6th visit to Melbourne and this time blogging was my purpose, with a wee spot of shopping and sightseeing thrown in for good measure. My eatathon will be one I won’t forget quickly and has set the scene for future visits.
I stayed centrally in Southbank at the Travellodge. Despite free wifi being almost non-existant and their room aircon not working, it was still a great hotel in a great location and good value for money. It was so close to Flinders St Station and the CDB.
As soon as I arrived, I legged it from Southbank to Lygon St. Brunetti with its young, dark handsome baristas was humming with the smell of their lovely coffee and a cake selection about the length of the Yarra river! I meandered through the lovely Carlton Gardens to Brunswick St to meet a friend for lunch at Naked in the Sky; the rooftop bar (with no table service) and $9 lunch tapas Mon-Fri. The views are spectacular as well as the décor inside. It sits above the gorgeous Naked for Satan tapas restaurant and our ribs, eggplant, popcorn chicken and zucchini flowers were divine. Walking back to town, I passed by some gorgeous ceramic tiled seats and a set of ceramic babouska in a nearby park. Brunswick St is very eclectic and has a raft of vintage stores and fabulous restaurants.
Prior to arriving for dinner at Lucy Liu, I spotted the wonderful Mexian restaurant Movida, in Hosier Lane which was full of people photographing the famous graffiti art. Lucy Liu is in Oliver Lane and as I dined solo, I was able to sit at the counter overlooking the kitchen, which I loved. The place was hopping and the service and food was just fantastic. My glass of Lucy Liu house red, Asian greens with chilli, spinach and chestnut dumplings and spicy Jiangbing pancake roll was heavenly. I’d definitely come back here as I loved almost everything on the menu; a mix of small bites, dumplings and buns, plates, sides or you can “Let Lucy choose”. I strolled back to the hotel and finished off with the night with visiting the Eureka Tower; 88 stories high with the fastest elevators in the world, and the 360 degree views were quite amazing.
The next day I breakfasted at Hardware Societe and this was my ultimate fave. OMG at 745am, it was almost full with Instagrammers and bloggers like myself and perhaps a few locals. It was like a quaint teashop and I got to sit near the open kitchen and chat to my foodie neighbours. The food here was exceptional and their byline is “Great food is like great sex. The more you have, the more you want”. The menu is in French and in English and they also cater for dietary requirements. I chose baked eggs with chorizo with toasted baguette and with my green tea matcha latte, I was in foodie heaven. Others were eating the pork belly, confit duck or lobster for breakfast, I swear Hell yes, I’m coming back to try some of those babies and the karma sutra chai latte.
Lunch was at The Meatball and Wine Bar on Flinders Lane (which seems to occupy many hip places to eat). Service was very poor which was a shame as it let my experience down greatly and especially given they weren’t busy. Why staff chose to chat to their colleagues vs provide exceptional service is beyond me. My meatball roast vege salad was nice as was my wine and the menu looked great however I wouldn’t be tempted to frequent. I stopped off for my coffee and biscotti at Caffe e Torta. I’ve eyed this place up a few times on my last visits and absolutely loved it here. It’s small but busy and they are open for breakfast and lunch. They have blackboard specials and their counter bulges with tempting Italian sandwiches and cakes. Surprisingly there wasn’t a tiramisu or cannoli in sight.
That day I visited the Emporium, the new Collins Lane, Bourke St Mall and Melbourne Central so I got a good feel for the CBD shopping precinct again. Christmas sales were on and it was fairly busy. Chinatown was nearby in Little Bourke St so that was fun to stroll through again.
Dinner that night was on Southbank at Tutto Bene, courtesy of my Italian cousins. Food, presentation and service was excellent, this place could not be faulted. It overlooked the river and the location was gorgeous. We had a mix of scallops, zucchini flowers, risotto, scallopine, cotoletta and lasagne and we finished off with some baby bomboloni (Nutella cream-filled doughnuts) and gelato. Exquisite.
Thursday I ate breakfast at Cumulus Inc. This has been on my foodie list for ages and I was expecting more. It was housed in a beautiful old building with lovely booth and counter seating. The menu was very small and the only thing that grabbed my attention was the Shakshouka baked eggs. They were delicious as was the coffee but not amazing. Service was ok, but a little standoffish. I then headed off to the DFO near Southbank which was quite good and the walk allowed me to burn off my breakfast.
ChinChin was my lunch spot and it so did not disappoint. I started off with a prosecco and the lovely bartender helped me choose the caramelised pork belly salad. It was so deliciously crunchy with a chilli sweet and sour dressing. I was so impressed and could have ordered a 100 things so the menu was very appealing and service was fantastic. I then had coffee and a cannoli at Brunetti in Myer and it was wonderful.
I then got caught in an unexpected downpour, so I decided to not have a drink with friends at Vue du Monde (supposedly the best rooftop bar in Melbourne) so we will do that next trip. I finished off the night at Cookie, another spot on my foodie list but unfortunately it was actually disappointing. The ambiance was cool and hip as was the décor and the staff were quite nice. However we all agreed it was just average.
On my final day, I chose to eat at Degraves Espresso ( in Degraves St which I later learned is a fab lane full of great restaurants). This place had received mixed reviews but 99% of the time, I have good experiences so I gave it a shot. They open at 7am and at 710am, I had to ask if they were open as they still hadn’t setup. I obviously was an interruption to their chitchat so they told me rudely I had to wait 10 minutes. Ah no, foodietraveller does not wait. You are either open or you’re not. And further, if you’re rude, you will never be the recipient of my hard-earned dollars. So I checked out Caffe e Bisotti in Bloc Lane. This place is so cute but go via the laneside entrance not Little Collins side as it has an entirely different appeal and is very kitch. My scrambled eggs and avo were good and so was my coffee. Staff were friendly but new on the job, so they weren’t fully able to share the history associated with this place.
Cousins later took me to the Port of Melbourne where the cruise ships dock and and we had a delicious coffee at Balderdash cafe. The Melbourne eye at the Docklands was fantastic and we then ate amazing pizzas, salads, wine and coffee in Lygon St at D.O.C, although the Maitre’d (probably South Italian) was quite arrogant. We then had time to visit the Fitzroy Gardens Conservatory which was gorgeous and the cute Captain James Cook Cottage, prior to my dropoff at the airport.
So peeps, Melbourne is a foodie/shopping haven. You can also watch tennis at Rod Laver, cricket or the AFL final at the MCG, an event at the Etihad Stadium, the Melbourne cup at Flemington Raceway or the Grand Prix. Trams to Richmond St, Lygon St or Brunswick St, Prahan, Port of Melbourne or St Kilda beach are easy too. Next trip I’ll do a vineyard, go to Williamstown, Sorrento and Collingwood plus eat out and shop again. You can see why it’s voted the most liveable city in the world.