I remember when ... oh dear, am I really old enough to be saying things like that? I have lived here in Balaclava (with a couple of side trips) since I was 14, so that's almost 19 years. I do remember when the only place you could get a beer or glass of wine on Carlisle Street was the pub. And a cup of coffee? Ah, no.
Now the dilemma is not where to find a coffee (I use the term 'get a coffee' here loosely because as previously declared, I loathe the stuff) but where can you get a table. There are now more cafes on Carlisle Street than I can count and on weekends they are all packed. There are also a couple of bars and quite a few restaurants that serve alcohol. Hooray.
The issue for me though is where to find a good hot chocolate. What makes it good? Well, that it is hot and that it is chocolate. While these may sound like two self-evident features of a hot chocolate, it is amazing how many are a lukewarm cup of milk atop a layer of gluggy chocolate powder.
But not this one, this one is my favourite. It's served at Gattica (223 Carlisle Street, Balaclava; tel. 9525 8282) where you can also get good food and friendly service. The trick seems to be that they make a uniformly chocolate milk and then warm that thoroughly - yippee, no sediment. You'll have to ask someone else about their coffee though.