Melbourne: Where I Ate In 2014 (Part 2)

With 2014 now behind us, it’s customary for me to do up a post collating some of the cafes and restaurants I ate at over the year that, for one reason or another, never got a full review on The City Lane. There’s simply too much to write about each year to give everything its own post, however this doesn’t mean that a place that’s on this list isn’t worth visiting. In fact, some of my favourite places to eat at in Melbourne have appeared on these lists before.

Hopefully you discover a spot you weren’t aware of and, if you have visited any of the places below, I’d love to know what you thought. You can find Part 1 of the 2014 guide from back in June here.

5 & Dime Bagels

melbourne best cafes 2014

I’ve been a big fan of Zev Foreman’s 5 & Dime Bagels ever since I first tried one at Bowery to Williamsburg. The bagels have proven to be very popular and for good reason – they’re arguably the best example of a proper, New York style bagel that you’ll find in Melbourne. They taste great, and have that just-right soft, springy texture.

As well as supplying several Melbourne eating spots with his hand rolled, boiled and baked bagels, you’ve been able to get them a various farmers markets around Melbourne. They always sell out really quickly at the farmers markets with demand always exceeding supply. Thankfully Foreman has opened up his own café in the CBD with a much bigger production facility and kitchen – you can see all of the action from the café section courtesy of a massive glass wall that separates the space.

Along with Promised Land coffee, there are of course the bagels which are available in a variety of flavours and with a variety of fillings. Plain with peanut butter and jelly, Raisin and cinnamon with butter, Dill with cured salmon, cream cheese, tomato and avocado are just a few of the combinations available, with customers given the chance to mix and match as they please. Oh, and the delicious meats and fish are all smoked in house too.

You can also grab a bunch of bagels to take away, which is something I always do as, unlike many things which never quite taste the same when you defrost them, these bagels freeze brilliantly and taste just as good when you thaw them out as they do when they are fresh.

5 & Dime Bagels

16 Katherine Place
Melbourne
Victoria 3000
Australia

Telephone:   (03) 9621 2128
Email:            [email protected]
Website:        http://5dimebagel.com.au/

Open
Mon – Fri:       7:00am to 3:00pm

5 & Dime Bagels on Urbanspoon

Akachochin

melbourne best cafes 2014

Akachochin is named after the red lanterns that can be found hanging outside of Izakayas in Japan. A variety of traditional dishes and more modern creations are served up by head chef Kengo Hiromatsu with a focus on technique.

Like most Japanese restaurants in Australia, there’s a certain level of modification for western palates – for example the pork used in the tonkatsu is quite thin and the crumbing more dense then what you find in Japan. Having said that, the flavours are spot on and, combined with an impressive range of sake and knowledgable, efficient staff, one doesn’t leave Akachochin disappointed.

Akachochin

33 Dukes Walk
South Wharf
Victoria 3006
Australia

Telephone:   (03) 9245 9900
Email:            [email protected]
Website:        http://www.akachochin.com.au/

Open
Tue – Sun:     12:00pm to 4:00pm; 6:00pm to late

Akachochin on Urbanspoon

Brother Burger & The Marvellous Brew

melbourne best cafes 2014

Burgers and craft beer is the claim to fame of Brother Burger & The Marvellous Brew and, being a big fan of both, I was keen to see if it lived up to its promise. Inside the long, open space which is well designed for both solo and group dining I ordered my food along with the rest of my group and the consensus was unanimous. The burgers are decent, and the range of beers is decent.

Are these the best burgers in Melbourne? No. Is the selection of craft beers on offer amongst the best in Melbourne? No. Would I come here again? Absolutely. Sometimes a place doesn’t need to be the best, it just needs to serve decent food and have a good atmosphere and Brother Burger & The Marvellous Brew falls squarely in this camp.

Brother Burger & The Marvellous Brew

413 Brunswick Street
Fitzroy
Victoria 3065
Australia

Telephone:   (03) 9419 0088
Email:            [email protected]
Website:        http://www.brotherburger.com.au/

Open
Sun – Thu:      12:00pm to 10:00pm
Fri – Sat:         12:00pm to 11:00pm

Brother Burger and the Marvellous Brew on Urbanspoon

The Grain Store

melbourne best cafes 2014

The Grain Store dishes up “honest cooking” with a focus on fresh ethically sourced, seasonal Australian ingredients and European techniques. The result is delicious food that tastes the way its supposed to. The homely interior has an almost cottage kitchen barn look about it which suits ethos of the food well and, if you can’t eat in, the takeaway range is quite impressive too – the pear and dark chocolate Danish and a St Ali coffee to-go is a favourite combo of mine.

