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Showing posts from 2012

Sydney: Riverview Hotel, Oaks Hotel

For my first night back in Sydney for Christmas (which happened to be Christmas Eve), my parents wanted to show me a great little pub they'd found in Balmain called the Riverview (29 Birchgrove Road). The upstairs dining room was booked out, but bar food was available in the main pub area on street level from 6pm. We had arrived rather hungry at 5.30pm! So we perched on semi-uncomfortable stools around a long tall table and chewed the fat for a bit.

The waiter was chummy, the wine plentiful, and the food (post 6pm) very tasty. All of us wanted the duck salad, but each ordered different things for the purpose of variation! I had the mushroom gnocchi, which was just the right amount for gnocchi, which can often be too much/too filling. My mother's prawn pizza looked great, but she hasn't expected the hidden jalapeƱos and extra water was required! Dad was content with his steak, and my sister's duck salad looked OK but probably not as great as all of us had hoped.

The p…

Three Bags Full

On a 39-degree day, two days before Christmas, I wisely set out on foot (!) to find a half-decent cafe in my new 'hood. The one I'd aimed for, New York Tomato, was shut (boo hiss) and the next closest I knew of (proximity being the key factor when walking in 39-degree heat) was Three Bags Full (39 Nicholson Street, Abbotsford). Technically, I'd walked through three suburbs to get there (East Melbourne, Richmond, Abbotsford), so I was pretty adamant I wanted a table, water and caffeination ASAP. Fortunately, being on my own meant no waiting time as it is much easier to seat one patron than two, even at a place as regularly busy as Three Bags Full. (I should drop a 'four' in here somewhere, but frankly my brain won't extend that far today.)

Happily seated at the window in brisk air-con with ice water at hand, I started feeling better. Much more so when my delicious 45ml shot coffee arrived, neatly accompanied by a sugary shortbready biscuity thing (possibly for C…

Jimmy Watsons, Small Victories, Black Cat

It started with afternoon drinks on the rooftop bar of Jimmy Watsons (333 Lygon Street, Carlton). Rooftop bar, you say? Yes, rooftop bar! Venture through the staid, old-style restaurant part at the front, into the back courtyard and bar area, and just up the staircase you'll find a colourful haven covered in fake grass, bench seats, low tables, colourful cushions, fairy lights, lanterns, candles and pot plants. Quite a surprise, but a pleasant one. (I will take photos next time, promise.)

The upstairs bar and downstairs back bar seemed to be closed (this was at 4pm on a Saturday), prompting a bit of confusion as to where one buys a drink. So we traipsed back to the front entrance, bought our drinks and traipsed back upstairs to our garden paradise haven. After a while, some staff appeared every so often, offering COD table service which helped matters somewhat.

We got a bit hungry, so ordered some char-grilled bread with dips. They were standard flavours but tasty, well-presented …

Birdman Eating

Birdman Eating (238 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy) is one of those places I've been to for coffee or walked past heaps of times, without ever thinking to try the food. My new housemate informs me whenever she goes there, the breakfast special that always sounds really good has sold out, and she ends up getting the next special, which never sounds as good but is usually still yummy. I'd attempted to go for brunch here recently but it was packed, so we'd relocated. This time, it was happening! In a hangover-induced, zombie-like caffeine mission, we trudged in and sat ourselves at the window. It was hot and noisy outside, so we tried to swap to one of the footpath tables when someone left, but it had already been allocated so we had to wait. Third time lucky, we finally got a table outside (such a mission!) and our Espresso Syndicate coffees arrived quickly.

Our friend simply wanted a manly plate of eggs and bacon, something sadly missing from Birdman Eating's offerings. All t…

Tazio, Virginia Plain (closed)

*Virginia Plain is now closed.*

So I completely forgot to take pics this night. At least publishable ones that don't have my friend's face in the middle. But that's okay, because this place is worth blogging about, even without pictures.

One of my best friends and I have a regular catch-up, and this one fell the week before Christmas, so we decided to make an event of it and try the much-hyped new kid on the Flinders Lane block, Virginia Plain (31 Flinders Lane, Melbourne). We were early, so went for a drink first at Tazio Birraria & Pizzeria on the corner of Flinders Lane and Exhibition Street. We sat on the upstairs balcony, which was far less sleazy-old-man-filled than the downstairs section, and had a lovely glass of Prosecco.

