We hear there are talks to set up a food truck park around Fusionopolis, but before that happens, here’s where to eat if you’re in the area of Buona Vista.
For cheap eats…
This place has got an all-day breakfast and a hearty menu of dishes like pulled pork burger ($14.80), steak and fries ($19.80) and seafood stew ($15.80) loaded with mussels, sea bass and prawns. The desserts are good too, with a list of classics comprising salted caramel waffles ($11.80) and French toast ($13.80) stuffed with cinnamon apples.
A twee but cheery cafe, this Italian place serves amazingly cheap lunches. There are mains of chicken cordon bleu ($8) and spicy chicken ($9), and pastas like farfalle ($8) and ravioli ($9). Everything also comes in full and half portions. Drinks-wise, if you’re not in the mood for coffee, head there for a happy hour of Italian wines.
The cavernouse, no-frills, three-in-one tapas bar, zi char restaurant and cafe may be sterile but it’s got 12 stalls doling out over 70 different dishes and tapas, alongside a selection of craft beers and ciders (from $7.50). Even the zi char menu comprises over 100 dishes like prawn ball in orange sauce (from $18) and pork rib with honey peach sauce (from $15).
This one’s an outlier in the foodie scene and we’re digging it. The pretty restaurant, with indoor and outdoor seats, serves Mediterranean-Tunisian cuisine like the traditional brik, a fried spring roll stuffed with minced beef, seafood or cheese (from $8), chakchouka ($15) made with tomatoes and eggs, as well as a traditional Tunisian cous cous ($18) with chicken, tomatoes and potato strips. It’s all fairly simple but definitely something different.
For something Japanese…
Probably the area’s only dedicated craft cocktail bar, this open-plan space is anchored around a massive square booth where the bartenders and chefs work. It’s counter seats only, but that’s the best way to enjoy course-by-course Japanese omakase ($99 for 10 courses) with dishes like tartare and otoro platter, gindara with tamarind sauce and Alaskan king crab wanton in broth. Cocktails veer toward classics, but you can always ask for something bespoke.
This ramen shop specializes in tonkotsu broth, whether you like it thick or spicy. The spartan space, decorated in unfussy wooden furniture and concrete walls, is great for a quick but hearty meal. It’s Hakata-style ramen here (meaning thin and straight noodles) with delicious bowls of the signature tonkotsu ramen ($13.90), shoyu ramen ($13.90) and spicy tonkotsu ramen ($14.90). If you’re hankering for something a little different, opt for the rice bowls like the charshu charhan ($10.90) or the charshu donburi ($13.90).
For coffee and brunch…
This coffee specialist needs no introduction, being one of the first places to have the much-coveted (and pricey) Slayer espresso machine. Started by Melburnian Michael Ryan, the cafe serves predominantly South American beans like single origin Guatemalan Antigua Finca Medina, among other rotating cuppas.
It’s a little ways away from the main stretch of Buona Vista, but this airy and beautiful cafe certainly deserves a mention. Decked out with a bronze bar and wooden furniture, the blue-tinged space serves up creative brunchy favorites like berry ricotta hotcakes ($19) drizzled with maple syrup and The Big Breakfast ($24) with a choice of eggs, smoked salmon and succulent pork belly. The coffee is also from Tiong Hoe Specialty Coffee (fancy!) and they’ve got cold v60 and Aeropress options, too (from $3.50 for an espresso).
It may be a little off the beaten path but this Portsdown cafe brews up java (from $5.50) from Sydney roaster Reservoir Road and serves simple sarnies like roast beef sandwiches ($12.50), chicken satay salad ($9.50) and spaghetti al pomodoro ($10.50). The breezy place is a hangout for those who work in the area and is popular for their cakes like Oreo cheesecake, red velvet cake and carrot cake (from $7).
For a romantic dinner…
This isn’t your typical Chinese restaurant. Nestled at the end of a stretch of bungalows, there’s a romantic deck complete with candles and lots of greenery. Don’t forget to order the house specialty, the Beijing duck ($90 for a whole duck), which requires 24 hours notice.
Finding this hidden restaurant is worth the effort. The homey and rustic Italian restaurant cooks up dishes like braised rabbit leg ($34.90), veal ossobucco with saffron risotto ($36.90) and pastas like homemade pappardelle with Chianti bolognese ($20.90). Nothing is overly precious, and it’s a great place for groups.
Located in a beautiful black-and-white building surrounded by a lush garden, this Spanish restaurant turns out a list of classics like seafood and chicken paella ($62 for 2-3 people) resplendent with prawns, octopus and chicken; grilled octopus ($32) with potatoes and paprika and smoked ox cheek ($21) on grilled toast with horseradish. It’s especially pretty on the weekends when you can tuck into a Sunday brunch buffet ($88) of eggs, tapas and grilled meats and seafood with free flow sangria, cava and wines (top up $38).