Posts Tagged ‘City’

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Coffea Cafe – and castagnaccio

August 2, 2009

Coffea Cake is not exactly a hidden treasure of Melbourne’s hospitality scene.  It holds a proud position on the Elizabeth St side of the Victorian Markets, and does a thriving weekend trade, closing somewhere between 2 and 3pm each day. They sell a selection of  beans which you can also buy ground to take away – the coffee is definitely tasty and worth a try.  But that’s not revelatory news.   So why do I mention Coffea Cafe?  That’s easy.  It’s the Castagnaccio.  Those of you who have tasted it will most likely smile in satisfied agreement.  Those of you who have not tasted – or perhaps heard – of Castagnaccio need to amend this severe life deficiency pronto.

Castagnaccio is walnut flour cake.  Warmed (always ask for it to be warmed) it is like a sticky date pudding without the caramel sauce and with a slightly herbal flavour:  it is made with raisins (or sultanas) and rosemary.  There is no way to describe this sweet adequately.  On paper, unless one is italian and has grown up with it, it sounds like an odd mix of flavours.  But on the plate, it works oh so very well.  Especially with an espresso to accompany.

Recipes exist on the interwebs for making your own, but I recommend trying Coffea Cafe’s freshly baked version as the best introduction to Castagnaccio you could have.  And then you’ll be a convert, just as I and many before me have also been.

519-521 Elizabeth St Melbourne 3000 VIC

Phone: (03) 9326 7388

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Play: an unexpected arthouse DVD treasure trove

February 21, 2009

Play is a new/used CD + DVD + Gaming shop at the top of Bourke street.  It’s quite small, definitely unassuming, and not unlike a Dixons in its’ layout. It would be easy to miss, and easier still to dismiss.  When a friend insisted on perusing the shelves I walked in, expecting to indulge them with a quick and bland wander through yesterday’s megaplex hits.  How wrong could a person be?  On the shelves I saw almost nothing but arthouse obscurities, intriguing music documentaries, underground horror and rarely seen overseas television programmes of some note, like Peepshow and The Tudors.  I spied in this shop copies of Passolini’s  Salo (deluxe boxed edition), an early Mike Leigh film ‘Meantime’ starring Tim Roth and Gary Oldman (which I must confess I purchased, sorry all),  George Romero’s ‘Diary of the Dead’, an obscure documentary about Joy Division (not ‘Control’) that came out last year, the BBC adaptation of Dostoyevskys’s Crime and Punishment starring John Sim, The Apartment with Monica Bellucci and Vincent Cassell… many many more.   I was really very surprised and rather impressed.  

The staff member who served me was very cooperative and helpful, friendly and enthusiastic.  My purchases were very reasonably priced, although it must be warned that some of the collectors editions do become rather more expensive than your average DVD at the larger discount retailers.

The CD and Game selection is currently without comment, as my was instantly drawn to the DVD wall, so this blog welcomes the opinion of readers as to whether these sections of the shop impress as much as the film section. 

There is no website for Play, so unfortunately a visit is your only way of perusing their current stock.  

Contact details:

4/50 Bourke Street

Melbourne VIC 3000

ph 61 3 9650 0652

Open until at least 8pm mon to sat…. check with the store for actual times.

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Comics in the city

January 22, 2009

 

We’ve covered Minotaur – so just a short note about the wee city establishments who have less hustle and haste and more solicitous suggestions for the avid comic shopper.  They may lack size but they concentrate on the ink and word rather than talking keyrings and novelty clocks.  And that’s not a bad thing. 

Comics R Us:  upstairs in Bourke St at no. 220 near Target – it’s a small doorway a little difficult to spot but well worth your effort.  They have a reputation for their friendly and helpful service and from my own interactions with them it’s well deserved: friendly and helpful without being pushy, false or seemingly desperate for conversation, there’s no Comic Book Guy syndrome here.   Indies and established comics all get decent coverage and a small smattering of cased collectibles. Back issues a plenty and are also orderable.

The only criticism I’ve heard of this place is that a comic-collecting comrade from the US who visited said it was annoying that they didnt’ have a ‘new release’ section, instead sectioning the room by publisher.  I tend to agree a little – a section highlighting ‘what’s new’ would be really useful to the dedicated comic fan looking to browse beyond their (unfortunately named) “pull list”.

Details:

Level 1, 220 Bourke St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Tel: 03 9663 8666

They also have outlets in Ringwood and Chapel St, Prahran.

