1A Fennell Street, Melbourne, VIC
03 8534 9957
Deep within Port Melbourne’s industrial side streets you’ll find Punchbowl Canteen. Throughout the week you’ll find nearby workers after a quick and delicious lunch, while locals look to the Fennell Street cafe for long, decadent weekend brunches.
As Head Chef, Elizabeth Milroy’s mantra for life follows her into the kitchen: keep it simple, but do it well. Punchbowl Canteen’s offerings are just that, serving everyone’s favourite dishes with a few twists to keep diners returning.
Elizabeth’s upbringing in regional Victoria is referenced through her emphasis on accessible food and local produce. Her experience doesn’t just lie within the hills and valley’s of Victoria’s countryside but also throughout Europe, as well as within the walls of Melbourne favourites St Ali, Fitzrovia and Wide Open Road.
Scotch eggs have been given a makeover – Punchbowl Canteen’s version replaces sausage for fish with radish, pear, chard and shaved beetroot salad accompaniments. There are plenty more dishes inspired by the seaside suburb including the earl grey tea-smoked trout with black bean dressing, topped with a soft poached egg. When they’re in season, brightly coloured pine mushrooms are gently warmed and served with mascarpone, hazelnut dukkah, radicchio, parsley and a poached egg.
Heading into lunch, more substantial dishes may be on your mind. Try the Korean fried chicken burger with traditional kim chi slaw and crunchy fries on the side. Another popular option is the wood-fired pork belly with carrot and miso puree, and apple remoulade. The pork belly and other slow-cooked delights are cooked to perfection in the custom-made, wood-fired oven that sits proudly in the front entrance.
The impressive oven also churns out freshly baked pastries that make for a perfect snack when served alongside smooth coffees from Fitzroy’s, Industry Beans. There’s also cold drip with brewed coffee cubes and golden lattes so you can get your turmeric fix.
Be quick because you’ll want to secure a spot under the 100-year-old tree that shades the alfresco dining area, creating a breezy, green retreat. The feast for your eyes continues inside where a 10-foot Leah Bartholomew mural takes pride of place and incorporates plenty of colour and vibrancy into a warm dining experience.