How do you gain 10 pounds in 10 days? The answer: go out for dinner every night in Melbourne…
One of the perks of my job is that I can work remotely – so I recently spent 10 days working from Melbourne (or WFM, if you’d like). Melbourne is known as Australia’s culinary capital, so understandably I spent the entire 10 days eating and drinking. I didn’t plan on doing a blog but I managed to work my way round so many amazing restaurants, bars and cafés that I felt it would be a bit of a waste not to put this experience to good use and share with the internet. Hopefully anybody who might be looking for Melbourne recommendations will find these tips useful – seeing everything written down there is no surprise I have no money left.
There’s a lot to get through, so keeping this as brief as possible. Oh, and excuse the lack of photos – I was far too busy eating or being drunk to remember to take them half of the time!
Where: Flinders Lane, Central
Cuisine: Pan Asian
Vibe: Neon lights as you walk in but chilled and laid-back atmosphere. You can walk in without a booking and sit near the open kitchen where the staff prepare the food on front of you.
Price: On the pricier side but there’s a tasting menu that’s great value and you get a good selection from the menu. Around $75 pp without booze.
Must order: Lobster rolls – best buns I’ve ever had, hun. I still dream about them now.
Vibe: Delicious dinner before a night out in Fitzroy. It’s based on the bottom floor of a three-storey building (with another Asian restaurant called Village People on floor 2, and above that a rooftop bar that I’ll talk about later). Japanese décor, and you can choose to sit in little Japanese ski booths to eat. Waiter was adorable and chose every dish for us.
Price: Very reasonable – around $50pp with a couple of drinks thrown in there and enough dishes to keep you satisfied.
Must order: Chicken karaage, miso eggplant.
Where: Crown Towers, Southbank
Vibe: Very personal; very posh. Might make some people (like me) feel a bit awkard. Blumenthal takes an inventive spin on traditional meals – which is a great experience – but personally I think the waiting staff went into too much detail on the food when I just wanted to take a photo of it for Instagram and eat it.
Price: Re-mortgage your house sort of vibes.
Must order: Meat fruit. It’s chicken pâté but it looks like a God damn orange.
Where: Flinders Lane, Central (there’s one in Sydney too but I’ve been told the Melbourne one is better)
Cuisine: Australian take on Asian
Vibe: Friday night dinner. Quirky, cool décor with posters all over the walls.
Price: Can be quite expensive but again there is an awesome tasting menu for a really decent price ($70 pp).
Must order: Tasting menu – the staff select the most popular dishes and you get a shit load of food (I think about 6-7 dishes) – each dish I tasted was incredible. The chicken coconut salad and wagyu beef noodles were particularly delicious and accompanied each other perfectly.
Cuisine: Greek with a bit of an Asian fusion (weird combo – but it worked).
Vibe: Casual and cool, with loads of plant pots hanging from the ceiling. Good for a mid-week meal.
Price: Pretty reasonable – around $35 pp without booze.
Must order: Spinach and feta gyozas.
Cuisine: South East Asian street food
Vibe: Quirky and fun – very friendly staff.
Price: The tasting menu is 5 dishes for $32.50 pp – BARGAIN
Must order: Sticky pork – so yum.
Cuisine: Classier than your average brunch
Vibe: Buzzing with people – nice plants hanging from the ceiling and filled with yummy mummies.
Price: Reasonable – around $30 pp.
Must order: Fancy full English.
Where: St. Kilda
Vibe: The veganest of vegan Instagram goals. They even provide props like lights and marble tiles for a better photo (I was tempted to get them, but decided not to embarrass my other half). Food was nice considering I am basically a human chicken nugget smothered in cheese, but I was particularly impressed by the presentation and amazing colours. They also make their own vegan eggs that look amazing – I didn’t try them so I’m not sure what they taste like, but top marks for effort.
Price: On the expensive vibe for brunch – around $40 pp. Definitely paying a bit more for the Instagram opportunity.
Must order: The matcha pancakes look good but the vegan burger was a winner for taste (and has a green bun, so, fun).
Vibe: Games bar / café with loads of board games that you can play for $5 each while having a drink or a coffee. Fun, but think there might have been some plumbing issues because the upper floor did smell a bit like a toilet.
Where: St. Kilda pier
Vibe: Cute little café situated at the end of St. Kilda pier. Beautiful on a sunny day with the view of the city skyline against the beach as you have a coffee.
Vibe: I imagine it to be great in summer – great rooftop bar, and quirky antiquey décor inside. Hipstery, but in a good way.
Vibe: Rooftop bar at the top of the building I mentioned earlier with the Asian restaurants. Great place to start before having dinner on one of the other floors.
Vibe: Quiet date vibes after you’ve eaten a dinner so large you can’t be bothered moving. It’s a sort of ‘speak easy’ bar where you have to knock the door and wait for someone to come and let you in. Nice cocktails and good music.
Vibe: Very cool whisky bar – on the outside it’s sort of hidden by a big wooden door and a display of whisky bottles so you don’t realise how big it is until you enter the bar. VERY HIPSTER, lots of library books and cool whisky bottles. The best part was the sustainable metal straws (sorry guys I stole one but I now carry it around wherever I go and say no to plastic straws).
Vibe: Alice in Wonderland on acid. Fun place to end the night (hence why I don’t remember much about it).
Where: Fitzroy, surprisingly
Vibe: So fun! Made me want to move to Melbourne due to Sydney’s lack of cool bars. Bright lights, graffiti, cool plants, cheapish cocktails – what more do you want?
Vibe: Another rooftop bar – you wouldn’t even know it was there without someone telling you. Was surprisingly quiet so got a table easily (probably something to do with it being hidden above a noodle restaurant).
Vibe: Day drinks by the river. Does a great Bloody Mary for a hangover cure.
I think that’s me all out of suggestions now – there should be enough inspiration there to fill a weekend visit a few times over. What a cool city, but no wonder I can’t fit into my jeans anymore and haven’t got a penny to my name.
If you have any questions about Melbourne feel free to drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org – otherwise I’m off to rob a bank and spend it on liposuction.