A friend of mine is all over RSVP (I swear it’s not me). Recently he explained to me he was meeting a girl for a coffee as a lunch or dinner was a little daunting on the first internet date in real life. I’m sure he’s not the only one, so I thought I’d help him and the rest of you out with a few options. I could be slightly scheming here but it’s good to cover all bases. First you’ll need a cool and maybe slightly hidden cafe, and then almost spontaneously you’ll want to ‘find’ somewhere very close by for a quick bite to eat.
A Little Bird Told Me is new on the scene but the owners are far from newbie’s in the industry. Both are Kiwis but don’t hold that against them, they’ve revived this little shop on Little Latrobe St with a very fresh and vibrant fit out of Melbourne-flavoured Scandinavian design, and most importantly are making seriously good coffee. It’s a perfect little place to meet brunettebabe83 for the first time and see whether sparks fly and passion ignites. Hopefully it does, so you can charmingly suggest an equally cool encore that is just metres away.
Hidden on little laneway off Little Latrobe, just one minute from ALBTM, is Wonderbao, a funky little shop on Literature Lane, making all manner of steamed buns. Think BBQ pork bun – a bao is one of the most popular snack foods in China, and Melbournians have gone equally batty about these little bao boys. Pick from either the standard bao menu or the fancier gua bao where you might get succulent roast pork with cucumber, pickled carrots and hoisin sauce, and remember: order takeaway. Literature Lane is an underrated laneway with interesting graffiti (or added conversation material), and for some strange reason there always seems to be an abundance of milk crates lying about. Perch on a couple of crates, share some banter with brunettebabe83 and devour a Chinese bun packed full of flavour.
If your date is not impressed, send them back into Cyberspace and try someone else, it’s not you it’s them.
Seven Seeds Cafe is absolutely perfect for any occasion. For me, it’s a spot I take clients for a coffee to impress, a spot I take out-of-towners to show them how cool Melbourne is, and a spot I go on my Pat Malone to enjoy amazing coffee. Seven Seeds Cafe was one of Melbourne’s first warehouse cafes, and has unsurprisingly spawned many a copy cat. The original and the best would be ideal for that first coffee meet ’n’ greet with that catch you’ve been flirting with online. It doesn’t matter what time of the day you go, it’s always buzzing. And conveniently, just two warehouses down is yet another gem with an arguably better fit-out. Remember to enter Seven Seeds via the back door at 65 Barry Street so as to surprise them with the next location.
Middle Fish is literally only two doors down from Seven Seeds front door on Berkeley St. The move from coffee to breakfast, brunch or lunch is so simple and seamless I would think it was an almost certainty, your online date will be keen for another round. As soon as you enter through the big warehouse doors you are hit with the wow-factor. Middle Fish is a Thai Restaurant that is an iron-warehouse-cum-hawker-street-food-market-cum-industrial-cafe. It’s odd to call an iron warehouse warm and cosy, but the owner Pla just makes you feel so welcome. It’s bright and once again always has a buzz about it. And luckily, the food is great too – authentic Southern Thai food served quickly in pressed metal bowls. As a quirky point of difference they often house pop-up markets such as The Super Cool, in the corner of the warehouse.
The Mission Cafe is located on the lively Chapel Street. This cafe is a little bit different; it’s run by Prahran Mission, an organisation supporting psychiatric disability, the lonely and isolated, and the disadvantaged. The cafe itself is light and open with communal tables and an outside space perfect for people watching. The staff are a collection of professional hospitality workers, volunteers and participants of Prahran Mission’s programs. The concept is fantastic and you can’t help but feel good about the world, all the while you wouldn’t even know it was run for charity as you sit in a cool cafe while sipping on delicious coffee from Dukes Coffee Roasters. Your date will surely be impressed with the cafe, the coffee and the fact that it’s all for a good cause (such a warm heart you have), so no doubt they’ll be keen to move on for a bite to eat.
David’s Restaurant has recently been through a makeover, and changed from a dark and intimate restaurant into a light and bright, vaguely nautical casual space. The menu also changed along the way and now encourages sharing their modern Shanghai dishes (brilliant date tactic). If it’s a mid week lunch, enjoy their Chop Chop Xpress Lunch where they offer their delectable lunch menu with your choice of 2 x dish selections for $10, 3 x dish selections $15 or for the really hungry 4 x dish options for $20. If you are lucky enough to be dating on a Saturday or Sunday, you can enjoy their famous all you can eat Yum Cha for $35. Bookings are essential for this, so you’d have to be presumptuous/quietly confident that your date will want to move to stage two.
Now that you have impressed your online date, they’ll be sure to have high expectations of the next one… Good thing you follow 50 First Dates | Melbourne.
- A Little Bird Told Me – 29 Little La Trobe St
- Wonderbao – Shop 4 Literature Lane
- Seven Seeds – 65 Barry St, Carlton (laneway entrance)
- Middle Fish – 122 – 128 Berkeley St, Carlton
- The Mission Cafe – 211 Chapel St, Prahran
- David’s – 4 Cecil Pl, Prahran