Sunday, 12 October 2008

Back-to-uni lunch at Animal Orchestra

Animal Orchestra
163 Grattan St, Carlton (map)
9349 4944

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

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.

Animal Orchestra

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! :_(

Roast beef foccacciaChicken foccaccia

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!

Animal Orchestra


Sarah said...

Oh yum!

I love Animal Orchestra. I used to go there quite often with my friend who did Information Systems (down the same end of uni). I miss uni cafes, like Animal Orchestra and Castro's. Boo.

xox Sarah

jfox said...

it's always nice to go back to old haunts =)

i've been writing at uni for most of the year and, as slaves to cawfee, we tried many cafes in and around uni and kept coming back to a.o (or kere kere if it's sunny)

it made returning to campus a little easier - where did all the young folks come from!! =p

irisav said...

Animal Orchestra is wonderful, although perhaps not quite as wonderful since the changing of hands.

On the past three or four visits to eat (I don't go there nearly as much as I did last year) when I've ordered the soup it has been very flavoursome but much saltier than I ever recall. Also the muffins which used to be these lovely moist things made I think with a wholemeal flour are now these incredibly commercial and processed things that digest very uncomfortably - so essentially like anything that you could get at a cheap 'caf' as opposed to a cafe.

Although having said that I went there in early in the year for my birthday with friends, and I'm fairly certain it had changed hands at this point. It was the evening so we ordered a bottle of the pinot noir and three tapas items: olives, tuna croquettes and marinated pickled baby octopus. The wine was delightful, as were the olives and croquettes and the octopus was sublime.

porly said...

I agree with Irisav - the new people have some bad pretender attitudes going on. Service was a bit crap last time I was there, and it kind of felt like i was interrupting a family lunch. Lose the tude dudes! It is just a cafe!