Episode 30: Eat streets
This week on Postcards, our team trawl four precincts in Melbourne to find the best 'eats' on the streets! Glen Moriarty heads to Carlisle Street in Balaclava and discovers the frozen yoghurt mecca Yo-Chi, the funky café Las Chicas, Cicciolina's sister restaurant Ilona Staller and buzzing Radio Mexico. Brodie Harper visits Smith Street in Collingwood and has her fill of culinary delights at Rockwell and Sons, Saint Crispin and the Robert Burns Hotel. Shane Crawford ventures to Bay Street in Port Melbourne and tastes mouth-watering tapas at Corte, chicken the healthy way at Foxes Den and Vol au Vents with a modern twist at Rose Diner and Bar. Finally, Rebecca Judd strolls through the CBD and enjoys delectable crepes at Creperie Le Triskel, Italian cured meats at Ombra Salumi and locally sourced and nutritious fare at Grain Store in Flinders Lane.
Carlisle Street, Balaclava: Las Chicas, Yo-Chi, Ilona Staller and Radio Mexico
Set right in the heart of the action of Carlisle Street in Balaclava is Las Chicas, one of the area's favourite cafes. It has been a Balaclava institution for over 13 years and serves great coffee and fresh wholesome dishes. Some of these include the homemade pumpkin and polenta loaf with avocado, Persian feta and pomegranate jewels, the shallot omelette with enoki mushrooms, sesame and spinach on buttered sourdough, the confit duck sliders and the Las Chicas signature pork belly roll. In addition to the scrumptious fare on offer, the café space is open and light, and the courtyard is a massive hit with weekend diners.
The perfect spot to stop along Carlisle Street for a fun and healthy treat is Yo-Chi Self-Serve Frozen Yoghurt. Yo-Chi is all natural, 98% fat free yoghurt made using only the freshest ingredients sourced from local growers. Freshly prepared on site each day, there are eight flavours to choose from at any one time such as Chai, mixed berry, coconut, original tart and dairy free honey soybean. But choosing your yoghurt flavour is only half of the fun. The toppings are where things can get really crazy as you can choose from things like nuts, fresh fruit, oreos, fudge bites, cheesecake bites, coconut slices, caramel sauce and boysenberry compote. At Yo-Chi, you determine how much yoghurt and how many toppings you want, and then you pay by weight. Eating yoghurt has never been so much fun!
If you're after a more sophisticated dining experience, head to Ilona Staller – sister restaurant to Cicciolina, just down the road. Housed in a classic art deco building that was once a bank, Ilona Staller offers modern Mediterranean bistro food including some old Italian favourites and also new creations that are sure to please. There is also a great selection of wines and if you're keen on a killer dessert, you can't go past their famous Bombe Alaska, with macadamia, chunks of honeycomb and sticky espresso sauce.
For a taste of Mexico's finest cuisine head towards the Acland Street end of Carlisle and hit the brakes as you approach Radio Mexico. This buzzing restaurant opened in April 2012 and has been chockers every night since. All of the dishes are prepared daily using the most authentic and freshest ingredients available, and are cooked in the open kitchen. The menu offers some great sharing options such as BBQ hanger steak tacos, pork belly served with pineapple salsa and pan tossed prawns, as well as delicious desserts. There is also a huge range of tequilas, cocktails, beers and wines to help you wash it all down.
203 Carlisle Street, Balaclava
Ph 03 9531 3699
Yo-Chi Self Serve Frozen Yoghurt
292 Carlisle Street, Balaclava
Ph 03 9527 7001
282–284 Carlisle Street, Balaclava
Ph 03 9534 0488
11–13 Carlisle Street, St Kilda
Ph 03 9534 9990
Smith Street, Collingwood: Rockwell and Sons, Saint Crispin and Robert Burns Hotel
Located just outside of the CBD, Smith Street is two kilometres of foodie heaven. While Huxtaburger is a hipster hub at the north end of town, Rockwell and Sons is holding up the brilliant burger standards down towards Johnson Street. It's all about relaxed, casual dining here so you can take your time to devour their double patty smash burger, or for something a little lighter tackle the soft shell crab sandwich. Sandwiches aside, the rest of the menu is all about sharing dishes like applewood smoked lamb shoulder served with Kentucky black BBQ sauce and harissa slaw, along with something refreshing like the beetroot salad with dill, sorrel and pistachios.
Further down Smith Street towards Alexander Parade you'll find the newly renovated Robert Burns Hotel. Now it may be named after Scotland's favourite son but inside it's strictly Spanish. The Robbie Burns – as it's affectionately known – has a fresh new look and is serving up authentic home-style cooking such as Iberican ham croquettes and squid ink paella with cuttlefish and scallops.
