Where? - Flinders Walk, Melbourne
Website? - http://arbory.com.au/
It may surprise you to know, my dear reader, that I don't indulge in a parma for every meal of the week (a shocking revelation, I know, someone call TMZ). I enjoy a lot of food at other spots that aren't parmas which I have always wanted to share yet have felt bound by the unwritten laws of ParmaDaze to only write about chicken, chips and salad. Well its time for this chicken to spread his wings.
So lets consider this an experiment, this may be the start of a new era for the site, it may be the last time you ever see an "Other Daze" post, as Einstein said in the opening cutscene for Command & Conquer: Red Alert - "Time will tell".
Oh and before we get started I want to make it perfectly clear that these posts, whenever they turn up, will not affect the weekly parma review. You'll still get a full review of a new parma each and every week as usual. This isn't a replacement, its an added extra. Anyway, I've blathered on long enough - On to the good stuff!
I had heard about Arbory a couple of weeks back when friend of the site Jimmies Burgers posted a photo of this amazing looking burger. I looked into the pub in the hopes that there would be a new parma for us to try (there isn't, FYI) and my curiosity was instantly piqued. Built on flinders walk, between the station and the river, running the entire span between the St. Kilda Rd. bridge and the footbridge with all the padlocks on it (the one that Nicholas Cage rode his flaming motorbike over in the first Ghost Rider movie).
After reading about the pub I wanted to check it out, and attempted to stop in for a quick pint before last week's parma review at P.J. O'Briens, directly across the river, but was met with two of the most depressing words a pub enthusiast can hear. Private function.
So I left it and forgot about it for a few days, until I was in the city on Sunday morning and found myself with the need to kill an hour. It was slightly too early for a beer (although a few blokes I spied at Young & Jacksons on the way past didn't think so) so I decided to kill two birds with one stone - get my brekky on and finally see what all the fuss is about at Arbory.
First up - The use of the space is just plain genius. Yes the pub is narrow, but at no point did I feel cramped. The sound of the trains chugging through the station is almost therapeutic, and the unfettered view of the river is just remarkable.
It was getting close to 10:30 on Sunday morning, and while there were a few people enjoying breakfast it was by no means busy. There was a chill in the air but you wouldn't notice with the abundance of patio heaters, almost one per table.
On wandering up to the bar to order I instantly regretted not visiting a bit later in the day as the bar setup is impressive, with a great range of both tapped and bottled beers. Unfortunately I swapped out my alcohol addiction for my caffeine addiction, ordered a cappuccino and had a quick squiz at the breakfast menu -
I was eating with devoted ParmaDaze regular Reviewer Nikki, she ordered the Mozzarella & Bacon Toastie while I chose the lighter option and went with the Coconut Bircher Muesli. We retuned to our table and soaked in the serenity while awaiting our breakfast.
The cappuccino was fine - I'm not jumping up and down about it but it certainly did its job - I normally like my coffee served a tad hotter than what this was, but thats a personal preference that I can't judge Arbory for. Shortly afterwards the main event arrived -
^ Mozzarella and bacon toastie with fried egg and tomato relish
^ Coconut bircher muesli with vanilla macerated pineapple, coconut nectar & pecans
Instant food envy the moment the dishes hit the table - That toastie looked sublime, and even though the muesli was quite tasty in its own right its hard to go past a bacon and cheese sandwich.
And they weren't tight with the bacon! Generous lashing after lashing filled the sandwich. The egg on top was appreciated but seemed a bit confused - are you supposed to eat it with a knife and fork off the top? to eat it like a sandwich with the egg still on board? or open up the sandwich and slip the egg inside? (the latter being what Nikki ended up doing).
The muesli was great also. The macerated pineapple was sliced so thinly it was almost shaved. I've never been a big fan of pineapple but I think its only because I've only ever had it served in massive chunks - this was the perfect way to enjoy it, adding a subtle and not at all overpowering flavour to the dish. I was also a big fan of the pecans, adding a much enjoyed crunch to the texture of the meal.
And that's all she wrote! I was a massive fan of Arbory and will definitely be back. I'm very keen to drop in and enjoy a few beers on a Saturday or Sunday arvo before the sunny days disappear for the year (and to try those amazing looking burgers).
If you're in the city it's definitely worth a shot (They're open every day from 7:30 if you feel like checking it out) - I've got a feeling Arbory will fast become one of my favourite spots in the CBD. Now we just need them to get a parma on the menu.