Buongiorno, bonjour and “g’day”! (don't you like how they're all the same thing? ~ who knew Australian vernacular was so cosmopolitan???).

Also, "a good day to you, sir/maam" for our American pals, "Ni Hao" to China, and "Здравствуй" to our Russian comrades, "etcetera etcetera and so forth"... (for Yul Brynner).

It’s your old pal Kit (Christof) Fennessy here. I've been writing this blog with your help for ten years, and there's over a hundred and fifty recipes, restaurant reviews of Australia and around the world, and general gourmet articles in these pages for you to fritter away your idle hours on.

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Now, what's on the bill of fare today?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Fitzroy Dining Recommendations

I recently received the following email from a friend and was immediately flattered, and yet simultaneously unnerved:

Hello Kit.
I'm looking for a recommendation for a restaurant in the Collingwood/Fitzroy area for <>'s 40th. She digs Easy Tiger but I was thinking elsewhere - a bit groovy and not uptight.
Who better to ask than your good self.?
Chin chin,

Making a suggestion about where somebody else should cram their gob is always an onerous proposition. I mean, is it for a group, or just the two of them? And what if they have a totally shit time, and blame me (more than likely)?  The waiting staff may have changed, or the chef set his apron on fire... anything could have happened.

The best bet is to spread the risk, and just mention some of the highlights, which I duly did. Since I'd already typed up the list, I thought this might be something you might benefit from too.  So here, without further ado, are some of my current top tips for where to graze when taking someone out for their birthday celebrations in the Fitzroy area.  Please feel free to send me your suggestions!!

At the Easy Tiger standard, as cited (I think)

This is hard for me to judge, since I have not been to Easy Tiger, but you can check it out at:

If this is your style, I reckon you'd probably also quite like:

Huxtable: http://huxtablerestaurant.com.au/
Anada: http://anada.com.au/
Panama Dining Room: http://www.thepanama.com.au/

Modern busy bistro / bar

There's a bit of a fashion for these restaurant / bars that have opened on Smith St, where they knock out the old roof, renovate the garden, put in a meat slicer and wine list, then go all chacuterie on your arse, before expanding the menu for dinner.  Two of the good ones include:

Gorski and Jones: http://www.gorskiandjones.com/
Rockwell and Sons: http://www.rockwellandsons.com.au/

Fancy/swankier types

Since it's "an occassion", it is nice to have the option of a proper sit down meal, with the theatre of someone draping a napkin over your lap as they remove fifty dollar bills out of your pockets with velvet gloves.  Kind of a bit like a fancy hooker  (Hang on, this is old material ~ Ed).
Three of the plummier restaurants in the area include:

Matteo's: http://www.matteos.com.au/
Madame Sousou: http://www.madamesousou.com.au/
Cutler and Co.:
Moon Under Water / Builders Arms: http://www.buildersarmshotel.com.au/moon-under-water/

A Bit more low brow / folksy but good times

You don't need to spend a fortune to have a good time.  Sometimes all it takes is heavy drinking and eating to a cultural theme, possibly aided and abetted by a live show.  In this case, it's hard to beat:

La Niche (Thursday / Friday) - French: http://www.lanichecafe.com.au
Koliba - Czech (large beers, schnitzels): http://www.koliba.com.au/

And last but not least

If you're looking to just drink beer and have a pub meal, could I recommend:
The Fox (Gen Y heaven - try the deck upstairs and popular seafood basket): http://thefoxhotel.com.au 

In Conclusion

This list is by no means complete, leaving out myriad pubs (The Standard, and the Napier, I mean, come on!), that new diner on the corner, the friggin' cocktail bars, the place with the donkey head logo, etc. etc., but it's a start.

All I can really offer, as my piece of advice, is to do a warm up run first.  Go out on your fave strip on a Thursday, about a week before, and do a bar crawl, checking out all the likelys (I'm thinking Johnson St here, as prime territory).  Ya never know.  Something might just catch your eye!

Let me know your thoughts!!