The Grain Store

517 Flinders Lane
Melbourne
Victoria 3000
Australia

Telephone:   (03) 9972 6993
Email:            [email protected]
Website:        http://www.grainstore.com.au/

Open
Lunch:
Mon – Fri:    7:00am to 4:00pm
Sat – Sun:     8:00am to 4:00pm
Dinner:
Wed – Sat:    6:00pm to 9:30pm

The Grain Store on Urbanspoon

Little Creatures Geelong

melbourne best cafes 2014

Ok so this isn’t actually in Melbourne but hey, it’s close enough. Being from Perth, and having visited the original Little Creatures Brewery in Fremantle several times, I’d been wanting to visit the newer Geelong outpost for a while. As much as it pains me to say this, Little Creatures Geelong really does surpass the original back home.

The entirety of an old wool store has been taken over and no space has been wasted. The interior is spacious and includes the same beers and decent pub food that can be found in the Fremantle and Brunswick outposts. There’s a lot of outdoors seating and the whole place is very family friendly – there’s even a play ground for the kids. On weekends there’s an art and craft market too where locals sell all kinds of wares. Overall it’s a really great spot.

Little Creatures Geelong

221 Swanston Street
South Geelong
Victoria 3220
Australia

Telephone:   (03) 5202 4009
Email:            n/a
Website:        https://littlecreatures.com.au/

Open
Mon – Tue:    10:00am to 5:00pm
Wed – Fri:      10:00am to 10:00pm
Sat – Sun:       8:00am to 10:00pm

Little Creatures Geelong Brewery on Urbanspoon

Pho24

melbourne best cafes 2014
Pho24 serves up a variety of Vietnamese dishes but the main focus in the Pho which is served up in “under a minute”. I was invited to sample Pho24’s menu late last year and was interested in seeing just how Pho24 pulled off Vietnamese “fast food”.

Pho24 might have originated as a concept in Vietnam but the food served at Pho24 is very much modified for western tastes. Don’t take this as meaning that the food tasted bad – the ingredients used are fresh and still very much Vietnamese ingredients – the food is decent, it’s just not authentic. This is why context is important when talking about Pho24. At the blogger event we were told a story by one of the owners of an older couple who had walked in and had never before eaten Vietnamese food. They were attracted by the modern, funky design of the space and walked in. Seeing beef fillet instead of tendon on the Pho menu for example meant that they were willing to give it a shot and thoroughly enjoyed their meal. This is the sort of market that Pho24 is aiming for, not well travelled foodies.

Go to Pho24 looking for authentic Vietnamese food and you’ll be disappointed however when you walk out of Southern Cross station and look at your nearest options for fast food, you’ll see where Pho24 has a role to play as it’s undoubtedly better than the other quick options in the immediate vicinity.

melbourne best cafes 2014
melbourne best cafes 2014

Pho24

656 Little Bourke Street
Melbourne
Victoria 3000
Australia

Telephone:   (03) 5915 9047
Email:            [email protected]
Website:        http://pho24.net.au/

Open
Mon – Wed:    7:00am to 9:00pm
Thu:                 7:00am to 9:30pm
Fri:                   7:00am to 10:00pm
Sat:                  10:00am to 10:00pm
Sun:                 10:00am to 9:00pm

PHO24 on Urbanspoon

Shortstop Donuts

melbourne best cafes 2014

Shortstop Donuts was perhaps one of the most anticipated small openings of 2014, with 16,000 Instagram followers pre-launch just one indication of the hype that surrounded this place before it opened. The concept is simple, with owners Anthony Ivey and Sinye Ooi aiming to sell Melbourne’s best donuts along with great coffee. In fact, Ivey travelled around the US, sampling the best donuts and meeting chefs in Los Angeles, New York, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver and San Francisco in order to perfect his recipes.

The menu is dead simple with either white or black coffee espresso or filter available, and 4 different types of donuts – raised, crueller, filled and cake. Raised and filled are the donuts that you’re used to while cake is made from cake crumb batter and crueller is made from choux pastry.

