I have a deep fascination with American roadside diners. Although I can’t quite put my finger on what it is, something about the classic neon-lit greasy spoon just pushes all my buttons. And whilst there are plenty of restaurants serving American-styled food around, the classic diner experience has remained elusive, as most places are just looking to capitalise on the aesthetic. With that said, Valentinas does look rather promising. Whilst it’s more of an Australian café take on the American diner, the menu is full of all the Southern American dishes that pop culture has taught me to love. The little nods to traditional diner decor are also rather charming, and I was especially a fan of the olive-green banquette…
Being back in Melbourne after a whole year of Covid restrictions is no insignificant event. It’s the longest I’ve ever been away from my family or friends, and just thinking about all the restaurants I didn’t get to eat at absolutely breaks my heart. So between spending as much time as I can with my loved ones, I’ve had the difficult job of deciding on where to eat in my short week-and-a-half in Melbourne. Thankfully K had a good idea of what he wanted to eat; having been in strict lockdown for about 3 months, he hasn’t had Japanese food for almost as long, and that’s how we ended up at Ima Project Café for brunch.
Today, I continue on my journey to try out every single café within a 10km radius of my house, and today my adventures take me to Bare Witness. Sitting right at the edge of the Rhodes waterfront, I first noticed Bare Witness when I was lining up for Left of Field, and was rather taken by its expansive glass walls and waterside location. Pleasingly, the interior of the café was just as pretty as the outside suggested, the glass walls making the most of the daylight, whilst the high ceilings and concrete walls were softened by greenery and strings of Edison bulbs.
I went to bed early on Saturday night, full of optimism about getting up early to nab a spot in Surry hills for brunch. But when I woke up, I realised my plans had been foiled by daylight savings. It was a full hour later than I had planned on getting up, and the odds of getting a table now has become slim indeed. Thankfully, it’s still only 9:20, and there’s a good selection of cafes much closer to home. After a quick search, I decided on The Picnic Burwood, and we were there by 10.
I’m finding plenty to love about my new place in Homebush. We initially decided to move here because it puts me within a 10 minute drive of my hospital, and seeing as I’m expected to be there at 6:45am, scrubbed up and ready for surgery, any time saved in the morning is a godsend. But that’s not only thing to love about the area. I’m now a 10 minute walk away from my favourite Korean restaurant, as well as a bunch of good looking eateries around Homebush station – including a chicken shop that does $2.5 milkshakes! And let’s not even get started on all the food delivery options, because I’m inclined to start crying from sheer joy every time…
I find it a bit hard to get excited over brunch these days. As much as I love the indulgent weekend ritual, it does start feeling a little same-same after a while. And paradoxically, this is actually exacerbated by how infrequently I have time to go out on a Saturday morning. When I do finally get around to it, I tend to expect the world from my brunch, and end up getting quite disappointed if it doesn’t live up to my hopes. Thankfully, I had spotted Oppen a few weeks before I was due to come back to Melbourne for Christmas, and was rather keen to try out their Scandinavian take on brunch.