Church Lane, Melbourne (map)
A new Cafenatics cafe opened very close to our office late last year. I'm still mostly faithful to SMXL and Bambini Barrista, but sometimes our little work posse crosses over Little Collins and grabs a cup of joe at Cafenatics (I prefer this branch in all its concrete bunker glory, but when L is with us we go to the one at 121 William Street, because it has outside seating so L can have a cigarette).
Foodwise, they do a nifty little range of roti wraps, many of them with chicken and various flavours (including Thai and Mexican). This is the Thai one: my favourite. I've only tried their roti wraps, but they always have a couple of risotti on offer (love the specials written on a paper bag which is weighed down by a big handful of coffee beans!).
K.Shock Bento Box
Shop 8, 530 Little Collins Street, Melbourne (map)
K.Shock Bento Box is next door to Bambini Barrista, so is super-convenient for us if we only have time for a quick lunch break. It's staffed by a trio of Japanese ladies - the eldest one who runs the place always indulges me by allowing me to practice my almost-forgotten Japanese with her as she takes my order and we make small talk about the weather or the weekend (I don't remember much other vocab!).
As well as a great range of inexpensive salads, K.Shock does a mean Curry Don. CD and I order it with alarming frequency!
Corner Flinders Lane and Custom House Lane, Melbourne (map)
Tucked behind the Rialto on Flinders Lane in a small but sleekly-designed space, Sataybar specialises in excellent made-to-order chargrilled satay skewers. The peanut sauce is made fresh daily, using Indonesian Grandmother's secret recipe. You can choose from chicken, lamb, spicy beef, prawn, tofu, spicy tofu or veggie skewers, served with rice/krupuk/salad: the small package is $7.70, the large is $9.90. And if you need any extra spice, they stock the fiery Capibu Jari Sambel Asli - best sambel ever!
Blok M Express
380 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne (map)
"In a little area in the south of Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, lies the heart of hustle and bustle where professionals, entrepreneurs, street thugs, buskers, government officials and students alike all congregate in an array of colour, nightclubs, markets and shopping centres. This district is known as Blok-M." (reads a sign in Blok M Express)
Down on Little Bourke between Sette Bello and +39 is Blok M Express, the express city sister of the Indonesian restaurant of the same name in Prahran (read Urban Muslim's review to learn a little about the interesting backstory of the owner). It's clean, cheap and quick - I like the mie goreng a lot and the tempeh is tasty, but I must say I still prefer the soto ayam at my beloved Garage.
Shop 8, 550 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne (map)
How can you NOT love a cafe that has Tintin books alongside Gourmet Traveller Wine magazine?! :)
Demi-tasse is a more recent discovery. I've been there twice so far and have been impressed both times by their small but interesting and inexpensive (sub $10) lunch menu. When I took Miss F there during her recent visit from London, she ordered one of the specials: a fabulous zucchini timbale.
I've tried their veal meatballs, served in a rich tomato sugo, and their zucchini fritters served with salsa verde. Both were excellent. It's a tiny little place so it may be tricky to get a seat during the 1-2pm rush, but the staff are friendly and the coffee and wine list are both very promising. Recommended!