Green Park – Super Special Coffee Tasting, Carlton North

Last week I experienced the highlight of my short career as a north-side snob/food critic: I was invited to a Zomato meet-up and fed divine coffee with freshly cooked pastries at Green Park. I’m not even going to cloak this experience in some sort of humblebrag; I was invited to a foodie meet up, and it was totally rad.

For those who aren’t aware, UrbanSpoon (everyone’s favourite food app with terrible usability and poorly managed user reviews) has recently been taken over by Zomato. I do have a slight soft spot for UrbanSpoon as it was the very first app I ever downloaded on my very first iPhone (those many years ago!). Zomato seem to have upgraded the app from its former 2009 glory and actually made it useful tool to keep for when you get hungry. They also invite their local bloggers to coffee meet-ups, and this time Occupie Fitzroy was included on the guest list #fuckyeah

The host for this meet up was Green Park, on Park St in Carlton North, and it focused mostly on their new blend of coffee, ‘Capital Blend’ from Small Batch Roasting Company. While I’ve been using coffee to keep me awake for years now, I actually know very little about how it’s made, what makes it delicious and why the hell everyone’s drinking filter coffee these days. Our brews were served to us by a lovely dude called Kyle, and he told us that this roast comes from a farm in Guatemala where the farmers can live rent free, and also have space to grow their own food. Awesome.

We started off with a filter coffee from the Guatemalan roast. For a few years now, I’ve been wondering “why the shit does anyone drink filter coffee, it’s the American way to drink coffee and America knows nothing about coffee”. However this was a magical day, and I was fed a filter coffee that was actually quite delicious. Turns out that filter coffee is made delicious when the coffee itself is delicious, ie. from a farm in Guatemala and fed to me at an exclusive coffee meet up. As there is no milk or sugar to hide anything that might be nasty, you need to make sure your roast is in top shape.

Kyle then also made us all a short black (those things are not for the faint of heart) and a third coffee of our choice. Yes, I drank three coffees in an hour on a Saturday afternoon and managed to avoid a heart attack. The soy flat white I ordered was also delicious, but I definitely had a new found appreciation for this coffee having just consumed it black. I’ve learned that milk and sugar can hide many things, and thankfully this Guatemalan blend had nothing to hide.

We were also fed some incredible snacks, my favourite being donuts from Cobb Lane Bakery in Yarraville and a chocolate mousse made fresh for us at Green Park. A meal from their standard menu doesn’t look like it would disappoint, either (it includes haloumi and a decent vegetarian spread). Thankfully the prices aren’t anything outrageous, especially for the area.  I’ll be returning here for some dinner in the near future.

Occupie Metrics; I think the only metrics I can really judge this on are:

Coffee: Amazeballs. Try the filter coffee in a bid to understand coffee lovers in Melbourne are not crazy, we’re not following America’s lead on caffeine consumption and it can actually be tasty. With any luck, Kyle could make you one.

Is it Instagram worthy: Green Park was actually closed to the public as they were setting up for a wedding, but I’m pretty sure this place looks fantabulous even without 40 bouquets being hung from the rafters and the oh-so-wedding-esque music being sound checked for 40min (although, Etta James’ At Last was a rather fitting soundtrack to 7 food bloggers foodgasming over those donuts). The staff were super rad too.

Don’t forget, Occupie Fitzroy is now on Instagram! Click that button below! 

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Green Park Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Gelato Messina – Fitzroy

Check me out. I’m expanding beyond the world of avocado smash and cold-filter coffee, to something even cooler; Ice cream. Or as Eddie Murphy so very aptly puts it:

ICE CREEEEEEEAM

Don’t know what the fuck I’m talking about? Educate yo’ self, fool.

I’m also talking about Gelato Messina in Fitzroy, which is by all north side standards, the only place to get your sub-zero dairy intake. Messina has taken what I grew up eating in traditional Italian restaurants, injected some modern flavours (usually in the form of peanut butter and a pop-culture reference), and is now serving it to half of Melbourne along side a deep house soundtrack. Who the fuck wants dessert at Trampoline these days? Messina has done some things well.

Messina is also pretty hip. They achieve this by featuring an interior red-brick wall (probably spending a lot of money to make it look unkempt), and some 1950s-Diner style signage. They feature some 30 odd flavours, and will probably give you free tastings. The rest of the store is lined with some funky mod style seating, and obnoxious customers all Instagramming their frozen $6 purchase and their face. Myself included.

Red brick walls.

But what really distinguishes Messina from, well, every other gelato dispensary, is their blend (and title) of flavours. A featured flavour for this month is called the ‘Steve Jobs’. There’s another called ‘A Gay Old Time’. They all involve biscuits or marmalade or something a bit unusual, and I’m sure many people have ended up asking for A Gay Old Time with Steve Jobs, and had a little giggle (good one, Messina). My personal favourite is the Banana Split, for no particular reason other than it’s the fucking bomb.

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Also upon throwing myself into the fiery depths of UrbanSpoon reviews (an important part of the #OccupieFitzroy process), I did begin to struggle with some of the moronic statements being offered, and so I feel it’s my duty to offer some clarity around these words (this is the internet, after all). UrbanSpoon user Madbitchdrags (yes, really), said that “It’s just like being in Italy!!!!!!”. Despite never having been to Italy, there is a seed of doubt lodged firmly in my mind that Gelato Messina is not, at all like being in Italy. Correct me if I’m wrong dear followers, but amidst the cobblestone pavements and 16th century cathedrals , I don’t think there is a line of 50 outside a Gelato store, iPhone in hand, ready to order A Gay Old Time with Steve Jobs for $6. I just don’t.

Perhaps this calls for a new Occupie Fitzroy section: The Spoons of UrbanSpoon.

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Occupie Metrics:

Door to Beard Index:  When the population of a small town has decided to buy gelato at a Fitzroy venue, statistics say that there should be a beard in there, somewhere. Despite the decor, the hipster index is diluted.

Coffee: They have it. I haven’t tried it.

Noms: Their flavours are entirely phenomenal. Who wouldn’t love A Gay Old Time with Steve Jobs? Or is that getting weird now?

How poor will it make me? The best part. 6 buckaroos for two flavours. It’s a good life.

Is it instagram worthy? I think most Messina-related Instagrams are of the queue that extends half way down Smith Street, and their soon-to-follow empty gelato cups. I’d argue that it’s still worthy of your Instagram time.

Final thoughts: They get through their hideously long queues very efficiently. They only take cash which is annoying as fuck. Their website looks like it was designed by a 16 year old who just discovered WordPress. Their ice cream will change your life.

Also, watch Eddie Murphy.

-M