Sunday, November 29, 2009

RPatz aint got nothin on me

So I haven't logged on for a while and when I do, WHAM!, I'm slapped in the face by millions of adoring and angry fans who want to know Why? WHY! have i stopped writing posts.

The answer is simple. This is a blog about cheap food in Melbourne, written by a student for students... and I'm not studying but WORKING (a lot!) atm so... thats why.

Yeah, i dont really have time for your neediness.

But, a little known fact about my lovely self is that i think there should DEF be a "Melbourne on a shoestring" guide and so i thought i should outline some of the unique characters you may encounter in Melbourne. You know. Just to do my bit.

And there are a few main types...

The Gucci Asian:

(Disclaimer: I do not think all Asians do this. Its just that these people happen to come from Asia and do this. White people do this but they are just weird rich white people. They are not Gucci Asians.)

I work in Carlton, yeh? And what famous uni is in Carlton? Melbourne Uni. And who can afford to go to Melbourne uni? rich Asians. And REALLY really really smart... other people.

So the Gucci Asians habitat is Carlton, Melbourne Uni and thats about it. Wanna know why? Coz they can actually afford to live in the middle of the city. Granted, they live in tiny apartments, but still.

They derive their name from the often toted complementary-with-purchase gucci store bag. Now, im not saying that whats in this brown and gold bag is ACTUALLY gucci. It could be their modestly prepared lunch. But the point is that They wear head to toe labels. Ie on a typical gucci asian you will see: Burberry cap, ralf lauren polo, jeans, gucci shoes and a gucci satchel.

Why gucci?

I dunno, do i look like an expert?


well, actually i kinda do but its more the glasses than anything.

The Vegan:
(Disclaimer: not all people who behave in this manner are vegans, and not all vegans behave in this manner. But by god, if it was a Venn Diagram... baby, they'd be closer then Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt on a promo tour)

Oh, god. The vegans...

S0 your walking down Brunswick St, yeah? And your thinking your pretty cool. And your marvelling at all the really cool, weird little niche stores. And you think to yourself, Aint it grand that Melbourne encourages you to be a little different? And not in a mass-emo sort of way.


You accidentally walk into Pretentious Central. Yep, those clothes are feral. Yep, that price tag does not have a tiny invisible dot point. It really is 400 dollars. Yes, it does look like its selling the wardrobe off The Matrix.

The only label accepted to be seen on a Vegan is Ray Bans, and they're Vintage, so you cant have them.

See, the vegan hates it when it looks like they are wearing a label. They hate it when the look like they care about their appearance. They're sort of the only child of the universe.

Thats why they wear only shades of grey. Thats why there is a secret love affair going on between vegans and peroxide. Thats why the amount of hair shaved off is in direct proportion to their perceived cool factor. Thats why they wear thin leather shoes that were very popular in 1930s Russia.

Coz, you see, Vegans are just as shallow as us. Thats what makes them so annoying. They are like emos except they are adults.

(Another thing they have in common with emos is that they are all pretty skinny.)

Thats their native call sign.


(Disclaimer: you know what? these people really are dicks. Im sticking to my guns on this one.)

Oh, when you see one youll know. You just wanna punch/shake them when you do. And, for some bizzaro reason, they seem to haunt public transport, shouting something ridiculous or laughing at decibels only dogs can hear at something inane.

Sorry. They just.... Yep.

TheRichList have phones attached at the palm and seem to do ordinary daily tasks without putting them away. They eat, they chat, they... well ive never really seen them do anything other than that, but i assume that whatever else they may do they do not put their phone away.

They are sort of the antithesis of the Vegan. They wear head to toe labels. Their plain white tee? Its from Sass&Bide.

The gladiator flats?



Rokk Ebony.

Smell Chanel? Oh, I bet you do.

Anyways, their naturally habitat is South Yarra and Toorak. Oh, and if jail bait is a problem for you check photo ID if they look younger then 35. Coz the median age of these girls? About 16.

For some reason they have great skin, hair and bodies. I think its all their money that does it.

