Saturday 13 July 2019

Where I ate and drank in Melbourne for a week

A couple of weeks ago, Dave and I were in Melbourne for 8 days while he attended a work course. As I was still working throughout the week, I took the opportunity to wander around this incredible city and explore some of my favourite cafes from which to work, while also discovering a few new places.

For a substantial meal


Fitzrovia, St Kilda 

Fitzrovia was a new find for us, and we headed here on our first morning in St Kilda for some Saturday morning breakfast. I went with the apple and rhubarb honey nut crumble ricotta hotcakes, while Dave had the crumbed portobello mushrooms with lemon thyme hollandaise.

Chin Chin, CBD 

An old favourite, Chin Chin is located on Flinders Lane in the CBD. I went here on a Monday lunch, which was a rather civilised time as I was able to get a table straight away (a very different story if you go on a Friday or Saturday). After a big weekend of eating, I went for a lighter option of poached coconut chicken salad with lemongrass, cashews and nahm jim.

Fonda Mexican, CBD (and multiple other locations)

We discovered the wonders of Fonda Mexican a couple of years ago, and each time we are in Melbourne, we usually head back here for some tacos, burritos or nachos. We actually made two trips there on this occasion - once to the Fitzroy location, and once to the Windsor location. Our choices included the Fonda nachos with pulled pork, the chipotle BBQ beef tacos, and the grilled chicken tacos, none of which disappointed us.

Uncle, CBD

I met up with one of my friends at Uncle for dinner on Saturday night, and we decided to share a few menu items, including the chicken steamed bao, the steamed barramundi with soy and ginger broth and pickled mushrooms, and the wok-tossed broccoli. For dessert, I (naturally) went for the chocolate tart with dark rum jelly, meringue and passionfruit sorbet.

Cookie, CBD

We met up with a few friends for dinner at Cookie on Sunday evening, and as there were five of us, we shared a range of Thai-style dishes, including the pad thai, the fat rice noodles with duck, Chinese cabbage and peppercorns, the silken tofu with peas, asparagus and oyster mushrooms, and the bok choy with pumpkin, ginger, coriander and coconut. All dishes were extremely fresh and flavoursome, and the serving sizes left us rolling out the door.

Betty's Burgers, CBD and Windsor 

On one of the days that Dave was at his course, I spent a bit of time exploring Windsor and stumbled upon Betty's Burgers, so I decided to head there for lunch and ordered the Betty's Classic (with Angus beef, lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese and Betty's special sauce). For $10, this was good value for a gourmet burger in a cute, diner-style restaurant.

Brick Lane, CBD 

I met up with a friend for a quick mid-week lunch at Brick Lane, and decided to go with a (somewhat) healthy option of the slow cooked lamb shoulder salad with mint, baby peas, rocket, parsley, witlof, radicchio, manchego and cultural almonds.

Manchester Press, CBD 

I have been to Manchester Press on a couple of previous occasions so was keen to head back down the hidden alleyway in which it is located to work for a couple of hours. While on this occasion I just stuck to a coffee, I love their variety of bagels, and they also do an excellent acai bowl for breakfast.

Laneway Greens, CBD and Richmond 

I first discovered Laneway Greens on a trip to Melbourne in 2017, and decided to head back here for a quick and healthy Friday lunch on this trip. I arrived a bit before midday in order to avoid the lunchtime rush (and to get a seat), and I went with the market best salad with spiced squash, roasted button mushrooms, broccolini, beets and fermented vegetables.

Mr Mister, Windsor 

When exploring Windsor, I headed back to Mr Mister, an old favourite that I discovered a couple of years ago, and a great cafe in which to set up camp with a laptop and coffee. I stuck to a coffee on this occasion, but they do serve a range of salads, burgers, smoothies and an extensive all day breakfast menu. I also love that they have a couple of brother/sister cafes called Mr Sister and Little Mister.

Journeyman Cafe, Prahan 

Another old favourite in the Windsor/Prahan area is the Journeyman Cafe. Again, on this occasion I just had a coffee, but they offer delicious food items including Moroccan grilled eggplant and chickpea ragu, and almond and cornflake crispy chicken burger (and upon looking back at the menu, I now regret not getting lunch here).

For a snack or dessert


Lune Croissanterie, CBD and Fitzroy 

I had heard amazing things about Lune Croissanterie, and when I saw that they had opened a shop-front in the CBD, I headed in here one weekday morning. There was still quite a long queue out the door, but it moved fairly quickly, and I snapped up an almond croissant and a pain au chocolat to take away. While they were good, I wouldn't say they were quite worth the hype (and I've definitely had better ones in Tassie!).

Pidapipo, CBD and Carleton 

When a friend of mine told me that Pidapipo was potentially better than Messina, I had to try this gelato. We went to the CBD store, located just off Flinders Lane, and I tried the salted caramel flavour (with a drizzle of melted nutella on top). It was extremely smooth and fresh - while the flavours are more simple than Messina (and with less additions like brownie chunks or dulce de leche swirls), it was excellent quality. It reminded me quite a bit of Rivareno gelato, an excellent Italian gelato store in Sydney.

Gelato Messina, Fitzroy, Richmond and Windsor

As you can probably guess from my previous recommendation, I had to head to Messina (in fact, we bought not one, but two, takeaway tubs for the duration of our stay in Melbourne, and yes, we got through both tubs).

Brunetti, CBD

I had not been to the new Brunetti cafe located on Flinders Lane, so when I was wandering past one morning, I headed in for a coffee and a mini nutella cannoli. It is a large, beautifully decorated cafe, divided up into a patisserie section and a pizza/pasta/sandwiches section. There are a number of marble tables and benches which are perfect spots to sit and work away for a couple of hours.

For a coffee or hot chocolate 


Dukes Coffee Roasters, CBD

I had often heard people recommend Dukes Coffee Roasters for one of the best coffees in Melbourne, but had never quite made it there, so I was determined to try it on this occasion. I wandered in at around 10am on a Monday morning and it was bustling with city workers getting their morning coffees. I managed to snap a seat at the bar area and can understand why people rave about the smooth, beautifully roasted coffee.

Koko Black, CBD

For one of the best hot chocolates in Melbourne, I would recommend heading to Koko Black on Collins St and trying one of their dark hot chocolates.

Hash Specialty Coffee, CBD

For a more elaborate take on a hot chocolate, head to Hash Specialty Coffee in Hardware Lane. It comes with a large serving of fairy floss in a cup, accompanied by an extremely rich, dark, thick hot chocolate, which you pour over the fairy floss that dissolves into the hot chocolate. The combination of the sweetness from the fairy floss and the darkness from the hot chocolate results in a deliciously decadent drink.

Ganache, CBD

The final hot chocolate recommendation I have is Ganache on Collins St. As it is in quite a central location in the CBD, this spot can get very popular so it can be tricky finding a table, but if you can, it's worth trying one of their rich (but not too rich) hot chocolates on a rainy, cold winter's day in Melbourne.

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