Junie Moon’s, 511 Spencer Street, Melbourne. Phone: 8354 8426
Anyone who lives in the Melbourne’s west – particularly the inner west – knows a profound truth about our relationship with the rest of Melbourne.
It is this: Unlike the those who live in the eastern or northern suburbs, Melbourne’s CBD and other inner-city locales are, for us, neighbours.
It’s so simple, so easy – a quick drive over the bridge or down Footscray or Dynon roads, and there we are.
And that means West Melbourne is very much in play for eating adventures for Consider The Sauce and its readers.
The area bounded by King Street and the railways lines, with Spencer Street in the middle, is easy to take for granted.
But it is actually quite heavily residential.
Those residents have a slowly growing range of cafes, and a few pubs, from which to choose.
But almost all of those options are closed at night and at the weekends.
Junie Moon’s, by contrast, is these days open for breakfast and lunch at the weekends.
So good is the food we enjoy, you can bet we’d be there once – and maybe twice – each and every weekend if we lived hereabouts.
Even better, so far as I can tell all of the lunch offerings clock in at about the $15 mark price-wise.
Junie Moon’s is very cool cafe with a nice vibe and run by a crew who take real pride in the food they turn out.
The front dining room, which fronts Spencer Street, and a lovely garden out back sandwich the kitchen-and-coffee area.
Junie Moon’s more substantial meals are rostered through a revolving list that is updated weekly on their Facebook page, so the food discussed here is only broadly representative.
The list invariably includes dishes of Asian or Middle Eastern inspiration and also house-made pasta.
Seeing what’s new every week has become, for me, something to look forward to – even if I have no immediate plans to visit.
The fig and pig salad is a zesty, light delight.
Nestling among all those spinach leaves are fresh figs, grilled peaches, goat curd and prosciutto, all doing a lovely tango with a toasted walnut dressing with good nutty flavour.
It’s a notably odd thing to be served a burger without the option of fries – but it’s no problem as we simply accept that Junie Moon’s is not a deep-fryin’ kind of place.
And certainly Bennie has no complaints at all about his smokey braised brisket burger with cheese and citrus mayo ($16.50).
He rates the plentiful, juicy, tender meat very highly.
It’s very unusual for me to order pasta with a cream-based sauce.
This photo of my house-made gnocchi with chicken and mushrooms in a garden tarragon, wine and cream sauce ($16) would seem to be a good illustration of why that is so.
It is a perfectly accurate reflection of what is served – but in just about every regard this photo is a lie.
Because … yes, it is a very rich sauce, but it is divinely tangy and ripe with tarragon flavour.
The pan-fried dumplings buried therein are gorgeous and light.
And the equally plentiful chicken breast pieces also defy the stodgy visuals by being both tender and flavoursome.
We enjoy excellent coffees and half each of a wonderful gluten-free chocolate brownie ($4).
Finally, every bit as good as anything we’ve eaten is the pot of superb raspberry, vanilla and orange jam we take home.