Volume 3, Issue 4, (Originally Published on Monday 25th March 2013)
Lunch is tricky. Deciding what to have, how much to spend, choosing pie or sausage roll; it’s complicated stuff.
The more organized and forward thinking individuals among us Law Students often bring lunch from home. These can range from your enviable chicken and pesto sandwiches, to your delectable cauliflower couscous and tomato salads (or in my case a pack of sugar and peanut butter smeared on a playing card).
Not all of us are capable of such feats of preparation and unless we’re lucky enough to have an LSS BBQ or Level 1 catering to fall back on, we’re forced to buy lunch at Uni. Fortunately enough, we don’t have to trek up all the way to Union House to find a decent meal. There are many fine establishments in close proximity to the Law School. However, I’ve come to appreciate there’s really only two types of food-purveyor in the Pelham Precinct: those run by Blueprint Caterers, and everyone else.
I’m not sure how many of you are aware, but Blueprint Catering is more or less the Walmart of the University of Melbourne café scene. The company apparently has a deal with the University to manage its on-site cafés, granting it a considerable, almost hegemonic presence. Porta Via, Barretto, the Potter, these are all fronts for Blueprint.
I’m not exactly wild about the quality of Blueprint coffee, but I don’t blame its employees, they’re just doing their job and don’t have a say about what beans they buy. My main issue is with their company’s prices, and the fact that they’re everywhere. I’m not really a fan of a place that charges $9.50 for a sandwich. They dress it up, give it a fancy name like ‘Palermo’ (which is just a city in Italy; do you think they’re eating Aussie ‘Collingwood’ sandwiches over in Rome?) and then ask you to mortgage your house to pay for it.
For University staff, that may sound like a good deal for a convenient snack, but for us poor students, it’s not amazing. This would be okay if this was just one café, a lone pillar of corporate price structuring; but there’s like 20 of these cafes, and they all sell the same damn expensive coffees and sandwiches.
My tip: try Middlefish. If you have to break the bank for lunch, at least don’t make it a Palermo.
Andrew Michaelson is working on a range of Suburbs-of-Melbourne inspired sandwiches. Try a Frankston Panini (vegemite, tomato sauce and shards of glass) today!