The Age Cheap Eats 2003 - 500 reasons to leave home
Cafes in two of Melbourne's newest dining precincts are among the star performers in The Age Cheap Eats 2003. Now in its 17th year, the guide is set to hit the streets on Tuesday 6 May and reviews more than 500 of Victoria's best-value eateries, including 250 new entries.
Despite dire warnings from food industry experts that Melbourne was overburdened with cafes, two of Melbourne's newest hotspots, "Mecca Bah", at New Quay in the Docklands, and "Chocolate Buddha", at Federation Square in the City's heart, are among the award winners.
The award winners are:
- Cheap Eats 2003 Spot of the Year: Mecca Bah, Docklands
- Cheap Eats 2003 Country Spot of the Year: Cliffy's, Daylesford
- Hall of Fame Award: Marios Cafe, Fitzroy
- Barista of the Year: Christian Gattermayr, Gravy Train Cafe, Yarraville
- Breakfast Dish of the Year: Spanish omelette with potato and zucchini, roasted capsicum sauce and grilled chorizo at the Rathdowne Street Food Store, Carlton North
- Pizza of the Year: Turkish pizza with pumpkin, feta, chilli and pomegranate jam at Mecca Bah, Docklands
- Noodle Dish of the Year: Miso-ramen-tori (miso soup with ramen noodles and teriyaki chicken) at Chocolate Buddha, Federation Square
- Chilli Hit of the Year: Larb ped (duck salad) at Ying Thai, Abbotsford
- Bar of the Year: Phoenix, Melbourne
Reviewing more than 900 cafes, bars, pubs, food stores and takeaway joints, The Age Cheap Eats 2003 reviewing team has pounded the pavement searching for the best-value eateries - places where two courses are $25 or less a head.
Editor Roslyn Grundy says more than 300 failed to make the cut.
"The book might be called Cheap Eats, but our primary mission is to tell you about the places that will blow your mind without blowing your budget,'' she says. ''If the food isn't good, you won't find it in the guide.''
For food lovers who don't mind going the extra mile for a good meal, this year's guide features more than 100 places within day-trippingdistance of Melbourne, including an expanded chapter on the Geelong and Bellarine Peninsula, and a comprehensive section on Central Victoria, covering Ballarat for the first time.
"We've noticed a real improvement in regional Victoria this year,'' says Roslyn. "Chefs are crafting interesting menus that draw on produce grown or made close by. And these days there is plenty of great coffee to be had outside the city limits."
''We've also introduced insider guides to Melbourne's various neighbourhoods and regions, covering inexpensive eating options such asfish and chip joints and pie shops, upmarket restaurants offering special deals and farmers' markets," says Roslyn.
The Age Cheap Eats 2003 also features interviews with Melbourne celebrities such as Dave Hughes, Red Symons, and Brooke Satchwell, who reveal the dishes they daydream about, where they hang out for a quick bite and their favourite takeaway haunts.
The Age Cheap Eats 2003
Published by The Age. Edited by Roslyn Grundy
RRP: $19.95 (includes GST and four weeks' subscription to The Age)