Exactly which combination of donuts is available depends on what’s fresh when you walk in – the be guaranteed a certain flavour you can pre-order online the day before. I tried the red velvet and the earl grey and rose – both cake donuts that were utterly divine. The earl grey, which had lemon myrtle injected into it and a rose petal and rose water icing was amazing.

Lives up to the hype.

Shortstop Donuts

12 Sutherland Street
Melbourne
Victoria 3000
Australia

Telephone:   n/a
Email:            [email protected]
Website:        http://www.short-stop.com.au/

Open
Mon – Fri:    7:30am to 4:30pm
Sat:                9:30am to 3:30pm

Shortstop Coffee & Donuts on Urbanspoon

T By LuxBite

melbourne best cafes 2014

South Yarra favourite LuxBite have recently opened T By LuxBite in Melbourne’s CBD. The “T” stands for Tarts and there is a rotating selection of 10 tarts on offer daily, along with a range of macarons. Bernard Chu and Yen Yee are also bringing across their philosophy of combining French technique with Asian influences. Think Pandan or Oolong macarons and Calamansi-lime curd tarts with jackfruit and chilli salt. I’ve tried a few things from here and can’t say that I’ve ever been anything other than completely satisfied.

T By LuxBite

2/517 Flinders Lane
Melbourne
Victoria 3000
Australia

Telephone:   (03) 9629 9662
Email:            [email protected]
Website:        http://tbyluxbite.com.au/

Open
Mon – Sun:    8:00am to 6:00pm

T By LuxBite on Urbanspoon

Hakata Gensuke

melbourne best cafes 2014

Hakata Gensuke has built quite the cult following as one of the best ramen joints to open up in the recent ramen craze that has swept Melbourne. I’d not eaten any ramen since my last visit to Japan so very interested in seeing what the fuss was all about. Joining the queue to sample Fukuoka master chef Kousuke Yoshimura’s tonkotsu (pork bone) ramen I was handed a sheet on which to write my order – one of 4 types of tonkotsu ramen with a choice of noodle thickness, a variety of additions (like nori, soft boiled egg) and a choice of gyoza or chicken karaage on the side.

When I got inside and my food arrived with Japanese efficiency and I wasn’t disappointed, with the flavour and creaminess of the broth being exactly what I expect from a tonkotsu ramen. Serving sizes are on the small side, and you’ll probably want extra noodles or meat but overall, I can see why there are lines.

Hakata Gensuke

168 Russell Street
Melbourne
Victoria 3000
Australia

Telephone:   (03) 9663 6342
Email:            [email protected]
Website:        http://www.gensuke.com.au/

Open
Mon – Sun:    12:00pm to 3:00pm; 5:00pm to 9:00pm

Hakata Gensuke on Urbanspoon

Sparrow’s Philly Cheese Steaks

melbourne best cafes 2014

The Philly Cheesesteak is something that I’ve not come across since I was actually in Philadelphia and got one at the famous Jim’s. I remember it being embarrassingly indulgent and tasty so when I heard about Sparrow’s Philly Cheesesteaks opening up inside on of the back rooms of craft beer venue Catfish I was intrigued to see what they were serving up.

Geno Sparrow, a Philidelphia native can be found in the kitchen cooking up the cheesesteaks which vary from the classic with American or provolone cheese and a few others like mushroom, hoagie and kimchi. I tried the hoagie which was oozing with cheese and absolutely delcious. The onion rings were ok, but really it’s all about the cheesesteak.

Sparrow’s Philly Cheesesteaks

Inside Catfish Bar
30-32 Gertrude Street
Fitzroy
Victoria 3065
Australia

Telephone:   n/a
Email:            n/a
Website:        http://www.sparrowsphillysteaks.com/

Open
Mon – Thu:   5:00pm to 12:30am
Fri – Sat:        12:00pm to 12:30pm
Sun:                12:00pm to 10:30pm

Sparrow's Philly Cheesesteaks on Urbanspoon

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Paul
Paul
Paul founded The City Lane back in 2009 as a place to share photos of his travels around Europe with friends and family. The City Lane might have changed quite a lot since those early days but one thing that’s remained constant is Paul’s passion for food, travel and culture, and a desire to photograph and write about his experiences. Paul has a strong inquisitive nature that drives him to look beneath the surface in order to discover what really makes a city and its people tick, and what better way to do this than over a good meal or drink, with a city’s locals, at places that people who live in that city actually frequent. Paul is also a co-host of The Brunswick Beer Collective, a podcast that may or may not actually be about beer.

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