HOT: Station Street Trading Company, 166 Station St, Port Melbourne

station st trading co

In a pretty pocket of Port Melbourne, on leafy Station Street, you’ll find Station Street Trading Company.

station st trading co

It’s a snug corner cafe run by the owners of Armadale’s Coin Laundry. The space isn’t huge either inside or out, so when the weather’s nice take advantage of the provided rugs and wicker hampers with made to order picnics so that you can enjoy your meal al fresco at Smith Reserve across the way, with the 109 light rail dinging past at regular intervals.

station st trading co

The cafe menu is short and sweet and the raspberry doughnut immediately caught my eye. It’s actually a round of egg-fried brioche cut into the shape of a doughnut, with a pile of macerated raspberries and mascarpone spilling out from the hidey-hole ($15). It’s delicious and decadent but not really filling so we go revised the savoury side of the menu.

station st trading co

The sweet-corn and herb fritters with tomato and avocado salsa comes lined up in a pretty row, with a perfectly oozy poached egg crowning the platter. The fritters are fluffy, not stodgy and the super-fresh tomatoes gives a healthy and fragrant touch to the plate.

station st trading co

As our brunch was starting to move into midday we ordered a lunchtime salad of honey roasted pumpkin and quinoa salad with some Morrocan spiced lamb. This dish was an example of how beautiful ingredients cooked simply can make an amazing dish. The meat was fork tender and mixed with fat slabs of sweet pumpkin and a cornucopia of dried fruits, almonds, herbs and a dab of preserved lemon labneh. It was the highlight of our meal.

Station Street Trading Company is an example that size isn’t everything. From a tiny kitchen they produce delicious, polished food to a relatively cafe-less part of Port Melbourne. The coffee is by Allpress, the sweet treats is by Lune Croissanterie (incidentally run by one of the owner’s sisters) and it’s been awarded 3  stars in 2014’s Good Food Under $30.. The locals must be grateful!

Station Street Trading Company, 166 Station St, Port Melbourne 9646 6663

Mon – Fri: 7:30 am – 3:00 pm

Sat – Sun: 8:00 am – 3:00 pm

Station Street Trading Co on Urbanspoon

HOT: Salford Lads Club, 1 Fennell Street, Port Melbourne

Hip hangouts can be found everywhere in Melbourne and Salford Lads Club fits in the bill in the most unlikeliest of areas – the nether-regions of industrial Port Melbourne.

Ex-industrial factory space – check. Stripped back brickwork and exposed beams – check. Wood, lots of it – check. Cool bikes – check. Young and hip waitstaff – check. Killer coffee reputation – check.

In addition though, some more quirky design elements caught my fancy. The tyre swing hanging from the bow of a huge sweeping tree. The streamlined filtered water station that I want in my house. The two cosy U-shaped nooks built into one side of the wall.

The coffee comes courtesy of a blush pink La Marzocco machine brewing Coffee Supreme beans and is served with a kitsch souvenir spoon – wonder who’s been to Pakistan lately?

Port Melbourne local M said that her coffee was pretty good though she probably wouldn’t travel out of her usual Beach Road/Bay Street route, preferring the coffee at Third Wave Cafe.  This cup had a hint of bitterness to it.

Their breakfast menu is what I’d call classic with a twist. So free range, organic eggs come in the form of Benedict, Atlantic and to M’s choice, dukkah crusted ($15). Her eggs were perfectly poached with a pocket of white releasing a runny yolk with a stab of the knife.

My first breakfast choice consisted of house-made bean which weren’t available so I switched to the Northern breakfast ($18), otherwise known as a big fat fry-up.  The sausage and bacon were j

uicy and the vegetables – grilled tomato, avocado, sauteed mushrooms – were fresh and flavoursome. I’m not much of a fan of black pudding so I can’t comment much on this version other than the fact it was chunky – is that’s usual?

The surprising element in the dish were the eggs. Instead of poached eggs I asked for scrambled and what came out was sort of like chopped up pan-fried egg – as you can see the white and yolks hadn’t been combined together before being poured into the fry pan.

As we finished our meal at the tail end of breakfast they were just putting up their blackboard lunch menu. There were at least two or three dishes which sounded great and I’d venture to say that the lunch menu is more interesting than breakfast. So next time I’m definitely returning for lunch….and steering clear of scrambled eggs.

For more reviews of Salford Lads Club, including some fantastic pictures, check out Espresso Melbourne and Addictive & Consuming.

