Hairy Canary

212 Little Collins St
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9654 2471

A meet-up with my fellow xangans Jen and Shirley have been in the works for quite some time but conflicting work schedules and demanding boyfriends (ha) have made it a bit difficult to plan something on a night in which we were all free. In fact, tonight was the only weekend night in which I could actually meet up with them before the new year so when I suggested dinner in the city on December 12th (i.e. tonight), I was stoked when they both told me that they were free.

Of course, it also happened to piss down rain on the same night and so by the time I reached Flinders Street station just before 6pm to meet Shirley, I was already drenched despite me toting a big arse umbrella courtesy of Adam (which also failed to close properly as the band was broken). So yes, walking to Hairy Canary on Little Collins Street in torrential rain probably wasn’t the best fun one could have. And when we got there, all the tables were full so we had to wait around at the bar for 30 minutes which actually wasn’t TOO bad because 1) we didn’t make a booking prior to coming and 2) we were still waiting for Jen who was stuck in traffic and didn’t show up for another hour and a bit because the traffic on the Monash was a nightmare and then she had to drive around in circles trying to find parking.

Anyway, you guys won’t be leaving without a food commentary of some sort so here we go. Please be aware that my notes are sketchy at best because I didn’t write down any notes like I usually do. Also, I want to apologise for the rather awful photos – I usually try to take photos without flash but in this instance, it was impossible. I blame the extremely poor lighting in this place (they wanted to make it all dark and romantic).

We started off with a simple bowl of shoe-string fries ($6.50). Nothing to harp on about, they’re just your usual Maccas fries albeit a little crispier and not as oily I suppose. It was served with a small bowl of garlic aoili which, once again, wasn’t anything to do a song and dance about.

Arriving at the same time as our fries was an order of chorizo, safron and spinach croquettes (2 for $12-something, if I remember correctly). I love croquettes and I was especially keen on trying these ones but the morsel I ate felt a bit… inadequate. Sure, they were perfectly crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. Sure, the romescu (Spanish pepper – I looked it up!) sauce added a much needed bite without being too overbearing. But seriously? It didn’t do it for me. I couldn’t really taste the chorizo and I wasn’t sure whether they were skimping on it or whether the safron diluted it but either way, I felt a bit jibbed. Heck, Movida and Movida Next Door make better croquettes at a cheaper price. (Sorry, bad photo. I have no idea how to get rid of that shadow. Tips are greatly appreciated)

Scallops (3 for $14.90). Me and Shirls had a hard time choosing our tapas dishes, but the one thing we could both agree on were the scallops as we’re both huge fans. Our scallops were presented on top of their shells and dusted with olive breadcrumbs, which I found quite interesting and yummy. I think this dish would’ve been good, except for the spinach bed which was perhaps a bit too salty for our tastes. At almost $5 per scallop, I did feel that it wasn’t worth the heavy price tag – the scallops weren’t even THAT big! It was at this point that I started thinking about Dave‘s awesome-looking scallops from Match which I REALLY must try next time…

Chicken and avocado pizza ($17.90, I think). Yeah, I know that the pizza looks like it’s sweating (or mutated). See, this is the reason why I hate using camera flash… but it was either go for the sweaty pizza  look or a completely black photo so I chose the former. The pizza might not have looked all that appealing but I reckon that this was the best dish of the night.  I loved the mushy avocado and the lightly marinated chicken thigh pieces. I loved the crispy thin pizza base. And most of all, I loved the creamy lemony dill sauce that went all over pizza toppings. For under $20, one could have a pizza to themselves and be positively stuffed. It’ll still be a cheap meal, but I felt that the Hairy Canary pizza was only slightly better than a $8.90 pizza from Bimbo Deluxe.

All up, the bill came to just over $60. This included drinks so when you think about it (plus the fact that we were all pretty much full), it was rather cheap. While the food was alright, I felt that Hairy Canary do drinks better than meals. This was evident by the fact that most people around us focused on their drinks first, and their food second. Being a Friday night, the place was packed and it does make sense to book prior to rocking up if you don’t want to stand in line forever. The jury is out on whether I’d actually come back here again for dinner as I feel that I could get better Spanish food elsewhere for the same amount of money (Movida Next Door, anyone?). Having said that though, I would not rule Hairy Canary out for after-work drinks or their supposedly-good breakfasts one day.

I eat too much.


  1. jtngu8
    December 12, 2008


    I had a real blast last night Libs! I’m quite the happiest being able to chat away over dinner about nothing in particular (hey, that rhymes!) and I love meeting new (normal and sane) people and it was such a delight meeting you! I hope you didn’t find me too in-your-face, though as Shirley described the both of us. We were talking in the car and got worried that we might have scared you! Sometimes I think I talk too much for one conversation, but then again, I absolutely hate the alternative, which is to find that you can’t make any conversation at all.. But yes, yes, I found you so adorable and gosh… shy! I was thinking, okay, gotta make sure she feels comfortable around me above all else, so she can have a good time. 🙂 When are you free next? Next year? Poo 🙁 We’ll make the next a weekend lunch or something so I don’t have to deal with HORRIBLEH, HORRIBLEH most-likely-to-be-city traffic.

