If you find yourself on a stroll up Carlton North way, keep walking and chances are you’ll stumble across the not-so-little gem that is Green Park. It’s a cafe, it’s a bar, and it’s an all-around good vibe in a truly beautiful space. We caught up with restaurant manager Rob, and spun the yarn on everything from ham and cheese toasties to Spotify Battles.
Rob. Green Park. G’day. Mate, please elaborate on how this beautiful building exists in Green Park?
It was built around five years ago. Somehow we took it over in October 2014. It was Jamie, Jesse, Harry (a not-so-silent partner who runs the bike shop next door) and another two guys, Howard and James, who have since left us.
So what is Green Park, because to me it’s a lot of things…
Exactly. It’s a lot of things to a lot of people. We’ve got hundreds I’d say, hundreds of people who I know by name and what they drink, and I know their habits, but I don’t know that much more about them, which is great. We’re open all day every day we serve great food and drink throughout.
So some people treat it as a bar, some as a cafe?
There are people who have told me that they have only been here at night, and then they come in for a coffee and they’re like oh, it’s nice during the day, and vice versa. People who have never been here in the evening will get a takeaway coffee, five, six days a week, and then they come here for dinner and then they have a great time. And then they come back, so it’s good.
So booze, you obviously pay a fair bit of attention to booze.
Yeah, we just hired a new barman actually. We used to have Carlos working here, Portuguese guy with dreads. He left around Christmas (he’s at Carlton Wine Room now) and since then we have hired a new bar/beverage manager, and a new barman as well. So there will be some new cocktails, changing things around a little bit. We’ve always tried to put as much attention into all the different bits as possible, so we just started roasting our own coffee, and the wine has always been strong. Cocktails, you name it.
What have we got here food-wise, talk me through it…
This is miso mushrooms. We make a butter with miso, roast the mushrooms in it, on a dark rye with a butter sauce, sesame with pumpkin and sunflower seeds in there, and a soft, poached egg on top, and then some greenery, nasturtium, pea shoots.
What’s your favourite Melbourne beer?
Being honest? Carlton Draught.
There’s the coffee obviously, and a lot of people take pictures out in the front because it’s quite a nice building.
And it’s a beautiful, weird setting in the middle of a park, it’s actually amazing. Most ordered dish on the menu?
The ham and cheese toastie, not that grammable but it’s a classic. The most Insta-friendly dish at the moment is probably the Coconut Panna Cotta. It’s gluten free, dairy free, everything.
Ticks all the boxes. The tunes have been really good while I’ve been here. Is there anyone specifically curating rad tunes? Are you in charge?
We all are. Spotify gets spun the most, but we don’t have a Green Park Spotify account, so everyone just logs in while they’re working. There are battles, some try to play through their phone, and you just have to rip it back off them.
Is there any song that continues?
We tried to use Pandora, but no matter what playlist you put on, it would always find it’s way back to The Pixies, Bob Marley, or something like Neil Young even if you put on something completely unrelated. We’ll put Metallica on and that will be alright, and then suddenly you’re listening to Bob Marley again. It’s like what algorithm is taking us here?
Let’s wrap up with something juicy. Are there any secrets about the venue?
There is a rumour, which is unfounded, that Green Park used to be an adult video store, it’s totally not true because it was actually built for a purpose.
Should we perpetuate the lie?
Rob. Green Park. Thank you.
815 Nicholson St, Carlton North