Hairy Canary- Little Collins St

First mistake of Hairy Canary. Using the word ‘hairy’. Gross.

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Despite its hairiness, I was excited to visit this place. My life long friend Caz suggested this as a good-bye dinner before her trip to Europe (everyone is leaving me and I’m sad!). It has a decent rating on Urban Spoon, and it’s cosy. The bartenders were young and charming, and we landed an awesome people-watching spot looking out onto Little Collins St.

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I was happy to be visiting somewhere a bit different to the standard Fitzroy cafes. However the issue with this place is definitely the price. I generally have very little money. But whatever, I decided tonight I would #YOLO this shit up and order something from this double-dollar-signs menu.

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This is Caz, pre-cheeseboard and excited about the menu.

We got to Hairy Canary, hoping for some yummy tapas and a decent wine. We were immediately greeted with handsome, charming (English) bartenders who got all cute when they forgot what the specials were. There were 2 vegetarian options in my price range; eggplant chips and a FUCKING CHEESEBOARD.

The Cheeseboard was $28. Yes, twenty eight fucking dollars. Caz and I decided to split it, thinking (like any normal person would) “it’s $28 worth of cheese, this should be a riot”. I got excited and ordered a Chilean red wine. An eclectic array of tunes ranging from Jose Gonzalez to ‘I think I wanna marry you‘ were playing in the background. The lighting was warm, we were feeling grand.

image-10This is what $28 worth of cheese looks like.

Our cheeseboard arrived, and we took a minute to recover from that charm of the English wait staff.  Then we looked down and felt nothing short of underwhelmed.

It tasted delicious, as any cheeseboard does. But I think they just took the scraps from last night’s soiree and chucked some strawberries on top. Call me old fashioned, but when I pay money for food I’m used to receiving something in return. Regardless, we basked in the glory of sophistication for a moment, but were quickly greeted again with hunger and an even emptier bank account. Boo.

The wine was amazing, partly because it was from Chile and partly because my usual array of cask wines have set the bar low.

Occupie Metrics:
Door to Beard Index: The beards exist, but more so in a ‘refined old man’ kind of way, than a ‘hungover and unshaven while riding a fixie’ kind of way.

Wine: Yes.

Noms: The eggplant chips may have been a more satisfying choice.

How poor will it make me? This is not an appropriate option for those light on coin. Buyer beware.

Final thoughts: It was cold outside, and this place was warm and inviting. It was fine to spend an evening here but I wish they were a bit more adventurous with their portions, and I wish I had more cash to spend on Chilean wine.

Hairy Canary on Urbanspoon

-Madeline

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The Knife Shop- Wellington St, Collingwood

I have very mixed feelings about this place. It’s the closest cafe to my house, so it’s my go-to caffeine venue. I’ve also eaten some  decent meals in my time there. There is something a bit disjointed about the vibe though; it’s a knife shop as well as a cafe, and the chi of the entire place is kind of off. As a result, it’s become the CBF place, rather than the ‘this place is definitely awesome’ place.

image-7This is Thomas ^^

This place has some pretty funky decor that reminds me of my grandma’s old house in the country. I enjoy the clocks and chequered tiles. I didn’t enjoy my food though.

Disclaimer: I was hungover as fuck when I visited this place. Usually when you’re hungover, things aren’t that awesome. I was stuck in that limbo where eating is the most repulsive thing imaginable, but would also be the only thing to perk me up. And I probably ordered the worst thing for a hangover- a dodgy omelette.

image-8I enjoyed the toast.

I had to walk all of 5min to get to this place, and god damn I was feeling sorry for myself. My soy-chai latte was decent enough to bother paying for, but I’ve always found the service a bit awkward, like I’m interrupting the wait staff’s happy-friendship-hangtimes just  to order some sub-par eggs. The highlight of this meal was the soggy toast that was kind to my stomach. Thankfully Thomas could finish off the tragic remains of this meal, so it didn’t go entirely to waste.

Occupie Metrics:
Door to Beard Index: I wouldn’t call this place entirely ‘hip’. It’s an at-times-kinda-ok cafe that happens to be on Wellington St. DTB index is low.

Coffee: Their coffee  doesn’t suck.

Noms: They do a haloumi salad that seems decent. However my noms experience was not kind.

How poor will it make me? The quality-cost ratio is off. Just stick to the caffeine and you won’t be as disappointed.

