New School Canteen in Fitzroy is an all-day eatery which used to serve an eclectic menu of breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes. Since April they’ve changed their offering to focus on just burgers paired with beer (they’ve also moved out the coffee machine).
Family-friendly cafes can be hard to find in hipster Fitzroy so New School Canteen stands out for providing plenty of pram access, high chairs, a kids menu, toys and books and a disabled toilet (no change table).
You can choose to sit inside or outside – the pavement seating provides the advantage of people and car watching along George Street, but the indoor concrete bunker can still provide a surprising amount of light through the side windows.
New School Canteen’s burgers are two-handed affairs and start at $12.50. There’s a good selection of vegetarian/vegan offerings, not just a single veggie burger.
I try the newest item on their menu, the Polenta Power ($13.50). The combination of polenta corn cake, red kidney beans, capsicum, tomato, onion, green beans, zucchini and vegan cheese tastes great – but it is unmanageable mess inside a burger bun. I end up eating the filling with a fork and leaving the clammy bread behind.
Their signature Canteen burger ($12.50) is the smallest burger of the lot but is huge! I hesitate to recommend some of the bigger, more expensive burgers unless you have a massive appetite.
The chips are worthy of note, as they have kept the skin of the potatoes and thus are extra crunchy. There’s not a great deal of difference in the capacity of the large and small size ($5 and $3 respectively) so for the sake of calories and budget maybe just stick to the small size.
On weekdays until 7pm you can get the Canteen burger (or the vego equivalent, Pacha Mama) with a side of fries for only $12.
The kids menu consists of a 150g wagyu cheeseburger with chips or chicken tenders with chips ($10). The chicken tenders are very good – very moist chicken breast (how DO they get it so tender?) fried in a slightly spiced coating. The portion size is generous for a kids meal too – I could happily eat it as an adult!
If you’re not drinking beer then try one of New School Canteen’s milkshakes, which aren’t just your basic vanilla-chocolate-strawberry variety. The $8.50 shakes are a dessert in themselves and our tarted up chocolate milkshake is filled with marshmallows, rice crispies and dulce de leche.
New School Canteen’s burgers and chips are good without being amazing, but the family-friendly features make it a standout if you’re looking for somewhere to dine out with kids in Fitzroy.
- pram access;
- high chairs;
- disabled toilet (no change table);
- kids menu;
- standard menu suitable for kids;
- toys and books; and
- walking distance to playgrounds at Condell St and Smith Reserve, plus Fitzroy Library and Fitzroy Pool.
New School Canteen, 379–381 George Street, Fitzroy 03 9417 1199