Ten places without hype
Ten places without hype that are still bloody good
1. Kappaya || 1 St Heliers St, The Abbotsford Convent. Ph: (03) 9416 0070.
This tiny hole-in-the-wall (or is that hole-in-the-convent?) café serves Japanese soul food. Delight in a bento box for breakfast and choose from a range of fresh and simple lunch dishes. You can sip imported beer, tea, Sake and guzzle local organic wine. Alternatively, skip straight to dessert; the green tea mousse is a hit.
2. Pizze E Fichi || 321 High St, Kew. Ph: (03) 9853 5155. pizzefichi.com.au.
This family-run pizzeria is a local gem. Ingredients are sourced locally and imported from Italy, while the wood-fire oven keeps Kew commuters coming back. Try the Fichi pizza with Mozzarella, Gorgonzola, semi-dried figs and prosciutto crudo.
3. Old Barber Shop Café || 251 Church St, Richmond. Ph: (03) 9421 6463. facebook.com.
What was once the Barber of Seville is now an airy café with an impressive front deck. Sit beneath the umbrellas and relax with a latte, or be swept to the States with their addictive New York deli corned beef bagel. It comes with tangy mustard pickle and potato crisps on a wooden board. Delicious.
4. Pireaus Blues || 310 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. Ph: (03) 9417 0222. pireausblues.com.au.
An oldie but a goldie, Pireaus Blues is recognised as Melbourne’s most authentic Greek Restaurant. Dim lighting and a warm atmosphere accompany the traditional food; a selection of tasty homemade dips, char grilled seafood and braised meat. Just make sure you save room for halva ice cream. You’ll wish you were part of the family.
5. Horn || 20 Johnston St, Fitzroy. Ph: (03) 9417 4670. thehorncafe.com.au.
Over on the other side of the world, Horn does Ethiopian food with flair. It’s made to share, but the best thing about Ethiopian cuisine is that you eat it with your hands using injera, traditional flat bread. Expect full bellies, African beer and live music. Did we mention you eat with your hands?
6. Olio & Pane || 328 Auburn Road, Hawthorn. Ph: (03) 9818 2375. facebook.com.
If you’re a lover of fine food, specifically fine Italian food, this is the place for you. What started as a providore stocking artisan oils, pasta, bread and condiments is now a tiny café serving breakfast and light lunches. Join up for one of their cooking classes and learn the tricks of the trade.
7. Bomb Café || 229 Johnston St, Abbotsford. Ph: (03) 9486 0699.
Four words of advice: order the open omelette! A wonderful spot for breakfast and lunch in a somewhat grungier part of Johnston St. Don’t despair at the size of the front room, there’s more space through the corridor and a mystical garden out the back. It’s the bomb (sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves!).
8. Milky Joe’s || 228 Glenhuntly Road, Elsternwick. Ph: (03) 9077 3505. milkyjoes.com.au.
Milky Joe’s is the new go-to joint for a smooth Allpress coffee if you’re Elsternwick-way. Breakfast is a simple mix of muesli and eggs (not together of course!). They’ve also just extended their opening hours. Perfect if you’re craving something from their late night burger menu.
9. Veggie Kitchen || 159 St Georges Rd, Northcote. Ph: (03) 9489 2120. veggiekitchen.com.au.
If you want some yin and yang in your mouth, stop in at Veggie Kitchen. It’s a must-visit for vegetarians and meat eaters alike. Their balanced, healthy food is based on the five basic elements of Chinese therapy and there’s also plenty in the gluten free and vegan departments.
10. Daruma Japanese Kitchen || 845 Burke Rd, Camberwell. Ph: (03) 9882 4999.
This unassuming Japanese joint in the heart of Camberwell is surprisingly delicious. The service is efficient and the highly reasonable prices by no means reflect the quality of the fresh fare. Get into the gyoza, snack on some sashimi or go all out with spicy ox tongue and salmon steak with garlic butter.