CONVENIENCE, lifestyle and lattes. That could be the catchphrase for Carnegie, a small suburb in Melbourne’s south east that is punching well above its weight — and the state’s average — when it comes to location and livability factors.
Lying just 12km southeast of Melbourne’s central business district (Mont Albert, Bulleen, Reservoir, Sunshine North and Essendon all boast similar distances), Carnegie was one of the surprising top 10 inclusions in corporate services firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers’ inaugural City Pulse report. The landmark livability index, which ranks suburbs based on a range of criteria measuring the best places to live, work and play, gave the 3163 postcode the stamp of approval for lifestyle factors — such as proximity to bars, entertainment, dining, hospitals, schools and jobs.
Daily Life pictures taken in Carnegie. Picture by Wayne Taylor 3rd January 2018.
But for residents who call the leafy locale home, Carnegie’s status among the top ten suburbs to live in Melbourne comes as no surprise.
It is within close proximity to major shopping precincts and centres — Chadstone, Glenferrie Road (Malvern), High Street (Armadale) and Chapel Street are just 15 minutes by car.
So too are the sparkling blue beaches of Port Phillip Bay’s sandbelt suburbs.
As well as being within easy reach of major hospitals, freeways and universities (Monash being the recurring moniker), there are also three parks (Koornang Park, Lord Reserve and Packer Park Pavillion), two gyms, a swimming centre and a library within its suburban boundary.
The $10.8 million Booran Reserve playground in Glen Huntly might be Melbourne’s most expensive park. Picture: Valeriu Campan
And being bordered by Caulfield, Malvern East and Glen Huntly means residents only have to drive next door to take advantage of the festivals and family fun days at Caulfield Racecourse, the beautifully maintained fairways of Malvern Valley, lush walking and cycling tracks along Gardiners Creek Trail and the $11 million kids’ wonderland that is Booran Reserve — dubbed Melbourne’s most expensive playground.
Stunning Edwardian-era homes are a feature of Carnegie’s streetscapes.
Carnegie’s character-filled, art-deco and Edwardian streetscapes are also undergoing a transformation, with large-scale apartment blocks and developments popping up on every other corner. This gentrification and investment has seen the suburb become an increasingly attractive location for trendy cafes, with newcomers such as Left Field, Huff Bagelry and The Nude Duck Cafe upping the local brunch game.
And if you’re after a delicious, hip-pocket-friendly feast — look no further than Koornang Road’s globally inspired eat street. The shopping strip boasts myriad cuisines — including Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese, Malaysian, Thai, Japanese, Russian, Greek, Italian and even French.
Here is how to eat your way around this gourmet foodie playground.
WHY WE LOVE THE ‘NEGIE
Oreo doughnut sliders are the name of the brunch game at Left Field. Picture: Eugene Hyland
358 Koornang Rd, Carnegie
Bright and bustling cafe from the same team that brought you Touchwood (Richmond), Tall Timber (Prahran) and, more recently, Plain Sailing in Elwood. It’s famous for its sauteed breakfast greens, cookies and cream doughnut sliders and Middle Eastern cauliflower, chickpea and kale hash.
SPILT MILK: 288 Neerim Rd, Carnegie
Local meeting spot for brunch addicts and specialty coffee enthusiasts. The menu features creative dishes named after animals. Try the cow: baked eggs with chorizo, fetta, greens beans and herbs. The monkey bowls of seasonal fruit with yoghurt, berries and mint is also an AM delight.
PLATFORM 3 CAFE AND TAPAS BAR: Shop 5, 23 Koornang Road, Carnegie
Conveniently located opposite Carnegie train station, at this industrial-inspired coffee shop-come-tapas bar you can get a sweet, single origin hit from Armadale roaster The Bean Cartel. You can also pick between three different smashed avo options in the AM or, if evenings are more your cup of tea, stop in for some tapas and live music. They also do a pretty mean chocolate and walnut brownie.
SIBLING SPICE: 56-58 Koornang Rd, Carnegie
Friendly brunch spot boasting Bistro Morgan doughnuts, Hong Kong-style bubble waffles and vibrant breakfast classics with a contemporary twist. Hello, avocado, mango and kale salad on toasted sourdough with beetroot puree, pomegranate and toasted seeds.
