Tag Archives: CBD

and there you are

Squee, another guest post! This one is from my fave zinester Beck, of ‘Macarons Are Not Macaroons’ fame. I asked her to write this post because there was a conflict of interest regarding the place reviewed below (full disclosure: I did work there very briefly). I also asked her to write a guest post for the blog because reading writing in her voice makes me laugh my arse off.

The first time I went to Elevenses I almost didn’t go at all. As a trade-off for dragging Miss G to my end of the CBD – Degraves – the first time we met, it was suggested that she should get the next pick for our cafe-rendezvous. It was unfortunate then that, as it is at the start of all new friendships, it is hard to gauge the other party’s concept of time based on only meeting them only once before.

our wildebeest friend

Never having been to Elevenses before, hell, never having ever even been to traipse Little Collins Street before – let alone trying to find a cafe there – put me on edge and I found myself there about half an hour before we were meant to meet. As luck wold have it, Miss G was then about half an hour late – or more perhaps – I remember thinking I should bail so it could have been more but I think she was having a Why Is Metro So Unkind? moment, so I was sympathetic. The point is that she did turn up in the end, even if she was late. Once we walked through the doorway of Elevenses I was well glad I had stuck around.

Upon entering Elevenses you’re stuck with a sense of walking into someone’s “this is the amazing little place I only take people I really like to” hide-away. It is all high ceilings and warm bricks, a mix of natural light and soft lighting, original artworks, old fashioned furnishings, a repurposed pool table, a side-board filled with a very fitting selection of music and Scrabble.

Scrabble at Elevenses

repurposed pool table!

It is one of those places you walk into and immediately think ‘my brother would really like it here‘ even if you aren’t the kind of person who has a cafe-snob for a brother.

The story goes that Tom and Shanny originally opened Elevenses in Kensington, but after some terrible storms and a really awful landlord, they had to close and have, as such, moved on to Little Collins St. I had never been to the original Elevenses but if you watch this video you get a really good sense of the kind of place the original shop was like. Now if you can imagine taking that vibe and squirreling it away into a space in the business end of the city…

To be honest I didn’t think such a warm and homely place could exist on any kind of Collins Street, but there it is, and there you are.

retro stereo cabinet

Tom and Shanny run the place themselves and you can tell that it is their baby more than it is just their business. The cooked food is made from scratch in their kitchen – the menu runs from breakfasty-type things;  fruit toast, muffins and pastries, to rather high-end sandwiches which include the gamey likes of rabbit and kangaroo (Rooben rye pictured below)…

Rooben rye sandwich

…as well as the more humble varieties such as pork.

pork belly sandwich

And the coffee, well, it’s not made from scratch per se – they stock Toby’s Estate, for the record, and it is quite delightful – but Tom will overextend himself for you and make you your coffee just the way you like it, even if he doesn’t pretend to understand why you would want your latte made with cold milk at all.

Elevenses is more than a coffee place, it is a cafe experience that is few and far between in these modern times – it is the kind of cafe you would call home; where Tom and Shanny become your coffee-based-family and you can very easily lose a couple of hours there if you are not careful, and you do find yourself taking your cafe-snob siblings there and find that you do not have to force them to fall in love with the place because it is a very easy and natural thing to do and you find yourself alright with that because now there is finally a place you can agree on.

Elevenses Espresso Bar on Urbanspoon

a lo-ver-ly house of coconuts

Coconut House just outside the city centre on Elizabeth Street is cheap and serves tasty food so at some stage it seemed only fitting that myself, Tris and Ryan tried it out before catching a late screening of a film in nearby Melbourne Central a very long time ago.

tasty birds

Both Ryan and I ordered exactly the same thing – the Hainanese chicken rice with BBQ pork. The violent radioactive orange crockery is a bonus. Wow. I don’t have much experience with this dish, but it could become a favourite.



Tristan, after much agonising, had wonton egg noodles with pork.

wonton soup


Oh, did I mention we also ordered crazy-looking drinks? Tristan of course got the biggest one – the ice cream Milo King Kong. Yep, that’s what it’s called on the menu.


To further continue with the radioactive theme, Ryan got five layer teh tarik. We couldn’t quite figure out what the green glow worm things were, but he seemed to like his drink!


I got the regular teh tarik – just a tad too sweet for me.

teh tarik

Even though we were bursting at the seams, we all decided to share some coconut jam toast. Tris will probably tell me off for using my own photo, but I want the ‘jam’ – more like a very sweet, gooey, honey-like paste to be visible. Suddenly, your tummy has more room. Also, if you’re at Coconut House, you have to have something coconutty, right?

coconut jam toast

I didn’t really feel I got to ‘test’ enough Malaysian dishes, so I returned for a serving of good old nasi lemak.

On this occasion, we were a few shops down at Little Coconut House which is less rushed. We sat outside and a scooter whizzing past made a sound that took me back to the Philippines, as did the smells of the food and Melbourne’s more usual (of late) humidity.

Tristan ordered the Hainanese chicken rice with BBQ pork this time. I got the mouth-searing nasi lemak with sambal prawns. I did actually want chicken but wires got crossed and I ended up with only the prawns. You might not like this if you’re a chilli wimp but if you can get past it, it’s still pretty damn tasty.

nasi lemak with sambal prawns

I can’t really comment on the authenticity as I’m still pretty much a noob to this cuisine but I do recommend it for a quick, cheap meal, especially when I need to get my spice on.

Coconut House on Urbanspoon

back to school…sort of

I’ve not been blogging much of late as the stress of the festive season caught up with me a little. I’ve also been laid off and trips for wonderful culinary experiences are limited due to severe lack of funds. However, of late a bunch of us have been meeting for pre-work coffees, well, for those who have jobs at least. For me, it’s been a post-yoga treat.

The current barista at our chosen spot isn’t too friendly (admittedly, just with me) so on this particular day when I found out Tristan and possibly J wasn’t able to make it to our morning coffee date, I decided to hit up Earl Canteen.

It was closed! Gasp!

Not to worry, the fairly new Tuck Shop came to the rescue.

Tuck Shop sign

It’s situated inside 500 Bourke Street unlike Earl which is in the courtyard. It’s a pretty stylish set-up with cute touches. There is also lots of seating. Here’s a view with just a little of the seating on show.


My Dickensian (only by food blog wankster standards, let’s face it) allowed for some organic yoghurt with berries and compote: mouth-puckeringly sour berries were a lovely mix with the creamy, slightly sweet yoghurt. Pretty bloody generous serving too! I love the sturdy wooden spoons.

organic yoghurt with berries and compote

I ordered a soy latte, reasoning that if it was okay, I’d go a long black next time (yep, thinking of future ‘research’ trips already). Wonderfully strong and not sure what soy milk they’re using but was glad the coffee cut through it. Sometimes soy milk is a little too rich. Pretty annoying I have to drink it at all but whatcha gonna do when you’ve got pesky Asian genes. In any case, silly me, as if Sensory Lab coffee is going to let people down!

pretty soy latte

I’m looking forward to trying the more substantial items on the menu – namely the chickpea offering. The school cafeteria all grown up! I didn’t have one of those at my schools in Australia and am more used to the British ones which served you slop or other unhealthy things. Even the Doctor doesn’t trust those chips… I still remember being served a revolting custard-rhubard slush which looked horrible, but tasted passable! Kind of amusing to think that 75p in an envelope could feed you for a week though!

Also, is it my imagination or is the previously very businessy-not-foodie end of the Melbourne CBD getting radder? I’m finding myself alighting at Flagstaff Station more in the last few months to seek out good food and beverages.