Jungle Juice

April 2, 2011

20 Centre Place, Melbourne

There’s nothing quite like the laneways of Melbourne. Without a doubt they are one of my favourite things about the city. At the top of my list is Centre Place, effortlessly cool, always humming with activity, and offering a wide variety of cafes to try. Sometimes there’s a group of musicians playing on a gratified step at the north end, usually consisting of a brass instrument, a double bass and a drummer sitting on an upturned milk crate.

Jungle Juice is a teeny tiny little place, only ~3 metres wide with a kitchen the size of my desk at home. Waiters squeeze between tables, and patrons fold themselves over tiny tables that, to be perfectly honest, aren’t really of an adequate size to fit two coffees and two plates of food. But I love this place, really. They specialise in Bagels – breakfast served until 11am and lunch from 12 to 2:30. They have the most delicious fillings, and come warmed and wrapped up nicely in a paper tie. The menu deserves a mention as well, stuck into the cover of a Little Golden Book, how adorable. Oh yes, and the words “deep fried fish tits” had been spelt out on the side of the refrigerator with those magnetic letters; points for making me smile.

Today I chose the Borek Bagel – turkish spiced beef (like you get on Sydney Rd), onions, green pepper, roasted pine nuts, tomato, rocket and minted yoghurt. Outstanding, flavoursome, especially with the spiced meat, tangy yoghurt and pops of pinenuts. Though perhaps the tomato was cut a tad too thickly to be put in a bagel. Some of the other fillings that sound good are the BLAT – bacon, cheese, tomato, avocado, lettuce, ‘jungle mayo’, the Kransky – German sausage, cheese, tomato, rocket, jungle mayo, and the Salmon – tassie smoked salmon, cream cheese, spanish onion, avocado, capers, rocket. I also had a latte, which was really, REALLY good. The perfect temperature, not much froth but v smooth consistency, good flavour but not bitter.

I was eating alone, but I was kept well entertained by two young guys sitting next to me, probably in their mid-20s, looked like RMIT Eng students, total would-be indies (oh goodness, I’m not stereotyping, am I? surely not!). So though I was technically dining alone, I spent most of my meal trying not to giggle at their self-important over-inflated verbose verbal diarrhea, while subtly writing down some of their best lines:
“This has to be one of the more fragrant earl greys I’ve had”
“But as it turns out, I wasn’t entirely paying attention to what he was saying, despite my previous assertions to the fact…”
“…before I embarked on this crazed, hair-brained scheme” – (while talking about his decision to buy a coffee table from IKEA)
“Do you know, I quite like the assonance in ‘bagel burger'” – (it’s called alliteration you fool) – “Did they spell burger in the English way?” “Oh! I didn’t think to check! Surely it would have been with an -er” “Oh yes, without doubt, they’d have no legitimate reason to spell it any other way”Case in point. And yes, this is how some people talk for real.

Jungle Juice on Urbanspoon

Filed under: Coffee, Melbourne CBD

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