Victoria Harbour’s hidden gems
By Stella Barber - Victoria Harbour resident
Living in Victoria Harbour is a constant source of joy and delight. If you live here, you rarely need to use a car and can happily get all you need within a few-hundred metres from home.
In this month’s article I want to reveal some of Victoria Harbour’s “hidden gems”. Many readers will already know of them, but perhaps people new to our beautiful precinct are yet to discover them.
As I am writing this as we enter another snap lockdown, let’s pop into Victoria Harbour Medical Centre, now taking bookings to get vaccinated and help our community beat the COVID-19 virus. People aged over 50 are now eligible to get the free vaccine, just book in on 9629 1414. The centre is situated at 850 Collins St but enter from Merchant St opposite our local Woolworths supermarket.
Once you have that sorted take a stroll in the lovely park that is bordered by Geographe St, Bourke St and Import Lane. Did you know it’s home to the Docklands Community Garden? The Community Garden first opened in July 2012 and has been going strong since. It is a “working garden for a working community.” This beautiful garden uses only organic products and gardening methods and encourages gardeners to use water and resources responsibly. It is a shared garden where produce planted in the garden belongs to everybody. Find them on Facebook or walk past and look at the notice board.
The community garden is surrounded by a large community park. It’s a really peaceful place to have lunch or catch up with a friend. Close by is a gorgeous little café that I love visiting, Charlie Bit Me at G07/838 Collins St. They are open for breakfast and lunch and have some great options to suit all tastes. They also offer excellent coffee and matcha and chai teas, takeaway and no-contact delivery. Best of all, they have an outside deck, so you can enjoy your coffee or meal watching the birdlife in the park.
Walk around the park and down Import Lane and onto Collins St and find your way to Vintam’s Café at 860 Collins St. This little hidden gem is a family run business and people who love authentic pho rave about it. One happy diner, Docklander Cin Cheng recommends the spicy beef pho. She said, “it’s amazing, the beef is so fresh, I had it in a spicy pho broth, with the perfect amount of chopped lemongrass. I had it on a windy cold day, and it made me so warm and comfortable after! It had a lot of toppings as well, was very flavourful and the serving size was generous!” Vintam’s also has homemade cakes, made by the owner’s wife. I recently bought some hedgehog cakes for a friend, and she said they were the best she had ever tasted.
Across the road is one of my favourite newcomers to the area. They don’t often have many diners in there so take my word for it, you won’t be disappointed if you check out Nourished which is situated at 859 Collins St. Nourished was founded with a strong and clear mission: to make healthy eating easy and enjoyable. Its website promises, “everything we do, and everything we are, are all encapsulated in our core values: fast. healthy. delicious.” It gets its meat, vegetables and fruits delivered to the store daily and everything is then made fresh from scratch daily from its kitchen. I love that I can walk across the road from my apartment and get a delicious healthy meal. My favourite is the Eco Warrior, a vegan meal consisting of maple sriracha tofu, whole grains mix (quinoa, freekeh, black rice), broccoli, sautéed mushroom, moroccan spiced chickpea, zucchini, toasted almonds, romesco dressing. All for $13.90!
They also have a meal called Popeye, rich in protein and made up of grilled balsamic chicken breast, brown rice, baby spinach, edamame, Moroccan spiced chickpea, sautéed mushroom, dried cranberries with a yuzu mayo dressing. You can also select your own ingredients to create your own meal. Nourished is open for lunch and dinner every weekday and dinner on Saturday nights. Please support this great business and make sure it survives.
We can’t end a walk towards the water without mentioning my favourite gem and that’s the Library at the Dock. It’s the perfect place for rest and repose, where you can select from a large range of the latest magazines and journals, browse the shelves for a new book to dip into, or look at the artwork displayed on the first floor. The staff at the library are always welcoming and friendly and will help with any book query you might have. By the time you read this, we may be out of lockdown, if not, check out their web site for a huge array of eBooks and other online content.
We need to walk back in the opposite direction to find Collins St Alterations & Dry Cleaning. This hidden gem has been operating all the time I have lived in Vic Harbour. Bring your hard to fix clothing that needs some alterations to make it wearable again. As we become more conscious of sustainability, this business allows us to recycle our own clothing, to stop the trend towards disposable fashion. The team working there is really helpful, and its rates are very reasonable, and the time taken to have a piece altered and ready to wear again is incredibly fast.
I hope you enjoy some of these hidden gems. Drop me a line if you have your own favourites. Let’s support these and other local businesses to keep Vic Harbour a thriving community •