I’ve got a new job located on the Windsor / St Kilda border, and consequently I am lunching around the south end of Chapel St. It’s not an area I spend much time in socially, so I’ve been wandering randomly and selecting places to eat at based on friends’ and online recommendations. I’m not planning on reviewing each in detail, but I will publish a single weekly summary of where I’ve been the week before.
I’ll start with the best lunch of the week, which was at Eugenius cafe on Hornby St. The jumble of their website reflects the eclectic nature of the interior, and the menu offers a variety of simple cold and hot dishes but with few prices. I chose a plate of chicken casserole with Moroccan rice (below), a pilaf containing various vegetables, nuts and pomegranate seeds. The chicken was mildly flavoured and the two things went very well together.
It’s a small cafe and only one person was working at the time, and a lot of people came in at once after me, so the service was not quick. I had a coffee while I waited for my lunch and it was quite good. The chicken and rice and the coffee came to $25.50, which was a surprise but it is southside and things seem a bit more expensive here than in the inner north. A meal of similar high quality at Alimentari would probably have been only $20-21. If you don’t mind the prices, I recommend the food and ambiance and Murchison and Slow RPM do too.
The interior of Eugenuis (below).
I’ve been to Wabi Sabi Salon on Smith St Collingwood many times, but I visited their sibling venue Wabi Sabi Garden on Wellington St for the first time last week. The interior is similarly dark and warm and features new artwork by Twoone.
The menu is somewhat different but it still contains many lunch staples, such as bento boxes. I chose the fish bento (below), which contained tempura flounder, rice, pickles and was accompanied by a bowl of miso soup. It’s very satisfying and good value at $16. It’s also been positively reviewed by Artificial imagination.
The third place I tried was Ghin Kopi, a cafe / Thai food establishment on Chapel St. I’d tried to have coffee there quite recently, when it was almost empty, prior to seeing a film at the Astor. One of my group ordered a lemonade, which was delivered promptly, and the other two ordered coffee. The waitress wandered about, dried some glasses, spoke to the chef and showed no interest in making coffee. 15 minutes later we were running out of time and cancelled the coffee orders on our way out the door.
When I had lunch there it was similarly quiet but the service was more prompt. My chiang mai noodles (below) were average and the flavour was very mild. I think it had been westernised too much – I wanted more more flavour. Ghin Kopi has received a number of similar negative comments on commercial review aggregation sites and, given my two experiences there, I see no reason to return.