221 Berkeley Street, Carlton (map)
Sorry for the disruption in regular programming: the trip to Perth and my obsession with a certain election have both been distracting me from writing... :)
Like I mentioned in my Animal Orchestra review, being back at Melbourne Uni doing a Masters subject last month was a great opportunity to revisit some of my favourite student lunch spots.
Garage is such a venue. It's in Berkeley Street, up towards the Melbourne Uni medical building, and is located in an actual 700 sq metre garage, which gives it a slightly grungy, industrial feel. The guys running the café clearly LOVE cars: Garage hosts Mini Cooper reunions on the second Wednesday of every month, and the photo gallery on the Garage website is just as dedicated to cars as it is to food...
Garage is also home to some of the best Indonesian food in Melbourne! It's open Monday to Friday 12pm to 10pm, and Saturday from 5pm to 10pm.
During my week back at uni I went there for dinner with a big group (including the lovely Miss T) after a public lecture on international law, then back again for lunch the next day with A and J.
My absolute favourite dish to order at Garage is the Soto Ayam ($9.50). Ah, Soto Ayam. Garage's Soto Ayam is one of those dishes I start to actively pine for if I haven't had it for a few months... I'd go so far as to say it's in my top 10 favourite dishes in Melbourne!
Which is not to say that Garage's Soto Ayam is one of the top 10 most amazing or complex or spectacular dishes I've ever had in Melbourne, but... it's just REALLY TASTY comfort food. The stock is rich and nourishing and studded with soft pieces of poached chicken, shallots, fresh cabbage and half a boiled egg. It comes served in a bowl with a side order of freshly made sambal soto and steamed rice.
On the odd occasion when I don't feel like chicken soup, I like to order the Chicken Thai Green Curry (also $9.50). It may not be in a Thai restaurant, but is absolutely delicious nonetheless - with a bit of red capsicum, fried tofu and lashings of bamboo shoots.
If you fancy a bit of an Indonesian fry-up, the Nasi Pecel Komplit ($14) gets you fried chicken, tempeh and tofu, with some steamed vegetables, cucumber smeared with home-made peanut sauce and steamed rice.
There are also has plenty of options for vegetarians (unlike Indonesian cafe Blok M Express in Little Bourke Street, where vegetarians can sadly only order entrees of gado gado and tempeh!), with Garage offering eight vegetarian mains including these Hokkien Noodles ($8.50).
This review is for you Miss T... sorry it took me so long! xx :)