680 Mt Alexander Rd, Moonee
Phone: 9370 4888
Smoken Joe’s is a pretty standard cafe/restaurant of that Blue Train/Automatic/Joe’s Garage vein, with a menu modelled on American Diner fare, plus pasta, plus some bistro food, plus curry (!?!?). They serve decent meals at reasonable prices, and there’s nothing particularly remarkable about the food.
As is usual in one of these places, there are a few things on the menu which are signature dishes, but you’ll find all of the usual suspects on the menu. I tend to find that they’re the best dishes on which to judge a restaurant, so I started off with the steak sandwich. The steak was still juicy and the toast was crisp. Not bad, in my books. Mr N had the chicken parmigiana. He was satisfied, and struggled to finish it all. I’ve got to say the chips were a bit of a let-down; not particularly crispy. I’m also of the belief that either you go shoestring, or you go fat chips. The KFC-gauge should be left to KFC. Well, OK, and Nando’s.
A return visit with other friends led to similar ordering. Mr I had the burger, and Mr A had the steak sandwich, on my recommendation. Both were satisfied with their meals, but there were no songs of praise to be sung. Mr A’s steak sandwich looked even better than mine.
I have been there other times when someone
ordered the pasta (ho-hum) and the grilled salmon (a winner, but no photo!) but I’m yet to try their ribs or the surf’n’turf
. I love a bit o’ doublemeat
Oh, but wait! I lie! There IS something remarkable about Smoken Joe’s. They have these OVERSIZED chocolate crackles and honey joys!!
4 Margaret St, Moonee Ponds
Phone: 9375 4499
I don’t go out for breakfast on weekends as much as I used to. I think living for a while in Viet Nam changed my tastes somewhat in terms of what I like to eat in the morning. I still really miss the fact I could run downstairs from my place and grab a banh mi (Vietnamese pork roll) or some xoi cuc Ha Noi (Hanoi-style sticky rice with chrysanthemum) or even a quick bowl of pho.
So when Mr N suggested we go out for breakfast last Saturday, I wasn’t sure what to get from the menu. I settled on a breakfast pizza, with salami, bacon, mushrooms and spinach. And yes, that IS indeed a poached egg with hollandaise sauce on the top. Given the hung-over state I was in, this pizza didn’t just hit the spot, it nailed it.
Mr N had the (massive) omelette
with cherry tomatoes and chorizo
. I didn’t try any, but the omelette
looked very fluffy, and the chorizo
was sufficiently spicy enough to challenge Mr N this early in the day.
The service was quite attentive, and though the meals did take about 25 minutes to come out, they had warned us of this in advance, and it seemed fair enough, as the place was very busy.
A waitress mistake (I think) left us waiting quite a while for our food, watching others who had arrived after us receive their food first. Which is always irritating. But once my breakfast came, I forgot abot the wait. The kransky itself wasn’t amazing, and the poached eggs were good, but the apple (and beetroot? rhubarb?) compote as well as the hot potato and cauliflower slaw were great. Another example of why choosing a dish based on the accompaniments/sides is often a good move!
Birdman Eating, Gertrude St, near the corner of Smith st.
89 Flemington Rd, North Melbourne
Avist is one of the few quality places near my work. They make these awesome homemade pies (well, parcels, really) – the pastry is nicely short, and wonderfully flaky, and the filling is moist, tasty and you can see exactly what’s in it. Big shreds of chicken. Yummo! The salads rotate, but there’s usually an experimental one. This one was pumpkin, potato and carrot, with some rocket etc. Pretty standard, except they (for some reason) had kiwifruit in it. A little oddly sweet, but still very enjoyable.
133 Chapel St, Windsor
Phone: 9529 1198
OK, so I was really quite drunk at the time, so I ordered a starter for two as a main for one… but just about everything on this plate was awesome! Highlights: smoked sweet potato dip, saganaki, grilled eggplants, chorizo.