THE NUDE DUCK CAFE: 63 Koornang Rd, Carnegie
Cosy, unassuming breakfast spot with a bold menu. Try the pulled ham benedict, chai-infused Bircher muesli or berry hot cakes with fairy floss, crushed pistachio and spiced syrup.
We’ll huff and we’ll puff and we’re blow the doors down. Picture: Supplied.
HUFF BAGELRY 112 Koornang Rd, Carnegie
Are you bready for this? This specialty bagel store sells all the varieties you could ever wish for. Plain, poppy seed, blueberry, choc-chip, rye, gluten-free. You name, these guys can top with butter and jam, tuna melt, chopped egg and bacon, meat loaf, avo or even kefalograviera and marinated artichokes. Available in regular size, or have a bagel smorgasbord and get a bunch of mini bagels so you can try them all.
Taco ‘bout a perfect catch. Picture: The Catch via Facebook
THE CATCH: 158 Koornang Rd, Carnegie
Grilled, battered or in a burger — this Koornang Road fish and chippery is a cult favourite. It’s fresh and cooked to perfection every time. As well as bagging up some of Melbourne’s best fish and chips (according to locals, at least) this place also makes some pretty boss burgers, calamari and tacos.
PARADAI THAI: 75 Koornang Rd, Carnegie
This place is worth a visit just for the signature red duck curry and caramelised grilled pork with sticky rice. The coconut custard with salted coconut milk is also a delicious way to finish.
SHYUN: 126 Koornang Rd, Carnegie
Shyun is the Japanese work for ‘season’, which is the philosophy behind this modern Japanese eatery. The sashimi is fresh and light and the tempura prawn sushi is up there with the best of them. Or build your own bento box. Because miso chicken katsu. Actually, it’s pretty much all good. The iPad ordering system makes it fast and convenient, and means you can order all the food without getting a weird looks from your waiter.
Settle in for a night of Eastern European entertainment at Matrioshka. Picture: Facebook
MATRIOSHKA: 1046 Dandenong Rd, Carnegie
For an authentic — not to mention thoroughly enjoyable — Russian experience, Melbourne’s oldest Russian restaurant is the place to go. The grilled eggplant, meat doughnuts (piroshki) and chicken matrioshka have garnered a cult following. The dessert crepes dumplings are also a moreish treat. There is live music and it’s BYO (with no fee for corkage) so you’re in for some real Russian hospitality.
BASILICO: 129 Koornang Rd, Carnegie
Jazz tunes, mood lighting and wood-fired pizzas. Try the gourmet prawn pizza with a napoli base, spinach, kingsize prawns, buffalo mozzarella, roasted capsicum and a touch of pesto. Nom.
Creperie house roules say you should never stop at one. Picture: Roule Galette, Facebook
LIZZY’S CHOCOLATE CREATIONS: 172 Koornang Rd, Carnegie
Lizzy’s is a family chocolate company that started making Belgian chocolates before they became popular (doors opened in 1983). Keith Van Tilberg is the founder and his daughter Ingrid Nichols has now taken over the delectable store. It’s nostalgia at its finest. Stop in for a hot chocolate and a treat, or pop by for gourmet gifts or dinner party treats. Dessert chocolate cups, anyone?
ROULE GALETTE: 104 Koornang Rd, Carnegie
Traditional, French-style sweet crepes and gourmet galettes (savoury crepes). The galettes are naturally gluten free as they are made using buckwheat flour and come filled with a mouth-watering selection of savoury morsels. Hot drinks, milkshakes, wines, beers and French ciders are also on the menu.