Salford Lads Club, 1 Fennell St, Port Melbourne  +61 3 9900 1234
Weekdays 7am – 4pm
Weekends 8am – 4pm

Salford Lads Club on Urbanspoon

HOT: Third Wave Cafe, 189 Rouse St, Port Melbourne

As many of you know, I’m not a coffee-drinker. What’s even stranger in a coffee-town such as Melbourne is that many of my friends are not coffee-drinkers either! Which means that there is a bit of a hole in my reviewing repertoire.

Thankfully, my coffee-drinking friend M has returned from overseas and is a ready and willing eating (or drinking) buddy. Without her I probably wouldn’t have dared go into a place called ‘Third Wave Cafe‘ as no doubt coffee would be high on the agenda.

Third Wave Cafe is marked by a black and white style striped awning reminiscent of a Cote d’Azur beach umbrella. Inside there’s a communal table and several small tables but the decor is generally unremarkable. If it hadn’t come with a recommendation I probably wouldn’t have given it a second glance.

Their website makes the grandiose claim that it’s the best food and coffee in Melbourne or it’s free. I think that’s an extreme bit of puffery but what does makes this cafe less run-of-the-mill is that it’s owned by a Russian woman. This  means that their menu incorporates breakfast dishes which are a departure from your usual eggs, muesli and toast (though these are still included in the menu for breakfast traditionalists). I was most excited to see sour creme pancakes and cream cheese blintzes on offer.

Coffee comes courtesy of Five Senses, with two different coffee blends and a third Single Origin option. M declared her latte excellent (she’s been living on a Carribean island for 4 years and dying for decent coffee) ($3.80). My chai latte ($4.30) was very foamy and milky and too light on the spice.

One of their recommended dishes from the page-and-a-half breakfast menu is the yoghurt breakfast parfait ($10.50). This is a conical glass layered with yoghurt, granola and berries which was so enormous that M was unable to finish it. Her only issue was that she wished the berries were fresh and not frozen but of course in winter berries are mostly out of season. I suspect it’s one of those dishes which looks like the healthy option (berries, cereal, yoghurt) but tastes too good to be completely good for you :–)

My cherry cheese blintzes ($14.50) were thin crepes with a cherry cream cheese filling accompanied by a cute little jar of blueberry jam for extra berry-ness. The crepes were pliable and not too doughy and the dish was sweet without being cloying, even when smeared liberallky with jam. A dish worth returning for.

As it was almost lunch time by the time we’d finished our brunch I thought it was acceptable to order a second breakfast. The menu declared the brekky muffin ($6) to be ‘the best people had ever tasted’ so with that accolade how could I not try it? A fluffy English muffin, almost like Turkish bread, sandwiched some lightly scrambled eggs, bacon and swiss cheese. A far cry from the version from the golden arches.

Third Wave Cafe is an unusual beast – a Russian-focused cafe in a beachy suburb. But in a way it fits right into Melbourne town for its focus on good food and great coffee.

Third Wave Cafe, 1/189 Rouse Street, Port Melbourne +61 3 9676 2399
Weekdays 7am-3:30pm; Weekends 8am-3:30pm

Third Wave Cafe on Urbanspoon

HOT: Noisette, 84 Bay St, Port Melbourne

Noisette is reknowned for its French-style cakes and pastries and no doubt you would have eaten its products at many of Melbourne’s restaurants and cafes (such as Coin Laundry and Hausfrau).

Their cafe and retail store is located in villagey Bay Street and attracts a steady clientele of pastry fanciers and coffee drinkers. By the time I’d arrived at 3pm all the sandwiches had sold out but I was in the mood for something sweet anyway – and the cake cabinet is a delight to behold. If the setup is reminiscent of Laurent Patiserrie, it may be because chef/owner David Menard was head baker for the French pastry chain for many years.

In the end I decided on a dome of dark chocolate mousse ($6.50). It was beautifully cool and rich, large enough a dessert to be shared (but why would you?).

Encouraged, I took home a cherry danish and chocolate almond croissant for dinner (yes, occasionally I do eat pastries for dinner! Please don’t judge me :–)). Unfortunately while they looked light and flaky they did not live up to the high standards of my dessert as they were both a bit chewy and dense for my liking.  I much prefer the versions by La Tropezienne in Hawthorn (who incidentally also make superb macarons).

To read other reviews, check out Beansprout’s Cafe and The Age.

