The Corner Shop

Posted on October 29, 2010


While I can easily name more than one gem in the funky Yarraville village, The Corner Shop (9 Ballarat Street, Yarraville VIC) is coming up tops for its creativity, feel, and bang for buck. I’ve been there for lunch and dinner, and have walked out impressed on both occasions.

Like most of the other village hangouts, the place is just happenin’. In fitting with the area’s vibe, the decor is very cool, a very casual kinda brand of ‘oh I just left the walls bare and threw a few random things together’ that just exudes a charm. Exhibit A would have to be part of an old wooden ladder they’ve used as wall decoration; a bit what the? yet makes for an interesting touch at the same time. Ok so enough about its cool factor, the sticking point about The Corner Shop is the food!

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all served here, with each meal with its own menu although there are a few overlaps. It’s not a big list, around 10 dishes on offer per meal, but it’s quite diverse so you’re bound to find something to tickle your fancy. The cuisine would fit pretty squarely in the ‘modern Australian’ genre and the prices are so very reasonable. I don’t recall seeing anything beyond $25 (or maybe even just $20) for dinner. Breakfast and lunch is cheaper still, sitting squarely in the low teens range.

Lunch includes a range of sandwich type options as well as more interesting dishes such as zucchini and mint fritters with rocket, pinenut salad and spiced yogurt. Vegetarian it may be, but even the hungry meat eater in me was satisfied. Crisp outer coating and lovely moist strips of minty zucchini on the inside makes for a nice contrast of textures. I can’t recall what spice was used in the yogurt dressing, but it was a winner, adding a certain depth to the flavour that went so well with the pinenuts and slightly bitter rocket.

The grilled sardines with potatoes, spinach and tapenade was another point of interest. It was a nice and simple dish in a way, albeit with strong flavours. The fishiness and the olive puree was balanced with the rather plainly cooked slices of potato and blanched spinach.

Dinner provides dishes with a bit more elegance to further demonstrate the kitchen’s abilities. Unfortunately there are no photos of the dinner experience so you’ll just have to take my word for it. The duck and potato terrine was not just good looks, it was yummy. The layering was even, the meat was tender and the potatoes were soft. You would think that’s pretty hard to top…but the second dish of crumbed mussels with skordalia (Greek styled potato and garlic puree, often used as a dip) and raisins surpassed that. How so you say. Well, firstly the presentation will grab your attention, it was very different from what I would have imagined. It was like a new age pizza, with the silky skordalia forming the base and a scattering of the crunchy mussels, raisins and nuts on top. Secondly, what a textural delight! Thirdly, salty mussels, garlicky potato puree and sweet raisins makes for an excellent flavour combination. Yum, yum and yum.

I cannot recommend this place enough. Excellent value for money, interesting and tasty food, great surrounds and even a sun drenched courtyard out the back. It’s a fab overall package on one of the cutest village strips Melbourne has to offer.