Bridge & Tunnel

(Disclaimer: Not all people from the burbs who come into the city on weekends are like this, but again. Use a little imagination and a bit of common sense and youll have to agree with me.)

Oh, you kids. Or should i say, yous kids. Coz mispronunciation of common words is like a thing with these people.

The Women: They drive crappy white cars, left school at 16, have a close personal friend who got pregnant before that time, wear hair extensions that are longer than their dresses and look as those their blush was applied via the Paint application.

Daa Men Mate: Oh, GHD love these little critters. For some reason they think its a good idea to randomly bleach parts of their hair. I dont know why... and then they straighten it. They go to the hairdressers and show pictures of porcupines and say "Bro, i want that. Sick as." Again, not sure why. It kinda looks like a modern mullet. Less business tho, more D***head. They think that ten year old Nissan Skyliners are the best car. They refer to their friends as Coz. Whilst starting drunken fights with them.

They come in and perform their mating rituals at Crown Casino. They think its a good idea to start fights with bouncers. Its not.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Co Do

Dear Followes (all two of you)

My hearty apologies for my failure to keep up a consistant work ethic. I'm here, I'm there, I'm everywhere. As is my spelling.

And no, dear readers. I have no new and cheap restaraunts to entice you with.

So much sadface.

I blame it on 2 things: uni being over (i now have time to cook meals) and Arrested Developement.

Its just so good, you know? It makes me want to rush home and watch it.

Actually, also i have no internet at home so that could contribute.

"BUT ENOUGH WITH THE EXCUSES!" I hear you say (in the style of Tobias, naturally). "We want more reviews!"

And who am i to deny the hearts desire?

So i will just el-casueel look through my iphone to see if i have anything.... There!

Ok so i went to a place called Co Do and its in Little Vietnam. The vietnamese rolls were good. The duck was too sweet...

See! This is what happens! When you force me to do everything! I crack under the pressure! I wont! I wont do it anymore!

In the style of Gob, naturally.

This may just be the lamest thing ever.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Miss Libs

Corner of Swanston St and Franklin St, next to Aldi

Miss Libs is an awesome bar and as such, i thought i would share with you another little gem of Melbourne. It is a Bar, but this blog is not called "Moderately priced drinks Melbourne", is it? No. The answer is No.

So why am i writing about it? Simply because Miss Libertines has an awesome selection of stuff to eat whilst you downing several G&Ts. It has a small laminated menu, at the bar and on some of the tables, that has a list of $5 pizzas (thats right, FIVE DOLLARS) that a quite delectable. It also has stuff like chips with aioli (or however its spelt) and wedges and nachos and all that other horrible sounding pub food. But, actually, its quite tasty.

ATTENTION: SEE SMILEY FACE /\ thats by my creative friend Sarah.

side note: is "creative" another word for "dear lord must you harrass me"? Anyone? No?

I used to get the Audrey Deluxe pizza on Friday night happy hours. Its a delicious pizza with bacon and cheese and wonderfully fresh tasting spring onion. Sounds crazy but it works! It really does.

It was Sarahs birthday this weekend so on the Friday we took her out for after work drinks. We professed a desire to eat, but the peeps with us were going out for dinner after so they did not want to. This is where Miss Libs shines. Because the pizzas are small and un-offending you can sit there, stuffing your face, whilst other people delicately sip at there drinks. And u dont feel bad. Brilliant.

I forget which one the picture is of. Sorry. But i have word its tasty.

It was also the first time id had the chips there and they were so good that i went back on Monday and got some more. They are thick cut and tasty.

So yer, i recommend Miss Libs. Its a cool bar, and a nice place to eat.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Name and Shame

Seriously, guys. I do not want to do this. But its pretty well my civic duty to... NAME AND SHAME SHITTY RESTARAUNTS.

Yep. Its a ugly business this food reviewing stuff.

So i had a late start on Sunday (its a very long story) and decided to have a little time to myself, get a late lunch, see a movie, do a bit of walking around the greatest city in the world... that sort of stuff. So i thought i would pop in to Shanghai Dumpling House and get me some DUMPLINGS yum...

