Style After Dark
Address: Corner Coventry and Cecil Streets, South Melbourne
When: March 1 to April 19, Thursdays 5.30pm until 9.30pm
Every Thursday evening until April 19th, Style After Dark night market is taking over South Melbourne Market. There's food, drink, vintage shopping, local designers, music and essentially everything that makes Melbourne the great city it is, all under the one roof... or at least the one verandah.
Stalls flaunt locally made clothing, jewellery and accessories and an eclectic collection of artisan products and antiques. Alternatively, skip the shopping and do what we did: explore the market by mouth. There are plenty of wine bars and restaurants in nearby Cecil Street, South Melbourne's famous dumpling haunt and hawker-style food stalls (some of which are set up by adjacent restaurants). The Massive Wieners hot dog stand also made an appearance when we checked it out.
We started with delectably greasy gözleme (white cheese and spinach) from the two Turkish ladies who have clearly been making the moreish, filled flat breads for centuries. A flick of the wrist, a few pushes of the rolling pin, a splash of oil, a toss of ingredients and a fold; it's a reflex for them. Other filling options include Turkish spiced mince or mushroom, onion, capsicum and dill for the vegetarians.
Next, we moved on to Claypots Evening Star's seafood peddler, a quirky, colourful BBQ on wheels serving fresh fish at affordable prices outside the more up-market restaurant. To drink, try a fresh young coconut, hacked open and spiked with vodka ($10). We were thrilled to see the octopus skewers on the menu ($10) after hearing so much about them. Each plump tentacle was barbequed whole, sliced and served in a light sauce on a disposable plate. There was also "fish and bread" ($8), which sounds awfully boring but was actually incredibly tasty. Soft, Turkish bread was heated on the hot plate, spread with chilli paste (request more rather than less), stuffed with the firm fish of the day and finished with salad. It was an incredibly messy affair; all the juices dripped down our wrists to the elbows. Then again, if that's not a sign of deliciousness, I don't know what is.
One doesn't need an excuse to get out of the house for a night out in Melbourne, but we all certainly take it for granted. This Thursday night, get off the couch and take an empty belly and a loaded wallet along to Style After Dark. You won't regret it.