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Melbourne Trip July ’13

So our flight was at 6:45 from Sydney which meant waking up before 5… Well when you have to wake up thaaat early and still haven’t finalised packing the night before, something’s bound to happen right. Well yeah, on the way to the airport on the car, I realised I forgot my phone which was still charged on my bed. Silly, ridiculous me gahhh, it was quite a moment of despair- that I’d have to part with my iphone for 3 days. I mean how was I going to instagram, or look up which cool spots to visit, update my friends, what was I going to do when I get bored waiting for my food to come out or need call for help if I ever get lost. Haha, we’re all so dependent on phones these days… Well I survived.

Arriving at Melbourne nice and early still, we were all very tired and hungry, we went back to the hotel thinking we should get a nap first before venturing out but they told us our rooms won’t be available until 2! So we just had brunch close to the hotel at a Spanish brunch spot, Lorca. It was very busy and it didn’t seem as though a group of 5 could fit but they took us upstairs and it felt like we were in some exotic bistro in Spain with the decor and low lighting. When the food came in, excited to finally have my first Melbourne brunch of the trip, the camera won’t snap. Bummer, no SD card. I have the best of luck eh… So I got no phone, no camera for the time being so I was pretty much not in the mood for anything until I get my hands on an SD card. Food was great nonetheless, I got the scrambled organic eggs with sourdough and homemade baked beans. Generous portions were a plus.

It was only about 11 when we finished brunch and since we still couldn’t go back to the hotel, we just decided to go shop. DFO it was, near the Yarra river. It sort of reminded me of darling harbour with the restaurants all aligned on the sides. DFO had all the shops you could every want under one roof, even JB hi-fi, so I got my SD card yay! After a lot of shopping, we had a break at a cafe called Charlie Lovett just outside DFO. It had a nice hardware store decor and all and I was super keen for some yummy chilled iced choc with some ice cream on top. Biggest disappointment was they didn’t even bother serving it in a proper glass, but rather a common take away variety plastic cup and lid. No ice cream or cream either. Whuuuut. Sipped it through quite quickly and happily though ahha.

We went back to the hotel and had a good long rest and came back out to Crown for dinner at Bistro Guillaume. I only recently tried Guillaume at Bennelong in Sydney and loved it so I had high expectations for the Melbourne bistro! I got the Chargrilled King Salmon with braised Jerusalem artichokes, broad beans and balsamic vinaigrette and it was perfection. Salmon was basically melt in your mouth and very well seasoned and flavoursome. Loved it. We finished the night off with some drinks at 28 Skybar and Lounge, also in the Crown Metropol Entertainment Complex. Amazing views but keep clear of their “Pink Paradise” mocktail. Not very paradisey.  
Bistro Guillaume on Urbanspoon

Next day began with brunch at The Grain Store and I already loved the place when I entered and saw their amazing displays of fresh breads and fruits and coffee roasters. I had some fresh orange juice and rhubarb and apple, ricotta hotcakes which were as perfect golden and fluffy as hotcakes can get and was lovely with the apple and rhubarb puree. Though the piped spots of puree were gorgeous on the plate, I didn’t think they had enough of it for my 3 pancakes so I had to slather some creme fraiche from my sister’s plate to accompany the pancakes. Everyone’s dishes were amazingly presented and they all seemed very content with their choices, it was the priciest out of the brunches we had but it was special and a definite highlight of the trip.

The Grain Store on Urbanspoon
Chapel St. is the famous long street of boutique stores in Melbourne and so a group of 6 girls certainly wouldn’t have left it out in their itinerary. Many of the shops were quite mainstream, like KFC’s or Hungry Jack’s if we were talking about food and could easily be found in Sydney but they also had lots of little boutiques from Australian designers. All in all, it was a street that had completely everything you wanted, fashion shopping-wise. Again stopping for some snacks and drinks at a cafe I now can’t recall the name of. They had the best beer battered chips served with very runny but still flavour-packed aioli and ketchup and of course I had my daily dose of iced chocolate, which had a nice scoop of ice cream on top, just the way I like it. Mmm.
Dinner was near our hotel at a Modern Japanese fusion restaurant called Shoya. It was quite average but I think that was because of what we ordered, mainly Japanese classics- tempura, original chawanmushi (very bland), beef udon, kurobuta pork katsu, beef tataki… Their beef and spinach roll was melt in your mouth, but overly salty and very rich. I’ve seen great reviews on their degustation menu which showcases the Chef’s specialty so I think it’d be unfair to judge before trying their more fusion, modernised dishes that they’re famous for.
Shoya Nouvelle Wafu Cuisine on Urbanspoon
After dinner, we had some drinks at the famous rooftop bar. It had a very trendy atmosphere, great music and friendly bar service. Adorable lights and great views, it was cute having those fake grass things, it was very playground-like. Too bad their burgers and chips tuck shop wasn’t open (yet?) because I was actually really eager to have a late night carb dose. I just had some mulled apple cider while others had beer and a mocktail that wasn’t in the menu that the bartender very nicely made on the spot!
Rooftop Bar on Urbanspoon
And the rooftop was all on top of the busy chinatown!
And so our last day has come…:(We were torn between Manchester Press and Hardware Societe for our last brunch but the former was supposedly much closer and gathered less crowd in the morning so it was decided. When we got there, it was very full except for a table and a few spots here and there. So we split the group into 4 and 2 to make the wait staff’s lives a little easier. My sister and I were seated on the corner, long side table facing the window. “Artsy’ magazines like Kinfolk and Lucky Peach were at our disposal. Specialty for Manchester Press were their bagels and animal coffee art though I failed to recognise what animal was drawn in my soy chai… The sister got the savoury pulled pork wholemeal bagel and I chose the rich mascarpone with mixed berry and pistachio sweet bagels. Both were around $15 and very good, pork was tender yes, but we both thought it needed a little more sauce, be it bbq sauce or mayonnaise. The mascarpone one lacked sugar, I think it would’ve been nicer if they were honey or sugar sweetened whipped mascarpone instead of pure, thick mascarpone which proved to be an impossible challenge to finish. Actually, if I did finish it, I’m pretty sure I’d end up with mascaropone blood clots the next day. There was just too much of it! Berries definitely were necessary to cut through all that richness.
Manchester Press on Urbanspoon
Mmmm we thought about take away-ing some of their little cakes, but looking down at my tummy, I suggested we rather not….

Don’t you just love them Melbourne alleyways!
Then we just took a leisurely stroll around the grafitti wall… where dem cool local kids hang.
(haha, I’m preee sure they were cool tourist kids actually)

And it was time to say goodbye to Melbourne. We arrived home at 4 and I was awfully happy to be reunited back with my phone which suffered a shocking 3 day overcharge. The trip was a goood one, but I felt there was little to do except eating and shopping which means a whole lotta $$$ Sooo if you know what else tourists can do in Melbourne, or any nice restaurants to try out, let me know because I’m pretty keen to go back next time! Sorrry if the post seemed so long, but it was just awkward I didn’t know where to split it at even if I wanted to do it in two parts! Anyway hope you’re all having a good week! x

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