My Melbourne: Sonido

19 07 2012

Melbourne has so many great cafes, with more springing up all the time. Everyone has their favourites, and it would be almost impossible to visit them all. My favourite is Sonido, a Colombian cafe on Fitzroy’s Gertrude Street selling arrepas con huevo and traditional Andean hot chocolate as well as the juices of unusual Amazon fruits (like the ‘mora’ and the ‘lulo’ ) in an atmosphere best descibed as homey-tropical-kitsch. The music and the staff are all Colombian. It is pretty much the cutest little place I can imagine.




15 12 2010

The other night I walked down Smith Street, possibly for the last time. The late afternoon sky was a weird moody yellow, as if the sun were shining through the most fragile, feathery veil of storm clouds.  Everything was golden, but gloomy, and a light rain was falling. In this end-of-the-world light a lone locust, the first storm trooper of the apocalpyse, an advance guard for the trillion of its kind massing on the city’s outskirts, hopped into the cafe where I was sipping my latte. It was an omen, but of what? The impotence of man in the face of nature? Or simply, the beginning of the end?  “Well, ” I said to the barman, as I drained my coffee,  “first there was (what felt like) forty days and forty nights of rain,  now the locusts – I guess I”ll be seeing you in Hell”.

But its not hell, I’m going. Although it will be hot.

It is hello Bangkok and goodbye Melbourne, goodbye Kyneton; goodbye the murderous magpies and jogging by the river, and end to four days of frenzied cleaning and battling with plump shiny spiders in my windowsills. An end to walking down the street through fluttering, skittering clouds of locusts, and long, lazy days at an empty school.

Goodbye to the kids I see around town on their bikes, the delicious pizzas at Pizza Verde where I dined with my mum, friend and (bizarrely) Australian television personality Tonia Toddman, on Friday.

Goodbye to Fitzroy, with its refugees in tower blocks and cafes and scrawled posters everywhere.  I did my last lap today of VideoBusters (how I love you!), the African internet cafe, Sonido ( I went, and had a guanabana vitamina).

Goodbye to my hopes of dining at Izakaya Den, the “buzz” restaurant for Japanese food in Melbourne for the last few years,  which was closed on my last Sunday night when I tried to go.

Goodbye to an old way of life that I will remember in years to come through this blog.

I’m ready. Bring it on.

Goodbye Melbourne!

8 12 2010

Little Green Riding Hood

29 11 2010

29 11 2010

29 11 2010

The Social Studio

10 11 2010

The Social Studio, a small space tucked away on Smith Street just next to Video Busters, is an example of what makes Melbourne great. It is an offbeat, little specialist haven with a rough, funky aesthetic –  and a social conscience. The shop provides a training workshop and retail space for young Africans interested in the fashion industry. There is also a cafe at the back.

In the ever-gentrifying Smith Street strip, it is truly a step back in time to the old-skool Fitzroy. The African-based meals are hearty but basic, and served in a bright yellow painted kitchentte where you sit on old cushions, amid taped-up articles on the walls, wobbly tables and a portaloo out the back. There is  none of the pretentiousness of most of the new places that have opened here lately with their vogueish interiors and fashionable menus.

It is a real one-of-a-kind.

It was a well-timed find too, because next week Social Studio is hosting a “street party” in collaboration with the (ironically-named?) boutique “Hunter Gatherer”. Its on from 6pm on Friday.