It’s only my second week in Melbourne and I have already developed a daily growing bucket list. As soon as I cross a place off there’s another few that open. Well at least I know I will never get bored… or hungry! Here are my ten favourite finds for this week…
1. The Night Market at Queen Victoria Markets on Wednesdays for epic eating, drinking and entertainment. Take a B-line into the historic sheds, past the market stalls and you will find a mind-boggling range of quality street food from around the globe. There’s nothing better than sinking your teeth into the soft shell crab burger at Hammer and Tong or filling your nostrils with the barbequed goodness at Hoy Pinoy. The only problem is trying to decide at one.. or two.. or three. The Night Market runs every Wednesday 5pm – 10pm until the 26th March 2014.
2. Top Paddock is the latest venture from the guys behind Two Birds One Stone and Three Bags Full. There is no stopping these guys and their winning formula. Richmond locals flock here to get their weekend brunch fix so expect it to be busy. Expect contemporary twists on brunch favourites like bircher muesli with green tea poached pear and pan-fried local Snapper with a chilli fried egg avocado, tomato , lime and a corn tortilla. And good news for coffee fans – they serve up industry favourite Five Senses Coffee.
3. One of the highlights of working in Carlton is having Seven Seeds as your local coffee spot. This popular coffee spot roasts its coffee on site on a daily basis, using seasonal blends which change constantly throughout the year. Be warned, as this place can be difficult to find – if you blink you may miss the unassuming entrance to this converted warehouse. Just follow your nose to the wonderful aroma of freshly roasted coffee coming from within. I will challenge you to find a better coffee anywhere else in Melbourne.
4. You can’t get away from the foodie hype around Hammer & Tong in Brunswick Street. Fortunately it’s not an overhyped, overpriced let down – the food is damn good. Hammer & Tong, located in the heart of Fitzroy offers diners a casual dining experience in an open bar and kitchen. The wagyu beef, buttermilk lamb with goats cheese and bbq corn cob with chipotle, popcorn butter, pecorino and lime come highly recommended. Brunch lovers won’t be disappointed in delicious treats like coconut black rice pudding and buttermilk pancakes with popping candy, all washed down by a superb Dukes coffee.
5. They may not have the best coffees in town but breakfast at The European Restaurant on Spring Street is one of Melbourne’s quintessential experiences. The elegant, old-fashioned restaurant has a distinct feeling of European charm, melding the traditions of France, Italy and Spain together as one happy family. For breakfast you can enjoy honest classics like ricotta fritters, eggs benedict and buttermilk pancakes, or if you’re feeling hungry, opt for the continental breakfast – a decadent assortment of brioche, toast and pastries.
6. Join the hordes of suits waiting eagerly for their morning coffee at Tom Thumb, a hole-in-the-wall style establishment on Flinders Lane. The coffee is superb. There is also a quiet retreat upstairs with a few tables if you want to sit in and enjoy their delicious goodies.
7. The Final Step has finally cemented itself as one of my favourite coffee shops in South Yarra. I don’t know if it’s the service, the cosy atmosphere or the superb coffee but this place rocks. Located a stone’s throw from Toorak Road, this is a perfect hidden sanctuary to escape the crowds and some of the more “pedestrian” cafes.
8. You couldn’t get a much better location for a cafe/restaurant than Studley Park Boathouse, the oldest operating boathouse in Australia. Sit and enjoy a wine and a light lunch on the deck and enjoy the sweeping views over the Yarra River and the surrounding parkland. If you’re feeling game, hire one of the boats and paddle up the river afterwards. There is also a kiosk downstairs where you can enjoy drinks and light snacks.
9. I can’t believe I was a South Yarra local only a few years ago – the suburb has changed dramatically since I left with locals now spoiled for choice when it comes to quality coffee shops. Drug Store Espresso is an unpretentious buzzy cafe near South Yarra Station, brewing quality single origins and blends that change daily. The food is equally good. Think egg and bacon muffins with relish, vanilla bean pancakes with honey labne or just a fresh pastry or muffin if you’re on the run. I couldn’t think of a better reason to miss my morning train.
10. Leo’s Fine Food Supermarket in Kew for its gourmet goodies. Leo’s has a great range of freshly baked breads, gourmet cheeses, meats and fresh produce. It may be a bit too expensive for your weekly supermarket shop, but it’s a perfect place to buy some treats for a picnic or a special occasion.