Saturday 11 June 2016

Melbourne's best snack spots


I've been lucky enough to spend the last couple of weeks in Melbourne, thanks to my husband attending a two-week course there. While it can sometimes be lonely working from home, there is the awesome benefit of being able to pick up my laptop and travel to places like Melbourne if need be, which is exactly what I have done in these past two weeks.

Being a rather organised foodie, I asked a couple of friends who have either lived in Melbourne or travelled here frequently for their best cafe and restaurant recommendations. So, equipped with a rather extensive list of the best cafes and restaurants to hit up, I set off with my laptop to enjoy some amazing coffees, hot chocolates, bagels, donuts, burgers, quaesadillas...the list goes on.

As two weeks is quite a long time in which to explore Melbourne's hot spots, I thought I would create two separate posts on my eating adventures. This one covers my top ten snack/coffee/hot chocolate/dessert spots, whereas my next post will look at the best cafes and restaurants for brunch, lunch and dinner.

1. Hash Specialty Coffee


Hash Specialty Coffee is located in Hardware Lane, which seems to be the trendiest laneway for hipster cafes (I will talk about Hash's neighbours, Hardware Societe and Bowery to Williamsburg, in next week's post). I was meeting a friend at Hash who has recently moved to Melbourne, and she had been advised that the must-order drink is their hot chocolate, which we both decided to get. It comes served with a beaker of melted chocolate which you pour over a tower of white fairy floss that melts into the cup. You would think that this would be extremely sweet, but the bitter chocolate paired with the sweet fairy floss actually produces a perfectly-balanced hot chocolate for a cold Melbournian winter's day.

2. Dough Boys


A good friend of mine who used to live in Melbourne recommended Dough Boys as the place to go for soft, fluffy donuts, and she was not wrong. I picked up a couple of donuts to take away - the dark chocolate & salted caramel donut, and the apple cider donut - both of which were beautifully fresh, soft, not too sweet and completely delicious.

3. The Journeyman 


The Journeyman is located on Chapel St in Windsor, about 10-15 minutes by tram or car from the CBD. We were staying in St Kilda, which is walking distance to Chapel St, so I managed to stumble upon a few great finds here. The Journeyman was absolutely packed when I entered on a Friday morning, so I knew it must be good. They use Dukes Espresso coffee, which is one of the best coffee suppliers in Melbourne, and their cakes and slices are definitely worth sampling. I ordered their 'snickers slice' which had a caramelly, almost popcorn-like base, with a chewy, fudgey centre and a chocolate layer to top it off. I should have ordered a couple more to take away...

4. Brunetti 


Anyone who has visited Melbourne is probably aware of the famous Brunetti. Their main shop is located in Carlton, however as I was wandering past their CBD location, I decided to do make a stop to do a bit of work on my laptop, with a hot chocolate and a mini cannoli. They also have a cafe at the airport, where I couldn't resist a nutella eclair while I waited for my flight home.

5.  5 & Dime Bagels


The bagel scene is definitely big in Melbourne, with a lot of cafes serving both open and closed bagels on their menus (in next week's post I will discuss Manchester Press, a cafe famous for their bagels). I did a bit of googling to find out about the best bagels in Melbourne, and 5 & Dime Bagels was one of the top hits. Nestled away in a laneway in the CBD, this small shop bakes their bagels fresh everyday. I decided to go for a simple option of a plain bagel with 'PB&J', which was probably the best decision I made that day (the photo below does not do it justice). The bagel was incredibly fresh, soft and chewy, and the crunchy peanut butter with the sweet jam really hit the spot. I am drooling thinking about it now.

6. Gelato Messina


There is no way that I could visit Melbourne without making a trip to Messina. We'd only been in Melbourne a few hours before we caught a tram to the Fitzroy store. A few days later, wandering along Chapel St, I was extremely thrilled to see that there was a Messina only 15 minutes' walk from our apartment. And yes, I may have visited Messina 4 times in our 12 day stay (edit: at the time of publishing this post, it had increased to 5 times...hey don't judge me...I hadn't been since January). If a tub of their milk chocolate with choc peanut fudge came flying down the street at me, it would not last long.

7. Koko Black


I had visited the Koko Black cafe in Canberra and remembered how amazing their chocolate desserts were, so when I realised there was one in Melbourne, I had to check it out. It is located in a beautiful old building on Collins St, and is a great spot to escape the chilly winds outside. Unable to decide between the classic Belgian hot chocolate or the hazelnut hot chocolate, I ended up ordering the classic, however the lovely waitress also brought me a sample cup of their hazelnut hot chocolate to try. Both were incredibly rich, smooth and dark - everything you want in a hot chocolate.

 8. Mr Mister 


Just up the road from The Journeyman is Mr Mister, another great spot for coffee and morning tea. Their brunch and lunch menu also looked amazing, however I managed to refrain from ordering anything from the main menu, and just stuck to an iced latte and a slice of their raw snickers slice (you might be sensing a theme in this post). The coffee was excellently made, and the snickers slice was very sweet and tasty (despite being a healthy raw slice).

9. Ganache Chocolate 


 In my quest to discover the best hot chocolates in Melbourne, I decided to check out Ganache Chocolate on Collins Street, having heard from a number of sources that this was one of the top spots for a hot chocolate in the city. I struggled to choose between the classic, cinnamon, hazelnut or mint hot chocolate, but ended up choosing the classic. It was dark and creamy but not too thick, and was served with a chewy hazelnut biscuit, which balanced out the chocolate hit well.

10. Patricia Coffee Brewers 


When researching the best coffee in Melbourne, Patricia Coffee Brewers kept coming up in a lot of articles and reviews, so I decided to head here for an afternoon caffeine hit. Tucked away in a quiet laneway off Little Bourke St, I walked right past it the first time, only to see on Google maps that I'd completely missed it. It is located in a tiny space, without much room for dining in, and it was definitely bustling when I entered. After asking for a skim cappuccino, I was informed that they make either 'black' or 'white' coffee, so I went with a 'skim white coffee' using their specialty blend. It was a beautifully made coffee, and despite not being a lover of very strong coffee, I did really enjoy the strength of this coffee, given the freshness and smoothness of the beans.

Hopefully this will give anyone travelling to Melbourne in the near future some ideas for great snack and coffee spots to explore. A lot of these cafes also offer more substantial brunch and lunch options that are worth trying, and I'm definitely planning on coming back to try out some of these meals.

Stay tuned for next week's post on some of the best brunch/lunch/dinner spots!

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