Monday, 1 June 2015

En Garde

Port Melbourne is hardly famed for its farmyard animals, so the sight of a portly chicken freely wandering the pavements of Rouse Street must surely raise many a neatly plucked eyebrow.
Although this hen actually seems convinced that it's a guard dog, as it barks a warning to passers by of what is presumably its home. Along with the private fish market next door, this is a delightfully nostalgic corner of town.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Beluga

It's a brave person that attempts to bring a grilled fish & posh salad business model to the original home of Hunky Dory. Evidently Belvga with a 'U', who already operate a store in South Yarra, hopes to entice some hunky (and Old Salt) custom their way.
Although their shop frontage, in the base of the 101 complex, is wider than HD's, their outdoor table space is no bigger and, crucially at this time of year, doesn't boast outdoor heating. However for traditional sea-side fish & chips lovers they do benefit from being that much closer to the beach.
For the moment at least, the ambience in the spacious interior is quiet, which should tempt those nearby apartment dwellers that are happy to avoid frenetic queues. And when they do they'll find that the quality and freshness is very similar to the more famous counterpart.

Friday, 1 May 2015

Erinsborough

TV shows like The Block offer enticing glimpses of the potential riches to be had from buying properties and then squeezing the maximum renovation return from them. What they don't show however is the effect on both neighbours, and neighbourhood, from months of major construction work. And once focussed on profit, rather than say improving your own home, developers have minimal incentive for showing any respect or compassion for those nearby whose communal facilities, and vista, and parking, and morning sleep, are inevitably impacted in the pursuit of their prize.
Which is why I feel particularly sorry for this house facing Edwards Park which has the severe misfortune of demolition and construction occurring on both sides. In place of a single brick built bungalow to the right, they currently have a masterclass in selfish development, with a grossly outsized polystyrene box, complete with underground parking and real-estate agent friendly roof-top terrace. It remains to be seen what the other half of this sandwich of misery will look like.

Friday, 24 April 2015

3D apple

Following on from my post on Google Street View's ability to step back in time, the much maligned Apple Maps also has a pretty neat trick up its sleeve.
It turns out that you don't need to board a 39-metre long blimp to ogle at the Spirit of Tasmania from up high. The software that uses 3D gaming techniques to wrap acute angled satellite images onto vector shapes works surprisingly well on our local sea front.
I encourage anyone with access to an Apple device to do a fly-by. Luna Park and and the Palais Theatre are particularly worth a look.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Domino effect

Port Melbourne's post office moved from the building opposite the Exchange Hotel around 1910, just in time for the beginning of the reign of King George, as signified upon its Palladian gabled front. I wouldn't have thought there was much sadder fate for such significant heritage building, than to be lying forlornly empty for years. That is until I saw the eventual replacement for Bay Street's sorely missed Readings bookstore.
For a supposedly health-obsessed suburb, Port Melbourne already has a plentiful supply of pizza vendors, so the garish arrival of the world's biggest pizza chain is ... a disappointment. It's a great pity that the inventive pattern of reuse set by Corte couldn't have been followed here. I had my hopes set on some Latin spark establishing Port Melbourne's first taqueria. Instead we just have mopeds cluttering the pavement and a yawn-worthy menu of cheese overload.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Graham and Clare

Is there any street in Port Melbourne with a greater personality split than Graham Street? To the North of Bay Street it's the beginning of multi-lane State Route 33, with its steady flow of semis over the fly-over from Fisherman's Bend towards the ferry terminal, or down the bay. To the South meanwhile it's a sleepy residential street linking the shops with gasworks park.
The relative fortunes of the properties on either side of this divide is mirrored by their respective remaining pubs. Both the Clare Castle and The Graham have distinct dining and drinking areas, but it's hard to fathom two more different establishments. Having been, I suspect, one of the few folk to have patronised both the Clare's lounge bar and the Graham's wine bar (or GWB if you really must), I wouldn't recommend both to the same person; you will like one or the other.
However when it comes to their dining options, I think it is possible to appreciate them both, for different occasions. The Clare's bistro offers keenly priced pub grub without fuss or fanfare. It's family friendly and not overly encumbered by the sports action next door. The Graham meanwhile offers genuine fine dining with attentive service that is ideal for occasions special enough to justify the $30+ dishes.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Legendary views

Whilst providing aerial advertising for its white goods client, the Southern Hemisphere's only manned blimp has also been taking some creative pictures from above.
Amongst the set shown in today's Herald Sun are a few familiar sights, once you get your head round the unusual angle.
Pictures: Eugene Ryland

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Beyond belief

I was bemused when the café at the base of the HM@S apartments, whose penthouse is currently asking a price beyond belief, was renamed from Bellezain to simply Boat. But that was considerably more creative than the frankly dismal name chosen for the latest incarnation of what was, until recently, the charming Harold Holt espresso lounge.
Staking a, not very, bold claim to be "Beyond Basic", the self declared speciality (or specialty if you prefer) for this beach-facing café is their coffee; which is a considerable disservice to the, clearly accomplished and ambitious, chef. With a wide selection of beans, some heavyweight brewing equipment and an enthusiastic barista, the coffee's certainly not basic, but how does it compare to the best of Bay Street?

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Underpass

It's hard to imagine a less contentious canvas than the dingy expanses of concrete that lie beneath Graham Street's 1970's overpass. Now a joint state and council funded project has seen the drab tagging replaced with the sort of street art so conspicuously rare elsewhere in the area.
The project has seen artists like Searious Jones collaborating with local residents to bring much needed colour and interest to the bridge over the 109, and all for a cost not that much higher than the annual cost of graffiti removal from the site.