Northcote has long been home to some of Melbourne’s sweetest cheap food options. You can meander for hours up Ruckers Hill and down through the bustling High Street shopping strip, but we’ve done the legwork for you and pulled out some of our favourite dishes for under $10.
1. Grilled pork rib on broken rice at Lam Lam – $9.50
209 High Street, Northcote
Cheap food and fast service is the drawcard at Lam Lam, a Vietnamese hot spot at the top of the hill on High Street. Diners constantly pour in and out of this place, and there are more than a handful of dishes under $10 here. Our pick is the grilled pork rib on broken rice – a signature dish for breakfast (it opens at 11am), lunch or dinner.
2. The breakfast tart at Red Door Corner Store – $8.50
This might be a “breakfast tart”, but this can be eaten at any time of the day because here, breakfast is served until 3pm. This one’s got bacon, cherry tomatoes, ricotta and caramelised onion. And Red Door makes its own pastry, too.
3. Blended drink #2 at Barry – $8.50
This bright, new(ish) cafe in Westgarth, from the guys behind Pillar of Salt(link) feels more south side than Northcote. Few items sit before the $10 mark at Barry, so we’re on a liquid diet with a green juice or “Blended drink #2” of apple, kale, cucumber, spinach, parsley, mint, ginger and lime. It will fill you up, though.
5. Sweet Potato Gyoza at Otsumami – $9
The word “otsumami” refers to small snacks eaten with beer and there are plenty of these on offer. The sweet potato gyoza is a must to start your meal with – soft, sticky dumplings filled with a sweet potato and chive mash dipped in soy sauce.
6. Pork slider at Palomino – $10
Just scraping in at $10 is the pulled pork and coleslaw slider on brioche at one of our Northcote favourites, Palomino. A textural mix of salty pork, sloppy slaw and a sweet bun – this really hits the spot.
7. Spanakopita at Northcote Bakeshop – $6.50
Still warm from the oven, everything here at Bakeshop is made fresh daily – from bread to pies, cakes, pastries and cookies. This spanakopita, made with flaky filo pastry and packed with spinach and just the right amount of not-too-salty feta comes with homemade tomato relish. It’s pretty much the perfect lunch.
8. Veggie ciabatta at Penny Farthing – $10
Now this might sound like something reminiscent of original roast veggie foccacia from the ‘90s, and we’d be lying if we said it wasn’t, but there was a reason the veggie foccacia was popular. This one is made on ciabatta and is pretty spot on. It comes with roasted pumpkin and capsicum, mixed greens, pepita butter and house-marinated feta.
9. Veggie Breakfast Roll at The Breakfast Club – $9
206 St Georges Road, Northcote
Don’t let the utilitarian name fool you – longstanding St Georges Road outlier The Breakfast Club has offerings that extend well into your day. The “brunchy things” section of the menu is worthy of close inspection, with a few great sub-$10 options. Breakfast Club’s spin on the egg-and-bacon roll includes mozzarella, and for those who wish to forgo meat, the vegetarian alternative has plenty going for it, with broccoli pesto and haloumi rounding out the tomato, kale and egg filling for $9.
10. Thai basil chicken at Thai Street Food van – $8.95
172 Victoria Road, Northcote
Perched right outside the Northcote pool on Victoria Road is an unassuming little food van with a festoon light and makeshift signage that reads “Thai Street Food”. All dishes here are under $10, but try the Thai basil chicken with a fried egg, streamed rice and a slice of cucumber. It’s true, no frills street food, like something you’d get on Khao San Road in Bangkok.