Some neighbourhoods have nothing by high quality, others have nothing but horrors, but quite often places that sit side by side cover that spectrum in neighbouring proximity. Here are some of our faves/not faves in that regard.
Castle Street’s Castello Coffee, home of outstanding Allpress espresso, has some very crappy neighbours. Ignoring Costa, I reckon Strada, the “top end” Italian experience from the geniuses at Bella Italia is the one to bring biggest contrast. A vast, soulless barn, Strada couldn’t be further away from the compact excellence of Castello, with its great soups made fresh daily. Never confuse these two, please.
Castle Terrace/Il Castello
Continuing the Castle theme, Il Castello is a perfectly decent, traditional Italian right next door to the stratospherically delicious Castle Terrace. I suspect many a kite-flying walk-up punter finding Castle Terrace fully booked has gambled on Il Castello being a reasonable nearby alternative. With expectations set at Castle Terrace level, your likely experience of Il Castello, despite its charms, is likely to be rather compromised.
Merchant’s and Divino Enoteca are on opposite sides of Merchant Street and at opposite ends of the quality spectrum. Divino is a beautiful wine bar serving great cheese and nibbles, while Merchant’s is a tired and lacklustre purveyor of staggeringly pish fare. Confuse these two at your peril.
Nanyang/No 8 Lister
The Quartermile has proved a slightly tough nut for some businesses to crack, but Nanyang, a Malaysian restaurant serving brightly spiced classics from that cuisine, has established itself very nicely. Next door at No 8 Lister Square, they continue to flounder with one of the poorer bar restaurants of its type – think 56 North and/or the Blackbird done really badly. Stick with the rendang beef at Nanyang and give the dreadfully poor burgers at No 8 a major swerve.
Paradise Palms/Boteco do Brasil
Boteco do Brasil is a slightly brash, loud Brazilian bar with a pretty disappointing food and drink selection. Paradise Palms is a slightly brash, loud bar with an excellent food and drink selection. With food from the outstanding Ninja Buns and a cocktail selection including a buckfast daiquiri, Paradise Palms is one of our favourite spots in the city, while Boteco just doesn’t quite cut it.