Melbourne, Australia: 11 Restaurants, Bars, & Cafes to Try

May 08, 2017
Melbourne, Australia: 11 Restaurants, Bars, & Cafes to Try  Hash Specialty Coffee & Roasters, Market Lane Coffee, Chez Dre, Bibelot, Good Egg, Il Fornaio, Matcha Mylkbar, Lui Bar, The Waiting Room, Rockpool Bar & Grill, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal


There are some wars you just don't wage - don't even get me started on the Sydney vs. Melbourne debate - including taking on the Melbourne foodie machine. It's a fight not even the most expansive of appetites would win; what with Michelin star restaurants, too-cool-for-school (and bookings too, judging from some of the queues) brunch spots, and all-round excellent eateries that proliferate the city faster than you can say "pop up hole-in-the-wall matcha dessert bar*". Conquering Melbourne's culinary offerings is at best an uphill struggle - I'm not just talking about climbing up Hosier Lane, post-food coma, in heels - and everyone will have different, passionate opinions about where and what to eat in the city. I did the best I could during my stay despite some hiccups like not making reservations** and recovering from surgery. Here are 11 Melbourne Restaurants, Bars, and Cafes I Tried and Loved.

*no, I'm not thinking of a specific place but I'm sure one has already existed in recent Melbourne history... 
**the ones that got away: Movida Next Door, Naked for Satan, Naked in The Sky, and Vue de Monde. Sob.



Melbourne, Australia: 11 Restaurants, Bars, & Cafes to Try  Hash Specialty Coffee & Roasters, Market Lane Coffee, Chez Dre, Bibelot, Good Egg, Il Fornaio, Matcha Mylkbar, Lui Bar, The Waiting Room, Rockpool Bar & Grill, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal



1. HASH SPECIALTY COFFEE & ROASTERS
113 HARDWARE STREET


Tucked out of sight down an unassuming lane (made even easier to miss thanks to the scaffolding at the entrance) is Hash Specialty Coffee & Roasters - the place to go to if you like your matcha lattes with a side of magic and a dash of chemistry. The fairy floss drinks are the stuff of legend: you pour a beaker of hot chocolate/matcha latte/regular coffee over the towering heap of floss in your cup and watch as it melts to form what is easily the most decadent cuppa in the city. Enjoy with french toast topped with mascaporne, cherries, crushed pistachio, and edible flowers.
Melbourne, Australia: 11 Restaurants, Bars, & Cafes to Try  Hash Specialty Coffee & Roasters, Market Lane Coffee, Chez Dre, Bibelot, Good Egg, Il Fornaio, Matcha Mylkbar, Lui Bar, The Waiting Room, Rockpool Bar & Grill, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal


Melbourne, Australia: 11 Restaurants, Bars, & Cafes to Try  Hash Specialty Coffee & Roasters, Market Lane Coffee, Chez Dre, Bibelot, Good Egg, Il Fornaio, Matcha Mylkbar, Lui Bar, The Waiting Room, Rockpool Bar & Grill, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Melbourne, Australia: 11 Restaurants, Bars, & Cafes to Try  Hash Specialty Coffee & Roasters, Market Lane Coffee, Chez Dre, Bibelot, Good Egg, Il Fornaio, Matcha Mylkbar, Lui Bar, The Waiting Room, Rockpool Bar & Grill, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal


2. MARKET LANE COFFEE
109/111 THERRY STREET


After a hearty breakfast - or brunch if you want to be properly Melbournian about it - you might want to head north toward Royal Exhibition Building and the Melbourne Museum. First, make a pit stop for coffee at Market Lane Coffee opposite Queen Victoria Market (itself a shopping destination of the handcrafted and bric n' brac variety). This boutique coffee roastery and retailer do one thing and they do it well - as the crush of eager costumers spilling out on to the street would attest to - high quality coffee, sourced from around the world and lovingly roasted in small batches at their Prahran Market roastery. If you're not lucky enough to snag one of their rare and coveted seats, grab an coffee to go or sip it on one of the benches outside.

Melbourne, Australia: 11 Restaurants, Bars, & Cafes to Try  Hash Specialty Coffee & Roasters, Market Lane Coffee, Chez Dre, Bibelot, Good Egg, Il Fornaio, Matcha Mylkbar, Lui Bar, The Waiting Room, Rockpool Bar & Grill, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Melbourne, Australia: 11 Restaurants, Bars, & Cafes to Try  Hash Specialty Coffee & Roasters, Market Lane Coffee, Chez Dre, Bibelot, Good Egg, Il Fornaio, Matcha Mylkbar, Lui Bar, The Waiting Room, Rockpool Bar & Grill, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal


3. CHEZ DRE

4. BIBELOT
285-287 COVENTRY STREET


Another inconspicious cobblestoned alley, another hidden gastronimical gem  - this is Melbourne, after all. Or rather South Melbourne, where Chez Dre occupies a rustic-chic warehouse. Linger over French-inspired all day breakfasts in the leafy courtyard. Their next door neighbour is their former roomate, