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Showing posts from May, 2013

Happy Kappa

When I think lunch, my first thought tends to be noodles. I'm not fussy: I'll eat basically any type of Asian cuisine, as long as it's well done. Having worked in Richmond for a couple of years now, I've sampled most of the offerings on or near Swan Street. My favourite? Happy Kappa, an unassuming-looking Japanese place (85 Swan Street, Richmond).

It's BYO, cash only, and this place won't win any prizes for decor. It's got a bunch of big wooden tables and a few longer communal ones, and there's random Japanese decorative stuff plonked all over pretty much every surface. The standard fluorescent lights have been 'cleverly' hidden by draped fabric, and you eat from plastic bowls with disposable chopsticks as you would from most Japanese takeaway joints. But, it's charming in a quaint way. Your eye always has something to rove over (not least all the spunky creative-type lunch patrons), and soft, soothing jazz music plays overhead.

The staff ar…

New York Tomato

I wanted to try this cafe just for its name! I've popped in to New York Tomato (corner New & York Streets, Richmond... well, that explains the name) a few times now, and I'm starting to really enjoy it.

From the outside, New York Tomato is hardly obvious. It's almost on top of the South Morang train line, a block or two south of North Richmond Station. The cafe venue itself is the last subdivision of a row of warehouse conversions, only recognisable by the fact that its small frontage is open to the street and often landmarked by a pretty scooter. (Can you call a motorised bike pretty? ...ahhhh fuggit.)

Once you realise you've got the right place, you're basically already in the courtyard, which is effectively the main dining area. It's cosy and covered, but still 'open air', so I'll be interested to see how the place fares during winter.

Behind the courtyard area, just indoors, is the compactly arranged kitchen, serving counter, and limited ben…

South of Johnston (SoJo)

I've lived in East Melbourne for six months and I am a serial weekend bruncher. My housemate and I are fortunate to have some excellent cafes nearby, including Proud Mary, Three Bags Full, Grocery Bar, New York Tomato and recent Victoria Street addition, Little Big Sugar Salt. But one of my new favourites is South of Johnston (46 Oxford Street, Collingwood), more lovingly known as SoJo.

SoJo is actually quite a bit south of Johnston Street, not just south of it, as the name would suggest. In fact, the restaurant site is just south of Peel Street, but I guess SoPeel doesn't quite have the same ring to it. Or North of Langridge... NoLang?! Mmmmmyeahsoanyway...

Reasons I like SoJo

It's walking distance from my house. Extremely important when you're a caffeine addict and have no car. It's spacious, so although it gets quite busy, you never have to wait too long for a table. (Plus, my housemate has a magic touch when it comes to waiting times: never exceeding 15 minutes! …

Sleep at the 'G

Youth homelessness is a big issue in Victoria, with over 22,000 homeless souls unsure of their next night's sleep, and roughly half of those under 25 years old. Coming from a comfortable, 'unbroken' home on Sydney's North Shore, with a healthy, happy family, access to great education, always enough to eat, and a warm, comfortable bed - plus many, many other perks - I often feel guilt about my fortunate upbringing. This translates into huge sympathy for anyone less fortunate.

I've lived in Melbourne for over four years now, and have come to realise how important a landmark the MCG is to this city. Not only is it the spiritual home of AFL to any Melburnian worth their salt, but it embodies our sporting culture, or at least what we like to think our sporting culture is: warmth, the encouragement to excel, a sense of community, pride in our history, and not least the old adage of 'a fair go' for all. So, it seemed a fitting venue for a youth homelessness fundra…

Top Paddock

Top Paddock? A new cafe in Richmond? Pfft, I'm not going there. Richmond doesn't have quality cafes that actually last. Plus, Richmond is a huuuuuge suburb. I'm a PT kind-of-a-gal. Tell me EXACTLY where it is, then maybe I'll check it out.

What? 658 Church Street, near the river? Just down the road from my work?! No WAYYYYYYY! Okay. I'll probably get there one day.

A venue for a belated birthday lunch, with my weekly lunch date? ...Why the hell not!?

Geez. That was easy to find. And this place is huge.

And schmick. I don't think I've ever seen so much cool designer lighting.

Are they recycled crystal vases with lightbulbs inside, casting different geometric patterns on the wall?

White coffee machine. White marble benchtop. Bar stools. Long communal table. Small private nooks. Clean. Airy.

You have HOW MANY different coffee blends?

I'm in love.

Okay. What are you having to eat?

One steak sandwich, please, and one kingfish thingy, with all the stuff. Yep:…