Small Victories, Carlton North

Where: 617 Rathdowne Street, Carlton North
When: Mon-Sat: 8am-5pm, Sun: 9am-5pm
Contact: (03) 9347 4064
Vego :)
CC and EFTPOS available

Korean BBQ wagyu, spring onion, house made kimchi, Korean mayo ($15)

After seeing it had featured in “The Age Good Food Under $30” list I checked out Small Victories in leafy Rathdowne Street. In the past I hadn’t found this café strip to be particularly good. As is the case in many wealthy neighbourhoods, the cafes can make money off the location alone, regardless of their quality. Small Victories impressed me with its delicious-sounding menu and the promise of “house-made pasta”. Although when I arrived I was instead won over by the rather exciting-looking “Korean BBQ” sandwich. It promised wagyu, spring onion, house-made kimchi and Korean mayo.

First up I ordered a cappuccino which showed up quickly. It certainly looked the part although disappointed with a very-weak, milky flavour. Although it was decaffeinated and not their normal single origin blend, I still expected a little more flavour than what I got.

Lunch arrived shortly after from a dead-pan waiter who was void of any enthusiasm. The Korean BBQ sandwich had quality ingredients; great beef, good ciabatta and pretty authentic kimchi (pickled vegetables). The issue was that the flavour palette was incomplete. It was all hot sauce and sour pickle and nothing else. Perhaps if the creamy flavours had been more of a feature it would’ve been okay, but the sandwich got really tedious after a couple of bites and I didn’t finish it.

Regardless of the food, Small Victories was a nice place to sit with shady footpath tables and a fairly quiet interior, complete with ambient glowing Edison bulbs and blonde wooden finishes. I fixed up the bill with the same awkward, unenthusiastic waiter who just couldn’t return a smile. Sorry Rathdowne Street, another fail.


Decaffeinated cappuccino ($4)

Food: 2/5
Service: 2/5
Ambiance: 4/5

Small Victories on Urbanspoon

Code Black, Brunswick

Where: 15-17 Weston St Brunswick
When: 7am-5pm, 7 days
Contact: (03) 9381 2330
Payment: CC available
Vego :)
Vegan :)
Gluten :)
Kids :)
Prams :)

Brunswick, the birth place of the grunge-chic café brings you another renovated warehouse number with restaurant-tier food and thankfully, no milk carton seats. The beautifully designed coffee roaster/café merges industry with hospitality in a truly Brunswick fashion. While the exterior’s façade looks unfriendly and certainly not that easy to figure out how to get into, the staff is personable and lovely. Even in the busiest hours of the weekend they’ll make sure you feel looked after, plus they know all about their food and coffee, in case you have any questions.

Latte ($3.80)

I ordered a latte with their house blend (equal parts Costa Rican and Ethiopian) which had tart fruity top notes settling down to a warm, smooth finish. It wasn’t as strong as I’d like but was still very good.

For the meal I enjoyed their Moroccan Spiced Sprouted Lentil Salad with Goats’ Cheese ($15.90). Unfamiliar with sprouted lentils, I really enjoyed their juicy mung-bean-like freshness. As with any salad, great cheese changes everything and this goaty number brought the dish up to the next level for me. The lightly pickled, sweet carrot and raisins were a stunning contrast to the sharp radish and goat cheese. I was happy with the size too. It is worth mentioning however that the day after this meal I returned and ordered the breakfast couscous. It was beautiful but incredibly small, so I wasn’t impressed with handing over $13.90 for it. Inconsistencies in the size of the dishes really should be improved.

Moroccan Spiced Sprouted Lentil Salad with Goats’ Cheese ($15.90)

And the ambiance? Although Code Black gets rightly busy, the acoustics are good for such a large space and the music always has a simple beat pulsing away in the background that doesn’t crowd the aural space. Children are most welcome with highchairs available and easy pram access.