    And I apologise a million, trillion times for being so incredibly late (I think you under-exaggerated how late I was…). I was completely stressing in the car on the way up, thinking, ‘Good one Jen. You KNOW the girls are sticklers for punctuality and what do you do?? You don’t properly plan your arrival strategy…’ to which I would eventually come to find you guys frowning at me when I finally did arrive or something. But you guys hide it well… 😛

    And finally, thanks a LOT for not letting the very-sorry-late-comer pay for dinner. HMPH.

    While we’re on the topic, funny thing happened this morning. Dad had rummaged through my car and thrown out that orange TomTom box WITH ALL THAT MONEY IN THERE. :O

    Did I scare you? I actually managed to retrieve it from the recycling heap and found that money wedged in there. But this might teach you guys a lesson for wedging wads of money in secret places in people’s cars where they may become misplaced. 😛

    And we suck for not taking photos of us. Next time fo’ sho’.


  2. icesabre
    December 12, 2008

    The Chips look awesome! And they look nothing like the Maccas fries which are bloody thin. The Croquettes look tasty, but I’m not exactly sure what a Chorizo is?

    As much as I like scallops and as much as I loved the ones at Match, I don’t want to overrate them or anything, but I think you should try them and see what you think, as different people have different tastes!!!!! Plus the Match ones weren’t thaaaaaat big, just your standard size, roughly the same size as yours @ Hairy Canary. It was the bread crumbs that made it look bigger that’s all.

  3. GODandShopping
    December 13, 2008

    yeah the do tend to make some fugly shoes.. lol

  4. peach_water
    December 13, 2008

    Once again you’ve managed to make me drool all over my keyboard 😛
    I love croquettes too! I had the best Japanese croquettes at this popular authentic japanese restaurant “J Cafe” – 167 Exhibition St
    It’s so good! I want to go back.

  5. fipar20
    December 13, 2008

    Man, I haven’t been out to dine in a long while now =S
    The pics looks extremely tasty yet again…lol and its interesting to hear that you’ve met like this. Ohh, you still owe me a drink…lol =P

  6. jowee86
    December 13, 2008

    yay for u guys meeting up! it’s kinda funny how we’re all a little “network” on xanga but most of us haven’t met eachother in real life. It’s great that you guys translated that online “xanga” rship to something real!

    P.S. I’ve always wondered, how the hell do you remember what everything is called on the menus?!?!?!??!?!?!??!?!?!??!?!?!??!?!?!??

  7. s_l_v
    December 13, 2008

    Man that pizza looks grossssssss!! It looked (and tasted) really good in real life but you’re right, it looks like it’s been injected with something and is mutating, ew! The photos turned out okay though (with that one exception), I’m quite gutted we didn’t get to take pictures of us girlies cos we would have been sooo much better looking than the food!! Haha missing you guys already, gotta do it again ASAP!

    December 14, 2008

    @jtngu8 – 

    Hahaha, if you had scared me, I would’ve made some excuse about a “family emergency” and bolted just before we went to that cafe. While I know that I certainly wouldn’t describe myself as particularly loud, I do understand that xangans who bump into me are always surprised that I’m not (initially) as verbose in real life purely for the reason that my xanga posts tend to be quite long and sometimes opinionated (which is fair enough). I just feel that when meeting people for the first time (and in most social situations) that’s it’s best for me to just take a back seat rather than say something such as “I reckon it served that kid right for being shot by the cops, he was such a bad egg!” which will probably freak people out but it’s something that I would easily say to my friends regularly.

    Early next year is great – I am on annual leave for a week on the first week of January so we can definitely do a lunch thing. I was going to suggest a Thursday/Friday lunch because those WERE Shirley’s days off before I realised that she now works Mon-Fri. Ahhh gotta love non-work weekends.

    @icesabre – 

    Haha they were definitely shoe-string fries. Gotta love the macro function on my camera, eh?

    A chorizo is a Spanish pork sausage that’s flavoured with red peppers which gives it a rather spicy taste. Very popular in places such as Movida, Bar Lourinha and becoming a regular feature in places that do bfreakie (eg. they put chorizo in omelettes etc).

    @peach_water – 

    Oooh someone actually told me about J-Cafe the other day and I really want to go there sometime. I heard that their sushi burgers are good too, have you had?

    @fipar20 – 

    Yes, yes, I do. Hehe. Let me know when is good for you and we’ll work around that 🙂

    @jowee86 – 

    Haha yeah, and I know that we all randomly bump into each other every now and then too (I still can’t believe you’ve spotted me twice without me seeing you!).

    I usually scribble some notes in my diary when I’m dining out though I didn’t do it in this case because I didn’t want Jen and Shirley to think that I was some kind of freak, writing away haha. Many of the top notch places will have menus on their web sites which help a little but when I look at my photos on the computer, I find that just by looking at the photo, I can somewhat conjure up a recollection of what the dish was like for me. Having said that though, I know that many of my descriptions may have been inaccurate and I probably get “nutmeg” mixed up with “cloves” 10 billion times. Hah.

    @s_l_v – 

    Yeah, I was ready to take photos after we finished our food but (gasp) I ended up forgetting. Oh well, next time.

    So so so…. did you meet Phil after you guys dropped me off? 😀

  9. peach_water
    December 14, 2008

    @SNSAZN – 

    Oh yeah! ive definately had the sushi burgers…its soooo damn good! my Japanese friend loves it too! though she told me there’s no such thing as sushi burgers..
    She said her sister’s friend owns the place 🙂 So.. they serve authentic japanese food. try the avocado and prawn burger!!!! its too good.


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