When we got to the restaurant, I almost walked right past. It's so unassuming-looking. It is literally next door to Cumulus, which might make it easier for me to find it in future...

I had booked for the $75 pp degustation menu (including…

Plan B, Saint & Rogue, Touche Hombre

It's always hard trying to figure out where to meet a friend from out of town. You want to suggest somewhere near them, easy for them to find, easy for you to get to, a place where you can hear each other talk to catch up, but somewhere with atmosphere so it doesn't feel dull. Plus, somewhere with a touch of Melbourne's personality is always a bonus. It's a true art form!

Unfortunately, Richmond doesn't have these places in abundance. At least, Bridge Road doesn't. (There seem to be plenty more on Swan or Victoria Streets.) My old school friend was here from Sydney with her brand-new husband and the three of us caught up for a 5 o'clock drink last Friday. I suggested Plan B Lounge (274 Bridge Road, Richmond), as it was near where they were staying, and I remembered it being fun and vibey.

When I arrived, no one was there bar a bored-looking bar girl checking her phone among the tacky lighting and loud, outdated music. Inside, the music was so loud conversat…

I Am Gatsby

OK, so I'm not really Gatsby. But I might as well have been with these quaint and classy homemade Tanqueray gin and sodas with blueberry ice, courtesy of my housemate: 

They almost look like: “I’d like to just get one of those pink clouds and put you in it and push you around.”

Dandelion, Blue Tongue, QPO, Prince Patrick

Last week was Double-Christmas-Party-Day for me. First up, my immediate team and I went to Dandelion (133 Ormond Road, Elwood) for a late lunch - one of Geoff Lindsay's AWSBALLZ venues that we'd all heard a lot about, but never tried. Put quite simply: it was amazing.

There were seven of us (including one vegetarian and one non-seafood-eater), so we shared a bunch of entrees and then ordered one of every main we could see on the menu (from the Curries/Claypots and Coconut Grill sections). Entree standouts were the tiger prawns - HUGE and so fresh - and the soft shell crab and avocado with "Mrs T's magical sauce" - no idea what was in it, but it included shredded coconut and was fantastic. The mains I can remember were goat curry, fish curry, BBQ ribs (their signature dish - a must-try), pork belly, clams, and wagyu steak. Needless to say, the vego/non-seafood members of our party didn't fare overly well, but at least almost every dish came with a side salad.

Minh Minh, The Aviary, The Vic

As part of a recent challenge to try every restaurant along Victoria Street, Richmond (since I am newly local to the area), I met friends on Sunday night and we chose to dine at Minh Minh, 94 Victoria Street, Richmond. The restaurant choice was mainly made based on the fact that Minh Minh had a number of "Cheap Eats" stickers in their window, and a fair few customers inside.

We were shown to a table immediately, near the entrance and window, which was pleasant. The service was a bit hit-and-miss - but I have a feeling it's not really the focus of most Victoria Street restaurants. We'd brought a bottle of wine, which was promptly opened and poured, and our order of prawn and pork rice paper rolls for a shared entree also arrived very quickly. The dipping sauce was delicious: sweet and thick, with peanut and onion bits.

Between four girls, we ordered and ate almost every trace of Mongolian duck (absolutely fantastic - not too fatty or chewy, nicely charred and with not…

Bottoms up

Oh hi, blog-world.

A good friend recently suggested I write a blog about the many, many places I go to eat, drink and be merry. It does happen frequently, so I didn't think it too bad an idea. Thus: Melbourne Patron has been born.

I tend to frequent Fitzroy, Collingwood and the city most often; however, being not-from-Melbourne originally, I am always open to exploring new areas and awesome venues. Particularly if they're cool and serve alcohol. I also fly back to Sydney several times a year, and wouldn't discount the possibility that I may well blog about my adventures there, too.

My social adventures generally comprise venues of the pub, bar and restaurant varieties, but I work in the coffee industry by day, so do appreciate a darn-good dose of caffeine and smashing brunch. Not much of a clubber or picnicker, I'm afraid, but the food and drinks at those aren't overly exciting anyway. Teppanyaki, yum cha, high tea, and random events (does the Tramcar Restaurant co…