I’ve now got a soft spot for this place. The innovative menu has some very chefy options (coffee Croque Madame anyone?), but still manages to be grounded and friendly, which is refreshing. Code Black exudes inclusivity; it can feed both the adventurous and the bacon&egger, and accommodates singles, groups and children comfortably.

Food: 4/5
Service: 5/5
Ambiance: 4/5

Code Black Coffee on Urbanspoon

The Grain Store, Melbourne

The Grain Store, Melbourne
Where: 517 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
When: Weekdays: 7am-4pm, Weekends: 8am-4pm, Dinner: Thurs-Sat: 5.30pm-10pm
Contact: (03) 9972 6993
Vego friendly
CC and EFTPOS

House-made spirulina, pineapple, pear and mint juice” ($8)

As you might well be aware, Melbourne is going crazy for The Grain Store up the business-end of the CBD. Maybe it’s because the city’s Westside is a veritable Ghost-town for non-corporate dining. Or perhaps people are really excited to have locally-grown, organic produce in the heart of the city. Lunchosaurus visited on a Sunday to see what all the hype was about.

The first thing you notice about The Grain Store is the juxtaposition of its flashy office tower location. It’s worked hard to distinguish itself from the slick, city residence by creating a rustic, homely atmosphere. Beyond the corporate lobby entrance, it feels as if you have walked into a country larder; peer into the open kitchen and see dried chilli hanging from the walls. The cosy little touches seem to inspire, simple wholesome food.

Yet the menu is surprisingly far from simple, with plenty of chefy creations to excite the foodie or perhaps alienate the hung-over and tired. The weekend menu is restricted to Brunch with many dishes on the sweeter side. While there is the option to order regular old eggs and toast, this is not that sort of place.

House-made Fennel Sausage and Sweet Corn Blini with poached eggs, avocado and Persian feta, pear and cider relish ($18)

We started with a coffee ($3.50) and the “house-made spirulina, pineapple, pear and mint juice” ($8). The coffee was an excellent blend courtesy of St Ali and well crafted. Although if you like your coffee with bite, you’ll need to specify “strong”. The spirulina and juice was really very sweet, so much so that I didn’t finish the glass.

Off the menu we selected the House-made Fennel Sausage and Sweet Corn Blini with poached eggs, avocado and Persian feta, pear and cider relish ($18). And the Niccola Potato Gnocchi and New Season Asparagus with roasted squash, brown butter, milawa tome and juniper almonds ($21).
The Blini was anything but boring, with differing powerful flavours emerging from every layer. The soft fennel sausage was particularly enjoyable because it lacked the heavy, chewy feel of traditional sausages. However there were cold spots in the dish, likely from the feta. These unexpected cold pockets gave the impression that the meal wasn’t cooked through, which it surely was. Scattering the feta on top of the meal may have been a better way to serve.

The Gnocchi dish by comparison fell flat. In a barely-there white sauce that went gluggy and cold almost instantly on the plate, it wasn’t much fun to eat. The asparagus spears were undercooked and hard at the buds; much more crunchy than bouncy. The sweetness of the squash added a nice touch but overall the dish managed to be both bland and too rich. One cannot dispute the quality of the ingredients, particularly the cheese, but the final composition failed to impress. I left much of this dish on the plate which the waiter simply cleared without comment.

Niccola Potato Gnocchi and New Season Asparagus with roasted squash, brown butter, milawa tome and juniper almonds ($21)

Later at the registers, the Maître did ask if we had enjoyed our meals and I explained that the asparagus had been too hard. My comment was met with a patronising smile and a defence that the chef, “…likes it with plenty of bite.” Despite her promises of passing the feedback on, it was difficult to believe as it came at me through further condescending smirks. If you aren’t interested in the feedback then why ask?

While The Grain Store has plenty to offer the city’s Westside, particularly on weekends, many won’t bother making the trip across the CBD for a return visit. Along with the high price tier and long-wait times, patrons may also find the warm hospitality and casual atmosphere stop at the décor.

