Wednesday, January 11, 2006

A rough guide to eating out in Melbourne

The Big 'O' & Dad at Don Dino's Port Melbourne, circa 2002 -
photo courtesy of Jon Bassett, arguably Perth's only flyfishing photographer.

If you're ever in Melbourne, Don Dino's is a great place for a casual dinner - and, the head waiter remembered my name every time for the 10 years we went there - whenever we drove past it my son would always insist on eating there. On that note, it was the last restaurant we ate at before bidding a fond farewell to Melbourne town.

Other recommended eating options in Melbourne:

Yarraville Village Pizza, Anderson St, Yarraville - say g'day to my mate Enzo and ask him how his good mate Matty Lloyd is doing! I used to enjoy letting Enzo decide what sort of pizza I wanted - they always turned out to be superb, in a very NON 'would you like roasted artichoke hearts with that, infused with a port and pig's scotum cranberry jus...' Just good, traditional pizza, but I do have to have a word about his decor... that Al Pacino poster, Enzo, please!

Cafe Fidama, Ballarat Street Yarraville - great mod cuisine at very reasonable prices, with the pepper crusted quail and chili jam at the top of my list. The breakfast here is renowned, but not much space to spread out The Age unless you grab a table early.

Lemon Zest Cafe, Ballarat Street, Yarraville - you have to try Mama's lamb shanks! Last time I was there, Mama kept peeking out to see if I was enjoying the shanks and post-meal came out to pinch my chek and tell me what a good boy I am!

Misuzus Japanese Restaurant, Victoria Ave, Albert Park - the taster plates are terrific and everything on the menu is organic. Food for the soul.

The Blue Train, Southbank - ahhh, many a cold beer has been sipped on this balcony overlooking the Yarra - try the dhal, it's a meal in itself and the spring rolls are great. Very retro/funky, with enough stainless steel piercings in the waiting staff to hold up the Westgate Bridge. Expect to wait in the bar for anywhere up to an hour for a table, even on week nights. My son ate his first solid food here!

Mecca Bah, Docklands - prop yourself on a cushion overlooking the still (thankfully) slightly grungy Docklands waterfront and enjoy a selection of Middle Eastern delights. Try mixing the beetroot salad with a bottle of Turkey Flat Rose while you take in the distant traffic crossing the Bolte Bridge.

Jock's Icecreamery, Victoria Ave, Albert Park - the must stop shop for the tastiest icecream in the western world. And, there really is a 'Jock' and he looks just like he does in his logo, complete with a semi-afro bouffant. Quite embarrasing though when the kids are shouting out, 'I want Jocks!!!' in public.

Andrew's Hamburgers, Victoria Ave, Albert Park - dead set legends of burgery, complete with a neon sign out front that hasn't changed in decades, just like their burger recipe. Rub shoulders with bikies and builders, lawyers and ad execs - everyone's here for the good grub .

The Gravy Train, Seddon - great family cafe that was a favourite for breakfast. Stylish lattes wash down a very innovative Toad in the Hole complete with polish sausage and Kaiser Flaishen (thick cut bacon), not to mention crunchy home made sourdough bread.

The Commercial Hotel, Yarraville - very funky, very retro and supplied me with the coldest of beers one summer's day when it was really needed - almost medicinal. Outside courtyard is oh so cool, as is the menu featuring classics such as sausage curry, with a modern twist. If you haven't got it yet, Yarraville is a grouse place to hang out, but don't tell 'em I sent you!

The Blarney Stone Irish Pub, Anderson Street, Yarraville - this pub followed me from Port Melbourne... WTF? Superb Guinness, but a menu that changed late in 2005 and to my mind is yet to be proven - I'll report back in a few weeks.

... more to come soon.
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