Bowery to Williamsburg – Melbourne CBD

This post has been a long time coming.

Warning: I’m about to spend a few hundred words ranting about bagels and haloumi (two of my favourite foods), & why this New York style diner has made all my food dreams come true. I’ll also be introducing some new metrics to categorise my eating experiences into. Brace yourself.

Where do I even begin with this place… I’ve probably consumed food and/or coffee from Bowery to Williamsburg at least 50 times (not bad for someone who doesn’t actually have an infinite eating budget, despite what this blog may suggest). My place of employment used to be situated a casual 3 minute wander from Bowery to Williamsburg, just off Flinders St, and this led to the consuming of breakfast bagels on an almost-daily basis. This then also led to bagel runs on behalf of my entire office. They stock 5 & Dime bagels which are baked fresh just a few blocks down the street, and they smother them in delicious schmears that are guaranteed to give you a bagel butt worth twerking. My workplace was beginning to collectively develop some serious bagel butts, but then our office moved a few more blocks down the street and we developed a big case of the CBFs come our usual bagel breakfast time.

I’ve fallen so in love with 5 & Dime bagels that I’ll follow their stock list all around inner Melbourne, however I’m yet to encounter somewhere that gets the toasting/bagel-schmear-ration as good as Bowery does (perhaps with the exception of the 5 & Dime bakery themselves). Many Melburnians believe bagels are simply a bread roll with a hole in the middle, and I’m excited to see 5 & Dime changing these blasphemous ways.

Fast forward 12 months from my initial bagel discovery: I’ve only made a few visits back to Bowery, however 2 weeks ago I returned and saw something very new and very pleasing on their chalk board menu: A haloumi bagel, available at 2pm. I was stunned. Translation: Bagels had not sold out, and I could put one with haloumi in my face. Phenomenal.

My favourite bagels are the aptly named everything bagels, and on this day I managed to score the final one. Their lunch time haloumi bagel came with sweet potato, plain schmear, roasted bell peppers and basil. I also happened to enjoy this bagel with a friend who spent seven years living in New York, so she knows her shit about bagels. She approved.

The haloumi bagel got me hooked again. I returned again one week later to enjoy one more, and it was just as magical as the last time. Rolling Stones don’t know shit about the satisfaction this glorious meal could provide. I was also reminded upon returning a second time that Bowery serve a bomb-ass mac’n’cheese. See photos below for hunger inducing details.

Occupie Metrics:

Door to Beard Index:  Medium. Its CBD location amongst the fancy pants that work on Collins St mean there are more suits than beards. Also, tourists.

Coffee: They serve Padre Coffee, a roast I only recently discovered was super close to my Brunswick East digs. Only downside is they just serve one size, so not as helpful if you’ve had a big night or are falling into a bagel-coma. However Padre Coffee is good coffee.

Noms: Tops. They definitely serve the best bagels in Melbourne. Their menu can be a bit vegetarian-adverse at times but I’ve always found something that’s incredible and I will always return.

How poor will it make me? Extremely poor because you will want to eat there every day. Also, gym memberships can be pricy and that bagel butt isn’t going to work itself off (who am I kidding, I give no shits about bagel butts).

Is it instagram worthy? Yes, and it’s clear Bowery’s Instagrammers take themselves quite seriously. The #Bowerytowilliamsburg hashtag is looking fine.

Food blog fury: The only negative Zomato review is from someone who actually hails from Brooklyn, saying it’s overpriced and they could get a better sandwich for $5 back home. They should be reminded that the reason food prices are so cheap in the US is because the people making it are not earning a proper living wage and can’t afford basic health care. PS. Soz about your overpriced sandwich.

NEW METRIC- Occupie Enthusiasm: Does this get a ‘Fuck yeah’, a ‘yeah, alright’ or a ‘yeah… nah’?

Bowery to Williamsburg firmly sits in the ‘fuck yeah’ category.

Final thoughts: I absolutely adore this place. Bowery will always impress. They’ve also opened up another store in Hardware Lane which looks just as swish but also has the same menu (I was slightly disappointed by this). However they did swap some chicken for haloumi in their waffle special which made me very happy (see below).

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Bowery to Williamsburg Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Chin Chin – Melbourne CBD

It has been some time since #OccupieFitzroy graced your hearts and computer screens. I’ll admit I dropped the north-side ball for a moment there, and it was only two nights ago (over some hipster’s tears, aka PBR) that I was reminded this blog still exists. So seeing as I haven’t stopped eating, I shouldn’t stop blogging.

Chin Chin – There is something implied, when any of my friends mention they recently encountered Chin Chin. That implication being, ‘I’m poor, but through a divine combination of Mercury being in retrograde and some possible tax evasion, I was able to eat here’.

I experienced Chin Chin just recently, whilst attending an end-of-financial-year lunch (yes, really) with some colleagues. In the finance team, we like to party hard. And by party hard, I mean get paid to eat at one of Melbourne’s most popular restaurants. Times are tough.