Final thoughts: I do feel I’m being overly harsh, but my experiences here have always been ‘ok’, or ‘I just want coffee now’. Urban Spoon rates them 73% positive. I’d say that’s accurate.

-Madeline

The Knife Shop on Urbanspoon

Bluebird Espresso- Johnston St, Collingwood

I’ve decided to create an #OccupieFitzroy hall of fame. Bluebird Espresso will be in it.

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This place is little, and easy to miss. It’s down the dodgy end of Johnston St (near my house), nestled amongst a sleazy backpackers hostel and some tiling stores. For anyone that knows Johnston St, if you’re not on your way to the Convent then this is the place to start giving up. Unless you’re going to Bluebird of course.

To begin, I ordered a coffee and it came out almost cold. Well, cold for my standards. But I was here for my regular Friday morning brunch, so I was happy to take it easy and see how it went. The menu looked amazing, and there were some really incredible vegetarian options (which can sometimes compensate for cold coffee).

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I ordered garlic butter mushrooms on on cheesy potato puree, with poached eggs and roquette on toast. All of a sudden I didn’t give a fuck about the cold coffee because I had died and gone to heaven. This meal was like sex. On toast. With some sunshine and rainbows. I still dream about it, and I would happily drink all the cold coffee in Melbourne if it meant I could eat this more often.

image-5This was my meal, midway through. Note how delicious it still looks.

I’m not usually one to order sweet breakfasts, but Chloe always does. She ordered French Toast. I can’t remember exactly what was in it other than salted caramel somethingarather, and some banana. But it looked fucking tits. Again, didn’t give a fuck about the cold coffee. This was just too good.

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Again, take note of the half eaten meal and how fucking appetising it still looks.

Occupie Metrics:
Door to Beard Index: This place is still in the ‘I knew about Bluebird before it was cool’ phase. The dodgy end of Johnston St is quickly becoming less dodgy, but Bluebird is still in its ‘not too cool’ phase. It’s always busy on weekends, and it’s full of hipsters. Therefore, beards. I rate it: 1 step.

Coffee: Would be good if it was warmer, but Chloe didn’t mind it so much. I wouldn’t go here *just* for the coffee, considering how much great coffee there is in the area.

Noms: FUCKING INCREDIBLE, HOLY JESUS. EAT IT NOW.

How poor will it make me? Normal Fitzroy/Collingwood poor, and a bit too poor considering it’s the dodgy end of Johnston St.

Final thoughts: This place is a big deal: I could forget about the less-than-average coffee because their food was just so, incredibly tops. Urban Spoon rates them at 4.5 starts. I would rate them 9 if I could (10 if they did hot coffee).

Check out their Facebook.  Fall in love with Bluebird Espresso.

-Mads

Bluebird Espresso on Urbanspoon

Slowpoke on Brunswick St

This place makes me happy even just thinking about it!

I visited Slowpoke last Friday, which was also MY BIRTHDAY! I was already in a good mood, as one often is on their birthday, and I was lucky enough to be blessed with brunch accompanied by two of my favourite people in the world.

The sun was shining, I was feeling the love. This place was a good choice. As was my meal!

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Baked beans with goats cheese, toast, and a ton of herbs. Bliss.

I FEEL LIKE I SHOULD WRITE THIS ALL IN CAPITALS JUST TO EXPRESS HOW I EXCITED I WAS BY EVERYTHING, but I shall refrain. This place just has totally positive vibes about it, and the staff are really friendly. It was cold outside, but I was cosy. My other friend Jodie came to say hello WHICH MADE ME MORE EXCITED. It was my birthday, and everything was wonderful!

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This is Thomas eating brunch! ^^

The menu was simple, which was good. Thomas ordered Avocado Smash, and it looked incredible. It also had chilli in it, I never thought that could be a thing! I then ordered a cup of tea after my meal because I got really excited and ate it too quickly, and that was also amazing! Everything was awesome!

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I then got to work to find these bad boys freshly baked, sitting on my desk.

image 02Then, two of my bosses (and Thomas) did their own rendition of Happy Birthday. It was a god day.

I’m aware these extra birthday details are unnecessary in the scheme of #OccupieFitzroy, but I really don’t give two shits and want to share the awesomeness that was, my birthday.

Occupie Metrics:
Door to Beard Index: Being the perfect Brunswick St cafe, it was high. Possibly even 1 step.

Coffee: Smooth and delicious.

Noms: AWESOME. Eat all the things.

How poor will it make me? Standard amount of poor. 

