Tag Archives: North Melbourne

Beatrix (Again)

3 Nov

688 Queensberry street, North Melbourne

I didn’t get a shot of the exterior last time. From the outside and to the side, Beatrix looks like one of those houses-that-used-to-be-shopfronts that dot the inner city.

After my first sublime sandwich at Beatrix I took James back so he could also try it out. Plus it helped in my quest to eat (almost) all of the Beatrix sandwiches. On offer that day was The Sampson – pot roasted Spear Creek lamb shoulder with spicy harissa carrot salad, labne and mint.

The lamb was gorgeous – moist and lamby (without being greasy). The carrot was a little bit tart and a little bit sweet, and it went well with the mint and the yoghurt. It was slightly (but not very) spicy and tasted vaguely Middle Eastern.

Oh, also, they source their lovely ciabatta bread from Let’s-A-Loaf, which is available from the big bread store at the Vic Market. James wasn’t as big a fan of the bread as Kim and I were though – also he said that I had hyped Beatrix up too much =(. James thought the bread overwhelmed the contents of the sandwich, and overall he preferred the bread/sandwiches at Earl.

I wish he’d been able to taste The Chachi, since meatballs are probably more his style (and also I do think The Chachi was better than The Sampson).

We finished with a passionfruit sponge cake. I’m generally not a fan of sponges, but I liked the tanginess from the passionfruit, and even with the cream the texture was light and airy.

There are a couple more sandwiches on my must-try list – I want to try The Rachel (to see how it compares to my reuben), and there are a few more that I can’t remember the names of. I guess I’ll just go without James and bring him back a slice of cake. =)
Beatrix on Urbanspoon

North Melbourne Fish & Chips (Formerly Snapper Heads)

27 Sep

North Melbourne Fish & Chips
38 Haines street, North Melbourne

For a long time I have been searching for a great fish and chip place nearby. Top Catch on Errol street is okay in a pinch, but I’m still on the hunt for something better. James and I tried Bottom of the Harbour on Lygon street, and although the fish and chips were better than Top Catch, it was more expensive, much more of a hassle to get to, and the portions were ridiculously tiny.

The other night it was time for North Melbourne Fish & Chips to step up to the batting plate. All the online reviews I could find were very positive, with several saying that these guys made the best fish and chips in Melbourne, so I was feeling pretty optimistic.

Look at James in the photo above – he is all calm, waiting for our order, but I was outside taking photos and practically vibrating with anticipation.

Also adding to my optimism was the fact that it was pretty busy the whole time we were there. See? A line of impatient locals!

All the signage calls it North Melbourne Fish and Chips but online it seems to be referred to as Snapper Heads Fish and Chips. I’m guessing there was an ownership change or something.

James ordered a flake ($4.70), burger with the lot ($6.50) and minimum chips ($3.30), and I ordered the Lunch Box which had flake, chips, 2 dim sims and 2 potato cakes ($8.50). Chip portions were probably on the smaller side, but not egregiously so like Bottom of the Harbour.

So … the best fish and chips in Melbourne?



Not even close.

The batter on the fish was waaay too thick, the fish was overcooked, and everything collapsed as soon as I bit into it. The chips were overcooked – hard on the outside and soggy on the inside. And stale tasting, even though I’d seen them fry everything up in front of me. Everything was also oddly flavourless – I used up so much salt trying to get it to taste like something other than grease, batter, and crushing disappointment

The dim sims and potato cakes were awful as well, but I don’t really judge fish and chip places on the non-fish non-chip parts.

I don’t know if it was the worst fish and chips ever, but it was definitely the worst I’ve had in recent memory. I think there’s one other place in North Melbourne I haven’t tried, but it’s not a dedicated fish and chips place, more of a general “fried takeout” store. I think if I want excellent fish and chips I’m going to have to expand my radius a little.


31 Aug

688 Queensberry street, North Melbourne

Love, love, love.

I just came back from Beatrix and am all swoony with bready goodness. Kim came over to pick up some sourdough starter, and we hopped over to Beatrix because I’ve been hearing wonderful things about their sandwiches.

They have a different sandwich every day of the week (except Tuesdays when they are closed) and post the upcoming sandwiches on their facebook page. As you can see from the board, today’s sandwich was the Chachi – chianina white beef and ricotta meatballs braised in tomato with basil and balsamic roquette.

Which was fantastic. The photo doesn’t do it justice (also I wish I’d taken the photo at a slight angle to get a better indication of size), but trust me – it was an incredible sandwich. Everything was perfect – they weren’t stingy with the meatballs, which were packed with flavour, the mozzarella was glorious and clumpy, and there was enough sauce to get the tomato taste but not so much that it dripped everywhere. I got the large ($13.50) and Kim got the small ($11.50). The large is about twice the size of the small.

The bread was among the best I’ve had – the outside was light yet shattery and the inside was chewy and moist.

Look at the beaters above the counter. And all those gorgeous pastries. The raspberry meringues were on the other side of the counter and looked amazing. I would have bought one except I had a container of pastries at home (courtesy of Kim). See?