  • Ringwood

112 Maroondah Highway, Ringwood VIC
Ph: (03) 9870 3841

  • Windsor

114 Chapel Street, Windsor VIC 3100
Ph: (03) 9510 1584

Classic Comics – just off Bourke St between Bourke and Lt Bourke near Spring Street, although their official street address is 50 Bourke St don’t look for them on the main drag as you won’t find them.  This place is small. And I mean SMALL.  However it is packed totally full of trade paperbacks and new release comics plus a small amount of figurines.  The staff seem super busy often, processing and cataloguing all the titles they have in the store, but are always happy to make suggestions or discuss your issues/questions.  A little bit more Comic Book Guy in their own passionate opinions on favourite characters and comics but there’s nothing wrong with a bit of healthy obsession.  These guys care.

Details:

Shop 4, 50 Bourke Street
Melbourne, Australia 3000
+61 (0)3 9663 7210

 

There’s quite a comprehensive guide to greater Melbourne’s comic stores available at http://www.mas.org.au/shops.php which is the website for the Melbourne Anime Society… did you know we had one of those? Well now you do. Check ‘em out!

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Minotaur – comics, books, figurines and a plethora of ephemera

January 22, 2009

If you haven’t heard of Minotaur yet, well, I’m afraid you’re missing what is arguably  Melbourne’s most voluminous slice of geek/collector culture.  Downstairs on Elizabeth St, between Collins and Lt Collins, Minotaur is a heftily sized L shaped emporium of pop-culture.  From the latest comics and graphic novels from Marvel, DC, Wildstorm, Vertigo and a swag of other publishers to Manga and Hentai, novels, biograhies plus art books and erotica, any fan of the popular written word will have a home here at Minotaur.  For the true fan, of course, there are also figurines a plenty of your favourite comic book, film or novel hero – from A Nightmare Before Christmas to Lord of the Rings, Hellboy to Dexter. 

There is really not enough room for me to try to list the gamut of Minotaur’s stock, and they have even more online in their webstore!!!

The main plusses of Minotaur are that it goes further than almost any other store I’ve seen in Australia to cover the entire world of pop culture and its’ ephemera.  Nothing is too silly, too gimmicky, too obscure for Minotaur: from Emily breathmints to Deathnote shoulderbags, Simpsons toothbrushes and Dexter bobbleheads. At the same time they have a huge back catalogue of trade comics and art books for those who are more serious/completist about their fandom.

The main doubts I have about Minotaur is that they are too large and busy to have any care or attention to their customers:  or perhaps they’re just wary of the passion fans have and they know they’ll get stuck for hours on some obscure point about Batman’s costume if they’re not careful.  However, the smaller comic stores do seem to have more of a personal touch than Minotaur.  But if you want to collect not only your favourite TV show, but the resulting comic, or film, or poster, or patch, or novelty gimcrack, or figurine, or spinoff series, or flavoured gum: Minotaur is the place for you.  Most insane at Christmas, on shipment days and sometimes on the weekend.

Details:

   Minotaur Entertainment     Phone: +61 3 9670  5414 
    121 Elizabeth Street   Comics: +61 3 9670  5415   
    Melbourne 3000   Fax: +61 3 9670  7670
   
   

Email: shop@minotaur.com.au

Shop Opening Hours:
Mon – Wed: 9:00am – 6:00pm
Thursday:  9:00am – 7:00pm
Friday: 9:00am – 9:00pm
Saturday: 9:00am – 6:00pm
Sunday: 11:00am – 5:00pm

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Fabians Maps – 309 Swanston Street, Melbourne

July 2, 2008

I was all champing and bittish about to write a low-down for the iconic Fabians Maps in Swanston Street, when I found out that nifty culture mag online Three Thousand has just done so a matter of two to three days ago! Rather than resist the obviously robust collective unconscious, we here at Underground Melbourne decided to direct you to their brief but fine coverage of this glorious shop.

What we will add is that Fabians has been in the same shop on Swanston Street for as long as this writer can remember, his haphazard scrawl indicating the maps and paraphernalia located within the dark hall at the back of the shop.  What was once a clothing shop at the front currently stands empty, except for Fabian’s curiously arrayed selection of books and chairs, making a haphazard stab at an Edwarding Drawing Room set from a school play. 

Fabians is a Melbourne institution: as indeed is Mr Fabian himself!  Make sure you drop in and take a look! 

When:
Mon-Fri 12pm-4pm (but not always)

Contact: 
9663 3302

 

 

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Peril Underground expands CD emporium

June 25, 2008

–break (core) ing news! 

Peril Underground, already featured in this blog, has started having a massive facelift… no mean feat when you’re in the basement with nowhere to go but sideways… The clothing line has definitely sharpened up even more (plus a gussy-up of the actual clothing shelves and layout)  but the big news right now is that Australian gothic/industrial/futurepop importers extraordinaire GUP (Ground Under Productions) have now made a new home for themselves downstairs at Peril, bringing the super-dedicated expertise of Jarod Collard and the outstanding backcatalogue available through GUP in to Peril!  It certainly more than adequately covers what was mentioned as Peril Underground’s weak point: the cd catalogue. 