Food: 2.5/5
Service: 2/5
Ambiance: 4/5

The Grain Store on Urbanspoon

Pocket, North Melbourne

Where: 29 Melrose Street North Melbourne (in underpass connecting shops to housing estate)
When: Tues-Fri 7.30am-3pm, Weekends: 8.30am-2pm
Contact: (03) 9040 4441
CC and EFTPOS
Take-away available
Vego :)

Local residents will rejoice in Pocket; a brand new micro-café sprucing up the tired Melrose Street shopping district. Tucked away in a concrete underpass adjoining local shops to a housing estate, the term “diamond in the rough” is particularly fitting. Despite its less-than-glamorous locale, Pocket’s outdoor seating actually fares quite well. The arcade’s overpass provides part shelter while the view out West shows off plenty of sky thanks to the café’s elevated position. The outdoor tables have been custom-fit to work with the sloping path so there are no awkward leans in the furniture. If you can nab a stool inside you’ll find lots of light, daily newspapers and plenty of sweet little flourishes that will make you feel right at home.

Asparagus, quinoa, Avocado and Marinated Pepper Salad ($7.50)

Pocket’s short and sweet menu is due to be expanded with some hot savouries, but there’s no need to wait for those as the bagels, salads and tarts really hold their own. Lunchosaurus tried the Salad of the Day: Asparagus, Quinoa, Avocado and Marinated peppers ($7.50) as well as the Pumpkin, Whipped feta, Pinenut and Rocket bagel ($7.50). While both looked fairly unassuming, they came up big on flavour.

The Asparagus salad was incredibly fresh and not overdressed which gave it a gentle flavour, mainly thanks to the gorgeous red peppers. The quinoa provided both hearty filler and fluffy texture.

Pumpkin, Whipped feta, Pinenut and Rocket bagel ($7.50)

The pumpkin bagel’s success was in the sweetness of the pumpkin partnered with the creamy whipped feta (seasoned with rosemary, garlic and lemon). Of course it doesn’t hurt to wrap it all up in one of Melbourne’s best carbs as well; Pocket stocks famous Glick’s bagels.

Brownie ($4)

It’s hard to stop at lunch when tasty homemade treats are baked fresh on the premises. Lunchosaurus enjoyed a chocolate brownie ($4) that tasted just as it should; paper-thin crisp on top and almost molten in the centre. A few chopped nuts added extra body too.

To wash it down Pocket serves Allpress coffee and makes it with plenty of kick. The flat white ticked all the boxes but the cappuccino; while full-flavoured didn’t achieve that silkiness of texture, its froth a bit too aerated and segregated from espresso.


Flat White ($3.50)

Pocket offers something fresh and beautiful for the local residents to enjoy which will hopefully have the local sandwich and take-away shops something to aspire too. Extremely well-priced and with really personable service from owner Jacob, Pocket is worth checking out.

Food and beverage: 4.5/5
Service: 5/5
Ambiance: 3/5

Pocket on Urbanspoon

Manchester Press, Melbourne

Where:8 Rankins Lane,Melbourne

When: Breakfast and Lunch 7 days

Contact: (03) 9600 4054

Vego :)

 

It’s easy to presume without visiting, that Manchester Press would be merely another over-hyped, over-crowded café, pushing fashion over quality of experience. Thankfully it is not, and yes, the hype is completely justified. Melbournites might roll their eyes when I explain that Manchester Press is located down a cobblestoned CBD laneway and housed in a converted industrial space. I know that we’ve heard it all before. What’s impressive is that Manchester Press pulls it off beautifully. If you excuse the ridiculously low table housed in the back corner (I pitied the people crouched over their food) the room is pretty ergonomic for a warehouse space. The paint-splattered concrete floor and communal tables are probably as much roughing as you can expect. Good I say, nobody really wants to sit on a milk crate pretending to look comfortable. I was impressed with the warm glow of the venue on a grey, chilly morning. The lighting was soft and the music dreamy; not to mention, very up-to-the-minute.

