Scenes from Brunswick

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Right before I started writing this I was thinking of Christmas, since it’s already December and this post is long overdue. As with many of my posts, I’m struggling to remember what it was I thought would be so absolutely to-die-for to write about when I first took the pictures, when I stood there then with head cocked to a side, lips slightly apart, with an “Oh” look on my face. Then when I return, after endless hours of being on planes or on questionably stable boats and finally in the comfort of my – really comfortable – $99 Ikea chair, it seems I need to concoct a world from scratch, to tell you what I see in hindsight when I put these pictures together.

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Melbourne is like that place I never kinda want to go, since there’s always more exotic Scotland! London! Barcelona! to dream about. It’s also that place where after I end up in, wonder why I find it so hard to leave.

Melbourne is much better the second time around, the second in a year, in fact. Discovering Smith Street, or Bank Place, where we stayed in a cosy little hotel, was part of the second time charm. Really looking into the stores that I remember from Brunswick, however, was just as exciting. And then there was the eating, of course.

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Naked for Satan is our number two on the list for places to share lights bites and great conversation, one of which is entirely up to you. The light bites portion, however, Naked for Satan takes care of pretty nicely. They have a solid repertoire of tapas at penny prices, called pintxo, which comes traditionally from northern Spain and translates literally from “spike”. Fitting, especially since their unique spread is served on baguette slices with a toothpick through its chesty center.

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The combinations are fascinating – blue cheese, fried eggplant, cream cheese, green chilli, cherry tomatoes, scallops, salami or prawns. The little morsels are plenty intriguing, such as the pea puree, scallop and cherry tomato pintxo, or the carrot puree with salty salami. It’s so absolutely simple yet out-of-the-box that you could hardly ask for more when paired with a tall, cold brew.

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Another jolly good place we couldn’t pass up was the Little Creatures Dining Hall, brewery and restaurant. Although I’m not a fan of the brew (I find sweet beers abominable, absolutely no Belgian beers for me, and Little Creatures toes the line a little), their food is crazy good. We tucked into savoury charred lamb ribs, cucumber and tomato salsa (sublime with a squeeze of lemon) – tastiest pieces you could ever hope to chew on. Then there was the ridiculously delicious chilli, tomato and fennel mussels, served with tender-centre, crunchy-side grilled bread. Ridiculous.

There’s food you love and you want to eat again, then there’s food you absolutely have to try at home. These mussels are both, things you can still taste in the back of your mind, things you decipher in your mind and tongue your teeth just imagining what you could possibly toss together to recreate something so good.

You know the feeling when you walk out of a restaurant pub after a full meal, and you feel that satisfaction that only comes when you’ve really enjoyed yourself; Brunswick does that for you. Every city has its own little enclave that the locals are gonna say, nah, it’s past its prime and its heydays are long gone, but I like coming back, from out of town, from out of the city, and just coming back to these places. Travelling a lot to Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), and Auckland (NZ), like I do, or Bangkok (Thailand), as my partner does, you start to find little pockets in the city that you remember without a map, that you can point out to a cab driver without written directions. These are my scenes from Brunswick.

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