go-to when looking for a reasonably priced, tasty feed in this part of town.

If you can get there for “Fried Chicken Wednesdays”, you can grab some amazing fried chicken (organic chicken brined for 3 days and finished with buttermilk) along with proper southern style biscuits, devilled eggs and a 3 sides.

Rockwell and Sons

288 Smith Street
Collingwood
Victoria 3066
Australia

Telephone:   (03) 8415 0700
Email:            crew@rockwellandsons.com.au
Website:        http://www.rockwellandsons.com.au/

Open
Dinner: Tue – Sun:    6:00pm to late
Lunch: Fri 12:00pm to 3:00pm
Sat – Sun:     11:00am to 4:00pm

Rockwell and Sons on Urbanspoon

The Moor’s Head

From Rumi’s Josheph Abboud comes The Moor’s Head which sells “inauthentic pizzas” (manoushe and pide) as well as a variety of Lebanese dishes. The space is at the back of a warehouse and ticks all of the boxes for a casual on trend spot. More importantly, the food is great. The standout for me is actually one of the sweets, a fatayer (lebanese pie) called the Ya’oub, which contains halva and banana. It’s very decadent and tastes amazing. Leave some room in your stomach for it at the end of your meal.

The Moor’s Head

Rear 774 High Street
Thornbury 3071
Australia

Telephone:   (03) 9484 0173
Email:            n/a
Website:        http://www.themoorshead.com/

Open
Mon – Sun:    5:30pm to late

The Moor's Head on Urbanspoon

Laksa King

A quick glance at Urbanspoon shows Laksa King to be consistently atop the list of cheap eats in Melbourne. I had to go for myself and see if it really was that good or a simply a matter of hype begetting hype. The menu contains a variety of Hawker style dishes that are favourites in Malaysia including, of course, Laksa. I tried the chicken curry laksa and it was very tasty. I had some Roti as well which was decent, although not as good as the roti at Mamak (see below). I plan on going back to try their version of Nasi Lemak sometime soon.

Overall the price is right, and the food hits the spot, although it’s not the best Malaysian food I’ve had in Australia (for that you’ll have to fly to Perth and visit “Hawker’s Cuisine”).

Laksa King

6-12 Pin Oak Crescent
Flemington 3031
Australia

Telephone:   (03) 9372 6383
Email:            eat@laksaking.com.au
Website:        http://www.laksaking.com.au/

Open
Mon – Sun:    11:30pm to 3:00pm; 5:00pm to 10:00pm

Laksa King on Urbanspoon

Danny’s Burgers

Danny’s Burgers is one of the places that comes up on “best burgers in Melbourne” lists with great regularity. Unchanged since 1955, the vibe is old school diner and completely authentic. As for the burgers themselves, I’m not sold. Perhaps you need to have been born in Melbourne to “get it” but to me (and my wife) the burgers were nothing special. Don’t get me wrong, they weren’t bad but fell very much in the category of “dependable late night option” rather than standing on their own as one of Melbourne’s best burgers.

Danny’s Burgers

360 St George’s Road
Fitzroy North 3068
Australia

Telephone:   (03) 9481 5847
Email:            n/a
Website:        n/a

Open
Mon – Sun:    11:30pm to 3:00pm; 5:00pm to 10:00pm

Danny's Burgers on Urbanspoon

Mamak

When Sydney’s popular Mamak opened in Melbourne expectations were high. I’ve eaten here a few times and some of the mains can be hit and miss – for me it’s all about what Mamak does best, the roti. It’s crispy and flavoursome and the curry dips are both very tasty. Things aren’t watered down at all and the sambal that also comes with the roti is super spicy (you’ve been warned – order the sambal sotong if you’re brave).

Mamak

366 Lonsdale Street
Melbourne 3000
Australia

Telephone:   (03) 9670 3137
Email:            n/a
Website:        http://www.mamak.com.au/

Open
Mon – Sun:    11:00pm to 2:30pm; 5:30pm to 10:00pm

Mamak on Urbanspoon

Cumulus Inc

Part of Andrew McConnel’s every growing restaurant empire, Cumulus Inc was a restaurant that I’d been wanting to eat at since I arrived in Melbourne. I’ve eaten here at breakfast, lunch and dinner, with each occasion being unplanned. The food is fresh and seasonal with a Mediterranean flair and the space is light, airy and sleek. A decent selection of wines are available and the cocktails are very good.

The dinner that I ate was brilliant. I was with a group of friends and we ordered a variety of dishes to share and everyone loved the food. The selection of oysters was particularly impressive, as was the quality of the charcuterie. The lunch that I had with another group of friends was equally impressive.

When I went for breakfast I ordered a takeaway coffee and the house smoked ocean trout bagel, sorrel, capers & cream cheese. The bagel was very good, but not quite as good as the ones that I have eaten at nearby Bowery To Williamsburg. The coffee was excellent.

Cumulus Inc

45 Flinders Lane
Melbourne 3000
Australia

Telephone:   (03) 9650 1445
Email:            info@cumulusinc.com.au
Website:       http://cumulusinc.com.au/

Open
Mon – Fri:    7:00am to 11:00pm
Sat – Sun:     8:00am to 11:00pm

Cumulus Inc. on Urbanspoon

Brunswick East Project

Brunswick East Project is my local cafe and I couldn’t recommend it highly enough to anyone in the area. These guys are serious about their coffee which is roasted on site. The coffees are consistently good, whether it’s a milk based espresso drink, hot filtered drink or cold drip and the small selection of breakfast options are decent too (the breakfast tart and choc-raspberry muffin are my favourite). The beans which I buy for my machine are of the best quality and there is always something interesting new on the bean front to try out. The staff are friendly and knowledgeable and it’s got a real local, community vibe about it.

