Thursday, October 20, 2011

Melt-in-Your-Mouth Melbourne

Buona sera, my name is Laura and I will be your blogger for the night. 

The delights of Melbourne are many and as varied as there are flavours of ice cream. Amongst the city's beautiful architecture, hidden boutiques and pristine galleries there are also the edible treats that deserve a tasting when one is in town for the week or even just for the day.

I was lucky enough to be in Melbourne for two days and the city did much for all my senses; the general atmosphere was buzzing with life and excitement for the region's Spring Racing Carnival and the Rugby World Cup (ha ha, suckers). Arriving after a three and a half hour train journey, my travelling companion and I scoped out Grill'd, a burger joint for a late dinner. We both chose the "Front Bar" steak sandwich and our needs were quickly and deliciously fulfilled. Free range eggs, rocket, tomato, spanish onion, mustard, beetroot and mayo on a fresh and large loaf of ciabatta. The staff at the Degraves Street (one of the city's hidden lanes) location were jovial and the atmosphere was... shall we say "hopping?" My only gripe for Grill'd was a lack of stable tables. Hm. A lot of seat swapping occurred as a result.

Breakfast Day One: brioche and a hot chocolate from one of the many, many bakeries at the Queen Victoria Market. Buzzing like a hornet's nest and filled with the scents of various foods and flavours, we stumbled through the crowds just to find something to sit on, but the experience was still vastly enjoyable and full of many people-watching opportunities. Inside the main building are sections of stalls that sell just about anything that you can think of and more! Needless to say, with our empty stomachs, we didn't linger around the fresh meat section for long! A whole day could easily be spent there and I look forward to exploring the market further when I'm there next.

Featuring in my lunch was another of the aforementioned brioche loaves and a couple of litres of water -walking around Melbourne on a hot Spring day sure has its perks!

Dinner and everything that follows: Lygon Street, Carlton, North Melbourne. A precinct unlike any other. Italian restaurant after Italian restaurant lines the street and it's difficult to choose where to spend your money. We settled for Tiamo and despite a twenty minute wait, it was so worth it. I scoffed down a mushroom, Spanish olive, parmesan and ham pizza while my erstwhile companion (a.k.a. my mother) opted for carbonara. The service, while stretched to the limit and running around like headless chickens, was fine -all part of the experience in my view and providing some Italian authenticity!
View from Brunetti's, City Square [do excuse the tents =the Wall Street protests]

One of Tiamo's attractions is its delightful neighbour, Readings, a bookshop which is open until 11pm most nights and after spending more money here, we hoofed it across the road to Brunetti's for some coffee. My mother had told me that we were just going to have coffee and as such, I was expecting a low-key cafe with mellow music and relaxed staff. Brunetti's is not like that, at all. When you first enter you are in the bar, a long room that serves every kind of coffee and hot and cold beverage you can think of. Next is the room of the macarons, pastries and gelatos (or should that be gelati?). Finally, there is the room of cakes, tarts and chocolates. The picture that these sections produce is sensational -needless to say, I did not want to leave. Every table was full, customers and staff seemed to be having a ball and of course, the food and drinks were splendid. 
Brunetti's is a Melbourne institution, where you can go for a shot of chilli hot chocolate or a tiramisu tart and a fresh danish. They conveniently have a cute wee branch in Melbourne's City Square (Flinders Lane) and in the city's Myer store.
It is easy to get carried away in ordering dessert here, one must have standards after all -we selected two of five different treats and took a chilli hot chocolate with us.
Afternoon tea at Brunetti's, City Sq.
Brunetti's Lygon St. Precint

Breakfast Day Two: was late. We decided to go to the National Gallery of Victoria, hoping like crazy that there was a cafe there. We had tea and coffee with our breakfast at NGV's Gallery Kitchen: museli and a tomato, ham and cheese toasted sandwich -average but edible. Unfortunately for this "new look" cafe, it was deathly quiet and the staff not so welcoming. The cafe itself is filling a random space in the gallery near the ground floor's plaza so it felt a little lost. Some music would not be out of place, nor would an improved breakfast menu.
Macarons at Lindt

Lunch: Brunetti's in City Square. Delicious! Velvety Italian hot chocolates, a blackcurrent macaron, and filled croissant.

Afternoon tea: the Lindt cafe. Lovely and rather posh-nosh (compared to Brunetti's anyway) but still worth a visit.
And so, that was what, how and where I ate in Melbourne. I look forward to my next trip there when I hope to explore the Chinatown and Greek precincts and write all about it on Chloe's wonderful blog.


1 comment:

  1. Laura your trip sounds amazing! Gosh it all sounds so delish!