Barkley Johnson


11 Anderson St, Yarraville. Phone: 9687 6663

Perhaps it’s a sign that we’re putting down significant roots – that we have vivid recall of previous incarnations of premises inhabited by flash new businesses.

Certainly, both Bennie and I spent a goodly amount of time having our heads shorn – and, in my case, face shaved – in the old-school barber shop that previously filled 11 Anderson St.

After a long innings, he closed up shop quite a while ago.

He was part of what is a disappearing breed, often of Mediterranean or European extraction and usually cheap as chips. Well, compared to, ahem, hairdressers anyway.

We love them. We “collect” them. We may even start a blog on them in due course.

Anyway, being the nosy locals we are, we followed with interest the subsequent renovation. We had some idea what to expect, with Keith from Heather Dell telling us early in the piece that a wine bar of some sort was on the way.

And so it is. There’s wine, but not a whole lot of it. There’s deli produce and high-quality pastas, anchovies and other grocery items, but not a whole lot of them, either. There’s wholemeal baguettes for lunch at about the $7-8 mark, but virtually nothing else ‘cept antipasto options. There’s only toast for breakfast, very good coffee and less than a handful of sweeties such as baklava.

So what exactly is Barkley Johnson, and where does it figure to fit in the busy neighbourhood of Anderson and Ballarat streets?

The lovely staff tell me they’ve got to do the best and most they can with the space available.

I ask why I would make an extra stop for their deli items when I could cover them while at IGA across the road – or the new place being fitted out as we converse.

They reply in terms of quality, price and personal service.

I reckon they have a point, especially on the service angle.

As we sit at stools at the front window, with the early spring sunshine streaming in, Bennie and I feel like we’ve found a new favourite place in Yarraville to hang for a while and watch the world go by.

Despite space limitations, Barkley Johnson has nice vibe. There’s a smallish courtyard out back, a few more stools just inside the door to it and the handful of stools we’re hogging up front.

Bennie’s been a bit crook, so can’t even be tempted to have a hot chocolate, making do with a light, fluffy yoyo of, we are informed, Greek derivation – hard choccy top, sponge-like halves and creamy centre. It’s yummo and he digs it.

I have a similarly sized-and excellent coconut macaron with almond slivers.

Both sweeties and thoroughly superb coffee set back $8.

The previous week I’d had one of the filled baguette portions – ham, cheese, pickles. It was good, but the lovely wholemeal bread was of such robust flavour that the other ingredients struggled to make themselves known.

Nevertheless, on the basis of two very fine coffees, some sweeties an a couple of visits, we feel at home here.

Becoming regulars seems to likely to be both pleasurable and profitable.

Barkley Johnson on Urbanspoon

12 thoughts on “Barkley Johnson

  1. I like the look of that Yo-yo 🙂 Could be worth a visit for that alone.

    On the topic of haircuts though, since moving to Footscray I’ve become a fan of the local barbers/hairdressers. For instance Australian Institute of Hair and Aesthetics on Barkly St near the mall. Men’s haircuts for $7!


    • Yah, I know there’s places in Cray Central that go under $10. But I love the old-style guys … with the radio tuned an Italian or the racing stations. Faded pictures of the Blues or Bulldogs on the wall, alongside more recent ones of Victory or Barcelona. Barely decipherable tall stories mixed with blokey humour. You know the drill …


  2. I do know the drill 🙂 Used to have a Spencer St barber exactly like that but I left my nearby job many years ago. Isn’t there a place on Williamstown Rd near Charles St that seems to be an old-school barber? Only passed by, never been in.


    • Ha – yes! His name’s Doug and we’ve been there heaps of times. The place is a wonderland of junk! He gives Bennie lollies when we split. A real character, though he can get cranky at times! One of a kind. There’s pics all over the walls of him sprinting in stuff like the Stawell Gift. Ya gotta try him at least once. Cheap, too. He’d be the first one we blog.


  3. Love the pictures! 🙂 Yoyo just looks delightful!

    I often drive by the Continental hairdresser on Johnston street, which I think was featured in the age a year or two back and I love all the old memorabilia and what not that adorn the shop. It’s really like it’s been taken out of the past and photoshopped into today. Shame that these places are going down though….so much character lost… 😦


  4. Follow-up: Bennie and I had the $21 antipasto platter for a late Saturday lunch today. It was very, very good, and with bread on the side just right ‘n’ filling for the pair of us. Three different types of cured meat, artichokes, stuffed vine leave, red capsicum and sundried tomato, three different types of olive, coarse eggplant dip, crumbled fetta. Good value!


  5. Went for a glass of wine last night. Nice place! They were really friendly. I love the fact the owner’s from Yarraville, and the photos along the wall are actually of his parents when he was growing up.


  6. My husband and I were in last night for a wine and antipasto. We enjoyed it so much that we were back this morning for a coffee and toasted sandwich. Just looking at your snaps it would seem the menu has evolved considerably since your visit – more brekky options and a few interesting additions to the ‘late afternoon’ section.

    One of the young staff also informed us that they change their wine list fairly regularly, which is a great sign.


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