Brunswick East Project

438 Lygon Street
Brunswick East 3057
Australia

Telephone:   (03) 9381 1881
Email:            n/a
Website: http://padrecoffee.com.au/

Open
Mon – Sat:    7:00am to 4:00pm
Sun:              8:00am to 4:00pm

Brunswick East Project on Urbanspoon

N2 Extreme Gelato

Another Sydney import, N2 Extreme Geltao hit Melbourne in 2013 and brought ice cream using liquid nitrogen to the city. It’s all very high tech looking when you walk into the store, lab coats, beakers, tubes and smoke combine for dramatic effect. The liquid nitrogen isn’t just a gimmick though – long story short, it’s supposed to create smoother gelato than traditional processes. I first tried liquid nitrogen ice cream back in 2011 at London’s Chin Chin Labs and remember coming away disappointed. The flavours were delicious and the ice cream was nice but it wasn’t anything special and certainly not worth the price premium. Fast forward 2 years and I walked away from N2 with the same feelings. Some of the flavour combinations are wacky and experimental and are great themselves however overall I can’t see the value in paying a price premium for ice cream that really isn’t any better than many others that are already out there.

N2 Extreme Gelato

329 Brunswick Street Street
Fitzroy 3065
Australia

Telephone:   n/a
Email:            melbourne@n2extremegelato.com
Website:       http://n2extremegelato.com.au/

Open
Mon – Sun:    1:00pm to 11:00pm

N2 Extreme Gelato on Urbanspoon

Tivoli Road Bakery

Full disclosure here. I’ve never actually been to Tivoli Road Bakery, but I have eaten a lot of their bread. One of my resolutions of 2014 is to get south of the river more often and try some more places that way. A friend of mine lives in that part of town and when cronuts were all of the rage she brought a few to my place for a group of us to try. They were delicious, but for me the salted caramel doughnut and apple pie doughnut were the stand outs of the pastry samples that we tried that day.

Subsequently, I’ve tried many different types of bread from Tivoli Road Bakery, as the aforementioned friend has now become the designated “bread person” whenever any of us hosts a dinner. The bread is that good that we don’t bother looking elsewhere.

Tivoli Road Bakery

3 Tivoli Road
South Yarra 3141
Australia

Telephone:   (03) 9041 4345
Email:            info@tivoliroad.com
Website:       http://tivoliroad.com.au/

Open
Tue – Fri:    7:30am to 4:00pm
Sat – Sun:   8:00am to 4:00pm

Tivoli Road Bakery on Urbanspoon

A1 Bakery

A1 Bakery was on my radar before I moved to Melbourne, ever since I saw Matt Preston take Anthony Bourdain there in the Melbourne episode of “No Reservations” back in 2009. A1 is a Sydney Road institution and (beyond supplying baked Lebanese goods to businesses across Melbourne) sells a variety of baked goods in its store. The cheese and spinach triangle costs no more than the change in your pocket and in fact, nothing on the menu is expensive. One of my favourite things to eat is the chicken tawook, a chicken wrap full of brilliant flavours and textures. The baklava is also amongst the best I’ve tried anywhere.

Apart from the food, A1 also has a small grocery selection and sells a lot of Lebanese/Mediterranean ingredients that are otherwise hard to find. As a fan of Yotam Ottolenghi’s cookbooks, this store is very handy in helping me acquire all that I need when cooking out of them.

A1 Bakery

643 Sydney Road
Brunswick 3056
Australia

Telephone:   (03) 9386 0440
Email:            n/a
Website:        http://www.a1bakery.com.au/

Open
Mon – Sun:    7:00am to 9:00pm

A1 Bakery on Urbanspoon

Los Hermanos Mexican Taqueria

The Mexican phase that hit Melbourne was just like any other phase that hits this city. A trend starts in the USA, crosses the pond to London a year later, and makes its way down to Melbourne the year after that. As much as they are predictable, and as frustrating it to see several very ordinary places ride the hype wave to (short term) success, the fact is that there are quality places that do open up and outlast they hype.

When it comes to Mexican food, the level of authenticity of places that opened up during this period ranged from “not very” to “quite”. Generally, venues fell somewhere in the middle. It was refreshing then, to visit Los Hermanos where the food was the closest that I’ve had to real Mexican since I visited the United States a few years back. The owner, Bruno Carreto is actually Mexican and cooks the food that he grew up with. The menu is small and focused and the food is very tasty – plus they do takeaway which holds up well the next day for lunch. My only complaint is that when things get busy the service can suffer.

Los Hermanos Mexican Taqueria

339 Victoria Street
Brunswick 3056
Australia

Telephone:   (03) 9939 3661
Email:            n/a
Website:        http://www.los-hermanos.com.au/

Open
Mon – Sat:    5:30am to 11:00pm

Los Hermanos Mexican Taqueria on Urbanspoon

Manchester Press

Manchester Press has a reputation for great coffee and great bagels. When I went, I decided to, unsurprisingly, order coffee and a bagel. The coffee was very good (with some very impressive latte art as a bonus) and the sweet bagel that I had with mixed berries and mascarpone was very good too. It’s not the cheapest breakfast in town but, having said that, servings are decent and you certainly don’t walk away feeling hungry.

Manchester Press

Ground Floor
8 Rankins Lane
Melbourne 3000
Australia

Telephone:   (03) 9600 4054
Email:            info@8oz.com.au
Website:        http://8oz.com.au/

Open
Mon – Fri:    7:00am to 5:00pm
Sat – Sun:     9:00am to 5:00pm

Manchester Press on Urbanspoon


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