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.

Ferry Building Farmer’s Markets

My last memory of the Ferry Building Farmer’s Marketers was a good one. So much so that I wanted to make sure I came back to see how it’d been developing. I remember lots of people and raw goods and the building itself not so significant. I was pleasantly surprised to find the entire Ferry Building turned into one giant complex filled with artisan producers and stores. They seemed mostly independent though I cannot be sure. We headed here first thing in the morning, but it was just heading into lunchtime by the time that we got there.

I needed a necessary pitstop for coffee. Although well known Blue Bottle Coffee had a physical store and a market stall, I first stumbled across the Frog Hollow Farm store and was drawn in by their offerings. The attendants warned me that service was going to be slow with a few people queueing but the result was good. A nice latte with lots of interesting produce like jam, biscuits and teas to look at whilst waiting.

Our cousin’s partner told us about the wonder of the Roli Roti Porchetta Sandwich, a freshly carved pork roll served with a bit of crackling, plenty of rocket lettuce and some good stuff. The queue already formed and it wasn’t even noon. We thought we’d split one of these baby’s and it turned out to be a great thing too. I’m pretty sure they had some other great looking rotisserie meats, but the main event was definitely the porchetta sandwich.

A few other stalls lined the marketplace front including a home made pizza company who somehow brought along their own wood fired pizza oven, a korean food stall and a mexican stall that I had to try. The special was three tacos for $9 and so ordered a handful of then including the chicken mole verde, the beef short rib and the traditional carnitas.

Look at those beauties below. My favourite was probably the carnitas and a bit disappointed the mole didn’t have the richness and complex flavours I expected.

My sister tried the deep fried mac and cheese from the korean joint. We have no idea about how they formed it, but as you can see, they somehow managed to fry a block of it. I didn’t really try this kind of full from the rest of the food we tried.

It’s a great place to visit and I’d count myself lucky if we worked in the area. Be prepared to come early or queue. By the time it was noon, all the office workers descended and huge queues formed. Make sure to get a porchetta sandwich at least once!

Name: Ferry Building Marketplace
Found at: 1 Ferry building, San Francisco, California 94105, United States
Website: www.ferrybuildingmarketplace.com

London’s Maltby Street

There’s a buzz going on about Maltby Street, considered by many as the new Borough Market. Maltby Street is a stretch of road underneath the railway that leads to London Bridge. It was where Monmouth Coffee now roasts its coffee beans and where they first started selling their coffee on a weekend. There’s a bit of controversy that surrounds the market, after several people were evicted from Borough Market for opening up a store there. Although I read about this when I was in Germany, I haven’t had the chance to go there. Fortunately on this rainy, windy Saturday morning I was able to head there and check out the stalls.

The markets that surround Maltby actually sit on a number of roads, and the purveyors aren’t as numerous as at the nearby market. One of the most well known and popular places is the bakery arm of St John’s situated on the nearby Druid Street.

I’d been told about their delightful selection of donuts. Living just a stone’s throw away from the original St John, I’m already familiar with their delicious sourdough loaves and their traditional eccles cakes. Apparently you need to get there before 12 to get one of those donuts, so I made sure I turned up at 9 to get one. Okay, maybe a bit early, but worth it as there were plenty there.

I probably should have got a jam donut as well, but didn’t really want to be that greedy for the morning. A loaf of bread for later and a custard donut to go with the coffee.

Now what coffee you say? Well, Monmouth is located just around the corner. It was already busy with people by the time I go there. No crazy queues though like at its other outlets.

Maltby street has a number of other purveyors as well. Neal’s Yard Dairy is there along with a number of other store sellers. There’s the Kernel Brewery selling home made beers, a Polish sausage and Swiss cheese store.

I bought a wonderfully aged steak from The Butchery and stocked up on a number of fruit and vegetables at Tayshaw Limited. I think I got there maybe a bit too early as the other market vendors were just starting to set up their wares. It’s looking to be a promising place for purveyors of great food and I can only be encouraged by the place. It’s not the most convenient place to get there with public transport, but if you find you have time on your hand, I’d definitely recommend heading there on a nice day.

On, and the custard donut went down a treat. Light, not too sweet and delicious. Just the way a donut should be.