Skip to main content

Kommune, Nyala

I first went to Kommune (370 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy) soon after it had opened in the former Charmaine's ice-cream shop site. I liked it, but it felt unfinished somehow... not quite sure of its own personality yet.

My friend wanted to try Nyala African Restaurant for dinner, just down the road, so I suggested Kommune for a drink first. It has come together a lot more now. The interior is much the same as before, with posters pasted on the wall, tall bar tables and moody lighting, but now it also has a few armchairs, pot plants and homey touches - just a few small things that make it seem much more comfortable and sure of itself.



It's got a kind of neat, dark, European vibe: small, dark and gritty, but also clean, modern and warm. The bar staff are friendly and seem to be up for a bit of banter. The few tables outside on the street are great for people-watching, right in the midst of the Brunswick Street shopping and dining hub. We had a pleasant couple of drinks.



Down the road, my friend and I found the subtle doorway that leads up a staircase to Nyala (Level 1, 356 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy). Specialising in Ethiopian food, this place is apparently quite an institution in Fitzroy and used to be at a different site on street level, further down towards Gertrude Street.

I never saw the old site, but I'm not sure the newer one works. It's odd having a restaurant one level up from the street - especially a street as buzzy and vibey as Brunswick Street. I like how the windows look out over the corner of Brunswick and Kerr Streets and let in loads of natural light, but it still feels like you've accidentally walked into someone's private residence, albeit a massive and somewhat bare one. There has been some effort to decorate in a traditional African style: wooden sideboards, ornaments, paintings, rugs, wooden placemats.




But it's a very large space and still manages to feel kinda empty. It could be intentional: aiming to be reflective of the open spaces in Africa, or paying homage to a traditional African style, which I can't say I'm at all familiar with. So... pinch of salt, people. (In any case, we were there to eat, not critique the decor.)

I was tickled by the menu and its quaint, overly-positive, descriptive terms of expression, such as "A beautiful start to your meal" and "only the beginning of rapturous eating" (!):



We tried some African white wine, which was surprisingly nice (who knew?!) - fruity and sweet - and came in a great-shaped bottle:



And then ...the food.

Having not eaten much African cuisine before, we thought it best to order the combination entree and main options, to get a taste of everything. Unbeknownst to us, that meant a BUCKETLOAD of food - far too much for two girls! Fortunately, my friend's boyfriend joined us at the end and polished off most of the remains.

I can't remember what anything was called, but the entree was a mix of meaty stuff, and in the mains there was something garlic-and-spinachy and something chickpea. All very tasty, but not sure I could eat it all the time - a bit too starchy, spiced and meaty for everyday eating. It was all served with AWSBALLZ aerated African bread that looked like pancakes. Oh yeah, and it's encouraged (but not required) to use your HANDS! You kind of roll up the meaty stuff in the bready stuff and pop it in your mouth before it all falls out. Quite the fun.








I do also recall the whole thing being quite reasonably priced. 

On the way out, there was a poster teaching you the alphabet in some language (wish I had taken note). The linguistics nerd in me liked it.



In summary: Definitely worth the experience, and great if you're looking for something a bit different.



The Kommune Canteen on Urbanspoon

Nyala African on Urbanspoon

Popular posts from this blog

Steak Night and Pub Meal Specials

Want Melbourne Patron blog posts delivered straight to your inbox? Click on the "Subscribe" button at the top of this page and follow the simple instructions. Magic!


I am a sucker for a good steak, and lately, what with moving house and all the extra expenses that incurs, I've been on the lookout for great pub specials such as steak nights. I've been keeping a list on my phone of some of the deals I've found at venues around my home and work (mostly in the CBD, Fitzroy/Collingwood, Richmond/Abbotsford, South Yarra/Prahran/Windsor, South Melbourne) - and there are lots, so please note I haven't tried them all. Several of my friends have asked me to send them a copy of the list - so I figure this way, I can share it with everybody who might be interested!

PLEASE NOTE: This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the pub specials in Melbourne (there are many websites for that already!), nor is it necessarily current. I will do my best to keep it up-to-date - if…

The Lui Bar

In my opinion, some places are simply better experienced than described. This post features many photos which hardly do The Lui Bar (Level 55, Rialto Towers, 525 Collins Street, Melbourne) justice, because no matter how many pictures I show you or words I write about it, there is just nothing like viewing Melbourne from 55 floors up, handcrafted cocktail in hand, listening to jazz.



The Lui Bar stems off Shannon Bennett's revered restaurant Vue De Monde, the degustation meal of which is absolutely on my bucket list. The restaurant was moved to the Rialto site in 2011, and its adjoining bar has also been making waves ever since.



Iconic in location, the venue not only occupies the top level of what was, in 1986, the tallest building in Melbourne and the Southern Hemisphere at 251 metres, but offers spectacular city views of up to 60 kilometres on a clear day. Even the Eureka Tower, currently Melbourne's tallest building at 297.3 metres, looks smaller from the Rialto's former …

Hana

Want Melbourne Patron blog posts delivered straight to your inbox? Click the "Subscribe" button at the top of this page and follow the simple instructions. Magic!



Hana Restaurant A seafood tribute to Hawaii in Melbourne - with cocktails 
One day in the middle of Melbourne winter, I went looking for Hairy Canary. I remembered a long, dark venue with cocktails, somewhere on Lt Collins. In its place, I found Hana (212 Lt Collins Street, Melbourne), a new restaurant I'd read about but hadn't realised it had replaced the long-standing Canary.

I was intrigued, because HALLELUJAH, here was a new restaurant in Melbourne that was NOT yet another fried/slow-cooked/smoked/overdone tribute to Americana. Though technically still American, Hana celebrates and proffers the exotic flavours of Hawaii. Which basically means a lot of fish. Which is good. Because fish is good for you. And delicious.

So anyway, cut forward a few weeks to when my equally-foodie-friend is in town from Sydn…