  • Noisette, 84 Bay Street, Port Melbourne +61 3 9646 9555

Noîsette on Urbanspoon

HOT Chat: Carley Andrews of Ujamaa Hostel

Today’s HOT Chat is the first time I’m interviewing a Melburnian who actually no longer  lives in Melbourne. Melbourne-born Carley Andrews now lives in Tanzania with her husband, running a hostel focusing on providing volunteer work opportunities. I was inspired to interview her after reading about her new project, a childrens’ home, which she has just started with Melbourne lawyer Lucy Bradlow. Thanks Carley!

Carley, tell me a bit more about your background, how you ended up in Arusha, Tanzania and came to run the Ujamaa Hostel?

I first volunteered in Kenya in 2006 and loved the experience, but I went with large company, paid lots of money (none of which went to the project) and was disappointed with the level of support.

A year later I went to Tanzania to volunteer with an independent company, I intended to stay for about a month,  but I never left! I met my husband (who is Tanzanian) when I was volunteering in a town called Moshi, which is about an hour away from where I now live.

We decided to move to Arusha and set up the Ujamaa Hostel because we both love volunteering and helping other people. We also wanted to provide a cost-effective and safe way for others to volunteer in the local community.

What is the philosophy of Ujamaa Hostel?

“Ujamaa” is the Swahili word for “familyhood” and is based on the community working together for the good of the whole. Many of the big companies charge huge amounts of money to volunteer and none of the money goes to the projects. We wanted to change that. We believe that if you spend your money coming here and give your time to help others, then you shouldn’t have to pay to volunteer. And if you have extra money to donate, it should go directly to the projects, not to an off-shore company.

When you volunteer with us the only cost is your accommodation. We spend time sourcing reputable and worthwhile local projects where volunteers can spend their time and we provide them with a range of in-country support.

Your first project is the Ujamaa Children’s Home, which you started in conjunction with Melbourne lawyer Lucy Bradlow. What inspired you both to start this project and what is the purpose of the Ujamaa Children’s Home?

I have worked with and managed many projects over the years and have learnt a great deal from these experiences. I have always wanted to create my own project, but I felt that I needed to spend time on the ground here learning the culture and the language before I could effectively run my own project.

I met Lucy when she was working in Arusha at the Rwanda War Crimes Tribunal and she volunteered with us in her spare time. Our goals and beliefs were so similar we started working together and fundraising for different projects. We decided to create our own project after seeing others being mis-managed and we felt that we have the experience, dedication and commitment to build a successful and long-lasting Home for children in need.

Our relationship works really well because I am able to manage the Ujamaa Children’s Home on the ground in Tanzania and Lucy is able deal with the fundraising and legal aspects back in Australia.

What have you found to be some of the most interesting or challenging aspects of living and working in Tanzania?

Tanzania is different from many other African countries because it is socially and politically stable. There are over 120 tribes here and they all live together in harmony. They are proud of their tribe, but they are more proud to be Tanzanian. Tribal beliefs are strong and well-maintained and while Swahili and English are the official languages you can’t go a day without hearing many other tribal dialects.

The culture here is incredibly rich and interesting, but it is very different from Australia. First and foremost, there is “Africa time”. There’s no hurry in Africa and everything happens at its own pace. You really can’t force things to happen at a normal “Western” pace and if you do, you’ll just end up frustrated and things still won’t happen any faster. This also allows for setting your own work hours and relaxing into a lifestyle that can be reasonably stress free.

There is a lot that is available here, but nothing quite works the way you’ll expect it to, so everyday is an adventure…which is sometimes a bit tiring! There are regular power and water cuts, but generally I live a fairly normal life.

The scenery is incredible and I live just an hour away from Mt Kilimanjaro and a couple of hours from the world’s greatest safari parks. There are often monkeys around town too.

For the most part I feel safe in Arusha, however you cannot walk around at night and we do have Masai Guards at the house 24/7.

The poverty level here is high and there is so much need, but you just do what you can to help and you have to understand that you can’t fix everything.

What are your next plans for Ujamaa Hostel and the Ujamaa Children’s Home?

Ujamaa Hostel continues to expand and we are working with a range of different projects including an orphanage, a Nursery School and some Vocational Training Centres for disadvantaged youths. We love having our volunteers and are so lucky to be able to provide people with this experience. It really has a profound effect on people and it’s awesome that we get to be a part of that.

With Ujamaa Children’s Home, firstly we are looking to gain steady financial support so that we can take in more children. We currently have 5 amazing kids in the house and we’d love to help more.

Our next goal is to raise money to buy land and build a proper house for the Home. We’re currently renting a house which is fine for now, but we want to build a house that is designed specifically for our needs.

You’ve live in Tanzania for nearly 3 years but many of your family and friends still live in Melbourne. What are your favourite places to visit or things to do when you return to Melbourne?