Just in case you can’t bring yourselves to scroll down: here are the details for Peril again:

 

 Address: 17-19 Elizabeth St.City: Melbourne

Contact: 03-9614 2040 

Hours: approx 11am  – 6pm daily

Still no website or email address. Although with GUP in the building it can’t be long…

 

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McIvers Coffee Merchants, Queen Victoria Markets, City

May 2, 2008

A quick homage to my favourite coffee grinder: McIvers @ the Queen Victoria Markets. 

A huge range of teas, including some odd herbal teas, plus a highly eccentric array of tea and coffee pots for sale. Some need to be seen to be appreciated but odd shapes, sizes and artwork are promised.

The essential purchase for me at McIvers is the organic fair trade coffee: being socially aware never tasted so good as the Papua New Guinean dark organic fair trade roast.   It is one of the most full bodied, piquant and yet not overly astringent coffees I’ve had the pleasure and luck to savour.

And excellent news for the remote and or the slothful: McIvers are now on line and you can order coffee drect from them via paypal.  It doesn’t have the sensory magic of choosing your grind type and smelling the coffee as it is bagged for you, but certainly provides a solution for those who can’t or don’t make it to town. 

The downside: they don’t serve coffee, just grind it.  You’ll have to wait until you get home to find out how good it really tastes. 

Details:

Shop 101/102 Dairy Produce Hall (on Therry St.)
Queen Victoria Market
Melbourne 3000
AUSTRALIA 
Phone:

Ph: +61 3 9329 8911
Fax: +61 3 9600 9078

 

 

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De Mille – 7 Crossley Street, Melbourne

March 10, 2008

Tucked away on what posh people like to call ‘Bourke Hill’, Crossley Street is a mini cornucopia of niche purveyors and artisans. One of the earliest settlers into this lane is De Mille antiques. Specialising in the heady early 20th century: edwardian, deco and nouveau seem to be the dominant milieu of this shop; De Mille is not by any means what one would consider cheap but the scope and uniqueness of the items contained renders a pricetag immaterial.

The 20s and 30s particularly are an iconic time for design, and De Mille’s collection dips into clothing, glassware, luggage, lamps and furnishings, statuery plus of course all manner of oddments and curios which fall under the ‘useless but exceedingly pretty and/or odd’ banner, including paperweights, decorative throws, wall hangings, cigar boxes, mannequins: you name it, they have it available, and possibly in a size/shape/style you’ve never seen before. Like many of our underground havens, De Mille is not equipped with a website or an email address, but their details are as follows: follow the cobble-brick road to the paradise of classic ephemera that is De Mille!!!

The best thing about De Mille: ask me on any given day, and my answer will be a different curio or miscellaneous piece I find there! Some days it’s a classic shoe, others it might be an amazing lampshade with a woman in repose carved into it, and yet another a piece of luggage which looks like it has accompanied Noel Coward to New York and back.

The worst thing about De Mille: it is pricey: an antique store run by an enthusiastic and savvy collector, there might be more look than buy for many, but just the chance to nose away at these extraordinary relics of a past age and style provides pleasure in itself, no?

Details:

Address -
7 Crossley St
Melbourne VIC 3000

Phone -
03 9663 9666

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Antons – dapper dreams for a drab world. Level 3, Melbourne Central

January 20, 2008

Antons  clothing is a Melbourne Must!

Have you ever visited the lofty 3rd floor of Melbourne Central?  If so, have you walked past – or even dropped into – the 40s timetrip that is Antons?   Even the outside of the shop tells you that this shop doesn’t belong in a chainstore mall – its coppery deco-reminiscent window frames hold what is usually some kind of themed window display using their retro-styled mannequins and some unusual props and curios: Antons’ owner is a collector of ephemera from monster and alien figurines to stuffed animals and other brilliant oddities.  It’s like nectar to the eyes after row after row of bleak generic stores to see their idiosyncratic display winking brightly at you.

While Antons is ostensibly a clothing shop it s true that one’s first visit is more like a step into a film set: think Casablanca or Cairo in the early 20th century.  There are racks of clothing within a 40s to burlesque style – magnificent opulently lined coats and suits for men, coquettish bustiers, corsets and skirts for women plus some ubersharp womens’ suiting.   The staff are dressed according to the Anton World and are helpful and often quite gregarious: they seem happy – keen even – to absorb you into their era and aesthetic as though you were casting to be an extra in their filmic world.  So, be prepared to surrender yourself to their vast Powers of Styling.

