Category: Modern Australian

Melbourne 3000: Pacos Tacos

After polishing off half a bottle of wine with work colleagues I was pretty excited to eat what was described to me as “fresh cheap and delicious tacos.”

I headed off down to 500 Bourke St and up the stairs to level 1 to the Pacos Tacos establishment.

I arrive at what looks like a very trendy little beer garden wedged between high rise buildings. The furniture had plenty of character, which is more than I can say for the cashier.

In line with the fact that Australia ranks fourth in the list of the fattest country in the world, after America and Mexico, Melbournian’s newist craze seems to be unhealthy American diner cuisine. Burgers and chilli fries served in colourful plastic baskets are popping up everywhere at the moment from Brunswick to St Kilda.

At Paco Tacos, I was surprised that my nachos and tacos arrived in the classic American diner red oval basket. I had got the impression from friends that the tacos here were modern and fresh. The initial excitement I felt about coming here to eat fresh faded and was instantly replaced with the guilt of eating cheap fast food.

I am aware that all tacos are messy, but when I pay for them I expect them to be somewhat nicely presented on the plate (or oval basket). Luckily they tasted better than they looked. The Pescado was simply delicious. Next time I am craving fish and flavour, I will be ordering the Semolina Coated Fish, Chipotle Mayonnaise, Radish & Pickled Zucchini nestled in a soft flour tortilla.

The calamari taco was nice too, but the fish taco was far superior.

By the time I tried the sloppy looking nachos, which claim to be delicious in description; Tortilla Chips, Salsa Verde, Pico de Gallo, Chipotle, Cheddar, & Pepita Seeds, I had drank a few beers (one contained hot sauce) and they didn’t taste anything different to something I could prepare from an Old Ell Paso kit.

Overall I was somewhat comfortable in my surroundings, confused by the Spicy Beer I drank, delighted with my $6 fish taco, but wouldn’t bother with the nachos again. I recommend dining at this established if you’re young, hip and want a cheap taco.

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Top: Calamari Taco Bottom: Fish Taco

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pacos Tacos on Urbanspoon

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Small Nachos

 

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Auburn 3123: The Geebung

Currently I am in the Perhentian Islands relaxing and enjoying many authentic Malaysian curries, but back in Melbourne I attended ‘The Geebung’ for dinner with a potential suitor.

When it was suggested we go to ‘the Geebung’ I thought this was an Australian slang word for ‘Geelong’, however since the pub is located in Auburn, the upper class neighbouring suburb of Hawthorn, my presumption was incorrect. I do not understand why this venue has such a strange name, but apparently it has a great party vibe on Sunday nights.

This reminds me that basic spirits, house wine and pints of tap beer were $5 during happy hour, Friday night. I was impressed at the array of premium beers to choose from. The friendly bar staff will happily pour you a Mountain Goat, Fat Yak or James Squire Golden Ale.

The date turned into a friendly group hang out, and didn’t eventuate into anything further. The food however, was above average with above average prices. Modern Australian is on the menu at this upper class pub, with quinoa and vegetables instead of fried chips served as side dishes to meta and fish.

This was my first taste of sword fish, and I enjoyed it immensely. The fish was cooked to perfection (3-4 minutes pan fried on each side and then for 5 minutes in the oven I would say). I was surprised at how solid sword fish is, compared to other flakey and soft fish. The dish presented like a dogs breakfast, however the flavoursome quinoa and vegetables complimented the fish and reminded me to not judge a book by it’s cover.

After my main meal I moved outside to the little bustling beer garden and took a peek at the dessert menu. I’m not normally a sweet tooth, but I tried the chocolate mouse and it was spectacular.

I recommend The Geebung to those who don’t mind paying around $30 for a delicious pub meal that is modern, thoughtfully prepared and healthier than those found at the average pub.

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Geebung Polo Club on Urbanspoon

North Melbourne 3051: Town Hall Hotel

Walking down Errol St you know you are near the Town Hall Hotel when the  notorious mumbling beggar asks you repeatedly for spare change.

You got any spare change, spare change, spare change, spare change, spare change….

Instead of giving him your spare change you walk into this dingy pub and use your change to buy a Coopers Pale Ale, Fat Yak or Coopers Dark Ale.
If you’re lucky you get to sit in the little hut out in the beer garden with your mates and if you have more spare change you order one of the Town Hall Hotel’s well-known parma’s.

