Hot City – Cool Times: Melbourne – Part II
Welcome back for another installment of our Melbourne city mini-series. As mentioned before I believe Melbourne is a great destination and wanted to explore in more depth some of the many different facets as to why this is a great travel destination.
What you may or may not have noticed in Part I is that I never mentioned have many parts this mini-series has. This was done intentionally because I have a feeling that as I start looking to some of the unique aspects or interesting features about the city, this is going to open the proverbial can of worms and I do not want to limit myself to only two or three installments. I will pledge that each one of these will have some juicy information for you and be interesting for you to read.
Let us begin with Part II’s topic – Food and Restaurants
This always seems to be a recurring topic with me, partly because I love good food and because I think food is such an integral and unique part of any holiday adventure. In a previous Blog entry called How Sweet it is… where I looked at Haigh’s Chocolates, Australia’s finest source of chocolate. However, when planning any kind of a trip, regardless of the budget, I always try to have some kind of delectable dining experience.
Why is this?
For the simple reason is that this is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to add great value to a trip. Choosing between a high end luxurious stay at a well-known lodge, versus a nice Bed & breakfast can means thousands of dollars! However, dining at a world class restaurant with the perfect ambiance, having your meals paired with the perfect bottle of wine, can mean an additional $200 dollars per person, and yet the impact it has on your overall trip is priceless.
So, where to go. The easiest way to breakdown Melbourne’s “Food Scene” is by suburb. This may not sound like the best way to look at dining options for a typical city, but for Melbourne it actually makes send.
The best way to think about Melbourne (visually) is like a bicycle tire. Think of the CBD (Central Business District or downtown), as the main or center hub. From here there are lots of spokes radiating out. As a city this is true, as from here you have one area (Lygon Street) know as the Italian area, where you are sure to find some of the best Italian eatery’s in Australia. In particular, the best place for pastries and coffee is hands down Brunetti’s. This can be a whole blog entry in itself, but we’ll leave it at that for now.
Another spoke, or Suburb, is Richmond. Here you will find an area with an authentic array of Vietnamese restaurants. The key word being “authentic”.Melbourne is the United States of Australia in that it is the melting pot for many different cultures, races, and delicious recipes that go back many generations.
There is one particular restaurant in this area that I have to mention if I am to have any credibility by the likes of Tom Colicchio, Rocco DiSpirito or Laurent Gras. This is a little restaurant with no windows where the décor is nice, but the only reason you are here is for the food. This is definitely not spot for anyone even resembling a vegetarian as they deliver one of the best meat menus. If you like steak, do yourself a favor and stop on by.
To get in depth about every suburb, different restaurants or even touch up on different bars, could be the topic of a book or a whole website. The essence of what I want to convey is that when in Melbourne you need to think a bit outside of the box and expand your dining choices to something further than a 2-mile radius from the hotel.
It’s the little gems like the chocolate shop that serves the whisky- infused truffles, or a delicious short black (ie – espresso) on a side alley café , or having your waiter come by the table to allow you to choose your cut of fillet and having it cooked Blue, half the fun is exploring this city and finding a great restaurant tucked away that will leave you with some great memories and enhance your overall trip.