Final thoughts: On any other day, this place would still have been pretty damn excellent. Check out their Facebook page!

-Madeline

Slowpoke on Urbanspoon

Mr Tulk- Latrobe St, CBD

I’ve had a lot of brunch recently. Honestly, my life is incredibly brunch-tastic. (brunch brunch brunch).

The downside of this is that unless they fall into the category of ‘fuck yeah’, these cafes have kind of all blurred into the same brunchey experience. The upside, is that when a place is particularly stand out, it’s easy to notice. Mr Tulk however, has fallen into the blur.

Mr Tulk is a cute and cosy little cafe nestled next to the State Library. It was somewhat tempting to not bother including this place in the blog, because I just didn’t really feel like there was anything spectacular about it (But then I remembered my #OF rules to blog about EVERY place I visit). It certainly wasn’t bad, and it was still worthwhile visiting (especially because I got to share the experience with brunch-bestie 2.0, Jules). Their coffee was very decent, they had an appropriately simple menu but there could have been a few more veggie options.

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This was my brunch buddie Jules, note how hot she is.

I ordered a poached egg on polenta, with garlic butter mushrooms. I think polenta is the absolute bomb, as are garlic butter mushrooms, but this meal was a bit heavy and felt more dinner-like to me (with the exception of the egg). It was still really fucking tasty though. Jules initially ordered something with meat in it but was not allowed to swap the meat for something else, which really shits me (#VEGETARIANWORLDPROBLEMS).

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All in all it was a very tasty experience, but I think I’d just been completely overwhelmed with the amazing standard of food in previous weeks, and this fell right into the middle. I was also tripping out on cough syrup as a result of some winter sickness going around, and so my tastes were very specific that day. My meal also went cold because I spent too long chatting with Jules, but such is life.

Occupie Metrics:
Door to Beard Index: A deceiving 2 seconds. It’s a cafe staffed by hipsters, but filled with mostly middle-aged library goers, and a few tourists.

Coffee: I ordered a soy chai latte and it was very decent.

Noms: Super tasty but ever so slightly underwhelming. I like my brunch to be epic.

How poor will it make me? As poor as most cafes will- I think my meal was $16.

Final thoughts: This is probably more of a reliable coffee place than a reliable food place. I might give their food another try.

-Madeline

Mr Tulk on Urbanspoon

Arcadia- Gertrude St

I’ve been so slack! It’s almost been two weeks since I wrote about the culinary delights of the North Side, but I’ve been busy with things like my birthday, and #YOLOing that shit up.

But whatever, I need to write about Arcadia before it fades back into my memories of the Gertrude St charm. This was an exciting encounter, because I finally ordered MOTHERFUCKING AVOCADO SMASH (mah faaav).

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Avocado Smash. Note, the lack of chunks.

For those who don’t know, my standards for Avo Smash are lofty.  I usually prefer goats cheese, but feta is also pretty amaze, and there needs to be an egg included.

At most cafes, they will charge at least $2.50 just to put an egg in some water and serve it to you (seriously, fuck that shit), and unfortunately Arcadia was no exception. They also really seemed to take the term ‘Avo Smash’ and run with it, because I ended up with Avo Puree. This puree also included the goats cheese, so it was really just a tasty, green paste on toast. This is by no means a bad thing, and it was still delicious and I still felt satisfied. But I’m a gal who likes her avocado chunky and her goats cheese crumbly. Not blended into baby food.

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It required its own point of view shot.

The slight discontent really just comes down to personal preference, and I can’t really fault Arcadia on anything else. Their coffee was absolutely tops, and amidst some epic brunch-envy, I managed to snag a bite of Chloe’s banana bread with vanilla flavoured ricotta cheese.

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Everyone should try this place. It was cool and cosy. A couple decided to sit inappropriately close to us, considering how many empty tables there were. So we decided to engage in inappropriate discussion on how stressful our work weeks had been, and our party plans for the weekend that involved moustaches.

Occupie Metrics:
Door to Beard Index:  I don’t know, this metric is partly dependent on my willingness to engage with people and not just sit in a corner because I’m feeling grumpy.

Coffee: It’s hard to judge coffee when you continually drink good coffee. This one was still amazeballs.

Noms: Really decent. They just have a different style of Avo Smash, and that’s ok.

How poor will it make me? It’s Fitzroy and Gertrude St. Think about it.

Final thoughts: I’d go back there.

Check out their Facebook page right here!

-Maddy

Arcadia on Urbanspoon