Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Beacon Cove Pizza - Port Melbourne Railway Station

The first significant railway line in Australia ran from what is now known as Flinders Street station and terminated at Beacon Cove, Port Melbourne. The actual railway station that was the terminus of the line at Station Pier closed in 1987 and was converted to light rail which the 109 tram happily traverses regularly at present. The Port Melbourne railway station itself has been converted for public use and should you want to get your moles checked or get a shot of botox, Dr Tass will be happy to sort you out however if you are keen for some Italian-inspired food or even coffee, next door to the medical centre resides the Beacon Cove Pizza Restaurant & Bar.

The station building is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register and once you enter the restaurant you will know that you are experiencing not only a small part of a bygone era where people were more interested in the steam train operating instead of various iProducts running out of steam. High ceilings, chandeliers, comfortable large cushioned chairs make part of this place more of a lounge if anything which is all in the shadow of a large imposing bar where the barkeep invites you to pull up a stool and enjoy the comforts of the demon drink.

Outside the train platform has been converted into a dining area. On days where the sun is shining, it makes for a good exposed space to get your daily dose of vitamin D and let the staff do what they do best whilst the 109 tram glides to a stop next to you. Although you are spitting distance from the Sandridge and Port Melbourne beaches, views of the bay are obstructed by Station Pier for the most part however with the walking trails and close proximity to Bay Street, this venue makes an ideal starting (or stopping) point if you are keen to explore the area. The historical relevance aside, Beacon Cove is relatively quiet and a relaxed area.

With the sun shining, we started to order rounds of Peroni before an order of bruschetta made its appearance. It was not only a lovely starter, but there was a perfect amount of tomatoes, fresh basil and olive oil. A Romano pizza - tomato, ham, mushroom, hot salami ($13.50 for a large) followed. The crust was thin and the elements rested in the melted cheese. It did not fall apart or end up all over your plate like other pizzas that you find in the wild and I enjoyed it. Besides "traditional" pizzas, they have some more experimental "gourmet pizza" options (Green Curry Thai Chicken Pizza?) but also more traditional mains that include beef, lamb and pastas.

When the weather ultimately turned, we retreated inside and relaxed in the bar area. Service always remained attentive and seemingly are on a first name basis with many of the clientèle.

It was a pleasant time out however I would encourage you to call ahead for a booking in the evening as the place is popular with the both the locals and the other amused happy travellers and drinkers alike.

Beacon cove Pizza Restaurant and Bar, Beach Street, Port Melbourne
Beacon Cove Pizza Restaurant & Bar
101 Beach St., Port Melbourne VIC 3207
(03) 9645 3308
My Rating: 12.75/20
Service: 3.25/5
Ambiance: 3.5/5
Quality: 3/5
Value For Money: 3/5

Twitter: @epicurean3006
e-mail: epicureanofsouthbank (at) gmail (dot) com

At the time of this post, 84% of the reviewers on Urbanspoon also like Beacon Cove Pizza Restaurant & Bar.

Beacon Cove Pizza Restaurant & Bar on Urbanspoon

Monday, 4 February 2013

Trippy Taco - The Beanery of Fitzroy

Situated on the Gertrude Street dining strip near Smith Street in Fitzroy, Trippy Taco had piqued my interest for some time. I can never say nada to Mexican food but since this eatery serves only vegetarian and vegan options, I have been curious to see how a seemingly important constraint can be converted into a success with the sort of regional flare that depends on lard, oil, meat and fish usually to be determined a success. I was certainly intrigued.

I had to resist ordering their signature tofu burrito because I am allergic to high volumes of soy. In the past I have made exceptions at Izakaya Den as their tofu is made in house where it is not at Trippy Taco so I did not want to sacrifice my personal comfort to experiment with it. I did however order their version of taquitos, the bean and cheese burrito and along with a serve of nachos which I intended to share with one other.

This seems to be the dining mecca for the hipsters. An innocent and unassuming bunch normally however the popularity of this restaurant with this subculture makes it hard to secure a table either inside or outside. Inside caters for about twenty-five people in a clean space with ample natural light.

After ordering the food and retrieving some Pacifico beer from the cabinet, the food was brought to the table as it was prepared so the server had occasion to say "g'day" to us three times. The taquitos confused my dining companion. He didn't know that this was a vegetarian restaurant and did not notice that the meat had been substituted with beans until I pointed it out to him. The guacamole was fresh and light and it was refreshing in a way eating taquitos that did not ooze oil all over your hand (does this remind anyone of Taco Bill's?) and drip on you with impunity. It is all very clean and healthy however bland. There is a hutch on one wall of the eatery that houses many bottles of sauce, all in varied degrees of spice and heat. A splash of "extra hot" gave the taquitos, and later the bean and cheese burrito the necessary kick. The nachos, like the taquitos, were light chips with the same guacamole experienced before and a mild salsa and sour cream. I liked that it wasn't sloppy and you did not have to resort to using a knife and fork to eat it however once again, I found myself reaching for my trusty bottle of extra hot sauce to give the nachos some additional flavour.

The lovely lady behind the kiosk where you order was friendly and efficient. The only table service that you get is when the food is brought out to you however as they have a PayPass terminal it made it convenient to return and get a second round of beer and tap my credit card. Some noise was coming through their speaker system that was a combination of static and some beats. I believe it was a fault with their system, at least I hope it was but strangely it merged well with the soft murmur of the elusive wild hipsters in this place. Although it was a different experience which I was a bit indifferent about, I will be so bold to write that when I want Mexican I need lard, oil and most importantly char-grilled meat or fish of some sort to be thoroughly content. I would return though if I am in the area and in the mood for some healthy fare before taking on the taps at the Gertrude Hotel and do like the novel concept.

Trippy Taco, Gertrude Street, Fitzroy

Trippy Taco
234 Gertrude St  Fitzroy VIC 3065
(03) 9415 7711
My Rating: n/a
Service: n/a
Ambiance: n/a
Quality: n/a
Value For Money: n/a

Twitter: @epicurean3006
e-mail: epicureanofsouthbank (at) gmail (dot) com

At the time of this post, 87% of the reviewers on Urbanspoon like Trippy Taco. I was indifferent.

Trippy Taco on Urbanspoon