Shifty Chevre – Fitzroy

Picture this: You wake up on a sunny but chilled autumn morning in some hip Melbourne suburb. Vague memories of the previous night come trickling back, memories that involve Norwegians and a cowboy hat. Your hangover begins to register. Your smart phone reminds you that you’re running late for a brunch date in an adjacent and equally hip suburb, so you do what it tells you and promptly join your friends for brunch while you piece together the previous nights escapades.

Upon your arrival to this brunch venue, your wildest dreams are affirmed as you step into a cheese cave. Nay, a cheese heaven. That stinky, glorious mould is everywhere. You’re almost swimming in it, and your hangover begins to subside. Delicious, dairy delights from exotic regions in France comes accompanied with bread, mushrooms, more cheese, coffee, and then some champagne because yolo.

This was my Sunday morning, and it was fucking glorious.

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Photo via Broadsheet (My iPhone can’t take photos like this)

I’m not lying when I say Shifty Chevre is a cheese lover’s heaven. There is everything you could want, including cheese, wine, coffee, attractive wait staff, a sunny courtyard, and my hot friends. Depending on your mood, you could take the traditional route and order a cheese board that comes with crackers and fruit paste (boring), or in a defective state such as mine, you could order the most fancy fucking cheese toastie that has ever graced my cheese-adoring eyes.

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This toastie involved crusty bread, mushrooms, and leek (a bit random but it works) that had quite literally been soaked in a three-cheese blend, and grilled to perfection. This meal has set an entirely new standard for the humble cheese toastie. Masterchef ain’t got shit on this delightful, crispy goodness. But I digress. My point is that I fucking love cheese, and Shifty Chevre has managed to produce some cheesy, culinary masterpieces. I know of very few legal substances people crave in the same way they crave cheese. The minds behind Shifty Chevre figured this one out and are winning.

It was also decided that champagne was an appropriate addition to our morning brunch. We needed something to help us feel a little more fancy (see: ridiculous), because a gourmet French brunch on a sunny Fitzroy patio wasn’t quite meeting our standards of sophistication.

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This is my yolo face. My friends laughed at me when I took this selfie.

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More cheese. And hot friends.

Occupie Metrics:

Door to Beard Index:  It’s medium. Cheese lovers come in all shapes and sizes, and the ones visiting Shifty Chevre seem to enjoy beards of both the ironic and non-ironic variety.

Coffee: It’s your standard inner-north brew. Pretty good, it’ll take you right out of your impending cheese coma.

Noms: There’s a variety of cheeses to suit every taste and level of hangover, and it’s a vegan’s worst nightmare. User reviews on Zomato (formerly Urban Spoon), seem to be mistaking the cheese for crack. I’m not the only one who’s into this in a serious way.

How poor will it make me? Was it pay day yesterday? Go for it. Otherwise it’s on the upper-end of doable, providing you don’t get all fancy and demand spontaneous champagne.

Is it instagram worthy? Yes. Who doesn’t love an instagram feed full of cheese? Surely there’s an #cheesesofinstagram or #cheeseporn hashtag floating around that Shifty Chevre has something to do with.

Final thoughts: It’s like a giant lounge room. A giant lounge room where all your dreams come true. Also, check out the bathroom (weird advice but it’s quite the surprise).

On a slightly related note, URBAN SPOON HAS NOW TURNED INTO ZOMATO, WHAT THE SHIT? They still feature user reviews that are equally as hilarious as the Urban Spoon reviews, but their website is way prettier. Thank you Zomato.

More to come soon!

-M

Click to add a blog post for Shifty Chevre on Zomato

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Smith & Daughters – Fitzroy

In the name of all things Fitzroy, stop what you are doing right now. Whatever it is. Stop eating your toenails. Stop banging your housemate. Because Smith & Daughters exists and they can feed you a foodgasm in the form of Mexi-vegan delights, so everything else you will ever do is meaningless.

