Disclaimer: this post totally confirms my status as a inner-north loving, hipster snob. South-siders, you’re probably about to be offended. Sorry. At least you have Balaclava.
Despite having worked on Chapel Street for over two years now, I’ve never been able to bring myself to actually like the place. I’ve tried to develop at least a vague fondness for the sake of my friends from that side of town for whom Chapel Street is a constant in their lives (I tell you, trying to convince a devoted Chapel Street-er to come and socialise in the CBD, let alone anywhere north of there, is an impossible task doomed to failure), but so far it’s been a bust. The place is tawdry, ridiculously expensive for no good reason, and is for the most part a wasteland when it comes to food.
So whenever I come across a Chapel Street venue that not only has a nice enough atmosphere that I’m not wailing inside my head “EURGH, CHAPEL STREET, EUUURGH” every five seconds, but actually has some pretty sweet nibbles to go with it, you bet I’m going to trumpet it!
Tusk is one of The Boy’s favourite places to luncheon, and he and a group of his friends are staunch regulars. So much so that they’ve built up a great rapport with their regular waiters, to the point where during my visit with them one was encouraged to recount the latest installment of the musical he’s been writing (see, if I wasn’t such a cafe flibbertigibbit and went to a place enough times to actually be a regular I could experience things like this all the time. But then again the blog would get very monotonous. And I could also be constantly terrified that all waitstaff were always just about to sing).
I was feeling in the mood for something hearty, with a side side order of something with an obscene number of carbs. The cheese and mushroom arancini with napoli sauce were three big balls of warm, gooey rice goodness sitting on a bed of greenery. Nothing mind-blowingly special, no surprising flavours, but warm and cheesy with a smooth, tasty napoli sauce on top flecked with crumbled slices of parmesan. Sometimes I think there’s nothing more comforting than arancini.
The Boy went with the chicken and scallop skewer, and we both had a bowl of wedges each (I wanted shoestring fries but they were sadly out, and I decided I’d rather have wedges NOW than wait for them to get more fries).
Now I was a little suss about the wedges because they cost $9 (NINE!!!) and I was thinking little sarcastic thoughts to myself like “They better be covered in edible gold dust or something. Who charges nine dollars for wedges?” (Well, my workplace for one charges considerably more than nine dollars, for a piss-weak amount of potato, too). I needn’t have been so untrusting, because a bowl with a MOUNTAIN of potato-y joy came out. They were crispy on the outside, fluffy inside, perfect. And so many that I couldn’t finish them all which, well, I can’t remember the last time that happened in the grand affair between me and the noble pomme de terre.
The Boy enjoyed his skewer greatly, though I questioned only getting one skewer for the price, which from what I recall was similar to the price of the wedges. “But it’s got scallops, they’re expensive,” he said. I haven’t eaten seafood in so long I have no idea the value ratio of a scallop, so let’s believe The Boy.
The menu was full of other interesting, more veg-friendly items: vegetarian dumplings (which some of the other girls had and they looked very fresh, and big!), grilled saganaki (which I was so close to ordering, is there anything so wonderfully decadent as a big slab of grilled cheese?), and old standards like dips, vegie burgers and pizza.
What is most enjoyable about Tusk, however, is the space itself. It’s all big windows trimmed in stained glass panels inside, with an expansive seating area outside under trees. But who wants to sit outside! Especially in this wintery weather, brrr. No, stay inside all cosy underneath the retro green lamps, and as it gets dark watch the stained glass glow in the light of the just-lit candles and cradle a cup of tea and think to yourself, “It’s almost as if I’m not on Chapel Street at all.”
133 Chapel Street, Windsor
Ph: 9528 1198