I saw these crutches abandoned on the footpath on Rose St earlier this week. Normally used by people with temporary injuries after being discharged from hospital, they are rented and returned once people have recovered. Did someone venture out for the evening, then accidentally leave them behind when they got into their car to go home? After drinking, did they abandon them as the pain of their injury was momentarily forgotten? If so they’re going to get a painful bill soon.
The writing on the front window says SHFTY CHEV. I was initially puzzled. My friend, whose father likes hot rods, thought it was a reference to vintage American cars but it’s really a cheese cafe and bar called Shifty Chevre. It’s new on Brunswick St on the corner of Rose St (opposite Bimbo Deluxe). Cafe by day, bar by night (when the liquor license is approved).
I wanted it to be good because the balance of businesses on the northern end of Brunswick St has been precarious of late. For all the optimism of big investments like Naked for Satan / Naked on the Roof and, more recently, the big new Chocolateria San Churro, that kind of style has been relatively lacking north of Johnston St. In this context it’s good to see Cider House established and seemingly popular.
It was good. The coffee, my usual long macchiato ($3.50), was lovely. The basic croque monsieur (a very modest $6) was generous with the bechamel and nutmeg and was most pleasing. So a quality breakfast is possible for under $10 (that’s impressive considering that $4 is the coffee price at other new places like Major Major). There’s a vegetarian croque monsieur too and baguettes for lunch. A wide cabinet is full of cheese to purchase and take home.
The inner north hasn’t been a popular location for inexpensive new-wave Asian street food restaurants, like Miss Chu in the CBD and Hanoi Hannah in Prahran, until now (Masak Masak being the only notable opening).
The opening this week of Xeom on the Collingwood side of Smith St is most interesting (I don’t count places like Easy Tiger, Lee Ho Fook and Northern Light in this list as they operate at a different price bracket). Another Vietnamese street food restaurant called Phamily Kitchen is soon to open on the same side of Smith St north of Johnston St.
My prawn and pork coleslaw ($14.50) was fresh and delicious with just the right balance of flavours. Water comes served in tall green repurposed Choya umeshu bottles and cute panda cups. The welcome from the staff was very friendly.
I think Pabu next door is going to experience a challenge for customers, especially in the daytime, as their limited lunch menu and dark interior lacks appeal compared to the brightness and freshness of Xeom.