Where we ate and drank in Melbourne

In September, we had an amazing time eating and drinking our way around Melbourne. Although I had a huge list, we only had a small amount of time but still managed to get through a good deal of them. Here’s some of the places that we ended up visiting.

Eating Places

  • Fancy Hanks (Level 1, 79 Bourke St) – If you’re craving some good American style BBQ with a wide variety of sauces and craft beer, then Fancy’s Hanks is for you.
  • Dehli Streets (22 Katherine Pl) – A cheap and cheerful restaurant tucked away in an alley but was full even on a Monday evening. A good mix of Indian food served in a Thali which gives you a good option to try several things at once.
  • Sezar (6 Melbourne Pl) – A more upmarket restaurnat serving Armenian food which is an interesting mix of dishes that remind me of a mix between Turkish and middle Eastern dishes. Try the feast, although make sure you leave some room for dessert! Bookings essential.
  • Bibim Fresh (9/108 Bourke St) – A cheap and cheerful Korean restaurant serving focused on serving Korean stone bowls with fresh ingredients and a slightly healthier twist on the dishes such as brown instead of white rice.
  • Maha (21 Bond St) – An underground Turkish restaurant that offers both ala carte and an amazing 4-6 course tasting adventure. This is definitely a bit more fine-dining and we noted a number of people coming here for birthdays because it was nice.
  • +39 Pizza (362 Little Bourke St) – A popular but tiny pizza place that offers huge pizzas. The pizza was good but I was disappointed that the foccacia was basically a pizza dough, not a proper foccacia one. Cheap and cheerful.
  • Frances’ Food and Coffee (1/245 Franklin St) – We stumbled across this place looking for breakfast when we were near the QVM. I’m glad we did with good coffee, great variety of cooked breakfasts, seats in the sun and friendly service – what more does one need?
  • Dex2rose Nitrogen Gelateria & Cafe (377-379 Little Bourke St) – Instagram-friendly creative dessert cafe based on ice cream made with liquid nitrogen.

Drinking Places

  • Fall from Grace (Hidden bar in State of Grace at 477 Collins St) – One of those speakeasy bars that is hidden behind a retracting bookcase that will make you fall in love with the atmosphere. Cocktails take a while to whip up, and ordering them at the counter is worth watching the amount of preparation. Rather darkly lit on the inside but lots of comfy lounge areas if you come early enough.
  • Berlin Bar (Upper floor – 16 Corrs Ln) – I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this place. The reviews made me think it could be really cheesy… but it was really well done! Sit in the East or the West side and enjoy the creative and German-inspired drinks, the fitting atomsphere and some of the great entertainment (black and white film and an in-house magician!) Cocktails weren’t cheap AUD20 but were worth it for something unique. Even better is that everyone must sit at a table, so it’s never too crowded (but there was a line so come early or book)
  • Madame Brussels (59 Bourke St) – Brightly decorated tennis lawns, pink chairs and camp decorations make this jovial bar a delight to drink at. Why order a single cocktail when you can order the cocktails by the pitcher to share! They have a nice terrace that even in winter was used because of the outdoor heating. Light finger food made available (the sausage rolls were amazing!)

Coffee Places

  • Brother Baba Budan (359 Little Bourke St) – This tiny place was just down from hotel we stayed at and was a place I remember from the last trip I had in Melbourne. It’s not really a huge place with lots of tables but works for a couple.
  • Duke’s Coffee (247 Flinders Ln) – Some of the folk from my office showed me this coffee place. Proper hipster style, with a long stream of regulars and often a line out of the door. They also offer some amazing looking cakes and pastries to snack on as well.
  • Manchester Press (8 Rankins Ln) – We actually dropped in here for breakfast. It’s a larger airy place that apparently is really crowded on weekends (we went on a weekday). I wasn’t particularly impressed by the breakfast offerings – various bagels with different toppings but the coffee was good with lots of seating area in a large warehouse-like environment.

