Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Nooks and crannies: Von Haus- Melbourne CBD (Review)

Don't blink, or you'll miss it. 
Yep you guessed it, it's another Melbourne bar hidey-hole and it's sure as hell one cosy little place.
Picture this; you're skipping down Crossley Street in Melbourne's alley-wayed CBD when you spy a nondescript door with a cheekily small and tantalising 'Von Haus' sign- in Melbourne, this is an open invitation to find out if the door leads to a bar/club/artists loft/warehouse/sale or (worst case scenario?), strippers. Either way, you simply have to take a peek- otherwise where's the fun?
You wander down the short corridor, and through another studiously blank door to the left, you find it... possibly Melbourne's smallest bar. 
Von Haus is pretty much a single room with a large communal table in the centre and few other perches for intimate tete-a-tete's scattered round the edges. 
And it's lovely- right from it's distressed paint-peeling walls to it's wooden floorboards. The artfully cluttered open-kitchen view and shelves of wine and preserves create the feeling of a European lounge-room at dinner time, don't mind if we stumble on in.
Daily cakes and hunks of bread line the rustic counter with stacks of produce boxes underneath. Flowers perch on the mantle of the period fireplace and a chalkboard menu proclaims wines on offer by the glass.
There's a low humming buzz of muted conversation and a certain amount of arty-intelligence hangs in the air. Soak it up, soak it in. It's a lovely addition to a tin plate of cheese that might be organic Roquefort or farmhouse aged cheddar. Von Haus is open for breakfast and lunch, but it's the snacks and small plates from 2pm that lured us in. 
Try Sicilian anchovies with bitey fresh radish and fennel, or smokey trout and pear salad spiked with fragrant mint. 
If it's too hard to choose between nuts roasted with lavender and thyme, or goats curd and pickled peppers, then take a step back from decisions and order a Haus selection to see what rolls your way.  
But really, when you're squirreled away in a circa 1800's nook, with your Collazi Chianti and contemplating the kitchen splash-back made of wartime shaving mirrors, there's something quite comforting about the uncomplicated offer of bread and butter with honey or jam. 
It's cozy. It's simple. 
And a little bit like having wine with nursery tea. *Sigh* 
So let the mist snake on down the alley-way, snuggle on in to your selected spot and drift away on a European dream of Von Haus... 

Name: Von Haus
Address: 1a Crossley Street, Melbourne CBD

Phone: (03) 9662 2756

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