Word on the street is that Saint Crispin is one of the hottest new dining destinations not just in Collingwood, but across town. The menu is all about accessible fine dining so they offer two courses for $50 and three for $60. For entrée you can enjoy a dish of King salmon, shaved calamari, oyster, squid ink and saffron and for main why not try the veal cheek, hand rolled macaroni, miso eggplant and broccoli.
Rockwell and Sons
288 Smith Street, Collingwood
Ph 03 8415 0700
Robert Burns Hotel
376 Smith Street, Collingwood
Ph 03 8669 5190
300 Smith Street, Collingwood
Ph 03 9419 2202
Bay Street, Port Melbourne: Corte, Rose Diner and Foxes Den
Bay Street in Port Melbourne offers an array of fantastic food experiences and that's why it's one of Melbourne's great 'Eat Streets'. Corte is a restaurant and wine bar that serves Latin and Spanish inspired tapas with matching wines in the old Port Melbourne Court House. The heritage listed court house was built in the early 1860s and it's still remarkably intact. These days it's enjoying a new life satisfying locals with dishes like the black bean and guacamole gringa and the smoked Spanish mackerel potato salad.
As you walk along Bay Street, you can't miss Rose Diner and Bar with its black and white striped umbrellas out front and its gleaming white façade. This gem has been transformed from a classic Aussie pub into a 1950s diner. The light, open space with recycled furniture is warm and welcoming, and the menu is full of retro classics that are sure to please. Also stop by the pub's old garage out back where you'll find 'Little Rose' serving up old school jaffles and milkshakes.
More great food can be found at Foxes Den, a flash takeout joint where you'll find free range roast chickens and an incredible array of freshly made salads. The chicken is seasoned with rosemary and lemon or with Moroccan spices and it's available by the piece or in fantastic chicken rolls at lunch time. Each day there are ten seasonal salads that are freshly made and they really steal the show.
Also along Bay Street is Ciao Cielo, an intimate restaurant with art deco inspired décor, Crème where you can catch up for a coffee and enjoy a relaxed breakfast, Seven AM (which opens at seven AM for the Bay Street early birds), Balderdash where the owners have created their own Five Senses blend, and Noisette, an acclaimed French bakery that makes croissants worth crossing town for.
115 Bay Street, Port Melbourne
Ph 03 9646 7697
Rose Diner and Bar
309 Bay Street, Port Melbourne
Ph 03 9681 8550
99 Bay Street, Port Melbourne
Ph 03 9646 4353
Port Melbourne Business Association
CBD: Creperie Le Triskel, Ombra Salumi and Grain Store
Everyone loves to indulge in a crepe every now and then and one of the best places in town to get a slice of France is Creperie Le Triskel on Hardware Lane. This cute little cafe offers breakfast including Croque Monsieurs, freshly baked croissants, savoury galettes and there is also a smaller but delicious selection of sweet crepes. These are all made right in front of your eyes and there is one to suit all taste buds.
Over on Bourke Street, which has long been home to many famous eating institutions like Pellegrini's and Grossi Florentino, there's a new generation setting up shop. Carlo Grossi, son of Guy, has launched Ombra Salumi – a bar set over two levels right next door to his Dad's place. Here there is a focus on cured meats inspired by the 'Salumerie' of Italy. Also on the menu are small snacks such as prawn sliders, eggplant 'fritte', pork belly croquettes as well as bigger salads, pizzas and desserts.
Down Flinders Lane you'll find Grain Store, a café with restaurant quality items on the menu. The produce used here is seasonal and regional, as they have a close relationship with CERES, an urban farm in Brunswick. The dishes mirror traditional European fare but are created with modern techniques, such as the nicola potato gnocchi and tomme cheese served with mushroom taleggio cream, broccoli, brown butter and nigella seeds.
Creperie Le Triskel
32 Hardware Lane, Melbourne
76 Bourke Street, Melbourne
Ph 03 9639 1927
517 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Ph 03 9972 6993
Spring Racing Carnival
For those that love spring racing, it's time to start planning your race day outfits as this year's Spring Racing Carnival is set to begin in a couple of weeks.
Where: Various race courses across Victoria
When: September – November
Hinterland Scarecrow Festival Trail
The Hinterland Scarecrow Festival Trail comes alive this month in the front yards of the Mornington Peninsula's orchards, cottages, farm-gates, mazes, cafes and galleries.
Where: Mornington Peninsula
When: 20 Sep – Oct 21, 2013
'On The Boot' Family Day
Be sure to join AFL players at Glenferrie Oval next Sunday at 'On The Boot' family day, raising funds for My Room Children's Cancer Centre.
Where: Glenferrie Oval, Hawthorn
When: Sunday 15 September, 2013