Eating out in Vienna

Eis Greissler
Rotenturmstraße 14, 1010 Vienna, Austria
Nearest U-Bahn (Stephenplatz or Schwedenplatz)

You can tell that this ice cream outlet is really popular from the queues that form around it. The story behind this popular ice cream place is that all the ingredients are organic, and they avoid putting any chemicals or additives into their ice cream. The result is a creamy, rich textured ice cream that is simply delicious.

The ice cream store isn’t very big with a counter that is only suitable for serving two at a time and no seats or tables to sit down. Fortunately they are very good at serving people and the line moves on very quickly. You can definitely taste the quality from this place.

Reumannplatz 13 1100 Vienna, Austria
Nearest UBhan (Reumannplatz)

One of the big ice cream vendors that actually advertises on the U-Bahn, and from the interior is either very old styled, or is at least themed to be like that. It doesn’t seem to be only tourists there when I visit (probably a good sign) and there seems to be quite a number of locals as well.

They have a huge selection of ice cream, but taking the seat I opt for a sampler platter of the ice cream balls they are famous for. The original is a vanilla ice cream filled with an apricot jam (very much like the Sissi kugel chocolate balls you might find around town) and they had three other varieties including a “snowball” filled with raspberry and coated in fluffy white chocolate marshmallow-like coating, a “Tartufo” richer chocolate ball rolled in cocoa and filled with a filling that tasted like raspberry, and probably my favourite which was the “nuss (nut)” filled with a nice hazelnut ice cream inside a larger chocolate ice cream ball.

My mistake was figured that these balls were quite small – they didn’t even warn me and although very tempted to finish it off, it was simply too much for me. Yes, even with my sweet tooth.

Wollzeile 5, 1010 Wien, Austria ‎
Nearest U-Bahn (Stephenplatz or Schwedenplatz)

One of the most tourist-centric places but a place where the potato salad was so memorable I had to go back and try it again. I realised that the secret to their potato salad was actually a bit of sugar (I definitely noticed it) alongside their home made pumpkin-seed oil. The schnitzels here are over-sized, decent and worth just one trip.

If they have it, I would also recommend trying the clever “Mozartkülgen”, a clever spin on a traditional dumpling filled with a chocolate-marzipan filling and rolled in pistachio nuts.

Stand 510 Naschmarkt, 1060 Vienna, Austria
Nearest U-Bahn (Kettenbrückengasse)

I was lucky enough to have great weather, or at least, blue skies on the Saturday I spent in Vienna. Like many of the locals and tourists, I headed down to Naschmarkt to check out the antiques and the food markets down that street. One of the cafes that is perfect for people watching and do some great food is Neni.

I only stopped for a coffee and although service was a little slow, was perfect for the type of lazy wandering day that I wanted.

Cafe Savoy
Linke Wienzeile 36, 1060 Vienna, Austria
Nearest U-Bahn (Kettenbrückengasse)

Whilst you are at Naschmarkt and have time to spare and, a small hunger, head on down to Cafe Savoy. This gay-friendly cafe does a Sunday brunch spread and the interior is cosy, filled with strange antiques and one of the largest single glass mirrors I have ever seen. Apparently you will only find larger in the Palaces in Marseille. Impressive and a cool interior.

I stopped for the apple strudel, also another Viennese specialty that you can have either cold or warm here. Yum.

Kurrentgasse 1, 1010 Vienna, Austria
Nearest U-Bahn (Stephenplatz)

We went out to dinner with one of the conference attendees from Vienna to the heart of Vienna (around Stephenplatz) where they’re many of these traditional restaurants. We tried going to one place but was fully booked and ended up in Ofenloch, a slightly ritzier but still decently priced restaurant.

Strangely enough, and very unlike many other Viennese places, service was absolutely shining with waiters, waitresses all being extremely friendly and prompt if you ever needed anything like another beer, the menu or tap water.