Everyone seemed to be having lunch, then taking some treats home with them, and there were a few people who dropped in just to get the pastries. Kim got a tangelo chiffon cake to take home, and it was gorgeous, moist and bright with flavour.

Kim said she’ll take Adrian there, and I am most definitely going to bring James, and Cat/Scott if they swing around our area. I love how pared down Beatrix’s menu is, and how they are really conscientious about finding good quality produce. In the store they have a list of where they source their ingredients from – next time I will check where they got their ciabatta.

I want to try all of their sandwiches now, just so I can pick my favourite out of what will surely be an amazing line-up. If you are ever in that part of North Melbourne (or even if you’re not) I highly recommend dropping into Beatrix. It is just freaking sublime.

Beatrix on Urbanspoon

More Real Estate Musings

9 Feb

I just spoke with the agent of the West Melbourne apartment. He remembered me from another apartment that James and I had looked at, in North Melbourne.

This place was seriously gorgeous, and I’m kind of kicking myself for not getting it. It was obviously taken really great care of, and the quality of everything was amazing – the bathroom taps, the toilet, the kitchen … you could tell that the owner had obviously loved the place. The problem was that it only had one bedroom, and we would prefer a study to have our computers in. It didn’t seem like enough of an upgrade to make it worth the agent fees, stamp duty, and the overall hassle of moving.

But I found out from the agent that it only sold for 550k! Which is not much more than our place is worth. And look at this balcony!

Here you can see the other half of the balcony and part of the living room. Awnings? Heaven!

This was the entrance. It’s so nice and clean, but I remember thinking that my computer desk wouldn’t be nearly this clean, so the first thing people would see when they came in would be my table with crap strewn all over it. James’ desk is neat, but sometimes I suspect that he just nudges some of his stuff onto my side.

Gorgeous bathroom. I love toilets that are retracted into the wall. Less cleaning to do! There was a shower to the right. I’m not crazy about spas – I’d prefer a bathtab. And if I recall correctly the shower had a one-way window, so you could see into the hall but the people in the hall couldn’t see you. At least I hope that’s how it worked.

The bedroom. I loved the window seat, and James likes the idea of a bedroom big enough for side tables. Also there isn’t a photo of this, but the hall leading to the bedroom was basically ALL wardrobe. There was so much storage in this place, it was incredible.

I loved the kitchen too. I remember when James saw it he was like “This is the sort of kitchen I want.” Everything was just so beautiful and low-maintenance. The maintenance is actually my worry about the West Melbourne house – it’s much more striking than this place, but it looks like a lot of effort to maintain.

If only there had been an extra bedroom! I guess nowadays it would be less of a hassle since James and I are both using laptops. We could have just migrated our stuff to the living room.

Also it wasn’t just the bedroom – when we got the Section 32 there had been complaints from the tenants in the building (including the people in this apartment) about noise from the cafe below. They’d gotten sound engineers in and everything. Also we were worried about the garage – the cars were actually stacked on top of each other via some sort of lift, so we were worried that if it broke we wouldn’t be able to get to our car.

So close to perfect.

Honestly I think if they offered this place today at around $600k I’d take it in a heartbeat.

Grigons & Orr

8 Feb

Grigons & Orr
445 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne

On Saturday we went to Grigons & Orr with Howie and Silvia. James and I have been meaning to try it for some time, but we always end up choosing Fandango instead. This time we put our name on the waiting list for Grigons & Orr, and hung around awkwardly until a table was ready.

I was really impressed with the waitress, who was friendly and efficient even when they were getting slammed.

Everyone ordered coffees and I got this hot chocolate ($3.50).

also a strawberry, basil and cloudy apple drink which was nice, but totally not worth the $6.

For breakfast James ordered poached free range eggs on toast ($8) with bacon ($4.50) and mushrooms ($3.50). He said that the bread was incredible, but that overall he prefers Fandango because they have pesto eggs. In all fairness Grigons & Orr also had pesto eggs but had sold out.

I ordered apple fritters with hazelnuts, caramel sauce and mascarpone, all dusted with minted sugar ($10.50). I wasn’t a huge fan of the mascarpone, but the apple fritters were delicious swirled in the caramel sauce, and the hazelnuts had this yummy toasted nutty flavour going on. It was a pretty big serve too, and compared to $3.50 for mushrooms *cough* I thought it was excellent value.

Howie ordered the ricotta pancakes with brandied raspberries, toasted almond flakes and barbados cream ($13). I’d lusted over it on the menu but in the end was glad I went with the fritters. I can make pancakes at home, but I can’t make fritters. The menu said blueberries, but those are totally raspberries.

Silvia ordered the prosciutto eggs, with prosciutto, roast capsicum, tomato and spinach on corn bread ($13.50) with a hash brown side ($3.50). She was a bit disappointed with the hash brown, because she was hoping for a McDonalds style hash brown and thought this one was a bit sweet.

Though I would definitely return to Grigons & Orr, I think overall I prefer Fandango. Grigons & Orr has a much quirkier menu that changes with the seasons, and I think I’d be tempted to try more things on that list than I would Fandango’s menu. But Fandango does the classics really well. And like James, I don’t think I can pass up the pesto eggs.

Grigons & Orr on Urbanspoon