The first thing to mention about Chin Chin is that it has a super cool, NYC vibe about it. I’ve never been to New York before, but I have seen every episode of Girls, so I’m certain this is a solid comparison to draw. Chin Chin is also really noisy, and being seated is often preceded by a long wait time. Both these factors, along with its triple dollar-sign price point ensure that Chin Chin is an enticing lunch/dinner time option for all those who probably don’t live on the North side. Some South of the Yarra Spending is required.

Nom Nom Nom Nom

The food however, is phenomenal. Despite the menu being cluttered and light on vegetarian options (#wankers), it’s almost guaranteed your meals will be incredible. They produce some seriously sublime food. I ordered some DIY rice paper rolls, a South Indian curry with a side of naan bread and some weird and whacky dessert, but I’m just not cultured enough to describe how fucking fantastic it was. I’ll admit it did make me wonder if this is how the 1% enjoys their food every day. Is this their default? Do they not understand the single dollar-sign on an UrbanSpoon rating? Shit got a bit existential as I remembered my options for dinner that night probably involved canned soup and a cheese toasty.

Chin Chin is modelled off Asian dining culture, so the menu briefly alludes to something about “designed to be shared”. What that actually means is that you need to order two meals and a side to adequately fill your belly with Asian Fusion. I’ll repeat: Mind-blowingly good food, but prepare to spend.

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This was my dessert. I don’t remember what it was, but I would have been fine with just half of it. It involved honeycomb.

Occupie Metrics:

Door to Beard Index:  Low. Very low. Beards are indicative of one’s existence as a (semi) poor arts student. A north side style beard at Chin Chin must be met with scepticism.

Coffee: Their coffee is an afterthought to their food, but it took me right out of my food coma.

Noms: Stunning.

How poor will it make me? Are you under 30? Do you live in a share-house? If so, the numbers will probably scare you.

Is it instagram worthy? Everything about it is pretty. Make your followers jealous.

Final thoughts: Great place. There is even a Chin Chin recipe book available, just in case you wanted to realise exactly how bad your cooking skills at home are.

-M

Chin Chin on Urbanspoon

1000 Pound Bend – Melbourne CBD

#OccupieFitzroy Followers,

An FYI before I begin – I’m considering adding the audio widget to this blog. I figured MySpace was long ago, enough so that it must be considered completely ironic. I might put on Kanye, because this blog is all about… THE NORTH SIDE (PLEASE HIGH FIVE ME RIGHT NOW).

Anyways, I am writing about 1000 Pound Bend on this fine evening.

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THIS GUY…

This venue is definitely one of my CBD favs – it transcends the ever important boundary of cafe/late night bar, so it’s good to know there’s always something awesome open. The food tastes pretty fucking fantastic, however after brunching hardcore for some months now, I’m beginning to understand the value of originality in a menu. Also, their coffee is not *actually* the best I’ve ever had, although it’s still worth paying your $4 for a soy latte.

And the place is fucking hip.

Tucked inside an old warehouse space down Little Lonsdale St, this place is just oh, so Melbourne.  I find it particularly cosy during the winter months as it’s sufficiently heated, and an awesome place to have after dinner drinks while remaining considerably chilled. Everything’s a bit grungy and they have cool art. The staff haven’t exactly been the friendliest in my experience, but hospitality tends to do that to people. This hasn’t deterred me.

FUCKING DELICIOUS YET UNORIGINAL

FUCKING DELICIOUS YET UNORIGINAL

This place is functional enough so that its taking itself seriously becomes an afterthought. It’s not claustrophobic, there’s constant free wifi and places to plug your laptop in if you want to be productive. Therefore, it ticks all the boxes that an awesome venue should. It’s very essentially Melbourne, but it’s not exactly… humble. When your mum asks you what hipsters are, please take her here, and feed her tasty, non-conformist cider while listening to Lou Reed (RIP).

Occupie Metrics:

Door to Beard Index:  Everyone here LOOKS like they’re participating in Movember but Movember isn’t underground enough.

Coffee: It’s fine, but there are better places in the CBD to get your fix.

Noms: I could make most of this at home, and it could do with some more vego options. But the ones that exist are excellent. HALOUMI BURGER, DO IT.

How poor will it make me? It’s fine.

Is it instagram worthy? It certainly is! But it’s’ high competition. If you want to stand out there, invent a witty hashtag or some shit.

Final thoughts: URBAN SPOON DESCRIBES THIS PLACE AS ROMANTIC, I DON’T UNDERSTAND. They’re rated a measly 72% on UrbanSpoon, but perhaps there were some UrbanSpoon down voting wars happening because I know that happens (thug life, yo). Defs check it out though.

And to finish it off…

YEP, THIS IS ACTUALLY A THING #NORTHSIDE4LYF

-Maddy 

1000 Pound Bend on Urbanspoon

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

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