But i thought it was closed so i went next door, to Shanghai Noodle House. Just thinking about it makes me feel a little ill. i ordered the dim sims...

sorry to have left it there i just had to go vomit. no but for reals, the dim sims were brown and disugsting. Im not actually sure they were technically dim sims, and i did have to call the waiter/idiot over to explain himself. Yes, they are what you ordered. Yes, they are what we call dim sims. Yes, that white stuff is rice, no, it is not maggots. No, you do have to pay for you meal...

you get the point.

However, i have an open mind. i know this because sometimes stuff falls out. ba bomsh.

So if you have indeed had an edible meal at this restaraunt, please advise. Leave you name and address so i can send an ambulence.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cafe Vue de Monde

I have heard a lot of good things about Cafe Vue, from other blogs, from the Age's "Good Food Guide" so i thought i would try it. The recommended and most talked about item on the menu was the "Lunch box" and for $15 i thought i would try it. When i went it consisted of:

Starter Scotch quail egg
Salad Broad bean salad
SavouryDuck cassoulet pastie

Sweet Classic trifle

In short ive had better. Like the quail egg? Was tough! The broad bean salad was delicious, the pastie was cold and boring and VERY SMALL and the classic trifle, tho delicious, was not really satisfying.

So just thought i would put that out there, as currently i am quite hungry and this would not be my first choice. However, if your mums coming into town to see you it might be a good place, as The RESTARAUNT Vue is quite famous, though a fair bit more expensive (we're talking like not getting change from a hundread)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Phoenician Bakery

Just a quick post to tell you guys about a bakery on Sydney Rd that is very, very cheap.

I took my friend Rhio here when she came to visit me at the share house and it got her AOK. Its called a bakery but its more of a supermarket/pizza shop. We both had the pizza, i had half cheese half meat. The cheese is very delicious and the meat looks like its got a bit of carrot and onion as well and its all very fine and tasty. The best part about it is that you can get a pizza and a can of coke for $5. Cant beat it, very filling.

Across the road is Balhas, the famous Lebanese Sweet store. They are good but i actually preffer Hawat, near the corner of Sydney and Moreland rd. Its gotten a bit embarrasing for me there, as i go almost every day and get more than one :) This is a pic of the sweets from Hawat.

Im at uni, its exams, Is it ok if i take a while to post?

Ill admit it: I went back to Ganache. Who can blame me? They are the epitome of good chocolate.

I bought a big version of the Hazelnut fan slice to have as my birthday cake. Long story short: my three friends and i ended up eating it on the side of the road whilst we waited for a tow truck. It was good enough to bring my friend Teo, whos car had broken down and was going to cost a thousand dollars to fix, out of his car-kickingly bad mood :) Did i mention that it could have fed eight but we four did just fine?

And it was just as good as i remembered. We are all now Ganache converts and any time i mention it to them they make a "uerhhhhhhh" sound that i interpret to mean "oh, dear lord, if i had that cake right now...."

but ive been back another time. James and i got the tasting plate to share and oh, dear lord, WHAT AWESOME VALUE! Value FTW! 15 bucks and you could buy up the entire store almost! We got like 6 of their oh-so-awesome chokkies and our choice of ice cream (James chose strawberry chocolate which i thought was going to be disgustingly rich with all the other stuff on the plate but wasnt, it was just absolutely awesome like everything else in this shop) and 70% chocolate spoons, which i didnt eat at the time as i was really full but took one home and had it the next day. DELICIOUS.

We also got to pick a cake and i know, i know. I should have chosen Hazelnut fan slice. Why did i mess with a favorite? WHY?

It was for you, dear reader. Im not going to lie. Its ALL YOUR FAULT.

Aesthetically it was pleasing, and the raspberry stuff on top was really, really, really good. But there was too much moose and the bottom was too fluffy. I know, i know. Even one moose is too much.
I am a bad speller and i give my hearty apologies. The cake, of course, had too much mousse.

