Michael departed on his usual mid-year work trip rather swiftly after his birthday. As a consequence I've been plotting a few meals and activities that interest me more than him. On a clothes-mending mission, I made a point of stopping by Belle's Diner to try their fried green tomato burger ($13).
Though it starts out sitting pretty, there's a lot of moisture and potential for mess here. The tomatoes are poised to slip out of their crumbing; the lettuce leaves were freshly washed; the caramelised onions, tangy mayo and pickles are ready to slip'n'slide. Taste-wise the burger is rich and piquant - the buttery brioche, mayonnaise, pickles and tomato dominate.
My side of Old Bay spiced French fries ($4.50) were mere slips of chips, tasting of celery salt and a dash of paprika.
I notice that the Diner has expanded its menu and there are many more options for vegetarians (though vegan and gluten-free items remain unmarked). The staff were available when I needed them, and generously allowed me a booth to myself. It's a little pricey, but after a slightly underwhelming brunch last year, I'm now more convinced that Belle's has some substance to back up its style.
You can read about our breakfast at Belle's Diner here.
Since then it's received positive reviews on mangiabeve, foodie about town, Melbourne Patron, wherefoodis, Let Me Feed You: Melbourne, Foolish For Food and Jordan Gregory, then mixed reviews on POOR STUDENT EATS/DRINKS MELBOURNE and egg tarts and apple pie.
150 Gertrude St, Fitzroy
veg lunch $13-15.50
Accessibility: There's a small step in the middle of Belle's Diner, but flat entryways at either end. The corridor through the centre is moderately wide and booths are packed end-to-end for the length of the building. While the booths don't appear particularly wheelchair or pram-friendly, I've previously noticed some fellow diners in the far booth with a(n empty) wheelchair tucked in beside them. I ordered at the table, paid at a low-ish bar and didn't visit the toilets.