Loose Change Lunch

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Loose Change Lunch… Feast a fortune, Pay a Pittance!

The regular instalment in our St Kilda Bites food review feature continues; where our poignant food critic, Peckish Pom, continues her relentless search for great value, high quality local lunch dining. Here are three more eateries in the St Kilda area worth mentioning! She enjoyed her first experience in the lovely, quiet suburb of Elwood that recently boasts some wonderful little breakfast and lunch cafes.

 

Heads and Tails

Elwood Village, 112 Ormond Road, Elwood

Ph: 95310002

I’ve been trying to incorporate more fish into my diet recently, so as I was strolling down Ormond Road on a sunny afternoon Heads and Tails seemed like the ideal choice. Glossy white walls and pale accents expand the space, and beautiful fresh fish on display tempt the senses. There is a great choice of set meals; salt and pepper calamari with salad, fresh roasted salmon, the ubiquitous snapper and chips, and you can also build your own meal if none of the deals catch your eye; such as combining flake with fresh tabbouleh. I chose the catch of the day; a light dory with a beetroot and feta salad, accompanied with a side of chips. At $14.90 it almost exceeds the criteria for Loose Change Lunch, but with the sheer amount of food I was presented with it would easily feed two. The herb crumb of the fish was deliciously light and tangy, whilst the pickled beetroot cut through the fish with a perfect shot of acidity. The outdoor seating provided me with the perfect environment to enjoy my dish, but as I was eating alone that particular afternoon I had to leave quite a lot.

The staff were more than happy to answer my questions and expand my rudimentary knowledge of seafood. This friendly face may be one of the key features that attracts much of the grill’s bustling trade. The Easter holidays were coming to a close as I visited and many families with children were taking advantage of the warm weather and an opportunity to feed their children something healthy without a fight. For one of Melbourne’s all too frequent rainy days, extensive and comfortable seating inside provides a warm and inviting atmosphere. Alternatively, you can grab your meal to take away. There are few things as thoroughly pommie as dousing your fish and chips in salt and vinegar and eating the tangy, battery mess in the autumn rain.

 

Melbourne Wine Room

125 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda

Ph: 95255599

The Melbourne Wine Room has long been known for high quality, innovative food with that classic Melbourne vibe. Their latest addition to the iconic Fitzroy Street location is the $12 counter meal menu, and always being hungry for both a good deal and good feed I snapped up the opportunity to visit. A pared down version of Paul Raynor’s intrinsically Melbourne menu offers classic, well rounded meals that change from week to week. I chose pan fried trout with a summer fresh panzanella salad, my companion the lamb, vegetable and rosemary pie with potato puree and peas. The pastry on the pie was fluffy and light, whilst retaining the hearty, warming fillings that make the traditional pie and peas such a favourite. My trout was flavoursome and flaked beautifully, and the olive tapenade complemented the salad so well that I forgot to leave some for the fish. Other options included: penne pasta with bacon, olives, tomato, rocket and extra virgin olive oil, or perhaps the steak sandwich with luxuriant gruyere cheese, caramelised onion and seeded mustard. With simple $5 sides of salads and fries, the frugal eater may have found a new home. The a la carte menu was a pleasant surprise with not many dishes above $25 and house wines at $6 a glass.

A modern space with a retro twist, MWR’s cool, fresh space is large and welcoming, and the staff efficient and friendly. In keeping with the Melbourne feel, green plants and upcycled homewares provide decoration with vintage Italian advertisements lining the walls. The spacious dining room would be great for large parties, as there is enough room for many people to congregate without treading on everyone’s toes. There is also an extensive cocktail menu, complete with special cocktails of the day. Melbourne Wine Room is making its delicious and varied style of cooking available to those of us who are strapped for cash (or just stingy, but I’m not pointing any fingers) and is doing it very, very well.

 

Chimmy’s

G5, 158 Acland Street, St Kilda

Ph: 95347753

It was brought to my attention the other day that those cash poor among us tend to be time poor as well. I, in an effort to reach the busy lunchers out there, took one for the team and decided to review one of my favourite bakeries in St Kilda; Chimmy’s. Chimmy’s has a parent café and bakery in Richmond and all produce sold in the St Kilda location is baked on site in Chimmy’s Richmond. Spoilt for choice, as I am a self-confessed bread and pastry fiend, I chose the ham, Swiss cheese and seeded mustard ciabatta. As with the baked goods, the sandwiches, pies and cakes are all made fresh each morning in Chimmy’s Richmond. The difference in taste between a freshly baked roll and one designed for long life is almost indescribable. My $7.50, filled to bursting, sandwich was absolutely delicious, fresh and flavoursome, with a generous helping of salad. There is the option to toast your choice at no extra cost and it really adds a little extra, freeing all the lovely flavours that are locked inside the bread as it cools. I could have also chosen roast beef or salmon, chicken or roasted vegetables. Chimmy’s also offer homemade hot soup at a steal, knowledge well worth having as the summer wanes and winter sets in.

In addition to sandwiches and pastries (croissants, escargot, Danish) Chimmy’s also sells loaves of every conceivable variety; French sticks and batons, sourdough, seven grain, light rye, I could be here all day listing the choices. It has been said that if a café or restaurant can’t offer good coffee they will instantly be forgotten in Melbourne’s plethora of excellent offerings, and Chimmy’s is no exception to this good coffee rule: the latte was light and creamy, punchy and complex. If you’re not in a rush there is a large communal table with the day’s papers and good conversation from your fellow diners to keep you occupied, and as the counter is located in the hub of St Kilda, the activity and life that surrounds you will give you plenty to look at. Chimmy’s offers low cost, high quality breads, pastries and sandwiches with a friendly chat from the staff, and when eating this well only takes ten minutes, it would be rude not to.

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