380 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
Vegie Bar is so much more than your local vegetarian restaurant. Its fresh food- prepared in an open kitchen- uses organic and biodynamic ingredients and caters to various allergies. The menu, friendly staff and inventive, bric-a-brac design is a celebration of vegetarianism and it actually feels as though the place is jumping with joy. If you’re a firm meat-eater, these ‘beefy’ wholesome vegie options are sure to surprise you. The diverse menu spans ethnic curries to burgers and wraps filled with goodies like tofu, tempeh and lentils, and will have your mouth watering. The entrees of dim sims, mini spring rolls and siamese samosas are parcels of bite-sized bliss. To keep your body bouncing, opt for a dish with tantalizing sauces like spiced peanut, temari, tahini, mint and coriander or garlic and ginger.
There’s no denying that this large eating-house is fun and exciting. It keeps its patrons coming in a pack. During the evening the share tables create a loud and eclectic buzz. Be prepared for a wait, which can often be upwards of 30 minutes. An outdoor terrace and bar will help the time pass. Here you can enjoy a selection of international and organic beers (Asahi, Kronenberg, Mountain Goat), basic spirits or a specialty like Sangria or the refreshing Melon Tingle.
Once an ideal some 20 years ago to offer healthy options for the mind, body, and soul, the veggie patch on the corner has over the years flourished into a thriving garden.
On The Road: Healesville, Yarra Valley
The idyllic town of Healesville is the perfect escape from the grey wintery city. Driving through the tree-lined boulevard of the town centre there are little pops of colour from the sweet shop to the knick-knacks hung behind glass windows. The air is crisp, clean and the rolling hills are dotted with wineries, fruit farms and the galleries of local artists.
Surrounded by quaint old pubs and iconic shopfronts, Giant Steps/Innocent Bystander sits towards the end of the road in an open plan, lofty space that exudes a certain smooth finesse. A culmination of two very distinct labels, Giant Steps is the expression of single vineyards in the Yarra Valley whilst Innocent Bystander delivers rich fruit flavours sourced from an assortment of vineyards. Here, their philosophy is “great wine needs great food” and there’s no better place to get your foodie fix. With craft beers, a cheese room, artisan bakery and in-house coffee roasting, it’s a true feast for the senses. The menu features tapas, wood fire pizza and a fabulous selection of mains designed to match their wines.
After lunch be sure to stop in to Kitchen & Butcher for a selection of goodies for the ride home. A delicatessen, little baker and charcuterie, Kitchen & Butcher brings together the fine foods of the region.
44 Chapel St, Windsor
On entering the dimly lit, narrow corridor that is Kid Boston, you’ll immediately notice the colourful display of bottles lining the bar. Here is everything owner Ryan Simpson needs for his inspired concoctions – so take a seat up close and watch as the magic unfolds. A splash of this, a twist of that, drinks are mixed with mastery and sophistication. Simpson’s friendly service includes a suggestion of drinks to suit your mood, be it the Earl Grey martini (tea infused with gin, lemon and egg whites), the Midnight Marauder (rum, seasonal berries and fresh espresso) or the Rhubarb Bitter (gin, lemoncello and a spoonful of mascarpone cheese). The list of sours and fixes, martinis and rocks is extensive as is the selection of wines, beers and spirits. And while the crowd unwinds to the smooth soundtrack of jazz and hip-hop, the spicy sweet aromas float from the open kitchen. You’ll want to try a couple of picks from the “small bites” menu that features spiced popcorn, pork chips and Boston nuts as well as share plates like citrus cured salmon, Buffalo wings and grilled chilli octopus.
Kid Boston takes the style and refinement of a classic wine-bar, than adds the pleasures that speak to our perpetual inner child and has us leaving in awe.
Chingón Cantina y Taqueria
413 Swan St, Richmond
Tacos anyone? Chingón is the newest street food taqueria to hit the Melbourne Mexican scene. A simple menu of six different types of tacos as well as corn chips with fire-roasted salsa or guacamole, the eatery celebrates the traditional cooking styles south of the border. Hailing from North Mexico, brothers Will and Mick Balleau are the masterminds behind the project and have injected the space with a certain Aztec flair, blasphemy of religious symbolism and all round suavity.