I mean, if you like air this might have been good for you but me? I like chocolate. So i still prefer the Hazelnut.

But fear not. I shall tread on in the name of art and continue to go to Ganache and try new cakes.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Happy Kappa

Its probably time that i write about this restaraunt as ive had this title up for a while. Ill just make it quick but as im tired.

Happy Kappa is a pretty cool place on brunswick street. Ive been there a couple of times and whilst not brilliant on price, its still under 15 dollars for a bento. And the bentos pretty brilliant. I mean, you know. A synonym for brilliant as ive already used it in the sentence beforehand.

Yep. And i go back there right now.

So... tired. bed time. Good night.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Jims Greek Tavern

Or as it is known, "Jimmy the Greeks", crn Smith and Johnson St or there abouts. (Fitzroy, for those not in the know)

My dads been going here for years. Before they did it up all nice and when it was exposed to the various elements. When they used to have parties out the back and throw plates to the floor.

Yep, Jimmy the Greeks. Probably the best greek food in melbourne. The waiters here are all men and they wizz about you and weave in and out of the tiny tables crushed together. If you bring some beers and chuck them in the fridge, before youve even finished your first they will be chucking a second over your head. The only thing is the get a bit pissy when you dont know what you want straight away (and i mean STRAIGHT away- my love affair with CAP LET has no finished peoples).

There are no menus. When you enter you get to walk past all the raw ingredients and i dunno if they do this for everyone but when my uncle Will used to go there, he would make up stuff he wanted to eat and they would bring it out to us.

Im really stupid when i go to Jimmy the Greeks. I walk in there, i smell all the delicious smells, i see all the glorious food about me, and i get REALLY hungry. And the first thing we always have there is the dip and bread. And i gorge myself on that and then eat like a bird when all the real food comes out.

That isnt to diss the dip and bread tho. Oh, lord NO! It is the best! It comes with fried eggplant and delicious garlic soaked beans (and i never eat beans!) and three dips- caviar, tzaiki (or however you spell it) and a garlicy eggplant one. It also comes with pickled octopus, which is totally yum, and the bread is thick and tasty.

My dad always gets lamb chops which beat any lamb chop ive ever had, including my mums, some blue eye fish, saginaki cheese (heart attack on your plate) and greek salad. Its mind blowingly delicious :)

Gnache and Pacific Seafood BBQ House

Guys, its been a while. Its actually been longer than you think coz a guy at work DELETED my almost finished post. SO ANGRY (and falling in love with the expressiveness of CAPITAL LETTERS)

But ive recently decided that what i need is photos! so hence the delay. And no, this coming post will not have photos either, though i took them, as i am having a minor restle with my iphone camera ATM so they will be uploaded later.

First, i went to a restaraunt in South Yarra called Pacific Seafood BBQ House. I was walking past this place on the way to find a Subway ( i know, SHAME!) and the outside was compeletly covered in newspaper clippings saying how good it was. It also had a sign saying "Cheap Eats" so i thought it was a goer.


Yeah, no. The food was definitely not cheap and the eats were semi ok.

Just to clarify i consider it cheap if the meal is under ten bucks. i consider it reasonable if the meal is under 15 bucks. anything after that ... is paid for by my dad :)

Anyways i had the soft shell crab with chilli and garlic. It was fried, which they didnt mention on the menu (i say menu but i mean peice of coloured paper stuck to the wall) and it was pretty over powering with lots of garlic and fried shallots. The sweetness of the crab didnt really come out at all.

They do give you a complementary grey troll-booger coloured broth with really shoft nuts and weird white vegetables. I wouldnt call it nice... not bad, not good. Semi-ok.
But then (drum roll please) i had THE BEST CAKE IN THE WORLD!

Its true. But i didnt have it at the BBQ Seafood place, thats for sure. Its a place in South Yarra called Gnache. Its in the main drag near the train station.