Pretty good experience here. All the food is pretty high quality and many traditional dishes that you can choose from.

Coffee hot spots in Dublin

It seems like Dublin has any many coffee houses as they do pubs. The good news is that most of these seem to be pretty independent places (for the most part). You do see the occasional Starbucks, but you don’t see the typical Costa, Starbucks, Nero trio on every part with either a bit more of a local feel. Hunting down places that do good coffee seems like a mission I’m happy to take when trying a new city.

My favourites for the coffee turned out to be:

3FE – I dropped into here on the way to head out to Howth. It was positively buzzing with people sitting, chatting with a friend or people reading their kindle or messages on their phone. The coffee took a while to make with only a single barist and a backlog of coffee orders but it was pretty tasty. Found at 32/34 Lower Grand Canal Street, Dublin 2.

Coffee Angel – I tried to find the store quite close to the Custom House’ Quay to no avail, but stumbled across their smaller, tiny store around … those seemed to sell more of their hand-roasted beans and coffee equipment. They did a mean flat white that was nice to sit on their only bench outside in a ceramic cup. Found at various locations but I visited the one at 16A South Anne Street, Dublin 2

The Bald Barista – Named after Buzz Fendall, their bald barista (who I did not see), this place seemed more like the place you’d sit down to have a breakfast. Order at the bar, and then take your seat. The flat white here wasn’t as good as the others, but still drinkable. For me it had a bit too much milk, the milk was slightly too hot and yet somehow missed out on being the microfoam that a flat white really deserves. Found at 55 Aungier Street, Avalon House, Dublin 2.

Milchglas, Hamburg

Our team has had a bit of trapsing around the area near our office, checking out coffee places for the a good coffee place. I suggested we visited Milchglas, a place that touts itself as a coffee and catering place. We walked in and there quite a few people in, eating lunch so I guess it must be okay.


There wasn’t really much room to sit, but that was fine since we either normally have a coffee standing up, or at least take away.

Mlichglas Interior

The cakes, muffins and brownies looked pretty tempting.

Mlichglas Muffins

But I managed to stop myself 🙂

MilchglasMilchglas Exterior

Name: Coffeeshop Milchglas
Found at: Alter Steinweg 11, 20459 Hamburg
Website: http://www.milchglas-catering.de/

Flat White at Elbgold

Germans drink a lot of coffee. Apparently the next most after the Swedish, but they tend to either have it very black, or with a heck of a lot of milk. A quick google for “flat white Hamburg” uncovered a local roastery called Elbgold. On the weekend I was in Hamburg I managed to check out both of their locations to enjoy.

Firstly the flat white was pretty good. I got it to take away. The milk wasn’t too hot, there wasn’t much of it, and they did a very fantastic micro foam. The first location, Mühlenkamp 6 is in a lively, fantastic area thriving with people. The cafe, even on a cold winter days reflects this with no spot empty.

They did a great selection of sandwiches (on that famous dark German bread), pastries and cakes although I managed to hold back from indulging.

Their other location is tucked away near the popular Sternschanze. You have to go up a set of stairs, around the back of a building and you’ll eventually find it. Just walk amongst the other warehouse like buildings and wait to find the crowds of people there.

This location has a tonne more space, and is much better for sitting outside in their courtyard. On a nice day, you’ll still probably battle everyone else who wants to sit outside, but at least you’ll have a better chance of getting one.

Name: Elbgold
Website: http://www.elbgold.com/

Breakfasting the Italian way in Turin

We stayed a little bit further afield in Turin this time for the Salone del Gusto and that sort of made our breakfast trips a bit of adventure. We didn’t really need to rise early, and then with the meandering into town.


One of these places that we tried to go to had already run out of pastry, and with the poor weather, we opted for something quite close because we were going to head down to the festival anyway.


It ended up being quite a popular place – and not just with the tourists like us in town (although maybe they were some Italian-sounding tourists.)