The interior of Antons is like the exterior – adding to the sense of changed-reality you feel when inside.  More and more curios in hidden corners attract your eye: many from old films or popular culture you had forgotten, some others like trophies of an imperial raider.  While you’re casting an admiring eye at a well cut suit or an unusual fabric, you can easily be distracted by a figurine or trinket and after a while you wonder which world you’ve walked into and why you should ever have to leave.  Antons fabrics and cuts are classic and stylish and quite unusual in the 21st century, more Bogart than Beckham, more Bergman than Britney.  They are considerately devoted to the full dressing experience – just like being styled for a film you can leave Antons transformed top to toe – including jewellery or cufflinks.  Antons really is unique and their clothing just as much so: everything is small run and the shop also does some bespoke  tailoring – just in case you can’t quite find the garment you’re looking for or the colour on the shelf doesn’t suit.

Antons is not website friendly,  so you’ll need to visit to see their dapper era repro suits, burlesque corsets and tops and every other dazzling distraction in store.
The best thing about Antons:  being honest, I’d have to say their eccentricity attracts me even more than the fine clothing: it’s a must passing by Antons once or twice a month to see the new window display and gaze in awe at the collectables, gaze admiringly at the staff bedecked in that day’s finery and – if time permits – to enter for a browse at the beauty of their well cut garb.

The downside: Antons is priced fairly – but fairly isn’t cheaply.  It’s likely to burn a hole in your card if you go crazy so Antons is great for feature pieces or that special occasion wear. Unless of course, you are reckless or incredibly well-stocked cashwise: in which case there is no end of opportunity to invest in beautiful clothing which will last you years.

Details: ***NOTE NEW ADDRESS***


Antons Melbourne
Shop GD10 Menzies Lane
211 Latrobe Street

Phone: 03 9663 8610
Opening Hours: normal Melbourne Central hours

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Holy Double Auditory Pleasure, Batman! A Polyester Records Sale!

January 14, 2008

 

What the world needs now is independent music, sweet independent music.  And Polyester Records on Brunswick Street has always been instrumental in mapping Melbourne’s musical landscape, supporting both local favourites and obscure internationals for years.  Polyester is the type of record store where the staff are still allowed to put their own recommendations on the wall: and what’s more, it’s the kind of store where you might even trust their judgement! As well as new releases and obscurities Polyester sell a great range of indie pop, reggae, hip hop, electro-rock, soundtracks, wrong-disco, pop-punk,  alt.nu.folk  and of course the retrorespectables like Iggie Pop, The Who, The Smiths, Jesus and Mary Chain and more.  Lots more information about Polyester is available on their website including charts, reviews, gig tickets and more. 

In recent weeks Polyester have nearly counted themselves out of an Underground Melbourne rating by **BECOMING A CHAIN STORE** “Noooooooooooooooo” I hear you wail.  Well, at least if they become a chain store they’re going to be a damn fine quality one – or they will be as long as we keep buying the good stuff!  With that in mind, you are encouraged to visit their new store in Flinders Lane, near Elizabeth street and Degraves Lane. It’s looking pretty shiny for an indie record store at the moment, so it’s essential to make a visit and help take some shine off the waxed floor and give the city the same pop-postered home away from home feel that the Brunswick Street store has in spades! 

In fact, so keen are Polyester for you to drop by, that they’re having an INCENTIVE OFFER  until the 20th of January 2008!!!! If you spend $80 on music you’ll get a $10 voucher. It’s available in the city and at the Brunswick street store, but only applies to music: don’t think you can be sneaky and attempt to use it to by gig tickets… 

Best thing  about Polyester 1 and Polyester 2:   good, solid range of stock in indie new releases.  letting their staff pick the music on the charts or even to have their own chart.  hiring music lovers as staff – it’s nice to have someone enthusiastic and /or knowlegeable helping dissuade you from buying that “ironic” Donny Osmond remix album and to take home some nice P J Harvey instead…

The downside: the range of 7″es is a bit limited – but they do offer to order things in for you.  The new shop needs the shiny newness scuffed and loitered out of it, so make your way in and mooch about in your improbably large boots. There are always too many interesting releases.  The experimental section is pretty small to nonexistent which is definitely a shame but experimental is a frisky can of worms, and perhaps they’re wise to steer clear.

Trivia: Chris who co-owns Polyester has put out a board game called ‘World Domination’!  Apparently you can buy it instore. I’m not sure if it’s available for $10 off though…

Details:POLYESTER RECORDS – CITY288 Flinders Lane, Melbourne(03) 9663 8696You can find the City store between Degraves and Elizabeth StreetsPOLYESTER RECORDS – FITZROY387 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy(03) 9419 5137You can find the Fitzroy store opposite Vegie Bar on Brunswick Street. The 112 trams stops right outside the store.Opening Hours – Fitzroy StoreMon & Tues 10am-9pmWed to Sat 10am-10pmSun 10am-9pmOpening Hours – City StoreMonday to Thursday: 10am – 6pmFriday: 10am – 8pmSaturday: 10am – 6pmSunday: 11am – 5pm  

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