My time working southside is coming to an end and I’ve been revisiting favourites in my final days. These are the places that I enjoyed the most over the past six months.

The best coffee on Chapel St is to be found at Dukes, which is also the most consistent. The School of 7 Bells is as good when the right barista is in, but it is not as consistent overall. The Mission cafe is almost as good and so is Borscht Vodka and Tears when one particular barista is there. Mileto’s also do great coffee.

When it comes to food, many places are doing fashionable hot sandwiches or burgers. The chilli burger and lamb burger at Yellow Bird are great, as is the fish burger from Parlour, but I’ve had my fill of this trend and prefer other flavours and textures. I have returned many times to La Cafe on Nelson St, Balaclava, for their spectacular tahini heavy hummus and minced lamb.

lecafe southside lunchings - best of

The place I liked the most is one of the least fashionable and most unassuming: the Hearty Hungarian on the uncool section of Carlisle St west of Chapel St (near the public library). The chicken stroganoff with sides of nokedli, creamed spinach and potatoes is overwhelming, and their cherry strudel and vanilla slices are the best I’ve ever had. The custard is whipped with cream, making it lighter and fluffier than any other vanilla slice I’ve ever had (and there have been many).

heartyhungarian southside lunchings - best of

I’ve enjoyed my time southside in Prahran, Windsor, Balaclava and St Kilda and feel that I have made the most of my time there through these meals.

southside lunchings – best of

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