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.

Felice Cafe, Rio de Janeiro

Another rainy day and a late afternoon hunger drove me to visit a place that looked welcoming not very far from where I was staying. They had a covered outdoor patio that made it even more appealing to enter when I really wanted to be on the beach and hoping for greater sunshine. Nevertheless, it was time for a late lunch and sat down to look at the menu.

They had an English menu, so I guess they must have a lot of tourists, or people from out of town. I could hear a couple of French ladies next to me catching up, although everyone else on the patio seemed to be locals, or at least, spoke a good amount of Portugese.

I ordered a mate tea whilst waiting, hoping for something that wasn’t so sweet, although they did bring a selection of sweeteners giving me the option of always adding sweetness to my desire. I find mate’s lack of sweetness, and strange bitterness quite tasty, although I know some people don’t like the taste.

Not having any steak yet, I decided to get the filet mignon that turned up perfectly pink on the inside. The chef had already well seasoned the meat (i.e. quite salty) and I did find the flesh a little bit more sinewy than I expected. Still very full of flavour, and served with a great salad, grilled mixed vegetables and a olive oil dressing with grilled garlic and smell flecks of chilli. Yum.

Also being a gelateria, I figured I should give dessert ago and I’m glad I wasn’t disappointed. They definitely know how to make ice cream here with it being very creamy and rich in flavour.

I also have to give them bonus points for offering free wifi to customers that allowed me to check email, read twitter whilst passing the time.

Name: Felice Cafe
Found at: Rua Gomes Carneiro, 30, Rio de Janeiro, State of Rio de Janeiro 22071-110, Brazil (Ipanema)
Website: http://www.felice.com.br/

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.

DeLise Dessert Cafe

This cute little ice cream and cake store sits quite close to the tourist-central Fisherman’s Wharf. They offer an eclectic range of foods including sandwiches and salads involving truffle (mmm!) and other interesting flavour combinations.

Choose to have a coffee and a small cake from their broad range of offerings like banana, carrot, green tea, red velvet or perhaps you want something a bit lighter light a brown butter cookie or a chocolate macaroon. A small, beautifully displayed assortment of what’s available shows you what is on offer.

The store looks very inviting being extremely bright from the large windows but unfortunately they only have one table and a counter for you to sit out. Not really a problem if you’re taking things to go. Here’s the picture of the brown butter shortbread cookie and bacon maple scone that we tried. Both fairly small portions and reasonably priced at 85c and USD1.50. I’ll admit it’s a bit of a premium for the size and bear in mind you’re paying for some quality stuff.

Of course we had to try the ice cream flavours of which they cycle through plenty of different offerings. In the end I settled on a pear yuzu involving plenty of tart bite, as well as the sweeter honey lavender yogurt. A good combination that left me refreshed.

Beware their opening hours as we tried to visit on the Monday and found them shut. Check out their website for a more up to date account.

Name: DeLise Dessert Cafe
Found at: 327 Bay St, San Francisco, CA 94133, United States
Website: http://www.delisesf.com/

Humphry Slocombe Ice Creams

San Francisco seems to have an abundance of artisan ice creameries. My kind of town. One of the ones we tracked down was Humphry Slocombe’s. Even as we licked down our refreshing ice treats, a continuous stream of people entered and left with more goodies.

Although they had a number of classic flavours like vanilla and coffee, they had a few more different spins like my favourite black sesame, and an amazing tasting cinnamon brittle ice cream. Of course I wanted to try all the flavours but only settled on the two.

Found at:
Website: http://www.humphryslocombe.com/

Chile Pies and Ice Cream

San Francisco has some pretty amazing dessert places. Just like Chile Pies and Ice Cream, a restaurant devoted to just serving pie slices and ice cream alongside a small handful of bites. They form part of the Green Chile Family including a mexican restaurant that looked absolutely heaving when we passed it.

They had an amazing selection of pies including interesting combinations such as Apple Chai, Mexican Chocolate Pecan, Peanut Butter and Chocolate, Lemon Buttermilk and more. Most of the pies are hot with a small handful that were served cold like the Peanut Butter and Chocolate one. These change regularly so I’d watch out for some interesting combinations.

The store itself is quite large with plenty of seating area. We noticed quite a few students sitting around on their laptops or with their studying books out.

In addition to the pies, they serve Three Twins Ice Cream, a local ice cream store to California that I hadn’t seen anywhere else. Just like the pie combinations, they seemed to offer a number of twists on just plain ice cream flavours such as Cardamom, Lemon Cookie and Mint Confetti as well as vanilla, mocha, and strawberry flavours. I tried a scoop of the lemon cookie ice cream with the slice of peanut butter chocolate pie (based with crushed oreo cookies instead of graham cracker crust). A bit excessive but amazed at the strength of the flavour from the ice cream and the richness of the pie from the peanut butter. A winning combination but we probably should have shared a slice.

My sister tried the chile apple pie that came drizzled with the chile sauce. She wasn’t too impressed by the odd spice combination given by the chile sauce. We both failed to finish our slices. A pretty good store that I’d definitely come back to.

Name: Chile Pies & Ice Cream
Found at: 601 Baker Street, San Francisco, United States
Website: http://www.greenchilekitchen.com/ice_cream/index.html