Smith & Daughters is certainly the talk of the Northside town right now, however it must be noted that many of these words are from Caroline Springs residents who fail to fathom a world beyond fried chicken wings (is that some Northside sass going on? Ummm, yes). UrbanSpoon has been quick to label this venue as a vegan mecca, though I would more accurately label it as a mecca for people who just love to eat the shit out of something delicious and can handle an absence animal carcass, served by attractive hipsters. They also feature ampersands prominently in their branding, which is deserving of some serious vegan brownie points. S&D know how to impress.

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Ampersands, yo.

My Smith & Daughters experience went a little something like this:

I booked a table for about 9.30 on a Saturday night. Upon arrival, we were greeted by a waiter whose excessively dark fashion decisions did not quite match her sunny disposition. She apologised and told us that we may have to wait an extra 10min for our table in such a way that made it seem my childhood pet had suddenly died. I appreciated her concern for my culinary wellbeing. We were seated on some stools facing the window, a prime location to watch the Brunswick Street ruckus pass us by, probably on their way to Perseverance or somewhere equally as frightful. I ordered a glass of New Zealand red, delicious as it didn’t come out of a $10 box (my standards are lofty). We were then awkwardly greeted by another waiter who also apologised for the excessive wait of 10min, and offered us more drinks. Approximately four minutes later, we were seated and had ordered our meals. Turns out vegans can also do efficiency.

10min later, food had arrived on our table. Our side involved potatoes mixed with something vegan that tasted like chorizo. Our main dish involved a tortilla ‘bowl’ of sorts, filled with more chorizo-esque edibles, some corn, beans, jalapeños and my favourite thing in existence: guacamole. I can confidently say this dish has redefined what food means to me. And what living means to me. My descriptions of such meals shall remain ambiguous, partly because some mystique must be reserved for your inevitable visit, but also because I was too fucking excited about life and forgot to photograph the menu.

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This is it.

The possibility of dessert diminished swiftly as our bellies filled up the best fucking meal we had eaten in months. I have since raved about Smith & Daughters to everyone who has dared to look me in the eye. I plan to write a play about this glorious venue.

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I enjoy wine.

Occupie Metrics:

Door to Beard Index:  Whether they be of the hipster or hippie kind, vegans tend to be attached to beards. The S&D beard index is high.

Coffee: Apparently they do a mean coconut milk latte however coffee was not on our agenda this fine evening.

Noms: I’m hoping my previous ranting has made this metric redundant.  

How poor will it make me? It doesn’t matter. You will pay it. (Not much, <$50).

Is it instagram worthy? Yes. The #SmithAndDaughters hashtag is full of badly filtered photos of the same meal that I ordered. However the walls are pretty.

Final thoughts: These words may possibly suggest to you that I’m prone to hyperbole. However I challenge you to eat here and not feel the same way.

-M

Smith and Daughters on Urbanspoon

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

 

 

Stagger Lees – Fitzroy

From the folks that brought you Proud Mary (the highest concentration of beards east of Smith Street), is your latest stimulant-serving venue that doesn’t take bookings on a weekend.

Stagger Lee’s might at first seem like your run of the mill, over-priced, hipster-filled, brunch-serving northside cafe, but don’t let the exposed brick work and finger tattoos fool you – they’re doing something different.  They’re serving their coffee single origin. No blends. They explain on their website that they’re grinding it with a EK 43 Grinder, which I’m sure means something to someone, somewhere, but those words in that sentence just sound like caffeinated wank to me. Regardless, their coffee is good. In fact, it’s fucking good. I went back for more a week later, and now my life is plagued with some seriously meta questions, like whether my other coffee providers also grind their single origin beans through an EK 43 Grinder, and whether I should get a finger tattoo.

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The place looks alright.

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You can’t see the beards from here.

Some further context: I visited Stagger Lees on my birthday, with my parents and partner. My mum was excited by my existence, and my dad was confused by the coffee (my dad’s a big coffee drinker but likes to keep things simple). And it was my birthday, so everything was amazing because I had spent 25 sweet years on this earth and I had 3 people sitting next to me telling me I’m fabulous.

