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Northcote

Umberto Espresso Bar

My mum is an excellent cook. She can make braised pork belly better than any restaurant, pleat dumplings with the best of them, and once she made a perfect beef rendang, from scratch, on her first go. But with all that said, every now and then I do wish that she knew how to cook like an Italian nonna. Incredibly ungrateful of me I know, but I just can’t help but imagine my mum’s prodigious cooking skills turned to deep, hearty bowls of pasta.

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Thai Tiki Hut

It may have technically been Spring for a month and a half already, but that won’t stop the chilly Winter winds nipping at our heels through to Summer (typical Melbs). But I know a way of bringing a bit of much-needed sun to these lingering Winter evenings – Thai Tiki Hut. I’ve been to a lot of restaurants in Melbourne, but Thai Tiki Hut takes the cake for hodgepodge quirkiness. Not content to mix Thai with a stereotypical tropical theme, they’ve also thrown in some (for lack of a better term) war-time glam, complete with retro Thai war films playing on the TV. The result however is not nearly as tacky as you need fear, and the cordoned off booths…

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Lievita

Does anyone remember those Pizza Hut buffets there enjoyed a brief window of glory in the late 90s and early 00s? As a child, it seemed like there was nothing more glorious; pizza that never ran out? What is this magic?! Unfortunately, on the one occasion I went, ready to stuff my stomach with at least 7 kinds of pizza that my parents never bought, I was left in bewildered disappointment as I found myself full after 3 slices. At this point, I can hear the derisive laughing of those out there who have been to Italy. Pizza hut buffet? Who needs what when you have pizza al taglio? Never heard of that before? Then maybe you should head to…

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Seoul Soul Plus

There's nothing quite like Melbourne weather. Whenever I travel overseas (or even to another city), I'm baffled at how the weather stays almost the same day to day. I had originally planned to drive down to Brunswick for some Italian, but when the weather did a 180 in the span of 2 hours, the trip suddenly seemed a lot less appealing. And that's the story of how we ended up at Seoul Soul Plus. Seoul Soul is a cool little place set amongst the more generic cafes and restaurants in Northcote. For anyone who has been to the original, this place will be instantly recognisable. The long, narrow restaurant is furnished with two long tables that are a cross between…

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The Dojo Ramen Bar

When it comes to comfort food, my hands-down favourite is noodles. That combination of soup, carbs, and slurping answers all of life’s difficult questions for me. As for my choice of noodle... well that tends to vary depending on my mood, but you’ll often find pho or ramen sitting at the top. And just when I thought I’ve had more or less all the good ramen Melbourne has to offer, I come across The Dojo Ramen Bar, located in Northcote of all places. Although touted as a ramen bar, The Dojo is really more reminiscent of an izakaya, complete with a quaint little beer garden out back. The pop culture posters on the walls give what would be a traditional…

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Tahina

There’s something to be said about doing one thing, and doing it well. Especially if that one thing is Shakshuka – the Middle-Eastern variation on baked eggs. After all, I’ve always thought it pointless to classify foods based on the times of day they’re ‘supposed’ to be eaten. I will have noodles for breakfast and baked eggs for dinner, thank you very much! Now Roy and Nat, they know what’s going on. After doing his time at a string of hot-shot Melbourne restaurants, Tel Aviv-born Roy decided to open up Tahina in order to cook the food he loves; that's to say, Israeli street food for the 21st century.

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