This thing was called "Hazelnut Fan Slice" and lemme tell you, I'm a BIG fan. The base was a perfect blend of sponge and hazelnuts, sweet but with a soft crunch, almost a crackle. The top was iced with the most perfect ganache (which explains the name) and the centre- the centre. The centre was a soft creamy delicate perfect mousse that wasnt even too sweet. It was, altogether, perfection.

Monday, September 21, 2009


I just realised that all my post til now have been asian restaraunts... so i need somebody to give me a change! If anybody knows some deliciously cheap restaraunt in the city that is not asian cusine you have to help me out and tell me ESIP! ok... thats all lol

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Maple Leaf

Its my Nana's 80th birthday tomorrow and she is having her party at Maple Leaf Restaurant. My entire family have been going to this restaurant since it opened, and apparently my mum and i went there on the opening night when she was not long out of hospital from having me. We never look at the menu 'cause we know it off by heart and all the service staff know us by name. If fact, when my dad goes there he takes an extra beer for the chef.

So anyways in anticipation of this event i thought i would just let y'all know how good it is, even though its not strictly in Melbourne. Its in noble park but you can take the pakenham/cranbourne/dandenong line and get off at noble park. Just walk toward maccas and its just across the road.

The main reason that my nanna (who lives in QLD) is having her party here instead of in the sunshine state is the PEAKING DUCK. It is legendary in my family. For those not aware of what PEAKING DUCK is its a roasted duck that its carved and put on a thin pancake with delicious hoi sin sauce. The sauce is so delicious that my brother often requests that they leave it on the table so he can put it on everything that comes after.

Another popular dish with the family is hot and sour soup. I never really eat as I'm not a huge fan of hot stuff, but when the waiters go around our table probably 70% get it.

The dim sims are delicious and home made. Chinese sausage is another favorite. But NOTHING compares, in my mind at least, to san choi bow. It is delicious mix of vegetables and meat in a crispy lettuce cup.

I could run through all the things on the menu that are delicious but its pretty much anything. Favorites of mine include the sambol chicken, its fantastic the next day, and shredded beef. My sister likes the garlic prawns and my dads favorite is the Singapore noodles (which i am also very partial).

I don't actually know how much it is as I've never had to pay :)


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Rice Bar

So those who know me probably already know this place but i love their roast pork so i thought id put it out there :)

They have a pretty long menu and i have tried a few of their dishes and they are all pretty good. Roast pork is my favorite and at $9.50 i usually have it on fridays- just after ive been paid. Its in a very convienient location if you are a Melbourne Uni student (but not if you have your lappie and 100 library books on you as it is about a five minute shlep from the library there) and is on the corner of Canada and Swanston or tram stop 3- Lincoln Sq. Majority of their menu is under ten bucks and is pretty sizable. They give you free tea and thats a good thing because all of their drinks are like $2.50 (for a can!) and up.

Its a semi nice place to eat though their chairs are not comfortable at all! The service is pretty good with friendly staff and lots of em. One thing though: they claim to have free internet there but its cable and it didnt work for me :( even though i went there specifically because my own internet was not working...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Thy Thy

One of the greatest things about Melbourne is the influence that other cuisines have over the city. You hardly ever read a review in the Age saying "what fantastic fish and chips". But you will hear oodles about "What fantastic Vietnamese". You know why? Coz its true.

There is an awesome street in Fitzroy called Victoria Parade. If you are on Victoria street, do not panic. Just keep heading down and you'll get there. (One of the not so great things about Melbourne? You will find a Bourke street, a Little Bourke street, a Brunswick street, a Brunswick road and a suburb called Brunswick, a Lonsdale, a Little Lonsdale, a Collins, a Little Collins, but you sure wont see a Kori road, a Kootamundra street or a Oodgeroo Noonuccal parade).

So on this magical parade named Victoria, there are soooo many Vietnamese places that i wish i had been to all of them. The only reason i am reviewing Thy Thy instead of any of the others is because its my dads favorite restaraunt. I took him there for fathers day and i think he had a good time.