The wait-staff are clearly hip, but not too cool to treat you nicely. I was delighted to find they were incredibly switched-on, polite and cheerful.

Coffee is the main showpiece at M.P., and the Batistas take pride in their work. The little bunny in my latte was delightful but not to the detriment of the coffee. It was excellent, strong and put together beautifully.

The food menu isn’t particularly inspiring; it’s very small and limited to various bagel-based meals. From the breakfast menu my dining partner ordered the “Baked Eggs with Cherry Toms, Feta and Chorizo ($16)” which came with a toasted bagel. I opted for the “Fruit and Nut Bagel- topped with mixed berry mascarpone, strawberries and pistachio dust.” ($12).

Let’s start with the eggs; the chorizo was an optional extra and if you’re an omnivore you’d be nutty to pass on it. Chorizo fans will know that it is very difficult to find real chorizo and not some wimpy, dull, imposter sausage.Manchester have the real deal, and there is plenty of it in the baked eggs which ensures a perfect infusion throughout. The feta is also high quality and the creamy Danish kind, which is perfect for melting into the eggs and chorizo. With a whole sesame bagel and butter on the side, this dish isn’t likely to leave anyone grumpy.

Baked Eggs with Cherry Toms, Feta and Chorizo ($16)

The Fruit and Nut bagel was toasted which enhanced the powerful cinnamon notes and the mixed berry mascarpone was gorgeous; decadently rich and heady. Although I had to scrape a few spoons of the cheese off, otherwise I would’ve likely suffered some internal organ shock; the piles of it were just insane. Unfortunately it was also ice-cold, which cut through any romanticism the toasty cinnamon had achieved. Now I’m just being fussy I know, the icy topping was probably because they’d only just taken it out of the fridge from the night before. Overall, the bagel was good, but could’ve used more fruit and less cheese.

If you’re planning on visiting Manchester Press, be aware that a few hundred people may have had the same idea. Attending outside of peak times will ensure you get to enjoy a peaceful meal on one of the good tables and no long wait times.

Fruit and Nut Bagel- topped with mixed berry mascarpone, strawberries and pistachio dust ($12)


Food: 4/5

Service: 4/5

Ambiance: 4/5

Manchester Press on Urbanspoon

Balderdash, Port Melbourne

Where:295 Bay St Port Melbourne

When: Weekdays 7am-3pm, Weekends 8am-3pm

Contact: (03) 9077 3813

Vego :)

Avocado, lime and goat’s cheese on Turkish bread, topped with a soft poached egg ($14)

Port Melbourne is a strange sort of place; Lycra-swathed cyclists, dogs, and lots of affluent white people, When I was strolling up Bay Street a mother called out, “Sienna and Beau get out of the way!” as her children rode their bikes down the footpath, their glossy Labrador in tow.

Stereotypes aside, there are some good eats to be had in Port Melbourne. Balderdash for example, might be somewhere you’ve heard of as it’s been a local favourite for some time and for good reason; it’s good. Heading in for a spot of brunch on a weekend, you might have to sit outside as we did, because it gets busy. Most impressive are their range of coffee systems; featuring cold drip and pour-over as well as espresso. Turns out I first ordered a weak Earl Grey tea which arrived in a tiny pot with enough leaves to have poisoned me. Generous; maybe, drinkable; no and weak; certainly not. I asked for some hot water to weaken my tea and it arrived in a cappuccino cup; exponentially difficult to pour from. When the tea still showed very little signs of weakening I resorted to simply scooping the leaves out, to my dining company’s horror I counted five spoonfuls of leaves. The remaining water was still too concentrated to drink. This little incident aside, the cappuccino I ordered afterwards was excellent. 

For my tummy I ordered the Avocado, lime and goat’s cheese on Turkish bread, topped with a soft poached egg ($14). I was delighted with the results. The creamy goat’s cheese was just a genius combination with the avocado and the lime was infused throughout but it did come with a wedge for you to squeeze over as well. The poached egg was perfect and the whole dish came artfully drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic. I can’t even begin to believe how fantastic things might get if you were to add the bacon (17.50).

