In a far, far away land lies the Melbourne hipster heartlands of Collingwood and Fitzroy.
Crawling out from my inner-south bubble that is Prahran, I decided to head north-side in search of some reasonably-priced homewares. Destination: Johnston Street, Fitzroy; and Smith Street, Collingwood. The latter being the equator between the two equally on-trend suburbs.
I’m not going to lie, shadowed by behemoth housing trust blocks and bursting with characters aplenty, venturing into the grungier, yet fast becoming gentrified, suburbs of Collingwood and Fitzroy was an initial culture shock.
However, once I spent some time walking around the graffiti-adorned streets, it’s obvious that the suburbs have a truck-load of redeeming qualities. Home to the arty intelligentsia, it’s a place with soul, a place where creativity oozes out of the brickwork, and where great eating and shopping is to be had.
Lunch at Smith Street Alimentari
Before any shopping can occur one must be appropriately fed and watered (or in my case caffeined).
Not really educated on Collingwood eating options, I popped my head into a few Smith Street cafés and eventually fell in love with the Italian delicatessen that is Smith Street Alimentari – the little sister of Brunswick Street’s original Alimentari.
Super busy, I was lucky to get a table outside in the charming courtyard, which was bustling with a strong coffee-drinking crowd. Handed a breakfast, lunch and sandwich menu, I felt a strong bout of choice overload coming on but settled on the pumpkin bread with hummus avocado and tomato salad, and I added a side of smoked salmon.
It is a beautiful provincial Italian, Santorini-inspired space to spend an hour in, eating my heavily garnished, healthy (for once) lunch.
Smith Street Alimentari also runs a mean take-away ship, with the adjoining delicatessan selling super fresh and delicious paninis, fresh pasta and everything you need for a winning antipasto and cheese platter.
Their take-home pronto dinner meals also look way better than anything I can incinerate at home. I’m just jealous that I don’t live in the area to make the most of them.
Smith Street Alimentari | 302 Smith Street, Collingwood, Victoria
Phone: (03) 9416 1666
Homewares shopping on Johnston Street
Back to homewares and trinket shopping; the reason for my north-side gallivant.
I could honestly spend hours coming up with scenarios to spend the money I don’t have in this wonderful little pocket on the Collingwood–Fitzroy border. I love just browsing the hordes of homewares and furniture stores that sell everything from handmade furniture and vintage pieces to quirky trinkets and on-trend staples. The merchandise here is arty and bespoke.
Update: Proforma Store has since closed.
So what did I end up buying? I actually bought a new work mate. A beautiful succulent planted in a yellow and grey pot to adorn my home office and keep me company during the day. However, I’ve since nearly killed it. I didn’t even know it was possible to kill a succulent!
Milkjamm for coffee and cake
Is it time for coffee and cake yet? After all that exhausting shopping and window shopping, um, yes!!
Smith Street Alimentari has both coffee and cake, but it doesn’t have the fluffiest of almond croissants. These you’ll find further down the road at bakery-cum-café Milkjamm.
Oozing a warm vibe, this is a great place to enjoy any number of full-fat, full-of-happiness pastries (if you somehow aren’t a fan of almonds or croissants there are plenty of other sugar-laden delicacies to choose from).
So there I am, sitting back with my second reasonably-priced coffee for the day and curiously watching the interesting comings and goings of Smith Street, Collingwood. An afternoon activity in itself.
Milkjamm | 280—282 Smith Street, Collingwood, Victoria
Phone: (03) 9415 6624