Two Birds One Stone

12 Claremont St, South Yarra

Sleek and polished best describes Nathan Toleman’s latest venture, Two Birds One Stone. From the team that brought us Apte, Liar Liar and Three Bags Full, Two Birds One Stone sits nestled in the back streets of South Yarra bringing a burst of light and air to the otherwise concrete strip. The down to earth yet exciting menu features cod and potato fritters, twice cooked marmalade French toast and eggs anyway you like it, and as with everything else the food is crafted with absolute attention to detail. The coffee is Rwandan and roasted by Five Senses or occasionally, in Two Birds’ own back room, and is perfectly matched with a pick from the wide selection of pastries and cakes (including their famous cheesecake brownie!) Just what the neighbourhood has been craving, Two Birds One Stone will undoubtedly guarantee your return.

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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.

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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.

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Radio Mexico

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.

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New York Tomato

6 New St, Richmond

Hidden amongst the backstreets of Richmond, New York Tomato takes a raggedy apartment building and injects it with quirky 70s inspired décor, friendly staff and a unique all day breakfast menu. It’s the type of place you’ll end up staying all afternoon– newspaper in hand and a second creamy pot of chai on the way. Almost camouflaged on the corner where New and York St meet, the café features a sunny courtyard and upstairs mezzanine with laid back lounges and large windows that look out on the gleaming city. But inside, the cozy, friendly space of New York Tomato is a world of its own.  

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Auction Rooms

107 Errol St, North Melbourne 

It’s not at all surprising that earlier this year Auction Rooms took out the prize for Melbourne’s Best Coffee by The Age’s “Coffee Army”. Housed in the old WB Ellis auction house, Auction Rooms is everything we’ve come to expect from the city’s most outstanding coffee roasters. And with a deliciously unique menu coupled with friendly staff and an edgy, urban interior, they seem to have it spot on. For food, you can pick from classics like eggs with any amount of sides, muesli and banana bread or opt for something a little bit more extraordinary like Welsh rarebit, tomato and chorizo stew or grilled black pudding. Architecturally, the large space is stunning with a glass feature wall that creates a cozy courtyard at the rear, use of recycled materials, pendant lamps and communal tables- Auction Rooms is truly one of a kind. 

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St. Ali

12/18 Yarra Pl, South Melbourne 

A house name when it comes to Melbourne cafés, St Ali prides itself on handcrafted specialty coffee. With single origins spanning Santa Ana, Mt Kenya and Cauca there’s a cup to suit every taste, not to mention the best chai in town. The quirky and scrumptious food menu features manifestations like “My Mexican Cousin” (secret recipe corn fritters), “Happy Ending” (waffle sandwich) and “Mr Girello” (shaved salt beef bagel). The converted industrial warehouse space is constantly packed with people…and there’s no question as to why. 

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Proud Mary

172 Oxford St, Collingwood 

Our expectations were high as we headed down the back streets of Collingwood, to the crowded corner, home to Proud Mary. People cramped themselves on the footpath, newspapers in hand, waiting for their name to make its way up the list. For us, this meant enduring a 45-minute wait. But the sun was shining and standing amongst the hustle & bustle allowed us to examine an array of stunning options leaving the kitchen. Much has been said about the excellence of Proud Mary coffee. It was spot on.

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Yellow Bird

122 Chapel St, Windsor

Combining an American style diner with a dark Mexican Day of the Dead “Dia de los Muertos”, Yellow Bird will excite and entice you. The colourful space is decked out with retro tables, walls hung with old vinyls, and a rockin’ track on the turntable. As they say, they like their music loud. If you’re stopping by for Tijuana Tuesdays you’ll find a full Mexican menu of burritos, fajitas, tacos and enchiladas as well as margaritas and sangria jugs. Any other day of the week, it’s deliciously Americana, featuring their famous steak sandwich, chilli burger and New York fries.

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First Floor, Curtin House, 252 Swanston St, Melbourne 

A dimly lit, windy staircase embodies the iconic ‘vertical lane way’ otherwise known as Curtin House. At the centre of this re-developed art nouveau building is Cookie, a self described, disco, eating-house and beer hall. As you step inside you’ll notice quirky murals and walls lined with pre-loved little golden books we recognise from our childhood, and that the place is packed to the brim.  

The Thai fusion menu features specialities like taro dumplings with chilli soy, prawn & glass noodle firecrackers with avocado and & coriander sauce, duck jungle curry and drunken noodles. You’ll also find a selection of 85 plus imported beers and a unique cocktail list. With a buzzing atmosphere, delicious menu and beautiful rendering of the deco space, Cookie is a treasure for locals and out-of-towners alike.

From The Passenger x

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