Mister Close

Posted on November 23, 2011

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Of all things to name your cafe, I can’t imagine why one would name it after their high school geography teacher. I suppose my year 9 geography teacher was quite memorable, but for all the wrong reasons…So anyhow, as the story goes, 2 young boys met in year 8 in Mr Close’s class and viola, a friendship was born and so did a name for their future cafe. Fast forward nearly 3 decades later, and Mister Close (246 Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC) is one of those very on trend city cafes that happened to be named after the founders’ year 8 geography teacher. The coolest thing is that Mr Close caught wind of the cafe named in his honour and went to visit!

It also happens to be another of Melbourne’s newbies, having burst onto the scene around mid 2011 with a pretty strong contingent of Urbanspoon reviewers singing it high praises. The space is quite simple, but they have a pretty groovy ceiling with wooden slates hanging off it which is quite a feature on its own.

As another nod to their former teacher, the signage features a drawing of him. Apparently the real Mr Close has not changed much through the years and still bears a striking resemblance to his logo incarnation. (Picture of logo below taken from http://misterclose.blogspot.com/2010/12/our-brand-rising.html)

Mister Close blurs the line between food court munching and cafe dining. It’s a cafe setting, within the food court of Midtown Plaza. Since when did any food courts dish up nice food? Well, it might be the subject of another post, but I think food courts are beginning to change a bit. They no longer reside purely in the realm of stodgy bain maries or oily deep fried food, some food court venues are beginning to change to suit the increasingly sophisticated tastes of food savvy consumers. Just check out Sydney’s Westfield for example, they now boast a burger bar from the award winning chef Justin North. Ok so this isn’t really the same thing, Melbourne may be just slightly behind the 8 ball on that count, but at least we’ve now got Mister Close as one of the trail blazers.

There’s a pretty serious looking coffee machine and barista making yummy Campos coffee ($3.50) and large glass cabinets showing off their ever changing range of brekkies, lunch and snacks. I went for the Italian potato and bacon gratin with pesto and salad ($15). This was a pretty rich and creamy dish featuring layers of potato, bacon, tomato, cheese and cream. The salad was suitably Mediterranean in style, with spinach leaves and roasted eggplants. Good combination of flavours and it was quite a generous serve.

This place definitely feels very cool and the long line waiting for the take away meals are a testament to Mister Close’s fan base. I quite like the concept and their choice of location. I also like how there’s a little element of luck in a visit to Mister Close given the menu isn’t static. They do have quite a diverse and interesting range of food that’s not particularly common to find at a lunching venue so it’s worth the gamble and who knows, you just might be introduced to something new and good.

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