We had a pick of different croissants – reports from the others on the plain and marmalade croissant had it rather overrated, but I certainly enjoyed the custard one.

At least the coffee was okay and the overall cost not particularly expensive

Breakfasting at Caravan

It was a fairly rainy day that I met up with a colleague to talk breakfast about the new client I was going to join. We decided to meet somewhere close to my work, and decided on Caravan. It’s a great place that roasts its own coffee, has a great brunch offering on weekends and just a nice atmosphere all around.


Although tempted by lots of the different offerings on their menu, I started with a flat white whilst I waited for my colleague to arrive.


Well made – a perfect “heart” and all the things I look for in a well made flat white – not too hot, creamy milk foam, and a good combination, I probably could have gone for a second coffee.


Breakfast finally arrives – I went for the caramelised banana served atop a hearty bowl of porridge. The porridge was perfectly stodgy and there was plenty of banana caramel to go around without being too excessive – it was pretty sweet after all, but just enough for the entire bowl.


Name: Caravan Restaurant
Found at: Exmouth Market, London, EC1R 4QD
Website: http://caravanonexmouth.co.uk/

Brunching at Giant Robot

I remember hearing about Giant Robot when it first opened to much hurrahed fanfare. I understand there’s a shortage of restaurants serving good American food, but it seemed there was a bit more fuss than there should have been. Turning up for a Saturday morning brunch, it seems like the patrons agreed with me – we were seated pretty much immediately.

I ordered a flat white that was served in a mug. Decently flavoured and no real complaints about it.

We also ordered the brunch burger that was apparently pretty good. It had the bright yellow melty cheese one would expect from an American diner.

I went for the three-egg omelette, served with a huge slice of sourdough toast.

Perhaps it was just what I ordered, but I can’t say I was particularly impressed by the food. The dinner menu looks a bit more interesting but for brunch, I’ll have to try somewhere else next time.

Name: Giant Robot
Found at: 45-47 Clerkenwell Road, London, EC1M 5RS
Website: http://www.gntrbt.com/

Culture Espresso New York

I’m always on the look out for decent places that do great coffee. One place that I found was Culture Espresso. The store is pretty big for a coffee place in Manhattan, with huge glass windows allowing lots of natural light into the store.

The bar is simple, though welcoming with a cold drinks station as you walk in, and a very tempting bakery selection on the right where the queue forms. I found this place because it was one of the places that actually did a flat white (US$3.75) and it was beautifully made.

Perfect latte art to enjoy. Deliciously well made to boot.

Name: Culture Espresso
Found at: 72W 38th Street, New York, New York
Website: http://cultureespresso.com/


Berlin is in no short supply of coffee stores. And fortunately for me, they aren’t all like your run-of-the-mill German coffee stores where there is often more milk than in their coffee of their “latte macchiatos”.

One of the coffee stores I’ve been meaning to visit was Godshot. Although it’s not that far away from our workplace, the fact that they don’t open up until 9am doesn’t make it easy to get to before work, and my body’s auto-awake til 3am response with coffee after 2pm doesn’t encourage me to try going after work. So, with that, I had to wait for a weekeend where I stayed in Berlin.

Fortunately it was worth the wait for a good coffee. It’s surprisingly big on the inside, not something you’d really expect from the small front interior – although you’ll probably be nudging people out for any of the seats outside. There’s enough character in this place for you and another one of your alternative ego’s.

I like the fact, for example, the sugar, mixes and tap water stand atop old Austrian Airway dinner trollies and the soft leather lounge chairs make you feel like you’re visiting someone else’s home than just a normal coffee store.

Just like all good coffee stores, this one sells your classic Flat White (offering three different coffee beans from €2.70-€2.90) although on my post-lunch visit, decided to go for a full bodied espresso, that comes accompanied by a nice little biscuit that I failed to eat.

Name: Godshot
Found at: Immanuelkirchestrasse 32, Berlin, Germany
Website: http://godshot.de/