Duck Sausages at Riverland

Riverland sits in Federation Wharf, just below Federation Square on the banks of the Yarra. It's a great place for lunch on a sunny day, it's probably the best 'beer garden' in the CBD. My highlight is the Outdoor BBQ, where excellent and good value sausages can be had.
On my last visit I had duck and pistachio, but there's always three or four options. All sausages sit between $7-$8 and come with a good bun, onions, sauerkraut and of course sauce and mustard. It's basically a really good hot-dog, in a beautiful setting.

Riverland is open 7-midnight 7 days a week and the do a nifty breakfast as well with rowers swishing past down the Yarra to add ambiance.

Vaults 1-9, Federation Wharf, off Princes Bridge


The Ruben at CH2

CH2 is a new(ish) cafe/bar/restaurant integrated into the base of Council House 2. It's a nice indoor/outdoor space that has lots of nooks and crannies for perching or lunching. There is a swanky lunch menu and wine list but the sandwich list is equally good and great value.

I could have had the chicken and avocado for $8, but elected for the $10 Ruben. The Ruben is a largish toasted sanga filled with good Gruyere, pickles and unsurprisingly a good slab of Ruben (like a pastrami). It was exactly as it should be. If you're feeling fancy there's a Club Sandwich with house-made lattice crisps but that pushes you past $15.

It's a nice space, and nice to pay $10 or less and get a sanga freshly made from good product served on a plate with cutlery and a glass of water.

Open Mo-Sa 730am-1130pm

240 Little Collins Street


Chicken Mezze Lunchbox at Little Big Harvest

Big Harvest is a favourite of mine in Carlton, but seeing as it's in Carlton it was a weekend only option - until now. Little Big Harvest is a 'branch office' operating out of a hole in the wall in Causeway Place. If you like a organic, feral, homegrown, health food vibe with your lunch but you've got more than a dollar - move on from Crossways and head round the corner.

For $9.50 I have the Chicken Mezze Lunchbox, (you can also have the Falafel version which is equally delicious). Inside your box you get a few tandoori drumsticks, a few dolmades, a choice of 2 or 3 salads (lentil and feta, beetroot, carrot currant and cashew, and a chickpea as well), a slop of hummus and a hunk of fresh, crusty bread roll. Delicious and nutritious, and a vague sense of some ethical pay-off as well.

Shop 2, Causeway Place, Melbourne


The Crombie Pizza at Portello Rosso

Portello Rosso is like a caricature of a Melbourne restaurant. It's down a gloomy cobblestone lane way off Little Bourke Street. Once you enter it's all warm timber, leather, open kitchen, wines and general Med-Iberian vibe. It's actually a pizza and ham bar and it's quite nice on a rainy day.

Lots of small tapas options and a range of pizza. I had the Crombie which was a good sized smoked bacon, potato, cheese, rosemary, Spanish onion on a tomato base and a proper thin crust. Yum.

$15. Good wine list as well if that's your thing.

15 Warbuton lane.


Vietnamese Pork & Salad Roll at N Lee Bakery

On the strength of a hot tip from Jean Michel Jarre who loves all things French (including Vietnam) I sampled the Pork Roll at N Lee Bakery in Little Collins Street. The baguette was fresh (baked on premises), crusty and light in the way Vietnamese do so well. The Vietnamese salad inside was full of the crunch of coriander, cucumber, carrot and radish and set off well against the richness of the pork.
And the best bit - $5.
62 Little Collins Street (cnr McGraths Lane, opp Pony)


Cevapchichi at Carlton Hotel

The Carlton Hotel now does lunch on Fridays. This is especially good for summer as they have an excellent deck that opens out from the bar area on Level 1. The menu had some big stuff and then a lot of the smaller sized plates for sharing (or just eating if you're me). I tried the Cheesy Poofs and the Cevapchchi. Cheesy Poofs were OK but more of a snack than lunch. The Cevap's on the other hand were pretty good value for for $12. Three moist, chewy, tasty logs of Slavic porkiness with some dipping sauce to accompany. Not too fatty, but enough fat to go well with a beer on a hot summers afternoon.

193 Bourke St, Melbourne (Lunch on Fridays)


Yum Cha at Oriental Tea House

Bashed out a quick Yum Cha with M at Oriental Tea House.

Sitting in 2 minutes, eating from the trolley in 3, finished in 20. Dumplings, beef, squid, spring rolls were all fresh, light and tasty. Best Yum Cha I've had in years and doubly so because it was unexpected. Two people could easily eat well* for $15-$20 a head.

378 Little Collins Street

*Eat well meaning it doesn't feel like a credit crunch lunch.


Spaghetti at Journal Canteen

Lunch at Journal Canteen with B and T. Entree sized spaghetti putanesca (B loves 'working girls') was sizeable, more than enough for lunch and good value at $15. With free stovetop espresso you are away for $15 in one of 3000's best Italians.

253 Flinders Lane.


Dumplings at the North East China Family

Impromptu lunch with C at the "North East China Family" (catchy isn't it). It is a newish Chinese restaurant but the dumplings are why everyone is here. NECF is raising the stakes for the Camy Shanghai in Chinatown.

For $8ish 15 dumplings are delivered to your table and they're BIG. They seem freshly made and the 28 we consumed (half pork and cabbage, half vego) were delicious and filling without sending me to sleep. The restaurant is clean, bright, airy and modern but still a bit wonky in the best way.

302 Flinders Lane.