After about 5 years, An Nam Vietnamese restaurant on Brunswick St has closed and, in one of those instant blink and you’ll miss it makeovers, has become another new Vietnamese restaurant called Pho 2 Victoria. The space was previously the Cherry Lounge bar. It’s on the same block as the long-lived Viet Rose and the relatively recent Basil Leaf Pho La Que (which replaced a series of short-term failures).
This, alongside the other recent openings of Fina’s 2 and East Meets West (both Vietnamese), marks a change in the mix on the northern end of Brunswick St. Another new arrival, Palinka bar, is an offshoot of Elsternwick’s Budapest bar (much like how B’Stilla Cantina is an offshoot of South Yarra’s B’Stilla restaurant).
Are operators of modern trendy food venues choosing not to locate themselves on Brunswick St? The place to experiment in for several years now has been Smith St just north of Gertrude St, which now has a barcade. Is food fashion in retreat as Brunswick St is recolonised by what we could call the food of suburbia?
Recent contemporary openings in the north of Johnston St precinct have included Transformer and Hammer and Tong, which are both just off Brunswick St on back streets. Significant openings on Brunswick St recently have been south of Johnston, such as the big new San Churro and Stagger Lee’s.
Otherwise, Brunswick St north of Johnston has dude food scattered amidst the established and popular vegetarian precinct. Having seen the festival of meat that is the Palinka bar menu, it’s an interesting counterpoint to what is around it.