Tusk/Back Bar - Baristalker
by stalker zine
I find it hard to garner the motivation to spend much time on Chapel Street. As Melbourne's self appointed mecca for tourists wanting that "oh sah Melbourne" shopping injection - I've always been a little turned off for spending more time there than I have to. And the street is really long. It for like four suburbs long. Imagine trawling along that street with your shopping bag lagging behind ol' mate Kakiwa Goeisowka whose donning a fanny pack that can fit his Yan Yan's, his tourist guide to Melbourne, and his ticket stub from the Moomba festival inside. You're trying to doge him, walk two paces faster to get ahead, but there's Voula, Toula and Gianni wanking on about the lack of sequins in the SS13 collection from Ed Hardy. You dodge, you weave, you perspire from the reflection on the concrete and shiny shiny shopping windows, but you're doomed behind tacky conversations and bucket hats for eternity.
Call me a cynic, but I am completely uninterested in that. I was all too happy being a conceded and self righteous mother fucker (residing in Fitzroy I have the lovely suburb wide preconception that I'm apart of "Fitzroyalty") but due to the terrifying realisation that I couldn't find a job in my area (unless I resolved to work on Lygon Street where you are expected to work for a solemn $12 per hour punching out lattes and short macs while a 57 year old Italian named Don Luigi stares at your rack whilst grabbing your ass and asking for a Campari and Orange.)
I decided that I had to skip suburbs and venture into the big wide world of cafes in Melbourne. So, after job searching the wide wide foray that is Melbourne, cynical me ironically landed a job in the fabled Chapel Street - much to my initial disdain. For the first couple of days I'd just put my head down, my sunglasses on, and fang it to the tram stop - but one day the sandwich I'd lovingly prepared for my 12pm fix had become soggified by too fresh tomato (damned crisper not preparing my perishables for the perishable life outside its frosty hug) I was forced to venture for something to ease my gurglin' belly sounds along Chapel Street.
Cue astonishment, wonderment, amazement, happiness, giggles, laughter, eyeballin' froth sweltering joyous exclamations of newfound religious followings - I was home. Suddenly I'd been acquainted with THE OTHER END of Chapel (the Windsor end) and was surrounded by a myriad of cool quirky bars, gorgeous looking restaurants, funky op shops and the like. Minus the pretentious hipster vibe that is so often present in that kind of a place. Absorbed by my new found portal of cooldom I promised myself that I'd explore this Narnia, this Indian in the Cupboard, once I'd eaten through at least half a cows ass.
I walked into the trendiest, smoker friendly and lovingly lit place in my vicinity - Tusk. With Moroccan infused decor - think ornate couches, gilded mirrors - all in the colours of the most "aww' inducing sunset. It's cozy, it's warm - and it's worn in! - a feature overlooked in so many bars trying to be "cool" and "hip" and "so now". The staff were that perfect combination of attentive and engaging and were totally okay with the people on the next table pronouncing pinot gris - peenot grease. I'd probably lose it if I was someone who was saying pee not grease. Who pisses grease? That's some Brothers Grimm shit right there.
I ordered a tasting plate that included haloumi, chorizo, roasted zuchinni, peppers, eggplant, olives, ciabatta with herbs, beetroot-hummus-onion dip and a big fuck off glass of sav. It was fucking miraculous. When it started to get cold, the staff offered blankets and turned up the heating - so it felt as though I was that perfect temperature when you just wake up and you're in your doona. Food induced bliss. Contented, full of food, and inspired to explore the street further. Put Tusk on your list.
Corner Chapel and Green Street Windsor
(03) 9529 7899 Mon to Wed 7:00 am - 1:00 am
Thu to Sat 7:00 am - 3:00 am
Sun 7:00 am - 1:00 am