Posts Tagged ‘Fitzroy’

De Clieu, Gertrude St

De ClieuThere’s been a quiet buzz on Twitter about a new Seven Seeds venue opening in Fitzroy. A photo of a door; a few comments by people and
now a few photos on Flickr and a name – De Clieu.

It’s a great name, and perfectly in the theme of the other Seeds venues – a testament to the origins of coffee. Gabriel de Clieu took coffee seeds from the French botanical garden and introduced them to the French colonies – most of which are the primary producers of Arabica today. In many ways the opening of a new venue in Fitzroy is much the same – taking the Seven Seeds brand of coffee away from the mother ship to a suburb almost completely devoid of quality caffeine.

And a brand it is. The execution across the 3 cafes is almost identical and amazingly consistent. Every coffee produced is impeccable in balance, flavour and presentation. De Clieu, on opening day is no exception and with the sharing of staff it is no surprise. There’s a range of single origin’s on offer and brewed in the usual array of methods.

The coffee isn’t the only consistent element. The cake and pastry counter has been cloned from Brother Baba and the menu is similar to that of 7 Seeds in content and presentation. The menu consists of light breakfast food, grilled sandwiches and pizza. Gourmet seems like a poor descriptor – but it is what it is. Seasonal produce; classics with a twist; and interesting combinations are all featured.  There’s great attention to detail in the food, with the little things that make a good sandwich great – a few olives or a pickled gherkin on the side. It’s short, sweet and interesting. There’s no doubt it will change regularly.

The biggest step away from the existing formula is a large area dedicated to retail. Currently the shelves are lightly stocked with a few of the usual suspects – Aeropresses, espresso machine cleaner and a few different beans, but there’s no doubt it will be a great coffee retailer.

It may not sound impressive – a clone of the Carlton cafe with a retail arm. But taking something that works so well in one place and move it to another is no easy feat. For the coffee lover in Fitzroy it’s an absolute gem; on a greater Melbourne scale, it’s not going to be one of my coffee “destinations”.

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Hidden Pizza Restaurant, Fitzroy

They want you to check out the Yellow Pages to find out where the Hidden Pizza Restaurant is, but personally I’d just go over and get the scoop from Brian at Fitzroyalty. A quick picture and a Mellie putting 2 and 2 together and we have the answer. This is a lesson to us all, if there is something interesting happening over in Fitzroy, Brian will know.

Update: You need to call 1300 615 786 and you’ll get an order number. They won’t serve you without it. A few photos are emerging, check them out here and here.

Another update: Berry travels has a blogpost about the whole experience. I can’t help but think we are going to hear more about this place.

Final update: This restaurant was only open for 2 weeks and is now closed.

St Judes Cellar, Brunswick St

Finally, I’ve eaten at St Jude’s Cellar. It has been in my mind since stumbling upon it on a lonely St Patricks day and spending my last $20 on fine wine, not Guinness. I’ve since been back, for wine and cocktails, to sit at the bar, to taste their wine, and even to just gaze at the interior design but never for food – how I’ve been missing out.

The wine list is great. They have a great range of wines by the glass, varying not only in style but also price and a massive by the bottle, walk in wine list with a $15 dine-in premium over their retail price. This makes for a reasonably cheap bottle with dinner. The problem is, their lack of good wine advice. This seems to happen a lot recently, we asked for wine advice and our waitress told us what she had been drinking lately. That was the bottle we ended up drinking, but I really wanted someone to suggest a bottle that would complement our dinner.

Wine service aside, the rest of the table service was very attentive, not quite annoyingly so for the first few minutes, but as the bottle of wine emptied and our conversation continued, the staff interrupted less. The perfect amount of service.

Following up the great service was amazing food. I’ve been thinking about it for weeks and trying to replicate the textures and contrast at home. The bread was the sourest of dough – with butter, pink salt and pepper it was truly divine. I easily could have just eaten the bread and left content. The hand cut potato wedges with garlic were crunchy, tasty and a giant serving. The peas and broccoli were crisp and super fresh and the chilli butter was subtle and there was too much rabbit food for 2 people.

Greens @ St Jodes Cellar

The paddock plains lamb was cooked perfectly, the rare lamb had that perfect tough to the knife-melt in your mouth consistency and the potato accompanement had a nice firm texture. I wish I could remember what else was served with this dish.

Lamb at St Jude's Cellar

The standout however was the Tibooboora scotch with oxtails. The contrast of the clean texture of the perfectly cooked steak against the grittiness of the cooked down oxtails was astounding. The onion tart was crunchy and gooey against the crisp asparagus it was served on. This dish alone made my night, so good I was tempted to order a second helping.