Sitting outside on the benches was OK in the sunshine but had it been miserable, the footpath and passing traffic may well have soured the deal. I’d gladly return and wait for a seat inside next time. And of course, avoid ordering a tea.

 

Food: 4.5/5

Service 2/5

Ambiance: 2/5 (when seated outside)

Balderdash on Urbanspoon

Ici, Fitzroy

Where: 359 Napier St Fitzroy

When: Weekdays 7.30-4.30, Weekends 8-4.30

Contact: (03) 9417 2274

Licensed

Cash Only

 

Little Ici is a well loved favourite in Fitzroy, and it’s easy to see why. While undoubtedly cool, the tiny café is not so edgy as to sacrifice comfort and functionality. The chairs are old and heavy; wood with leather seating pads. Parisian little lampshades jut out from the wood-panelled walls and provide pockets of warm lighting. It’s a cosy sort of place and the menu offers a well-balanced selection ranging from the comforting to the sophisticated, with plenty of exciting vegetarian options. The music is volume-appropriate and pretty good too; I was treated to Bowie while I ate my lunch.

I ordered a latte ($3.50) and a Worker’s Bun: Fried egg, roaming bacon, tomato, vintage cheddar, spinach and tomato chilli jam ($10.50). Both arrived without too much wait which was fantastic considering the ANZAC day crowds. The latte looked a little pale but actually had enough kick, and a complex palate. It’s hard to find Fair Trade coffee this good. When the Worker’s Bun arrived I sussed out the bread first, like I always do. It passed with flying colours; fluffy, dense and fresh. Inside things were pretty good too with thick, richly flavoured bacon and lusciously smooth fresh spinach leaves. I didn’t notice the cheddar so much but there was a lot of tomato, and I kicked some of it out. The dressing was very creamy with a touch of mustard. Plenty of chilli jam too, which was heavily spiced with cumin. I’m not such a fan of cumin which dampened my bun-enthusiasm a little. Cumin sympathisers will however, not be disappointed.

I had a great time at Ici, and although service with a smile can fluctuate depending on which member of staff serves you, service was generally good and efficient. A little haven in Fitzroy with prices I can live with and quality I can get used to.

Worker’s Bun: Fried egg, roaming bacon, tomato, vintage cheddar, spinach and tomato chilli jam ($10.50)

Food: 4/5

Service: 3/5

Ambiance: 4/5

Ici on Urbanspoon

Backstreet Cafe, Fitzroy

Where: 152 Kerr St Fitzroy

When: Weekdays 7am-10:30pm, Weekends 8am-10:30pm

Contact: (03) 9417 1212

CC & EFTPOS available

 

Fitzroyers may already be savvy to Backstreet Café which opened up on Kerr Street in January. Even if you’re not a local, you’re bound to hear all about it sooner or later, primarily because of the success of its big sister, Birdman Eating just around the corner. Being a big fan of Birdman (It took first place in Lunchosaurus’ Top 5 Melbourne Eats from last year) I was eager to try out Backstreet.

Walking past on Kerr Street, Backstreet’s frontage was not very distinctive and had I not known that the café answered to the same owners as Birdman I would’ve walked right past. The décor; daggy café chairs, wine racks, chalk boards and a noodling saxophone soundtrack give Backstreet a vibe indistinguishable from so many other places. Although I personally feel the design is nothing special, it is clear that it has been made to a high standard. The bathrooms for example, are more like suites with thick doors and enough space to have a small picnic on the floor, or perhaps more practically, change a baby.