Get your feast on at one of Carnegie’s many Korean restaurants. Picture: Mrs Kim’s Grill, Facebook
Korean food is turning up the heat in Carnegie, with myriad grill and barbecue restaurants popping up along the popular shopping strip. The authentic, marinated ribs and chilli pork belly from Mrs Kim’s Grill are to dine for but, be warned, you’ll want to book as wait times can be as long as an hour and a half. Don’t miss the hot pots at Kimchi Grandma. The hot stone chicken bibimbab from Pocha Grill is served sizzling hot and delicious. Their Korean fried chicken is also zingy and next-level crispy — opt for half and half; original and sweet and spicy. If you want to eat where Korean eat, Hankki is your go-to — tasty food and great value for money. Try the spicy pork with rice. Yami Yami is one of the newest addition to Koornang’s Korean scene and packs a deliciously authentic punch. The signature dish — cheonchun spicy chicken (dakgalbi) — has been devoured with rave reviews. So too their spicy beef rib stew. The takoyaki, dumplings and cheesy corn are also crowd favourites.
The recently refurbished Rosstown Hotel offers everything you want in a local. Picture: Supplied.
ROSSTOWN HOTEL: 1084 Dandenong Rd, Carnegie
Grab a booth, a table, a bar or a day lounge and settle in for an afternoon at the recently refurbished Rosstown Hotel, which took out the Australian Hotels Association award for the Best Sports Bar (Metropolitan). With five Fox Sport Channels on pay TV as well as Sky, free-to-air, great food, full betting facilities and a beer garden — it is the ultimate sports lovers’ paradise. Tuesday night is poker night and there’s live music Friday throughSunday. Get around it. There’s also all-day tapas on offer in the cosy front bar and pub favourites available from the bistro.
THE WILLIAM MURRAY TAVERN: 1b Morton Ave, Carnegie
Carnegie was originally called Rosstown after prominent developer William Murray Ross, one of the early pioneers of the area. The William Murray Tavern was named in his honour. It is a cool little hole in the wall hidden down a laneway with a relaxed cafe vibe by day and chilled bar and Mexican restaurant by night.
All pho one and one pho all. Picture: Blue Ginger Viet Kitchen and Bar, Facebook
Get your fix at Pho 66. There’s nothing fancy about this cheap and cheerful Vietnamese joint, but the food speaks for itself. Cheap, fast, generous and packed with flavour. The vegie spring rolls are crispy and light, the bun is fresh and packed with herbs and the broken combination rice is a staple. But, as the name suggests, it’s all about the mighty pho — and these guys have some of the best broth going ‘round. It’s all about the bao Blue Ginger Viet Kitchen and Bar. The pawpaw salad and banh mi are also fresh and deelish. With a northern Vietnamese influence, the food here is lighter and more subtle than southern Viet cooking, and many ingredients are imported from Ha Noi to ensure authentic flavours and reflect the true tastes of Vietnam. Try the rare beer pho and the Hanoi spring rolls.
When you’re feeling down in the dumps, the best remedy is to get down with the dumps. Picture: Dumpling Workshop, Facebook.
Some nights it’s impossible to resist the call of the wonton and, when those dumpling cravings strike, Koornang Road has you covered. With a selection of mouth-watering meat parcel wrappers, this Asian-influenced strip is a gastronomic playground that caters to gourmet tastes on a backpacker’s budget. And at these dumpling joints, it’s the button on your pants — not your budget — that you’re likely to break. The homemade chicken and prawn dumplings at Lu Yang are big, juicy and lightly pan fried so there’s not excessive oil. Eastern Dumpling House is a local institution dishing up authentic Shanghai cuisine. Don’t miss their mini wontons in peanut butter sauce or their xiao long bao. Auntie’s Dumpling Restaurant is a favourite among students — cheap, cheerful and always a crowd pleaser. The chicken and chive dumplings at Dumpling Workshop are a must-eat, and the steamed beef dumplings are juicy and packed with flavour. They also do yummy vegan and vegetarian morsels.
Lu Yang Dumpling House: 60 Koornang Road, Carnegie;
Eastern Dumpling House: 132 Koornang Road, Carnegie;
Auntie’s Dumpling Restaurant: 68 Koornang Road, Carnegie;
Dumpling Workshop: 64 Koornang Road, Carnegie
Article courtesy of:
Future Melbourne 2018: Why we love Carnegie, Victoria
TIANNA NADALIN, Herald Sun
March 6, 2018