Scotch Fillet & Oxtails

In fact, I think I might drop in tomorrow.

Libation, Brunswick St, Fitzroy

Libation, Brunswick St Previously known as The Bar with No Name and for whatever reason it now has a name. Libation’s definition is The pouring of a drink offering as a religious ritual, fitting for an establishment which brings high quality drinks down from their pedestal. Its decor is understated and elegant with antique style furnishings and a great view out onto the busy corner of Johnson and Brunswick St or a back room if a little privacy or intimacy is more to your liking.

The selection of booze is everything you would expect for any high calibre cocktail bar in Melbourne. The fridge is stocked with a great range of beers from a range of boutique breweries, Moo Brew Pale Ale being a standout. The wine list has been carefully crafted from local wines, the house red, white and sparkling even sport Libation brand as is happening across the town.

The range of spirits is where Libation really shines. There is no great collection of single malt whiskey or agave tequila but the back bar covers a lot of ground.A few flavours of absinthe opens the account backed by a range of liqueurs and syrups that look like they see some use. Maraschino liqueur is a bottle rarely seen on the backbar of establishment in these parts and Luxardo is a particularly good brand. 42 Below, Grey Goose and Belvedere cover the bases with every flavour of vodka imaginable. 10 cane rum has a major presence on the shelves but doesn’t outshine the Havana Club 8 year-old or the Angostura 1919. Gin-wise the offering is solid, the shelf holds Tanqueray, South and Hendricks as well as the old favourites, Bombay and Plymouth.  Where the gin-shelf is lacklustre, the whisky shines. Laphroaig, Glenmorangie, Asyla and Dewars  backed up by all the styles of Johnnie Walker, Chivas Regal, Glenfiddich and Jamesons.

imgp5322 The cocktail list is a contemporary affair but the classics are well represented. Sitting at the bar on a quiet afternoon your drinks will be served by knowledgable and friendly staff who are happy to have a chat but this isn’t always the case.  On weekend nights the service won’t be as personal but happily the quality doesn’t flag. Despite a recent Sunday being busy, the request of a Mint Julep was given a strange look, a few whispers behind the bar and the recipe confirmed. The end result was garnished beautifully, tasted great but lacked bitters, an easy omition.

This bar is another gem in Melbourne’s small bar scene, intimate and full of character it would be a crime to compare it to the top end cocktail bar’s like Der Raum and 1806. Its beauty lies in its straightforward, down to earth approach which brings well made cocktails, good wine and beer at good prices to everyone.


Napier Hotel, Fitzroy

The Napier Hotel, Fitzroy, Melbourne As is so often the case of Melbourne watering-holes, the Napier Hotel is tucked away on a side street off Brunswick St in Fitzroy. Built in the 19th century in the same grand old style of most Melbourne hotels, the pub has the curious feeling that not too much has changed since the day it was built. Sure, they’ve fixed the ceiling and mopped the floors, the memorabilia on the walls is as up to date as a Benson & Hedges series poster can be and the beers on tap certainly weren’t around then but it wouldn’t surprise me if the pub is still painted in the same colours (it has recently had a new lick of paint.) The bar itself probably hasn’t changed much and the same barflies have been there since the mid 1960s.

This very feeling makes the Napier the perfect local. Friendly faces, cheap meals and comfortable surrounds make dropping in for a quiet pint or to watch the footy all too easy. Footy in Melbourne isn’t just something to watch, it is religion and at the Napier, in the heart of Fitzroy, things are no different. The walls are covered with Fitzroy and Brisbane Lions guernseys, premiership posters and team photos and when the Lions are playing, the very same barflies will tell you stories about how Paul Roos and Bernie Quinlan used to come in and drink 3 pints before the game every Saturday. Believing them is another story.

The menu is standard pub fare, with a difference. The ubiquitous chicken parmagiana makes an appearance with the option of house-smoked kangaroo rather than ham, calling it the best Parma in Melbourne would be ridiculous (as it always is), the roo-meat is a great touch and well worth trying. The Bogan Burger is a massive hamburger with the works including a potato scallop but it doesn’t live up to the high expectations set by all the rave reviews. There is also a more restaurant/cafe style menu mostly comprising of different styles of salad, with lamb, squid or cajun chicken. Across all of these meals one thing jumps out at you, and that is value for money. The size is astounding, the quality uncompromising and the price cheap, considering.

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