The parma took a fair amount of time to come out, but was delivered to our little villa without a problem. The service at the back bar was fantastic, as was my eggplant parma.

However, I had to scrape the economy cheese off the eggplant patties and was less than impressed by the bland fries.

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This is the chicken parma my acquaintance ordered:

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The Town Hall Hotel has a great vibe out the back with friendly staff and a fantastic beer garden. There is an extensive list of interesting mains to choose from on the menu including a polenta crumbed eggplant & Portobello mushroom burger and classic English bangers & mash. I am eager to come back here and try the grilled fish of the day served with kindler potatoes and lemon butter sauce.

Town Hall Hotel on Urbanspoon

Brighton 3186: The Little Ox

As a ‘northie’ visiting the east for their ‘beaches’, two friends and I were looking on Urban spoon for a place with ratings above 80% to have lunch. The Little Ox appeared to have good reviews and likes so we sat down in the outdoor area on a balmy supposedly 38 degree Melbourne day (in reality it was a top of 30 with high winds that blow everything on the ground into your face and your hair sticks to your lipgloss).  The funky and low volume outdoor music at this quaint little cafe was nice, as was the service.
The menu was contained in one double sided A3 page with an all day breakfast, some specials, a lunch menu and salads.

As a advent lover of vegetarian dishes, I was surprised there wasn’t one vegetarian dish on the menu. Perhaps that is because I am a ‘northie’ and used to numerous vegetarian choices on cafe menu’s.

I ordered the calamari and broad-bean salad which was good for a salad (I have been working out so I have been more inclined to choose the salad when I go out nowadays). The mixture of calamari, watercress and broad-beans with whatever dressing they put on it was delightful. I’m not sure what the croutons or miniature squids were doing in there though. That wasn’t on the item description.
My friend ordered the multigrain avocado on toast and an egg dish; both looked like standard cafe dishes. My friend was glad they had gluten free bread though.

I like this place, and might come back if I want to hang out in Brighton or Sandringham and lie on beaches full of sticks and brown sand.
I recommend The Little Ox cafe to Melbourne’s east siders who want to be hipsters, but are way too rich to move to the north.

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The Little Ox   on Urbanspoon

Melbourne 3000: Kinfolk Cafe

There are some good healthy meat and vegetarian dishes here.
The cafe is busy, the service is friendly and the food comes out fast.
I ordered an orange juice which came out in a trendy jar (Heather Simpson likes this). unlike freshly squeezed juice, it was watery and filled with ice, but was refreshing.
I ordered the lunch platter to eat; soup, salad and a baguette.
The carrot soup with hazelnut oil was amazing, however the goats cheese and eggplant baguette was average and the quinoa salad with raisins was too salty.

I don’t doubt that Kinfolk are doing great things for the community but they aren’t doing great things for my lunch time baguette. I will definitely come back here for their soup.

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Kinfolk on Urbanspoon

Williamstown 3017: Novel Kitchen

I sat down at this cafe prior to going to see the Sea Shepherd, currently living at Williamstown docks.

I began with a orange, carrot and finer juice and was exuberant at how fresh and delicious this was.

I ordered an assortment of side dishes including toast, the rosemary potato rosti and avocado. Looking forward to the rosti, I took many bites and couldn’t taste the rosemary or any seasoning.

I would recommend this cafe to all Hobson Bay visitors looking for fresh and organic food but you need to weigh up the below pros and cons.

1. The waiter didn’t know if the bread was vegan for my daughter, even though this is a cafe that prides themselves on being vegan friendly.

2. The food was under seasoned, it was like they were afraid of flavour.

The pros are:

1. The juices were freshly squeezed, flavoursome and they add delicious additions like fresh ginger and lemon for no extra charge.

2. There is no extra charge for soy.

I am very impressed by pro number 2.

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Novel Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Prahran 3181: Third Wave Cafe

I was invited as a guest to eat at this new cafe in a side street off Commercial Rd, Prahran. Usually it is a battle to find a park when eating out in Prahran or Windsor due to the busy shopping strip known as Chapel St, however Third Wave cafe is situated next to Safeway car park, making finding a close park a breeze. My good friend I brought along was very glad we found a park with ease and was impressed with the cafe’s modern decor.

