Prahran + Windsor
Owner of Middletown, Randy Dhamanhuri, “The old culture of the area meeting with this new generation of young parents now calling the precinct home, has created something truly unique.”
The careful and palpably considered allure of elegant design underscores every moment in Middletown. With interiors mused from the genius of design firm, Studio Tate, no expense has been spared in the creation of Prahran’s latest showstopper.
Large, bright and flooded with natural light, booths come cushioned with a blonde hued leather that mirrors the timber selections, while accents of gold are softened by the outlaying of fresh, delicate blooms literally blanketing surfaces. Owner Randy Dhamanhuri says that they selected this particular site for their venture because they saw enormous “future potential in the market”, naming the increase in new development and demand distinguishing the area.
A mid-point for one of the precinct’s most popular spots, Middletown is at the axis of Old Prahran and New Prahran. Sitting at the crux of the long cultural heritage that has come before it and the rapidly gentrifying, youthful edge that the Prahran/Windsor cusp is bringing to the area, Middletown is the ideal hybrid of refined and cool.
A deep royal navy imbues the space with an almost regal kind of sophistication, while the crisp white pleated roof loans an air of femininity that is complimented by the intricate architectural elements etched throughout the cafe. And, while this designerly penchant reverberates the local community’s own attraction to stylised beauty, what truly makes this cafe a direct product of its environment, is its preoccupation with great food and great coffee.
With a menu committed to offering the same level of excellence as it does in its design, grabbing a takeaway here is as much of an experience as sitting in.
A favourite for locals, you will constantly find this place abuzz with cool kids chatting to the barista over the unique blend they’re grinding, mums with snoozing bubs in designer prams recapping the last night’s Bachelor over big bowls of granola and corporates sitting on their third or fourth long black while completing a report or meeting with clients.
With a crew of incredibly friendly and knowledgable staff all eager to learn not just your name, but how you like your coffee, it’s simply too easy for this little sweet spot to quickly become your ‘regular’.
Fourth Chapter is what ensues when a crew infamous for making Insta-worthy food go on and get themselves an Insta-worthy shop, to cater to the Insta-masses. Fourth Chapter reminds us a bit of the popular girl at school that, regardless of whether we wanted to make out with her or slap her in the face, we all wanted to be her. The latest “It Girl”, Fourth Chapter has this uncanny ability to offer up things that outside its bewitching context.
There are days when you awake with a palpable craving to sit in a space that saturates every one of your senses in pure delight: Abacus has been crafted for those mornings - and of course lunches and dinners if the urge hits you a little later on in your day. An ode to the art of inspired dining, on days when great food and great coffee simply aren’t enough, this light filled, aesthetic-driven space offers that little extra ingredient for those who covet a flawless experience.
The Mexican-joint taking the city by storm, it’s so easy to venture in for a burrito and wind up spending an entire day making your way from one area to the next; following the sun till you make your way to the rooftop for an evening drink in the warm of a balmy evening. Fresh, vibrant and flavoursome - a combination that always promises to satisfy and satisfy Fonda does. Never one to disappoint, regardless of whether you’re after a quick taco or a group fiesta, Fonda’s got your back.
Ladro Greville St. last year rebranded as Ladro Tap. Why you might ask? Well, because that is exactly what this little Italian icon is hanging their hat on; good ol’ fashion brew from the tap. And, with over 15 different types of ale pouring at any onetime, Ladro now features one of the most extensive tap-menus in the South. This in no way has detracted from their original incarnation as connoisseurs of pizza and pasta though. Any day of the week you can still indulge in their Italian perfection, only now you can wash it down with a tasting paddle of the best in local and international beer.
Longtime Prahran local, Ruby Sanders, “Yoku Ono is one of those rare jewels you stumble across and can’t believe it’s not in some back alley in Japan, but is at the end of your street.”
An embodiment of the Japanese philosophy of
Wabi Sabi, so much of Prahran’s appeal comes from the beauty found in its moments of imperfection.
Like the layering of a contemporary facade against an historic decaying shell, or the hints of street art that add a grungy edge to the otherwise sleek streetline. Down a bleak and unassuming laneway off Chapel St, Yoku Ono echoes these same sentiments.
An aesthetic of warm timbers, slick accents and with oriental-inspired detailing, there is something wholesome and incredibly inviting about the space. A venture from a crew of local lads who, along with ramen master, Tomoya Kawasaki, have brought a play on traditional Japanese to the backstreets of Prahran. In the same vein as a classic ramen bar, the cosy space is intimate and simple, with the focus falling on the small but flavour-packed menu.
