Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Operator 25, West Melbourne by Bureaucrat

Hello operator / Can you give me number nine? 
Can I see you later? / Will you give me back my dime? 

Operator 25 is located on the city fringe, in West Melbourne – just a short wander from Flagstaff Gardens. 

On a balmy day, Big Fil and Snooze led Ms W and I for a leisurely walk to Operator 25 for lunch.  They had both eaten at there before and liked it so much that they wanted to return.

Set in a heritage listed building (a former telephone exchange), there is something distinguished about Operator 25.  Because it’s away from the main CBD area, finding yourself in the street that O25 is located makes you feel like you’re a world away from the stress and traffic of everyday life.  

It’s a nice little sun-dappled street – quiet, clean and it makes you want to explore what’s behind each of the doors located on this street.  With all these things combined, you feel definitely feel like you’ve found something that’s just for you.

O25 is decorated in a Finnish-industrial style.  Exposed brickwork, sleek lines, wooden furniture with metal accents and big glass bowls of fresh flowers on display.  

I got a chai latte, which I regretted in getting.  It was a bit sickly sweet and came out so quickly that I couldn’t help but suspect that it came from a powder.

Fortunately, the food was definitely was above suspicion.  While we were all happy with our own choices, we all had food envy of each other.  Feeling the need to be healthy (yet again), I opted for the grain salad, which is made up of roasted carrots, parsnips, quinoa, burghul, barley, sunflower seeds, preserved lemon, dates, herbs and pomegranate dressing.  Everything was fresh and flavoursome.  I especially liked the fragrant burst of the preserved lemon.  Great value for money for $15.

Ms W got the very impressive twice cooked beef short ribs, carrot puree, sauteed veg and beef jus ($18). It was meaty, falling off the bone and wasn't gamey in flavour - thumbs up!  I loved the vibrant colour of the puree and the array of colourful veg on top.  Definitely a very big serve which was a challenge for Ms W to finish - and this was despite the fact that she had shared some of it with us all.  I'd love to order this for myself.  

Big Fil had his eye on the house suckling pig burger, savoy cabbage, chilli mayo, coriander on brioche bun w sweet potato wedges ($20).  I reckon by the way he had wolfed this down that he really enjoyed it.  The pork was tender and very juicy.  I liked the fact that the pork was a bit different to all the other slow cooked or pulled pork burgers you can find around town.  Unlike the typical American or Mexican style slow cooked/pulled pork, this was marinated in a Balinese style marinade.

Snooze got the smashed avo on toast, tassie smoked salmon, poached eggs, dill and tomato salsa ($18).  While many cafes serve avo on toast, I have to say this was definitely a cut above the rest - something which Snooze agreed with.  I reckon it was simply because of the freshness and great quality of the ingredients.  I loved the chewy bread and the salmon was definitely a very good quality one.  I also really liked the pretty plate on which it was served.

Plus we had to order a side dish, in this case - sweet potato chips.  Impressive crinkle cut chips ($6).  They weren't oily or greasy, and it had a lovely crunchy bits all each massive chip.  If you're ordering this, make sure to not gobble them down the moment they arrive - they are absolutely piping hot inside.

Food - 8.5
Ambiance - 7.5
Service - 7.5
Price - 7.5

I love this place!  We all thought Operator 25 is like a grown up version of Krimper.  Both do great food in a great space.  But Operator 25 is more polished in terms of menu options, service, fit out and the general vibe of the place.  I like how the dishes on offer have a slight twist to the way most cafes make them.  I also like the kid-friendly menu for the young ones and those who are young at heart.  Definitely make your way to this end of town to try Operator 25 before the hordes descend upon this hidden gem.

Operator 25
25 Wills St 
West Melbourne 3000
Telephone: 9670 3278

Operator25 on Urbanspoon


Unknown said...

The sweet potato chips look divine!

Bureaucrat said...

the good thing is that you can almost pretend that it's good for u!

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