North­cote

Gen­tri­fi­ca­tion with­out grow­ing pains? This in­ner Mel­bourne sub­urb has stayed true to its roots while boost­ing its cool ca­chet. By Larissa Dubecki.

Qantas - - Qnews. -

Eat

ALL ARE WEL­COME A for­mer Chris­tian Sci­ence Read­ing Room has turned into a bak­ery and cof­fee shop par ex­cel­lence. All Are Wel­come (all-are-wel­come.com) takes its name from the pre­vi­ous in­car­na­tion’s gold win­dow let­ter­ing, deemed too lovely to van­quish. Pull up a pew for dulce de leche tarts, crois­sants, pop­py­seed en­saï­mada pas­tries and ex­cel­lent cof­fee.

ESP When Scott Pick­ett opened ESP, many asked whether North­cote was ready for a glam­orous fine-diner (es­telle­bysp.com). Turns out it was. Set­tle in for a mod­ern Aus­tralian tast­ing menu (in­clud­ing supreme snacks such as smoked wal­laby or nas­tur­tium-wrapped pick­led quail egg) un­der a state­ment Christo­pher Boots light. Want some­thing more ca­sual? Eat next door at Pick­ett’s bistro, Estelle (es­tellebistro.com). MERAH Coolly min­i­mal­ist by de­sign and fiery by na­ture, Merah (merah. com.au) nails new-school Malaysian cook­ing. From the su­per-spicy sam­bal to the chilli oil dumplings and ker­abu pipis that are ideal for tuck­ing into fried bao pock­ets, it’s a take-no-pris­on­ers ap­proach to the food of the Malay penin­sula.

Drink

WES­LEY ANNE This 19th-cen­tury stone church has been trans­formed into a bar and live-mu­sic venue (wes­leyanne. com.au) with­out sac­ri­fic­ing its moody charm. Soar­ing ceil­ings and a Gothic chan­de­lier are ex­cel­lent back­drops for tap ale or cock­tails with a sound­track of blue­grass, jazz or folk, while the con­fes­sional-style booths are per­fect for shar­ing se­crets. BAR NONNO Sit by the win­dow at this brick­walled salon (barnonno.com.au) with a glass of soave and watch North­cote’s colour­ful res­i­dents pass by. As the name hints, the wine list finds its sweet spot in Italy, with an em­pha­sis on low-in­ter­ven­tion styles. Add plat­ters of char­cu­terie or head out back to the restau­rant proper, where it’s Ital­ian all the way.

Do

SHOP THEN DROP North­cote is burst­ing with proudly parochial re­tail ex­pe­ri­ences. Take a twirl down High Street for eclec­tic trea­sures at The Aquar­ium Vin­tage (theaquar­i­umv­in­tage.com) or lo­cally de­signed women’s fash­ion at Obus (obus.com.au) and Leonard St. (leonard­street.com.au). Hunt down home­wares at Pop & Scott (popand­scott.com) and Dan­ish Mod­ern spe­cial­ist Grand­fa­ther’s Axe (grand­fa­ther­saxe.com.au). CATCH A FLICK Palace West­garth cinema (palace cin­e­mas.com.au) is an icon of Art Deco grandeur with the very 21stcen­tury ad­di­tion of a court­yard deckchair cinema.

Stay

QT MEL­BOURNE North­cote op­tions are de­cid­edly lo-fi so we rec­om­mend stay­ing in the CBD ( just seven kilo­me­tres away) and head­ing to the ’hood on the No. 86 tram. The el­e­gant quirk­i­ness of QT Mel­bourne (ho­tel. qan­tas.com.au/qt­mel­bourne) is just the ticket to chan­nel North­cote’s boho vibe. Be sure to check out the 11th-floor bar, Rooftop at QT, for tongue-in-cheek glam at its best.

But first, caf­feine…

Visit Penny Far­thing Espresso (pen­ny­far­thinge­spresso.com) for a morn­ing heart-starter or an af­ter­noon Espresso Mar­tini.

Head to High Street (above) for cock­tails at Wes­ley Anne (left) or the dé­gus­ta­tion at ESP (be­low)

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