Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bar Mattino

Bar Mattino is situated on the corner of Abercrombie Street and Meagher Street (opposite Café Giulia). It's a small, neat, unassuming place with friendly service and excellent food: below, spaghettini with chilli chicken and olives, and pan-fried fish on a bed of lentils, roasted tomato and spinach, accompanied by (on the left) a fruit frappé and an apple and ginger juice postively bursting with ginger. Bar Mattino may be overshadowed by its trendy neighbour, but every time I've been there the food has been wonderful.

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Sunday, February 20, 2011

American Rag

American Rag is a vintage clothes shop at QV Terrace, Melbourne. Set in a slightly unprepossessing concrete shopping centre, it's a cornucopia of vintage shoes, cowboy boots, dresses and shirts, with men, women and kids all catered for, and presided over by the lovely Belinda.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Queen Victoria Market

The Queen Victoria Market is at the end of Queen Street, Melbourne; it's a large undercover market full of a vast jumble of stuff for sale, and was apparently "once known as a thriving underground pirated goods centre". I managed not to find the fruit and vegetable market, which apparently is very good, and instead wandered in a somewhat bemused fashion around the stands piled high with a huge range of mainly touristy items, from kangaroo skins and Ugg boots to "hot corn" and lurid vodka shots. Wanting, for sheer novelty value, to photograph a pile of ugly slippers, I asked politely, but was knocked back by the stall-owner, who suggested that she wouldn't come around to my house taking pictures. I responded, reasonably I thought, that while that might be true, I wasn't offering my house for sale. This got me nowhere, and the slippers shall remain unpublicised.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Aspro Ble

Aspro Ble is at 389 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne (part of the Hardware Lane strip). To get there, walking along Hardware Lane you have to run the gauntlet of "spruikers"; Aspro Ble was the first restaurant that didn't have someone outside practically clasping at my sleeve to get me to eat there, which seemed like as good a reason as any to try it, although the crisp, clean blue and white decor and delicious-sounding menu were also high on the list. The food was wonderful: an amuse bouche of a creamy vanilla and fig yoghurt ball, with a fascinating texture and interesting flavours and accompanied by a shot glass full of chilled vegetable gazpacho, was followed by a starter of Greek pork and leek sausage with smoked beef and kefalograviera cheese, which was an interesting mix of flavours crowned by juicy sausage slices; the main course of slow roasted lamb with a roasted garlic dressing was soft, mouthwatering and rich in flavour, and the roast potatoes were slightly lemon scented and lightly cooked to perfection in olive oil and oregano. The owner came out to explain the menu and serve, and was diffident, friendly and clearly very excited about the food being served. An excellent experience.

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