Down the banks of the Yarra, past the Polly Woodside, a whole new neighbourhood is emerging. Forget the windy, desolate landscapes of Docklands: this north-facing area is full of sunshine and sheltered from the chillier southerly winds. Unless you are headed to the Convention and Exhibition Centre, shopping at South Wharf DFO or staying for the weekend at the Hilton, you’ve probably not had reason to head down here, but it’s worth the wander.
Even our means of entering the restaurant should have hinted that the evening was going to be less of a fine dining experience, and more of a lengthy piece of performance art.
We follow a wooden pathway down a darkened corridor towards a half-scale projected image – a video, or perhaps a live feed? – of the Fat Duck Melbourne’s kitchen. Once we reach the image, the video finishes abruptly with a wooden door slamming, and we are plunged into darkness.
16-18 Leeds Street, Footscray
Tel 0497 058173
Mon-Fri 7-4; Sat-Sun 8-4
Rudimentary is the latest representation of Footscray’s stealthy gentrification-round-the-edges. Four forty-foot containers on a previously derelict block of land at the back of the shopping strip, with seating indoors and outdoors, and plenty of space for bikes, kids and growing their own veg. What’s not to like?
Bax Food Co.
83 Gamon Street, Yarraville
0402 751 108
It was opening night at Bax Food Co., the newest venture from Bossman Foods. Roderick is pretty well known by the small West Indian community in Melbourne for his Caribbean food wholesale business and his event catering, so a new Caribbean restaurant with his name behind it is of great interest.
295 Smith Street, Fitzroy
Haircuts make me hungry. That’s why I go to a hairdresser on Smith Street: so much to choose from afterwards.
Po’ Boy Quarter on an early Saturday afternoon is pretty empty in the café, but Huey Long’s at the back has a decent crowd.
I order a deep fried shrimp po’ boy ($11.90) from the food counter and a glass of zinfandel from the bar. I toy with a side of fried green tomatoes or fries, but manage to keep it (relatively) healthy.
The shrimp po’ boy is delivered to my table in the bar within five minutes: a decent sized bread roll, substantial enough to hold the weight of the food inside. Deep fried spicy crumbed shrimp spill out of the ends; sliced fresh tomato, half a pickled cucumber, and a dollop of fresh slaw adds sharpness and crunch to the creamy mayo coating the bread. All washed down with a glass of decent Californian Zin – perfect Saturday afternoon drinking fodder.
In fact, all the wines by the glass are of US origin – mostly Californian, with a dash or two of Washington added.
Their weekend brunch menu is served till late afternoon: definitely worth a return visit to check this out.
mr. big stuff
16 meyers place, melbourne
Even the toilets have attitude.