It’s no secret that Chapel Street has it all, especially when it comes to bars and eateries. With so much to choose from, here are some of the best to test out.
Calling all uni students — this one’s for you. Escape your regular uni bar and head out for a night on the town without breaking that student budget. On the corner of Chapel and High Streets sits this double-storey bar where you can grab a pizza for $4. But don’t worry, they taste better than you’d expect. Pick your pizza — the classic margarita or delicious prawn pizza are always good — and pair it with one of Lucky Coq’s [179 Chapel Street, Windsor] house infused vodkas. The green apple and rose infusions are crowd favourites.
Grab your lover (pun intended) and check out this intimate venue down the Windsor end of Chapel Street. This cocktail lounge is the perfect place for a late-night martini — think chandeliers, floor-to-ceiling drapes and antiques adorning every nook. Like the sound of free cheese? If you head to Lover [60 Chapel Street, Windsor] on a Friday night and arrive between 5pm and 7pm you’ll receive a free cheese platter with any bottle of wine.
Hawker Hall [98 Chapel Street, Windsor] is inspired by the vibrant and bustling hawker centres of Singapore and Malaysia. Not sure what a hawker centre is? Picture a large food hall packed full of people enjoying the wonderful tastes of Asian cuisine from different vendors. At Chapel Street's take on these eating hubs, you’ll also find more than 15 different varieties of beer on tap that have been specifically selected to pair with hawker food, like the sweet and sour fried squid. Can’t argue with that!
No, we aren’t talking karate or martial arts instructors. We’re talking top-notch Japanese cuisine. Mr Miyagi [99 Chapel Street, Windsor] will not only impress you with its food but also its décor. The polished concrete floors, exposed brick and neon heart with ‘Loser’ scribbled in graffiti, takes your Japanese dining experience to a new and modern level. When you get to the menu we suggest pairing the Miyagi fried chicken with one of the salmon nori tacos. Don’t forget the side of edamame beans. While you’re at it, order yourself a Hello Kitty Sour. It mixes up lychee, citrus, vodka, egg white and Paraiso – yum!
As you might have guessed from its name, Small Print Pizza Bar’s [388 High Street, Windsor] is all about sustainability — the ethos is ‘make pizza, not waste’. This place operates sustainability by disposing food scraps into compost, grease-proofing pizza boxes so they’re recyclable and using seasonal veggies and locally-sourced meat. Love to dine out with your pooch? You’re in luck. Bring along your four-legged friend, order a pizza, grab your number and a returnable picnic rug then make a beeline for Victoria Gardens dog park across the road. Your pizza will be delivered right to you when it’s ready. Or, if you’re with your mates and up for a little friendly competition, hire bocce or Finska to play in the park while you wait for your food.
Step through the front door of Tokyo Tina[66a Chapel Street, Windsor] and you’ll be transported to the colourful streets of Japan. The shopfront is packed with vintage manga posters and the interior boasts traditional Tokyo illustrations, samurai swords and sake bottles. Book the private dining room and bring the house down with some Karaoke. While you belt out your favourite song you’ll be treated with the All In menu, which is a surprise menu comprising of the chef’s favourite dishes.
Do you sip or slam your vodka? Most likely slam because, well, vodka shots. But now it’s time to really appreciate and understand what makes a good quality vodka at Borsch, Vodka & Tears [173 Chapel Street, Windsor]. With more than 100 vodkas on offer, you’re sure to find something that you like. The vodka is exclusively imported from Poland, the country that also inspires the food served at this bar and restaurant. The Polish gnocchi with mushroom ragout, truffle oil and cream is sure to have you leaving satisfied.
If you’re craving some delicious dumplings, spring rolls and fried rice but looking for a step up from your typical dumpling houses, head to the Oriental Teahouse [455 Chapel Street, South Yarra]. Here, the authentic Chinese teahouse has been reimaged to suit the discerning tastes of Chapel Street’s patrons. Choose one of its yummy cocktails to pair with your food or stick with tradition and try a herbal tea. We suggest the Happy Tea, not only because it sounds fun it also helps to reduce bloating. Something that could be helpful after your Chinese feast!
Because we can’t forget about the most important meal of the day: dessert. Lisa Valmorbida, the founder of Pidapipo [85 Chapel Street, Windsor], attended gelato university in Italy — and yes, that’s a real thing — so it’s safe to say she knows a thing or two about making good gelato. On any given day the rotating menu might include Nutella, papaya, mojito and fresh mint and white chocolate just to name a few. No matter what flavour you choose, you’ll see that the hype around this place is well deserved.
Do you ever just feel like a good old burger? A classic one with beef, cheese and a side of fries? Look no further than Betty’s Burgers [129–131 Chapel Street, Windsor]. This classic burger shack has all the usual suspects you’d find at an American-style diner. The classic burger, fries and even milkshakes. We suggest topping off your meal with one of the house-made concretes, which is a custard ice-cream blended with toppings. The lemon raspberry cheesecake flavour — vanilla custard, lemon curd, lemon zest, raspberries, New York cheesecake, ginger crumble — is a winner.
Go back in time to the 1950s at the Soda Rock Diner [10/500 Chapel Street, Windsor]. Complete with a checkerboard floor, Elvis memorabilia and rollerblading waiters, you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped into a Grease scene. The menu includes burgers, hot dogs and even cherry pie. If you’re in luck and get your timing right, you might see the wait staff perform a dance to a classic like ‘Twist It’.
Happy hour every day? Enough said. From 4pm to 7pm, here you can sip on happy hour drinks, including house spirits. Did we mention it includes $3.50 tacos? That’s a deal that’s hard to ignore. You’ll find this little Mexican-inspired cafe on the corner of Chapel and Duke Streets. With a large door that opens up the entire shop front, Yellow Bird Café [122 Chapel Street, Windsor] is the perfect place to enjoy some food and beverages when the sun is shining.
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