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My father, post-coffee confusion.

Stagger Lee’s describe their food as simple and sexy.  I would also describe it as sexy, and fucking delicious, but certainly not simple. Their asparagus comes with cashew cheese, and their buttermilk fried chicken comes with jalapeños. In my humble world of avocado smash and poached eggs, this isn’t simple. Simplicity is more like baked potatoes with gravy and the word of Jesus. Fitzroy just isn’t simple and neither is their brunch menu.

Their menu is however, original. They’re inventive and a little bit adventurous, which I’ve come to appreciate in our north side world of french toast and flat whites. Buttermilk fried chicken with jalapeños is absolutely not my bag, but they have an ok-ish selection of vego options and their Fitz-Royale was pretty spectacular. You don’t see much asparagus on the menus around here, and it was a very welcome addition to my birthday morning.

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Love a bit of greenery.

Occupie Metrics:

Door to Beard Index:  Monstrously high. And they’re spectacular. If you end up with part of one in your spectacular meal, savour it. It is precious.

Coffee: Despite the wank, it was great. A difficult feat in a place that generally serves very kick-ass coffee.  They’re also licensed, so getting wasted here one day is a distinct possibility.

Noms: Not as simple as their website makes it out to be, but really, really decent. They do paleo, and I don’t even know what paleo is.

How poor will it make me? Double dollar signs baby. It was my birthday so my parents paid. Ain’t no Chin Chin but I’d argue you get what you pay for.

Is it instagram worthy? It really is. Instagram away, but if you capture the beards as much as you capture the food, their Stagger Lees hashtag could be a bit more interesting.

Final thoughts: I will return. They receive a measly 73% UrbanSpoon rating, which just tells me they haven’t engaged in any north side Spoon wars as of yet.

-M
Stagger Lee's on Urbanspoon

Vegie Bar- Brunswick St

I absolutely adore this place.

If it wasn’t for Vegie Bar, vegetarian food just wouldn’t be  cool. Enthusiastic carnivores would have NO CLUE what can really be done with tofu and veggies. Brunswick St would probably become a wasteland because I’m convinced that 90% of its traffic is going to or from this sublime venue.

I’m surprised to read that it only has an 87% rating on UrbanSpoon. But as I learned by reading the comments, some of those twats don’t seem to realise that this is  the most popular restaurant in the north-side neighbourhood, and a short waiting time in a cosy and immaculately decorated court yard may be required. What the fuck ever.

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Yeah, nom. Raw stuff.

This place never fails to impress me. I went through a huge mi-goreng phase here some years back, but this time I ordered the faux-chicken wrap. I find faux chicken to be a bit hit or miss at times, but these guys definitely get it right. It was only $9, and the portion size was spot on, despite many of their other meals being quite enormous at times.

I always find the service here very decent, but typical of a restaurant that is probably 50% over capacity at all times. I’ve always been met with friendly (and attractive) wait staff who are helpful at all times, but it seems that other patrons expect to be waited on hand and foot, and are frustrated when this does not occur. The moral of this story: Vegie Bar is busy for a reason. Be thankful that anyone is providing you a plate with this glorious food on it, and if it doesn’t suit you, then take yourself and your platinum credit card back to fucking Chapel St.

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Everything looks cool!

Door to Beard Index: Absolutely everyone comes to this place, because it is that amazing. Beards included.

Beer: They have a wunderbar selection of ciders and beer. I would like to drink more of it.

Noms: This is probably the most popular restaurant on Brunswick St, and for a very good reason.

How poor will it make me? I used to think this place was expensive, but compared to most brunch meals, it’s very well priced.

Final thoughts: This place is always busy, and I’ve always had to wait a while for a table. These waits usually include a cosy drink at their courtyard bar, listening to some very decent music. Definitely an all time fave.

-M.

Vegie Bar 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

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