Middle Fish, 1000 Pound Bend, Rooftop Bar: Welcome Back To University

February 25, 2012

Ah yes, another tertiary degree, another year (or three) spent at university! Yet again I am faced with a new semester timetable, book list, trip to Officeworks (I originally tried to be serious and bought strictly black and navy stationary/folders, but have since returned for my usual pink/orange/green mix), new professors to meet and, of course, another caffeine addiction.
Fortunately, studying at Melbourne Uni affords you the luxury of coffee from one of Melbourne’s best coffee houses, Seven Seeds. Sadly, I’ve been disappointed several times this year since returning – perhaps they’ve changed their blend or perhaps the barista is in training. Regardless, the place is busy as ever, and the staff as unfriendly as ever (please tell me I’m not the only person who feels this way). Hopefully their coffee will improve!
This is my dog, Lucie. She is not enrolled at University but this section of the post was looking a bit wordy and I wanted to introduce her.
In the meantime, I’d like to share a few places I’ve been to recently that I think particularly suit the university lifestyle. Think of this as My Ideal Gastronomic Work Day Mark 2: My Ideal Gastronomic University Day.
I’ve already outlined coffee – breakfast I feel isn’t necessary since I usually roll out of bed and straight onto a tram with perhaps a glass of juice or an apple on the way out (terrible practice I know). The rest of my day could play out as follows…
Middle Fish
122-128 Berkeley St, Carlton
Students rejoice! We finally have an Asian food option close to campus that is neither expensive nor greasy! It is Middle Fish, and can be found a few warehouses up from Seven Seeds. It’s been open since December, and is owned by Thai-born Pla Liamthong and her partner David Holtum. Pla’s aunt, also from Thailand, directs operations in the kitchen. What this all means for the food is that it is furiously authentic and doesn’t skimp on the spice!
Stepping inside, I am already cheered up – the place is spacious and brightly decorated. The staff are equally as cheerful, and it’s easy to feel at home. A wrought-iron mural of a flying fish adorns one long wall as well as the outside facade.

Students and faculty staff alike pour in at lunchtime – I’d suggest coming either early or late to avoid having to wait. Alternatively they do take bookings, but I’m hoping it won’t become the case that a booking is necessary to get a seat here. The coffee is also good – they use Five Senses beans (Pla has past experience at coffee havens Outpost, Sensory Lab and Caffeine).

The interior decorations are particularly cool: there’s a rather fabulous chandelier hanging above the entrance, and two paintings of a tuk-tuk (see top of this post) and a motorbike, as seen in Thailand and around SE Asia. The tuk-tuk and motor bike even have light bulbs integrated into the artwork that light up!

I was there with S and E for a quick lunch in between classes. S had the vegetarian fried rice, which came with tofu and a healthy assortment of vegetables.

I ordered the Thai North-East Beef Salad – minced beef with roasted jasmine rice, red onions, spring onions, coriander, chilli, lemon, lime (a very long list of very tasty ingredients). While I found it rather protein heavy and would have enjoyed a little more greenery, I thought it was a brilliant dish. Vibrant and fresh with clean flavours and a perfectly balanced dressing.

E’s glass noodle salad looked very similar to mine but with masses of transluscent rice noodles underneath the shredded carrot. She enjoyed it but said the noodles had a very strange texture. The glass noodles are tossed with minced chicken, carrots, tomatoes, spring onions, roasted cashews and bird seed chilli.

I am tickled pink at having Middle Fish open so close to campus, and shall definitely be partaking in their curries later in the year when the weather cools down!

Middle Fish  on Urbanspoon

1000 Pound Bend
361 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne
Classes continue throughout the afternoon, and after a haphazard library visit it’s almost 4pm and I feel justified in writing the rest of the day off. I mean, I can count at least three hours of solid work there – that’s a fair effort! (Coming from a summer job I am almost ashamed of how quickly my productivity has dropped. Also, I have 12 contact hours this semester – that’s less than the number of hours I was doing per day while working!)
In the evening we head to 1000 Pound Bend, where it is stiflingly hot but pots are $2.50 (on Tuesdays) so we’re prepared to put up with anything. I like the atmosphere here, it’s ultra relaxed and the furniture is a happy mish-mash of styles.

Also on special on Tuesdays are the burgers – Roo or Haloumi – at $8. I had the Roo (the Haloumi smelt amazing but I’m sure I’d be thoroughly sick of cheese halfway through!), and it was good. The bread was a tad too crumbly for my liking, but the patty was well seasoned and moist (I take issue with the word “moist” but really, what else is there?) All up good value for good nosh.

1000 Pound Bend on Urbanspoon

Rooftop Bar

Rooftop, Curtain House, Melbourne

The evening kicks on, in balmy and casual style, at Rooftop Bar, where the cider is cold and the setting summer sun gently warms your face.

The cinema season is almost over, but this place is still great for early evening catchups, and it always seem to have a pleasant crowd of people.

Rooftop also offers burgers, hotdogs and fries, which I’ve heard are good, especially with a movie.

It’s early in the evening yet, but that meant we could catch the glorious sight of the setting sun reflecting off the skyscrapers of Melbourne. Suddenly my summer job is but a distant memory…

Rooftop Bar on Urbanspoon