While you’ll be tempted by the usual suspects like bento boxes, tempura styled soft-shell crab and fresh slithers of sashimi, the lure of the eight-hour slow cooked ramen always wins us over in the end.
At lunch, keep it light and fresh with a matcha tea, at dinner get adventurous with one of their signature cocktails.
Founded by longstanding South-siders who, recognising a decided lack in the area for hawker-style food that came with a punch of style as well as flavour, kicked off with the initial of the sisters, Hanoi Hannah. Hannah was quickly followed by younger sisters, Saigon Sally and Tokyo Tina who, while carrying their own unique character, all share in a style that is adventurous, punchy and, when experienced in situ, utterly unforgettable.
From behind a rather unassuming facade, Torsa is a bright, light filled terrace home that has been recommissioned to play host to a suite of boutique Australian and international collections. Intimate and captivatingly beautiful, the minimalist space holds some of the world’s most exquisite designers and rare pieces that see the city’s most discerning fashion lovers trekking Southside when the wardrobe needs a little attention.
If an interiors store could personify its location, Prahran -at the point at which it’s almost Armadale - would most certainly be Fenton & Fenton. An iconic space if ever there was one, displaying a fusion of modern art pieces, antiquities and worldly treasures, all styled into a lust worthy collection guaranteed to make viewers a little weak at the knees.
Market like a local...
A trove for discovering golden oldies and hidden gems. A little tour of the market will have you filling your basket with plump, organic meat, creamy dairy delights and produce so fresh there’s still a luminous gleam to the skin. Head to Rosie’s Deli and ask for Pete, he’ll most likely give you a test of his secret weapon, the BellaVitano Espresso: a rare hard cheese with a coffee rind.
From there make your way to Abla’s Patisserie for some baklava and gold-leaf Turkish delight. At Garden State Fruit Supply the owner’s son, Anthony - a 17 year old who knows more about vegetables than Jamie Oliver - will give you a rundown on how best to prepare white radicchio.
Founder of Humming Puppy, Jackie Alexander, “What makes Prahran unique is the eclectic mix of people and businesses. It’s a melting pot of all different walks of life: from the grungy, to the uber cool and the wealthy, you’ll find a bit of everything here.”
Hot yoga today is nothing like what I remember my first experience being. Squeezed into a windowless room that extended from above a sport stadium, the room was carpeted and featured rows of buzzing heaters that were in no way temperature controlled, the fear of stepping off your mat and actually touching that carpet was the stuff of nightmares.
As the glazed doors slide open and you wind your way up the concealed stairwell into Humming Puppy’s reception area, you have to almost consciously collect yourself and remember exactly what it was that you were here to do.
A dark, richly moody space emanating with a theatricality, every detail in the highly stylised space has been purposefully considered to impart a sense of deliberate luxe. This hypnotic design lure extends throughout each in-studio experience, from the elegant bathrooms, through to the stunning industrial feel of the yoga spaces and the calming waiting rooms, the feeling of distinguished style rings through every interaction. And, while the design elements can be found reverberating throughout the studio, similarly resounding is the studio’s signature vibrations that - quite literally - give the space its inimitable energy.
In a thought process that is equal parts madscientist and contemporary-experience-genius, founders Jackie Alexander and Chris Koch have crafted their studio so that it resonates two harmonious frequencies of 40 hertz and 7.3hertz, which emanates a hum that they believe enhances the yoga experience. If you think this all sounds a bit sci-fi, then you would be right. Although think less Alien-gore and more Barbarella kinda sexy.
With a youthful and uniquely energised community comes the need for a heady array of public spaces wherein one can connect; whether it be to one another or merely to their preferred activity.
From the cool waters of the Prahran Pools, within which locals find a moment of reprieve from the Summer-sun; to the softly romantic florals that carpet the Victoria Gardens, a perfect hideaway for getting lost in the pages of a book; to the public basketball courts, where a year-round game seems to be playing out against the backdrop of the looming city skyline; irregardless of how you imagine community to look, there will be a version here that undoubtedly fits your vision.
When you live in a world condensed, it’s easy to forget that one day there will come a time when the need to venture to other places will beckon. With a collection of trams that thread their way across the city leaving almost from your door, and with numerous train stations at your fingertips, when that need to travel does come knocking, your options for getting there will be infinite.