Thy Thy stands out from the crowd a bit because unlike all the other fantastically cheap restaurant who are heavy on food quality, no so heavy on painted walls, Thy Thy is a nice place to eat. They've obviously put some money into doing it up and it looks nice. The service is good and the front is made up of glass so its very light in there. Now to the food: its excellent. Now to the cost: you can see where they get the money for the decor.

Its about $4 for the san choi bow which is probably the best ive ever tasted. They have a lunch spacial for $8 and you get some good food with rice, though not really anything to write home about. A little tip: order from the chefs specials, they are all delicious! However they dont state the price in that section so it can get a little exy: im talking $15 meal so nothing that should require a special trip to the bank or anything. My favorite: the crispy skinned quail. Its pretty delicious though last time i had it it went all over my pretty skirt and my not so pretty face.

The place is licensed so that made it good for fathers day. However we did BYO once and they didnt seem to have a problem with that.

In conclusion: V Tasty. V good for special occasion. But for every day explore the surrounding restaurants as your bound to have a good meal wherever you go.

Little tip: the good restaurants have reviews stuck up in the windows... the best have a few :)

Shanghai Dumpling House

Step right up folks for the second post!

There once was a place called Shanghai Dumpling House down Tatterstall Lane off Lonsdale street. Along came a university student equipped with an off beat sense of humour and a thirst, A THIRST, for deliciously cheap food. And she found it. The End.

Yep, Dumpling house is apparently another one of those Institutions my friend Kate is always telling me about. Well known by native Melbournians as the place where the service is shit, the food cheap and you can bring a goon bag, get hammered, and nobody would care.

As a side note to those who are first visiting Melbourne: It is pronounced Mel-bin, not mel-BOURNE. I had a customer the other day who told me he had just been to visit jee-lorng. I said: Geelong? He said, No, jee-long.

Nobody likes it when you cant pronounce the place your visiting.

ANYWAYS... the thing to get is the Steamed vegetable and mushroom dumplings. You can get ten for $4.50 or twenty for $6.50 (or if you want them frozen for later, $5.50). To tell you the truth i had these the first time i went there and have not bothered to try anything else. But i went with James and he got the soup and said it was delicious, and we tried the spring rolls, which are pretty piddily little things but at $2.50 nobody really cares. They're pretty darn tasty.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Don Dons

Ok so straight out the gate i should tell you there are a fair few long standing favorite CHEAP EATS in Melbourne.

The first is the famous Don Dons, on Swanston street just near Melbourne Central (however they are like the Leaky Cauldron: you only see it if you know its there). It definitely gives you bang for your buck, and not in a St.Kilda way. They have a pretty short menu, with about eight items. You can get Miso soup, Teiyaki chicken, that sort of thing for a very reasonable price. Another great thing about Don Dons is you get served almost before your in the place and you get your food maybe thirty seconds later.

This place do like their salt however. But, if you can get an entire "Don Don box" for Eight bucks, you dont really care do you? No. This bento box has fruit and chicken and beef and is pretty delectable. Another slight negative is that the place is the size of a shoe box and a fair few people know about it, so expect to fight tooth a nail not just to get a table but to keep it. I had to share a table for two with two other people. Yep, awkward.

Hint: to stretch a budget just that little bit further order the takeaway. They always give you too much so have the leftovers for lunch the next day. Or breakfast, in my case.
Oh, Hello. I didnt see you there.

Nah just kidding. So, lacking the ability to write as humorously as my hilarious fellow blogger Sarah, ill just say this like normal. Me name is Kristen (oh ok, that was in a poor scottish accent) and i have recently moved out of the loving arms of my mother from the 'burbs to the big city. I live in a share house with too many roomies to count north of melbourne. Ive recently discovered that, whilst i have the ability to cook, the fact remains that cooking in a house with heaps of people and very little in the way of cutlery (or cleanliness) is a bit too much for a teenager working part time and studying full time. So i have endevoured to find all the cheapest, tastiest eats in Melbourne. And i would like you to come along on that very special journey. :)