Back in the deep dark mists of the mid-2000s when I was doing my undergrad, Castro’s was the place to eat at Melbourne Uni. Oh Castro’s, with your surly lesbian baristas and faux-socialist allure, you were so cool. Sure, their hot bevereges were nearly always lukewarm, but they had the best goddamn vegan muffins that I have ever encountered.
Now that I have returned to Melbourne Uni after some years in the wild to have some postgrad-study times, Castro’s is now distinctly NOT the place to eat. It seems to have been taken over by new management; the surly lesbians are gone, as are the vegan muffins, replaced by hard lumpen things that have the gall to call themselves baked goodness. Conversely The Potter, which used to be very gauche, is now the go to place for most arts students. And they now have AMAZING muffins. But not vegan (oh, fig and coffee vegan Castro’s muffin, you were my true love, I miss you). It’s like all I knew is topsy-turvy!
But I digress.
Finding myself behind on the latest foodie happenings at Melb U, my fellow Tuesday lunching ladies and I decided to try one of the newer establishments to recently crop up on campus.
Lot 6 is out the back of the ERC Library. You can tell it from the acres of astroturf laid out the front, which has quite a few tables and chairs laid out on top of it. Inside cruises with an industrial vibe, high ceilings and metal furnishings. We decided to commune with the artificial nature outside.
Despite the fact that this was a lunch, you all know about my love for breakfast at inappropriate times (there’s NEVER an inappropriate time for breakfast!), I immediately gravitated towards the Swiss bircher muesli with sour cherries and cinnamon yoghurt. Kim and Jess were more attuned with the actual time of day, with Kim going with the Cooper’s beer-battered fish and chips with lemon mayonaise, exclaiming “$12 fish and chips! You can’t go past $12 fish and chips!” while Jess had coffee and what is described in my notes as a “ham pressed sandwich thingy”. Professionalism, I has it.
Let’s talk about how awesome this bircher muesli was. SO AWESOME. A lovely smooth and creamy jumble with a hint of cinnamon that wasn’t overpowering. What I really enjoyed was that the muesli was sitting in a little lagoon of sour cherry juice, which contrasted really well with the sweet gooey muesli jumble (not using tangy natural yoghurt, I assume). Topping it off was a little collection of whole sour cherries, which I saved till last in order to amuse myself by twirling the stems around obnoxiously.
My cohorts were having a different kind of food adventure. I asked Kim at the start of her meal what is was like. “Yeah, it’s alright.” I was suspicious! Alright is not a word that indicates potential foodgasm of joy. Had to keep an eye on her. Jess was picking the rocket out of her sandwich ‘thingy’. “How is it?” I asked. “It’s full of ham. So much ham.” I took this to be a positive comment.
Kim’s consumption rapidly decreased to idly picking at her fish with her fork. Around about the time I was twirling cherry stems, she said “I want to change my review. It’s average. Decidedly average.” I pressed her on why, wanting details for you, my dear reader. “The fish is quite bland. And the chips are all soggy, there’s no crunch to them.” Jess and I taste-tested the remaining chips and came to the same conclusion: quite horridly squishy and blah. “How can you muck up chips?” I said, quite scornfully (I do not take crimes against the noble potato lightly).
Jess drained her latte, probably to rid her mouth of the taste-memory of the chips. “At least the coffee’s good. Not Seven Seeds good, but good.”
Lot 6 is very new; it’d only been in it’s first week of business when we visited. So I’m going to be nice and attribute the lackluster aspects we experienced to opening jitters. The good aspects were very, very good (I am definitely going to need to have another bowl of bircher muesli soon), and I really hope that the poorer elements end up improving. Melbourne Uni needs more awesome food places, especially considering the amount of meal times I’m now spending there!
University of Melbourne
Gate 6 Swanston Street