On the menu there are some brief parallels with Birdman Eating such as the Boiled eggs with soldiers and a couple of Baked egg options too. However the real draw-card is the meaty options, and there are a lot of them. Downstairs there’s a cellar where all sorts of interesting meats are cured in-house. Adventurous diners will enjoy picking out something they’ve probably never had before, while if you’re a bit of a traditionalist you’ll be safe with the Golden Muffin; Backstreet breaky sausage, fried egg, scamorza and tomato sauce for $11.50. I was pleased to find that said muffin was tre sophisticated, for a muffin. The sausage (more like a delicious salty beef patty) was nestled amongst the perfectly balanced flavours of the stretchy scamorza and delicate tomato sauce. Most importantly the muffin itself was dense, soft and doughy. Egg McMuffin I think not.

I also got my teeth into the “Egg and Bacon” Kassler, Grunkohl and toast with sous-vide egg. ($17.50) Or “Cured, smoked pork, cabbage and slow-cooked poached egg”, in Layman’s terms. The cooked cabbage or Grunkohl looked like a strange sort of seaweed and carried an unusual bitter taste. The pork was a thick pillowy cut with intense smoky, salty flavours. And egg came cold (not sure if this was intentional) in a shot glass with a dash of olive oil to slug on top of whichever part of your breakfast you desired. While the quality of the Kassler and egg was hard to deny, the competing flavours came across as too powerful for my liking.

Birdman Eating fans will be pleased to know the coffee here is good too, and so is the staff. We were lavished with attentive service and crazy water-refills, so much so that I think I inadvertently drank a litre of water all while trying to finish my single glass. A very pleasant (and hydrating) experience overall. As many reviewers have noted, Backstreet feels more like a dinner place with its unusual savoury menu and wine-stacked shelves. I know I’ll be back for an evening soon.

Food: 4/5

Service: 5/5

Ambiance: 3/5

Backstreet Cafe on Urbanspoon

Grigons & Or Corner Store, North Melbourne

Where: 445 Queensberry St North Melbourne

When: Weekends 8am-4pm, Weekdays 7am-4pm

Cash Only

Vegetarian :)

Dine-in, take-away for milk-bar items

Contact: (03) 9663 5192

 

Remember the days when you could get everything at your Corner Store? All your groceries and a milkshake too? If you don’t remember then it’s probably because this distorted piece of nostalgia owes itself to something out of 1950’s America rather than anything you, (most likely) growing in Australia, have probably ever experienced. But for those with a whimsical sense of fake nostalgia, Grigons & Orr Corner Store might just give you a little thrill. Grigons is decked out like a Ye Olde milk-bar with shelves to the ceiling stacked with a mix of modern-day groceries and retro adorables. Atop the front cabinet are some tasty looking fresh muffins and slices while behind the glass you’ll find WizzFizz. I’m not sure if this is what most parents would call a “kid-friendly café”, but as a kid I know I would’ve been in sugary heaven.

Grigons & Or seemingly have very few tables unless you realise there’s a dining room upstairs; something not immediately apparent. The tables outside are subjected to a sloping footpath and some nasty road noise, while the ones inside downstairs are, well…there’re just three of them. It might matter to lazier readers how close to the cash register they’re seated as you’ll need to walk up to the counter to order. Glasses of water are also DIY. And another warning; try to have cash on you, otherwise you’ll need to go on a hike uphill to Errol Street, not recommended.  

 

Uncle Bennies ($14.50)

Once you’ve found appropriate seating and filled your wallets with cash you might notice that the menu is very large and quite “egg-centric”, (Dining Partner’s words, not mine) While large menus are rarely a good sign, G & O did manage to deliver on the goods; the food was great. Dining partner ordered the Uncle Bennies (Poached eggs on toast with hollandaise and choice of bacon/spinach/ham) for $14.50 and I asked for the Coddled Eggs (cooked with fresh herbs, creamed spinach and served with cheesy soldiers) at $12.50. Aside from being too small, the Uncle Bennies was picture-perfect with trimmed, high quality bacon and decent hollandaise. My coddled eggs were cooked nicely and did indeed contain plenty of herbs and creamed spinach, yet were a little basic in flavour. The cheesy soldiers were generous chunks of spongey bread with charred cheese topping. It did appear that they were also drizzled with hollandaise; exciting at first but too rich by the end. We washed our breakfasts down with cappuccinos and lattes which were excellent when asked for “strong”, but quite watery when made as standard.