The 100 per cent corn, soft shell tortillas are hand pressed onsite daily adding a rustic charm. They are then amply packed with your choice of roasted veggies, smoky pork with pineapple, charcoal steak, prawns, flame grilled fish or chicken. And at a reasonable $15 for three tacos it’s no wonder people are dubbing the place “the real deal”.
9 Yarra St, South Yarra
Hidden amongst the backstreets and office buildings of South Yarra, Outpost is a real gem. A progeny of the much-loved specialty coffee house, St Ali in South Melbourne, Outpost is sleek and stylish while retaining a classic charm. Walking past the central kitchen, bouncing with colour and movement, we come to a dinning room that fuses the industrial with provincial France. Light fittings are hung low, and shelves are polished then adorned with a selection of bottled drinks and shining utensils, all sitting on a floor of checkered tiles. Herbs are grown in glossy pots and the sunshine beams through the large glass windows.
Do not be deceived by the size of this trackside café, the menu is bursting with inventive flavour combinations while retaining the classics like eggs served any way, bircher and daily baguettes. Their seasonal espresso blend is full-bodied with a nutty accent and is perfectly combined with a pick from their exceptional selection of cakes and other sweet treats. Here, the emphasis is on the quality of the produce and when wrapped in such a beautifully unique package, Outpost is well worth a visit.
34 Johnston St, Fitzroy
Nestled amongst the hustle and bustle of Brunswick St, Los Amates bursts with colour from the décor to the creative flavour concoctions. With an interior inspired by the Mexican Day of the Dead and walls adorned with quirky portraits of Frida Kahlo, Los Amates has a festive atmosphere about it and a tantalizing menu to match. The authentically regional menu looks to central Mexico with a spectrum of soft tortillas, tacos and quesadillas as well as distinctive mains that include ox tongue, Yucatan-style braised pork, and a chicken mole in a smoky chilli and bitter chocolate sauce. The food is fresh, the staff is friendly and with an extensive list of Hispanic classics like tequila, margaritas and Mexican mezcales you’re in for a true Mexican experience.
Open Tuesday to Sunday 6pm till late
3/296 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
The addictive, devilishly dark, magic sort of stuff that remedies the chills of the Melbourne winter; that pours down your throat and warms you head to toes and lifts you up on a cloud- I’m talking of chocolate of course. At Shocolate, Master Chocolatiers you’ll find award wining chocolate, and macaroons accredited the best in the state. The specialty sweet boutique is reminiscent of the artisan chocolateries and patisseries of Paris, with walls lined with the finest delicacies. One taste and you’re hooked.
187 Gertrude St, Fitzroy
Sitting on the corner of Gertrude and George St, De Clieu is one of those places you can easily sit and watch the world go bye as time floats on. While Fitzroy is known for its profusion of quirky cafes, and eating hot spots, De Clieu, remains one of a kind- the kind from which came Brother Buba Budan and flagship store Seven Seeds. The Six Degrees designed space features recycled timber bench sitting and an inventive menu to match. Standouts include a great range of hot-pressed sandwiches with a side of crisps, roasted sardine fillets, and coco pops served with house-made red cordial. What better way to start the morning?
Follow from the passenger on Bloglovin
Rose Street Artist Market
60 Rose St, Fitzroy
A culmination of all things handmade, colourful and imaginative, The Rose St Artists’ Market showcases the best of Melbourne’s emerging designers. Set in a former junkyard in the heart of inner city Fitroy, the Market showcases the best from Melbourne’s local designers in art, photography, fashion, jewellery, accessories and homewares. Nestled just off Brunswick St, the eclectic market has featured over 600 individuals, selling just about anything from recycled furniture to bespoke textiles, sweet treats and knitted winter woolies. You’re bound to pick up a treasure or two.
Open Saturday’s 11am till 5pm.
11-13 Carlisle St, St Kilda
From the crew that brought you St Kilda’s Galleon Cafe, their latest venture Radio Mexico, was always bound to be a hit. Colourful, loud and lively, the bar and taqueria adapts the well-loved food truck concept with a larger menu, and a choice of both indoor and outdoor dining. Serving up 100% Agave tequila and an extensive list of Mexican beers, Radio Mexico is funky, fun and already a favourite amongst locals. The food is fresh while retaining its street food flair and comes in the form of tacos, tortillas, homemade corn chips, ceviche, burritos and all sorts of small things to share. With food this good it’s no surprise the place is constantly packed to the brim.