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Best Cheap Eats on High Street (Northcote to Preston)

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by Jeni Wilson (subscribe)
Teacher educator and author of many teacher reference books. Amused by random ideas and loves random acts of kindness. Enjoys writing humour...seriously!Please see my Instagram: wilsonjeni
Published June 13th 2015
A Virtual Gourmet Multi-cultural Smorgasbord
High St Northcote is not short on places to eat. There's just about any nationality you can think of; it's a virtual gourmet multi-cultural smorgasbord.

So how will you choose from the array of tantalising offerings? If you are looking for casual dining, friendly, attentive service that suits a budget you can't go past these four.

If you like Indonesian, Thai or Italian or Aussie with an eastern flair you have to try: Yum Yum Thai, Brown Bear, Bedda Café and Yuni's Kitchen. A review of each with food recommendations is below.

Cheap eats, best cheap restaurants and cafes, affordable food, budget meals, best Italian food, Cheap Indonesian food, Cheap Thai food, Cheap all day breakfasts, Northcote restaurants and cafes,
Premium coffee served at the Brown Bear Cafe


Yum Yum Thai
101 High Street Northcote


The name of the café says it all (nearly). This is affordable, impeccable food and very generous servings. Two dishes with rice and roti bread were more than enough for two of us. Each dish was only an unbelievable $12.90 (with meat add a dollar or two). It's not very many places where you can get healthy, tasty food cooked fresh to order like this for around $30.

The menu was quite extensive with many expected and not so expected options. Worth trying is the Pad med ma muang which came with a large amount of cashews. The prawn version was only $17.90. Even the Red duck curry was only $16.90. The Pad Thai (my default choice) was just $12.90.

The cocktail list is tempting. Which would you try? The Sumai Heaven, Phuket Paradise, Pattaya Lagoon or the Bangkok Sunset. It's hard to beat them at $8.90 each.

The restaurant is classy and the service personal and friendly.
Yum Yum Thai restaurant is set in the heart of popular High St strip and just two doors up from the Westgarth cinema (previously known as the Valhalla). There are two other Thai restaurants in the street nearby so be sure to check the name and enjoy the yummy meals.

Cheap eats, best cheap restaurants and cafes, affordable food, budget meals, best Italian food, Cheap Indonesian food, Cheap Thai food, Cheap all day breakfasts, Northcote restaurants and cafes,
Pad med ma muang - colorful, flavoursome and spicy


Brown Bear
301 High Street, Preston


Named in honour of the organisation Free the Bears, Brown Bear Café donates all tips to the charity that's committed to ending bear bile farming. This place is a must visit at least once but you're sure to want to go back time and time again.

The owners Leo and Feng are passionate about providing the best, freshest homemade food at a reasonable price. Leo says that the food does not have to be fancy. They aim for simple, best value food that everyone can enjoy. His creativity has resulted in a unique east meets west style.


The Brown Bear Cafe serves a tempting menu of all day breakfasts. Starting from just $4.50 for toasted sourdough, it's hard to go past. Some other examples include oatmeal porridge with almonds, mixed berries and cream or skinny milk ($7.90). They also serve sandwiches ($9), large amazing homemade hamburgers (only $8) and nothing (including the big brown bear brekky) is over $16!

I can't decide which meal I'd recommend more - the smashed avocado on pan-fried sourdough with free-range poached eggs and sour cream or the French toast. Even if this is not your usual choice, you have to try this one. The presentation is impressive. The colorful selection of fresh fruits includes all my favorite berries and mango.

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French Toast unlike any you have tasted


Their specialty coffee and homemade baked goods can also be taken away. All coffee is direct trade. It's a premium blend designed to be sweet, heavy and rich. It's high end, specialty Five Senses coffee that's been lightly roasted. This café is an absolute must for coffee lovers and connoisseurs. We loved the whole light baked cheesecake stamped with a brown bear (only $15).

When you visit Brown Bear you will always be made welcome and you are guaranteed of friendly, intimate service, gracious attention and unique homemade gourmet food.


Cafe Bedda
242 High St, Northcote


Cafe Bedda offers authentic Italian food by authentic Italian waiters. We noticed that some traditional Italian families were eating there and having a ball of a time.

It was at Café Bedda that I have discovered how much I love a crusty based pizza. The crust at Café Bedda was fluffy and the base almost wafer thin. It was cooked to perfection. It's the real deal Italian pizza that is hard to get anywhere outside of Italy.

Unfortunately the vegetarian pizza was quite large and accompanied by the delicious aranchini meant there was no room for this sweet pizza today.

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Best pizza crust


Our vegetarian pizza was topped with eggplant, ricotta, mozzarella cheese and a lot more garlic than we had expected. They had the usual menu items served at Italian restaurant with lots of pizzas and pastas but very interesting varieties, especially for vegetarians.

I thought the prices reasonable, for example the aranchini entree was on $7, a main serve of gnocchi dish was $20 and for both of us sharing aranchini and pizza, the total bill was $24.50.

Cafe Bedda is a fair dinkum, authentic Italian restaurant with melt in your mouth food. Or should I say fabulous Pizzeria e cucina Siciliana. Bellissima.


Yuni's Kitchen
251 High St Northcote

This intimate, casual Indonesian restaurant is situated on the grounds of a church. Find the church and walk to the rear of the property. There you will find Yuni's Kitchen and a lovely outdoor seating area unlike any on busy High St. It's away from the traffic and a great place to enjoy the sunshine with a beverage.

There are very few Indonesian restaurants in Melbourne and most of them appeal to students with cheap precooked food. Everything is fresh at Yuni's, there is no MSG, the sambal is vegan friendly and the meat Halal. The menu changes regularly according to customer feedback.

Whether you love spring rolls or not you must try Yuni's. I have never seen such plump spring rolls. They were obviously handmade on the day and bursting with a range of fresh vegetables. These were very inexpensive - 3 spring rolls for only $7.

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Best value spring rolls ever


One of the most popular meals is the Curry Laksa… it's very appealing and a meal in itself. This Laksa is piled with perfectly cooked vegetables (and meat if you choose it). Mine had tofu and lots of my favorite fresh herb coriander on top of two types of noodles. I didn't find it too spicy but the sambal was provided for those who want to spice it up a bit more. You can have this meal for ($12-18). It's hard to believe it's possible, but lunchtime meals are cheaper again.

The other frequently chosen meal is the famous Rendang. This is a traditional slow cooked beef curry with a little bit of heat served with rice and salad ($16 or $20 for a supersize). The Rendang is only $13 at lunchtime. Nasi and Mei Goreng are a steal at $12, Bakso that is a traditional meatball soup in a clear broth with Asian vegetables (from $12).

This promises to be a very affordable dining experience… you cannot afford to miss it. So just look for the lit up church in the thick of trendy High St Northcote and follow the path to Yuni's Kitchen. Selamat Makan.
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Where: High St from Northcote to Preston
Cost: Cheap
Your Comment
Really? Thanks for letting the readers know
by Jeni Wilson (score: 3|1811) 911 days ago
Hi there think ur research is a tad outdated. Cafe Bedda is a bit off the mark. Cafe Bedda is now Bedda and hasn't had this kind of menu for yonks. Stopped making pizza and basic Italian stuff early in the year and is now much more a modern Italian European menu with a great new chef
by Drawl (score: 0|3) 911 days ago
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