Melbourne and Hipsters go hand in hand. So, if you are looking for a true Melbourne/Hipster eating experience you can't go past The Mess Hall…OK, if we put the Hipster factor aside, what you are left with is a cool, minimalist, friendly and cosy little restaurant that opens early and stays open late so you've got breakfast, lunch, dinner and drinks covered.
The food is Italian inspired with a soup, fish, pasta, main and pizza special that change daily. The regular menu is just the right size; with enough items that there are a variety of foods to choose from; but small enough that you know everything will have been prepared fresh and you are not eating yesterday's leftovers. There is also a small dessert menu on offer, as well as homemade pastries, buns, slices, biscotti and donuts that fill the display case each morning.
Another nice touch about the Mess Hall is the changing fresh flora that decorates the counter and tables. They also know their music. Rather than typical insipid café tunes or a radio playing in the background, you can expect to hear the likes of Kasabian, The Doors, Missy Higgins, The Kooks or Oasis.
The Mess Hall is split over two floors. Upstairs is available for bookings of ten or more people. Downstairs you will find tables with some communal dining benches. There is also outdoor seating available with lovely gas heaters to keep you warm when it gets cooler. The pick of the bunch are the two bench spots in the front windows, which allow you to look out onto the street and people watch while you eat.
The Mess Hall can be a bustling little hot spot at peak dining times. The only negative is that if you are not booking for ten or more people, they don't take reservations, so it can be difficult getting a table over lunchtime.