163 Grattan St, Carlton (map)
During the last week I've been having a ball back at Melbourne Law School, doing a work-funded, intensive, very useful Masters subject (thanks, work!). Of course the other huge benefit to being back (albeit temporarily) at uni, apart from catching up with friends still studying at or working at uni, is the chance to revisit all my favourite uni food haunts and write them up here on Melb Gastronome!
Animal Orchestra is my favourite cafe within walking distance from the law school. It's up on Grattan Street opposite the Graduate Building, in an old double storey terrace that once housed a rather sad-looking French restaurant.
Back in 2005-2006, Animal Orchestra was run by brothers John and Marcello (ex-The European, if memory serves), who were always super-lovely to me and would let me sit in a decoupage-decorated corner for hour after hour with a never-ending caffe latte as I worked through my class reading.
I took work colleague and fellow Masters student J there on Wednesday. As we walked up, I was rabbiting on about how much I loved their toasted panino #5 - the one with Viet pork, lettuce, carrot and hoi sin - only to find upon arrival that it was no longer on the menu! :_(
Instead I got the new #6: roast beef, fontina, caramelised onion, Dijon mayo and lettuce. J went with the #1: chicken, bacon, tasty cheese, pesto and thyme mayo. They were $8.80 each and both were delish.
Animal Orchestra is pretty great at all hours of the day - long before I'd even heard of Birdman Eating I was coming to Animal Orchestra to get baked eggs in individual little pans with interesting combinations like leek & shanklish, sardines & fetta, or goat's cheese & caramelised witlof. In addition to lunchtime panini there are always a two soups of the day and at night you can get a few modest tapas with wines or boutique beers. Definitely worth a look!