Giorgios

Long-established local restaurant Giorgios has undergone a major refurbishment.  I see on the website that it’s described as a “fresh new look”.    The website even invites you to browse through the renovation, but contrary to the usual case when pictures are posted on the internet, I think that the new atmosphere is better “in the flesh” than on the website!

We’ve been there a couple of times since it re-opened, once for coffee and once for a meal.   Service is as good as in the past and the new atmosphere is, well, “fresh”.   As well as extending the area, it breaks the spaces up quite well.

Fresh new look?

The food is fine too.   You wouldn’t call it adventurous, but it’s certainly of a high standard, and the quantities are generous!  Prices have crept up a bit, but that’s probably fair enough, although corkage if you BYO at $15 a bottle seems a bit of a “hit”.

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Are there too many coffee shops?

The question has been raised in Britain as to whether the market for coffee shops has become saturated.   From the BBC report, it seems the issue there arises because there appear to be a number of chains competing in the market.  This seemingly makes the market there rather different from ours, as (at the risk of generalising) it seems that Melburnians (and Australians) don’t favour chains (look at the Starbucks experience).

It’s interesting that the report mentions an opinion in Britain that the big brands need to watch out for the rise of independent coffee shops.

Just the same in some areas, the market in Melbourne definitely appears saturated.  Sure, the coffee culture is particularly strong in our neighbourhood, but the competition is brutal.   Just as one place starts attracting a crowd, another place opens up or is re-furbished, the and the crowd’s loyalty quickly switches.  And a change on proprietorship can result in a dramatic fall-off in business.

I wonder how many people have put their savings into buying a business, only to see the money disappear.    Enthusiastic would-be operators need to take a cold, hard look at the area before jumping in.

Williamstown

We didn’t stay for the lunch after the funeral (there were “dietary” issues), so went down the road and had an acceptable (but not memorable) meal at the Kealba pub.   But the ambiance (rather, the lack of it) of the pub didn’t induce us to stay for coffee, so we diverted off the Westgate Freeway on the way home to Williamstown for a gelati and coffee.

Although outside it was chilly, we sat in the Pelicans Landing bar where it was very relaxing watching out over the Bay.

Looking out from bar
Street vista

Ena

We’ve been to Ena Southgate (“ena” is “one” in Greek) a couple of times now, and have enjoyed our time there on both occasions.    It’s described as “Greek street food”, but it seems to us just well presented classic “Greek” food.   If that’s street food, then so be it.  The atmosphere is pretty casual and the place certainly seems to get busy at time (which we think is a good sign!), but there are lots of staff.   When we were there at the weekend, by the time we’d finished out meal, the crowd had thinned out a bit, and a couple of the wait-staff came past for a chat.

There is indeed a a rotisserie over a coal fire pit as mentioned on the website.

 

Mediterraneo

Albert Park is a bit away from our usual eating haunts, but friends thought we should try Mediterraneo.  We weren’t disappointed:    the menu had a lot of variety and it was hard to choose between the offerings.

There seemed to be a lot of staff, some more professional than others, and just occasionally there seemed a little confusion about who was doing what!    However, overall, the service was good.  Certainly, the kitchen seemed to have its act together, both in the standard of the meals we received and the timing.  Some of our group started with the cevapcici, but I had the pumpkin soup.   For mains, I had Hungarian goulash, others had the venison, seafood kebab and kangaroo dishes, and without fail, all were good.   Of course, the restaurant promotes its steaks, but our group appears to have moved beyond these, so didn’t sample the offerings — especially not the 550g T-bone (there are others of course).

Prices were quite reasonable for what we received, although we couldn’t “BYO” wine.  And on the weeknight we were there, parking was plentiful.

Kuranda

Yes, you’re supposed to get to Kuranda by train and return by cable car (or vice versa), but we took the more economical  option, and drove.   Certainly many overseas visitors travel by train and/or cable car.    The road has many bends as it climbs up but it’s in good condition and the traffic is well-behaved.

We looked around the markets and had lunch at a somewhat “alternative” stall, and of course checked out the station and cable car termini.

 

The Surf Club

We’ve eaten out every night (and for quite a few lunches, too), so the meal we had at the Palm Cove Surf Club on Sunday night wasn’t exactly the most stylish of meals that we’ve had since we’ve been away.   But it deserves a mention for other reasons:  the Surf Club is a bit of a barn, it’s basic, and although the menu doesn’t have a lot of “flair”, they deliver at a reasonable price on what they say (as in steaks, chicken schnitzels and pizzas)!