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Away From the Desk - October 2016

29 Sep 2016

Food of dreams

By Susie Williamson

If you cook it, I will come.

I love food. Not in an I’ll-only-eat-at-five-star-restaurants-run-by-celebrity-chefs kind of way, but in an I-love-thinking-about-what-meal-I’d-have-if-I-were-on-death-row way. Morbid, but true (for the record, I’m still deciding – good thing I’m not actually on death row).

If you work in the CBD, like I used to, you’re spoilt for choice. On days when I felt really indulgent, I’d have a feed at Chin Chin (my office was around the corner so it was easy to get a table) or get takeaway from Gazi, and then finish the meal with chocolate from Haigh’s.

If I was on a budget (which was most of the time), I’d grab a $4.50 baguette from Centre Place, or a $5.50 cup of pho from Roll’d. And then when the food-court-to-beat-all-food-courts opened up in Emporium Melbourne (Jimmy Grants! Earl Canteen!), it was like I’d died and gone to Fat Pig Heaven.

Then I got a job in Docklands, which, let’s be honest, isn’t renowned for its food. However, I’m always pleasantly surprised by the quality of eateries here.

On the morning of starting my new job, one of my closest friends met me for coffee in the hope that our regular jibber-jabber talk would put my first-day anxieties at ease. Being a coffee snob, she researched cafes in the area and was “well jel” (i.e. very jealous) of the fact I was now working near Long Shot in Collins Square. “Yeah, but that’s probably the only decent place to get anything,” I thought. I was wrong.

The fried chicken ribs at Pok Pok are to die for, as is their chargrilled chicken satay. Banoi also serves up a pretty mean chicken rib, but what I love most is their lychee crush, which is exactly what you imagine it to be – crushed lychees mixed with ice into an exotic, fancy Slurpee-like concoction.

Meanwhile, did you know there’s such a thing as a Japanese burrito? No, I didn’t either. And while I’m still not game enough to try one, I can tell you that the salad selection at Street Kitchen Co is pretty delectable. And in case you’re put off by how green and healthy their salads look, you can always add a fried schnitzel into the mix. Plus, their “original” fries with the “secret spiced salt” are pretty scrumptious, too. I’m now desperate to try their New York Breakfast Bagel – methinks it’s time I scheduled a business breakfast meeting.

Speaking of bagels, I’ve been told that Schmuck’s Bagels was named after me (ha ha). I do love a good bagel, especially when it comes packed with fillings like salmon and cream cheese, or bacon and egg with tonkatsu sauce. Admittedly, Schmuck’s Hippie-Slicker bagel, with its tumeric roasted cauliflower, is a bit too hipster for me, but I can overlook that (and I’m sure it’s probably good).

You see, when it comes to my food, I’m as unpretentious as they come. Give me a good old iceberg lettuce over a salad-with-four-different-types-of-organic-greens-encrusted-with-edible-gold-flakes any day. Which is why I’m stoked there’s:
a) a Subway across the street;
b) a Woolies downstairs; and
c) tons of cheap but oh-so-tasty Vietnamese places.  

It’s also why I love the food and atmosphere at Tap831. Its interior is very of-the-moment (think shiny subway tiles and funky light fittings), but the grub’s still pretty affordable and there’s no pretension (they have $10 lobster rolls! I’m not kidding!).

The place opened not long after I started working here. The guys who work the floor downstairs have been with the joint since day one. They hope to stick around for a while, with the aim of fostering a growing community vibe.

And indeed, that’s what it feels like here in Docklands, a community that’s constantly evolving and bringing in more foodies. Sure, Docklands may not attract the likes of George Calombaris or Shannon Bennett, but who cares when you can get a Japanese burrito or a $10 lobster roll?

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