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Friday, 26 September 2014

Bad Frankie

A refreshing departure from the current Americana food craze (is anyone else sick to death of burgers, pulled pork, po'boys and donuts?), Bad Frankie (141 Greeves Street, Fitzroy) has chosen to showcase local product instead. Rather than stocking your hospo standards (Absolut, Jim Beam, Bombay Sapphire, etc), owner Seb Costello has installed a huge selection of Australian-made spirits and liqueurs. This venue is a relative newcomer based on a very fresh idea - so I'm already a fan!

You'll find Bad Frankie just off Smith Street, buried among Collingwood's multitudes of eateries. It is actually perfectly situated for those post-dinner cocktails, when you're not quite ready to go home yet. Australiana is the theme here, shown in everything from the name and decor to the food and drinks. In fact, its Facebook page proclaims Bad Frankie to specialise in "iconic Jaffle and local Australian craft spirits". You read correctly: JAFFLE. "Home of the lamington jaffle", in fact. Oh yeaaaahhh.

Fat Pie and Classic jaffles

This is not so much a food venue, as a bar with food. But that by no means translates to bad food. Chef Michelle Boyle (formerly of Bar Ampere and Collins Quarter) has developed a simple menu of jaffles, ranging from the savoury Chook (poached chicken, house-made mayo, celery, pine nuts), a Classic cheese, or the Fat Pie (slow-braised beef with gravy and tomato chutney) to dessert jaffles, the Lamington and the Anzac Bikkie (how cool is that!). They are all very reasonably priced. What more could you want in life, I ask? Especially after a few beverages.

I tried the Chook

It was delicioso

The Australian spirits are put to the test in intricate alcoholic concoctions such as A Really Good Time (my favourite, for many reasons) (honeycomb, vanilla, vodka and egg white); Sunday Roast Old Fashioned ("lamb washed" whiskey, mint jelly reduction, rosemary); and its natural successor, Mrs French's Apple Pie (vodka, cinnamon myrtle liqueur [cool!], vanilla, cloudy apple juice), plus many more. I have said before that I am not a huge cocktail drinker (why do so many seem to taste like watered down, alcoholic fruit juice?), but I will happily partake in any or all of the cocktails here. (Please someone, hold me to that.) The drinks menu has page after page of random-sounding spirits infused with wattle or eucalyptus - pick your Australian flora of choice and it's probably in there somewhere.

Mrs French's Apple Pie

A Really Good Time (it was)

Sunday Roast Old Fashioned

Pepperberry Fizz

The name refers to a political dude in ye olde Australian times who banned something to do with alcohol, thereby delaying our drinking pleasure as a nation for many, many years. He is therefore BAD. (Nyeah, I didn't come for a history lesson. But I'm sure it's all kosher. See Bad Frankie's website for a more detailed/accurate explanation.)

The fit-out reminds me of my grandparents' home: faded sepia pictures pasted on the wall, embossed wallpaper, mustard branding, wood panelling, comfy cushions. The rope that's hanging from the ceiling to divide the two sections - yeah I'm not sure what that is, but I guess it serves its dividing purpose. It kind of adds a random fisherman vibe.

Even the glassware is cool - vintage specimens in interesting shapes or printed with gilded logos:

As the night approached, tealights in jam jars were brought out. Simple but effective.

Service was friendly and casual, which I liked.

The only downside of this joint is the slight stench of stale cheese when you walk in. It is to be expected, what with all the cheese jaffles produced there, and you do adjust pretty quickly, but it made my nose wrinkle the first time I visited. Perhaps in summer time, those big front windows will be opened and the smell would dissipate.

Nevertheless, I am keen to revisit Bad Frankie soon for a cocktail and jaffle or three. I hope it sticks around for a while.

Open every night but Monday.

Bad Frankie on Urbanspoon