10 Dec Hood Food Guide: Collingwood – Snapshot
A Snapshot of the best eats in Collingwood from Hood Food Guide Episode Two.
We asked co-owners of Rockwell and Sons, Manu Potoi and Casey Wall, to be the hosts of this week’s Hood Food Guide episode to show us the best eats in Collingwood. Prepare yourselves for the feast.
WATCH: Episode Two of Hood Food Guide: Collingwood With Manu Potoi & Casey Wall.
Manu Potoi, formerly of Stokehouse and Attica and hailing from New Zealand, describes Collingwood as independent and alternative, filled with fresh and raw experiences. He wouldn’t be wrong in his description. This inner north suburb is a living kaleidoscope, and there’s not a better place to check out the diversity than on Smith Street where we begin our journey this episode.
Check out the highlights of the best eats in Collingwood we visited for Hood Food Guide Episode Two.
Why: Coffee obsession reaches a new high at Aunty Peg’s AKA Proud Mary Coffee Roasters. They brew and roast the best stuff in Melbourne, some would say the world. “Some” being us. Going there is a passionate experience, and the staff are incredibly knowledgeable, even intimate, about their roasts. You’ll be immediately intoxicated by the smells, sounds and intrigue from the moment you walk in the door.
Eat: Well, first thing’s first. Have a cup of coffee, no milk. The staff knows how to brew it right with the real coffee lovers being able to get special cups for $10+. Pair it with some super flaky and buttery pastries, like the Almond Croissants and Cruffins, made daily by their in-house pastry chef.
Get There: It’s on Wellington Street, so you might have an easier time finding parking. Everyone wants coffee during peak hour, so keep this in mind. If not, Hodgson Street stop on the 86 Tram is the closest, or you can take the train to Collingwood. Or ride your damn bike. When in Rome.
Contact: 200 Wellington Street, Collingwood, VIC 3066. (03) 9417 1444.
Why: Lines are down the block every lunch for this super local spot, and it’s no secret why. The Vietnamese sandwiches are a divine combination of classic French influence and rich Southeast Asian flavours, and everybody in Collingwood is hankering for a taste. In the episode, we show you the legendary crispy Vietnamese Pork Rolls, served up by kind and efficient staff who will start to remember your order after a couple of visits.
Eat: We loved the traditional Banh Mi, the Crispy Pork Roll and even their plentitude of vegan options like the Mock Duck or the Lemongrass Tofu. So many flavours in every bite!
Get There: If you’re driving in, try your luck on Smith, Johnston, or the back streets in between. The Keele Street stop on the 86 Tram is the closest, else you can take the train to Victoria Park.
Contact: No phone. 382 Smith Street, Collingwood, VIC 3066.
MAMA NEE THAI
Why: It’s one of those places that’s so good, you’ve probably never heard of it. It’s a family-run Southern Thai restaurant. The aunties who run the kitchen mash up some of the spiciest curry paste and most authentic Thai food in Melbourne, hands down. The atmosphere is so warm and hospitable, you might just forget that you’re in Collingwood, not Thailand.
Eat: Fried Chicken, Pineapple Fried Rice, Tom Kha Coconut Soup, Raw Prawn Salad…the list goes on. Bring some friends and share some plates if you know what’s good for you.
Get There: Take the Tram! 86 rolls right on Smith Street for your convenience, or you can check out Victoria Park train station for a bit of a walk. Parking on Smith is unreliable but you can usually shark one 20 minutes either side of the rush. The Safeway on Smith has parking, too.
Contact:324 Smith Street, Collingwood, VIC 2066. 03 9419 0538.
JIM’S GREEK TAVERN
Why: 1974. That’s the year Jim’s Greek Tavern graced Collingwood with its big, fat, Greek presence. It is now a neighbourhood staple and a true establishment. Jim’s knows how to work the floor. The place is packed every night, but that doesn’t stop the waitstaff from constantly being on top of it. They have a menu, but not asking for it is part of the fun. Just turn your brain off, let them feed you and bring a bottle or two because they don’t serve booze. Look across the room – one table has wine, the next a case of Melbourne Bitter, then next two bottles of Jack. Where else besides the Mediterranean can you get this?
Eat: The Grilled Octopus, the Lamb roasted on a spit and the Saganaki. As Casey said, hot caramelised cheese is a no-brainer. Let them feed you and don’t be afraid to ask what’s fresh. The menu is always changing and the seafood is legendary. Do like Manu and check the seafood cabinet as soon as you walk in.
Get There: The 86 Tram runs right up Smith Street. If you get off at the Johnston Street stop, you’ll be right there if you walk down the hill. Closest train station is Victoria Park, just a few minutes’ walk. If you’re parking, you’re not guaranteed a spot on either Smith or Johnston, but you can always give it a go. Use the backstreets off Johnston for better luck. Don’t bother if you’re planning on coupling your Greek meal with a bottle of Johnny Walker, though.
Contact:32 Johnston Street, Collingwood, VIC 2066. 03 9419 3827.
Words by Rebecca Bellan.