I love coming back to Melbourne and visiting friends and family. My Mum’s cooking is always top of the list and I often spend a lot of time in the Supermarket, there just isn’t the same variety in Arusha.

If I’m eating out, I always go to Rococo (87 Acland St, St Kilda +61 3 9525 3232) with my brother, they have the most amazing salads, breads and pastas. I can never get Mexican food in Arusha, so I make sure I go to Amigos (7/478 Chapel St, South Yarra, +61 3 9826 1653) as well.

The food in Australia is great, because it’s always fresh and quick, but you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get it.

The London (92 Beach St, Port Melbourne +61 3 9646 4644) in Port Melbourne is my parent’s “local” so we always go there for a meal and a drink. Awesome steak sandwich.

If it’s summer, we’ll go to The Local Taphouse (184 Carlisle St, St Kilda East, +61 3 9537 2633) or The Railway Hotel (29 Chapel Street, Windsor +61 3 9510 4050).

I really love just walking around town and getting a coffee with friends. There are no shops in Arusha that sell new items, so I’m always stocking up on clothes and DVDs.

I also love to get some acupuncture at Vitality in Albert Park and to stock up on organic products (282 Richardson Street, Middle Park +61 3 9682 8866).

HOT: The Graham Hotel, 97 Graham Street, Port Melbourne

In the last of Gourmet Chick‘s guest posts series, we take a trip to Port Melbourne to sample some gastropub fare. Gourmet Chick is a Melburnian living in London who writes about food in London and around the world (including Melbourne) at You can also follow her on Twitter @msgourmetchick. Thanks Gourmet Chick!

When is a gastro pub not a gastro pub? When it is The Graham Hotel in Port Melbourne, which has gone so far down the gastro path that you can’t really call it a pub anymore.

Drinking is still an important part of The Graham experience but it is drinking from The Graham‘s extensive wine list over a long lunch or drinking a cocktail at the wine bar around the back. The main pub area has been entirely converted into a restaurant which is filled with smart white clothed tables where diners can look out the picture windows to watch the street life go by.

There is also a lovely private room which accomodates 28 people and is where I ate on my most recent visit . Helpfully for groups The Graham offers a $59 two course menu which is great value for food of this calibre.

The Graham 97 Graham St Port Melbourne Hot or Not review

The food is modern Australian sporting lots of Asian and Meditteranean influences. To begin, a trio of chilli barbecque prawns ($21.50) which were served on an Asian salad of green paw paw and thai basil. The prawns had a lovely fiery kick to them although mine had been slightly overcooked giving them a slighly acrid charred flavour.

Goats cheese tortelli ($16.50) was a small serving of wide pasta layered over stuffed zucchini flowers and ricotta. This was a really light and fresh pasta dish.

The Graham 97 Graham St Port Melbourne Hot or Not review

Rice crusted snapper ($34.50) was served with a beautifully crisped skin on top of tempura eggplant and prawn fritter. Fresh seafood doesn’t really get better than this and the fritter was the perfect accompaniment.

Throughout our (rather long) lunch the service was fantastic. Two of our friends at the lunch had babies with them and the waitress held their babies for them while they ate. This was a lovely touch that was clearly going above and beyond what is expected and it allowed the babies’ mothers to actually enjoy their meals.

The Graham is run by twins Tony and Peter Giannakis and is a real stalwart of the Melbourne restaurant/gastropub scene. My latest meal there showed why people keep on going back to it.

Here at MEL: HOT OR NOT we also love south-of-the-river gastropubs The Palace by Luke Mangan and O’Connell’s Centenary Hotel.

You can check out the rest of Gourmet Chick‘s guests posts on Sunburnt Country and Naked Japan.

The Graham on Urbanspoon

HOT: Eurodore, 271 Bay St, Port Melbourne

I adore Eurodore. This is the European food and produce store that I wish I owned, with floor to ceiling shelves of prettily decorated condiment jars, bottles of oils and vinegars from Australia and overseas, good quality chocolate and enormous wheels of French cheese. What fun I’d have jaunting around Europe, sampling all the wares to bring back to my shop.

It’s clear that whoever runs this shop/cafe loves food. I was particularly impressed that some of their olive oils and vinegars can be purchased in cleanskin bottles. That means you can buy Fattorie Giacobazzi Italian balsamic vinegar in their labelled official bottles at around $12, or an equally stylish (recycleable) Eurodore bottle for $8.50. I also bought some white wine vinegar by Limoges vinegar and mustard producers Delouis Fils, bottled by Eurodore for only $8.50.