Liquid diet only at Ponyfish Island

Ponyfish Island - this pic should help you find it!

In my continued (and futile) quest to stay with the pack on new Melbourne café openings, I finally got to Ponyfish Island.

The signs were good: a sunny day, the Yarra River flowing brownly past, my café companion, GG, found the place under his own steam. This is no mean feat. Try describing where Ponyfish Island is: it’s on a pylon supporting one of the footbridges that runs across the river between Flinders St Station and Southbank.

Yeah, easy.

Anyway, Ponyfish Island has actually been around for a while, but despite its amazing location in the middle of the river, it just hadn’t taken off. New owners and a liquor licence have fixed all that, and last Thursday afternoon, the place was heaving. Literally heaving, with good music and happy punters enjoying an after-work jam jar of wine (tres egalitarian, what, serving wine in a jam jar).

We’d planned to hit the island for lunch, so popped in on Friday, scoring a table by the water at 12.30pm. We ordered: GG had the gnocchi and I went simplistic with a toasted sandwich with spinach, cheese and tomato. We had plenty to talk about but when a youth wandered past with gnocchi and sandwich, we hailed him over.

No, this can’t be your order. You haven’t been waiting long enough, he told us.

Fifteen minutes for a toastie isn’t long enough? I asked.

Not in this place, he said with a little laugh, oblivious to the two journalists committing his nonchalance to memory for future blogging.

It turned out it was our order. Reader, before we ate, we played ‘spot the spinach’ (I won, espying two tiny, wilted leaves tucked in one corner of the no-name white bread offering) and GG’s gnocchi was cold.

The day was sunny, the conversation good, the food queue was long; we gave up and ate.

It may have been a fool’s errand but we also ordered coffee. I placed the order at the counter and then asked, will it be long, as we’ve got to get back to work. The barista heard us and grinned. I’m all over it, he told me. Nevertheless, ignore all the other orders and make ours first, I suggested blithely.

Two seconds later, he appeared with my flat white and GG’s double piccolo, both beautifully executed in delicious Niccolo coffee.

The moral of the story: put nothing solid, I repeat, nothing solid, in your mouth on Ponyfish Island, and treat it like the beautifully ambient bar that it is.

Open 8am till 1am.

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