The service was attentive, polite and fast. To begin with we ordered soy lattes, the coffee really was ‘superb’ as the advertising for the cafe claims.
The menu was like reading a book, with breakfast, paninis a lunch section, a Russian menu and sweets. Tossing up between the Raspberry and Mascapone panini and the Brie, Fig Jam and Walnuts, I opted for the later. I saw the option for gluten free bread and I took it. Alongside this panini, I ordered the Cherry Cheese Blintzes. The panini contained a considerable amount of cheese, and the fig jam and walnuts went well together. The gluten free bed was the standard gluten free bread from every cafe in Melbourne, the small square and tasteless loaf. The Blintzez were a far more superior dish. The blintzez are similar to a crepe, but thicker. Folded into parcels and filled with the perfect amount of mascapone cheese melted with the cherries, the blintzes were a real treat to eat.

My friend and I were very satisfied with the flavoursome and generous servings at this cafe. When my friend finished her ‘big breakfast’, she said she would certainly come back. So would I. I would love to try the Borsche here, as my Polish friend recently introduced me to this thick sour beetroot soup the morning after drinking expensive wine. Even though my first taste of Borsche was the Maggie soup variety from a packet, it was delicious and I am very impressed Third Wave has it on their menu.

Third Wave cafe likes to mix sweet and savory, with an assortment of dishes available breakfast and lunch. I recommend Third Wave cafe to adventurous diners, as well as those who like to stick to their elementary eggs on toast for breakfast/ lunch.

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Third Wave Cafe on Urbanspoon

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Third Wave Cafe on Urbanspoon

Footscray 3031: The Reverence

The 45 minute wait for my chimichanga was worth it.

The generous servings and variety of gluten free, meat, vegetarian and vegan options on the menu attract a wide range of people.

My two daughters came with me to this run down bar in Footscray and were very pleased with the busy young crowd, and their meals. The pulled pork made from jackfruit, with apple sauce and almonds pleased my youngest daughter, and the eldest enjoyed the vegan quesadillas immensely. However she thought the bar’s slim selection of hot sauces could be improved.

Footscray does it again with fresh, affordable vegetarian food. I recommend this to anyone looking for decent bar food in inner west Melbourne.

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Reverence Hotel on Urbanspoon

Altona 3018: Salt and pepper

The generous 80% rating on Urban Spoon gave me false hope that the food at this cafe was good.

I wanted breakfast. I made an attempt to order toast up at the counter, but they had run out of all bread except white. The white bread was square, I couldn’t believe a bakery cafe would sell square bread for their sandwiches.

I ended up ordering a smoked salmon and salad wrap with cream cheese. When I received my order on an ugly plate I gasped at the pink smoked salmon.
How dare they!
They had served up the cheapest, nastiest smoked salmon on the market. I took it out of the wrap and fed it to my dog. I felt bad for the dog.

My vegetarian daughter received the poached eggs on toast with mushrooms. She had a disgusted look on her face,

I’m pretty sure these mushrooms are from a tin

We left the vicinity with a sickening feeling in our stomachs.

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Salt n Pepa Cafe on Urbanspoon

Altona 3018: Creme Cafe

My 24 year old daughter and I took our pedigree dog down to Altona for the forst time as we heard good things about Altona dog beach. It was 12pm and we hadn’t eaten breakfast. I was craving fresh fruit or avocado on toast. Not knowing much about the cafes at Altona, we decided to stop and eat at ‘Creme cafe’. It ended up only being an attempt eat here, as there were loads of dishes on the outside table we wanted to sit down at. When I walked inside the cafe, I waited for a bit and approached the waitress to ask if we could sit down outside. I told the waitress about the mess. She said she would clear it. we stood around for ten minutes and waiting for her to clear the dishes. After a while she came back and asked if we wanted to order drinks. My friend asked if the ‘fresh juice’ on the menu was freshly squeezed and she kindly informed us that it is bottled juice. What kind of manager falsely advertises bottled juice as fresh juice?
After this disappointment, we asked for water and were told it was ‘self service’. The menu’s passed to us were large with too many options. Nothing on the menu really inticed me to stay and eat here. The waitress was taking too long to come back, so we took the dog and left.

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Creme Lounge-Bar-cafe on Urbanspoon