Linden has always been on my restaurant radar; it all started with The Whippet and Cheese Gourmet bringing something hip and unique to the area that couldn’t be found in Parkhurst or Greenside. Stalwarts like The Argentinian and Satori have been bringing in the crowds for yonks, and the addition of four, wonderfully original and quirky new eateries has seen Linden go from occasionally lively to positively bustling in the past year.
4th Avenue Linden:
A cool, little wifi-hub cum dog-friendly coffee shop that’s packed full of delicious cakes, gorgeous décor and friendly staff. It’s a little bit hipster and a little bit retro. They’re open daily serving breakfast and lunch, and their delectable, freshly squeezed, fruit and veggie juices are a must. Breakfasts include a ‘build your own’ section with delicious add-ons like fried halloumi, hash browns and a tasty selection of jams…But, wait…there’s also French toast and a scrumptious, baked muesli on the cards. For lunch: salads, wraps, savoury pancakes and their famous Banting burger are all the rage.
7th Street, Linden:
A La Bouffe
This idiosyncratic, little French Bistro is becoming quite the talk of the town with their signature pan-fried frog’s legs, snails and chicken liver parfait attracting serious attention. Award-winning Chef, Romuald Denesle, is known for his rich, Normandy-style cuisine featuring lashings of butter and cream at every turn. Their braised lamb belly and shoulder with spinach, parsnips and sweet potato is a firm favourite and the fresh line fish with leek, potato and a saffron and mussel sauce is sensational. The wonderful addition of wine-pairing suggestions per course really floats my boat. The setting is relaxed and chic with midnight blue walls and wooden detailing throughout.
The Fat Zebra
The name evolved from owner Kevin’s love of ‘The Fat Duck’ and his partners’ (Nice/Possums/4th Ave Roasters) craving for a black and white awning to frame the setting. Once they’d nailed down a name, they snowballed with the theme throughout: framed pictures of zebra hides, black and white checkered flooring, black and white furniture and black and white stripes painted along the walls…with a few splashes of yellow throughout for one’s sanity.
They’re all about good service and great food; 90% of which is made in the wood-burning pizza oven, 10% of which is made on the gas stove and 100% of which is made fresh, and to order, daily. They’re renowned for their show-stopping Prego sauce (packed full of fresh herbs and spices), their burgers, their pizzas, their peri-peri baby chicken and their outstanding coffee. It’s a fantastic little spot that’s always busy, but still maintains that warm, family feel.
They’ve just re-opened after a mini face-lift and are looking as quirky and as cool as ever. The menu is a tribute to owner Emma Chen’s Northern Chinese upbringing, but, having mentioned Chinese, don’t expect the usual sweet and sour pork or kung pow chicken because this place is all about authenticity and simplicity. The menu is mainly made up of pork, beef and tofu dishes with a few chicken options in the mix.
The noodle dishes (PRON stands for People’s Republic of Noodles after all) are fantastic: the noodles are handmade, lengthy and plump, and the Dandan Noodles with pork mince or the Sichuan chilli chicken noodles are an absolute win. Definitely try the tofu and cucumber salad and ‘hand-break bread’ and, if you’re feeling adventurous, the pig’s ear salad – yes, you heard right ;)
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- Kate Liquorish