If you can get a seat inside, Grigons and Or does have a certain ambiance; the music is tastefully low-volume for the small space and there’s a cute drink fridge with rarities like Cherry Cola and Dr Pepper all frosty and ready for you. It also pays to be open seven days a week; you’ve got to admire that commitment.

 

Coddled Eggs with Cheesy Soldiers ($12.50)


Food: 3.5/5

Service: 2/5

Ambiance: 2.5/5

Grigons & Orr on Urbanspoon

The Tramway Hotel, North Fitzroy

Where:165 Rae Street, NorthFitzroy

When: Tues-Fri from 4pm, Weekends from midday

CC and EFTPOS

Veg and Vegan friendly

Dine-in

Contact: (03) 9489 6100

 

It’s no secret that Melbournites love their pubs, and amongst the leafy streets of North Fitzroy there’s nearly one on every corner. The Tramway Hotel is one of many historic watering holes in the area, with the building dating back to the 1960’s. The veneer hasn’t changed much but I would bet the food has. Their main deal is the Burger Bar, which while it may not seem very interesting, is far more innovative and high quality than that chewy old $25 parma you had the other night. Practically everything on Tramway’s burger menu has something special about it, whether it be fried haloumi or sriracha (spicy Thai sauce) mayo. For the Traditionalists there are steak sandwiches and classic burger combinations. While for our vego and vegan friends there are delicious options like Quinoa and Hummus or the Portabello Mushroom burgers. If the choice is all too much, and I can understand why, then rock up on a Tuesday and get the Tramway or Quinoa Burger for a mere $12. Then spend that money you saved on a beer; the range is impressive.

 As well as burgers, The Tramway does share plates, salads and a few select Mains too. I settled on the burger special; a Pulled Pork Sandwich ($18) which promised…slow cooked barbecue pork shoulder teased from the bone, topped with coleslaw, tomato, Spanish onion, Cos lettuce and aioli, served with a side of Napoleone apple cider chutney and chips. In the flesh (mind the pun) the burger proved itself worthy of its gorgeous description. While not mentioned above, the chips (wedges I’d say) were by far the best I’ve had in an age. “Bay and rosemary salt” might just be why. The cider chutney; sweet and aromatic with cinnamon set off the honey-smoked flavour of the pork, while a bitey, garlicky coleslaw completed the picture.

 

Pulled Pork Sandwich ($18)

My dining partner opted for the Lamb and Haloumi Burger ($18), so brace yourself for another mouth-watering description; Char-grilled lamb and burghul pattie, topped with grilled haloumi, almondnaise, lemon and mint yogurt, tomato, Cos lettuce, Spanish onion and chips. While it’s very hard to go wrong with grilled haloumi, this burger earns bonus points for blending the lamb with burghul for a really soft, wholesome texture. All burgers come in La Madre buns, although to be honest I’m not sure what the fuss is there. It is good to know however that they’re also available gluten free. Just make sure staff don’t clear your plates before you’re finished, they were a bit handsy with us and we lost some of those amazing rosemary wedges in the process.

 

Lamb and Haloumi Burger ($18)

Apart from really exciting burgers, The Tramway Hotel has a lot to offer in terms of atmosphere. While it is definitely a pub, it doesn’t have that dingy vibe. The large windows let in floods of light, which sheen from the polished floors and clean tables. At the time the music was upbeat, indie-folk, and the staff sort of are too. It’s a very friendly sort of place where you could bring a friendly friend and do friend things. Like play Monopoly or Scrabble, both of which are available at a coffee-table by the door.

Food: 4.5/5

Service: 3.5/5

Ambiance: 4/5

Tramway Hotel on Urbanspoon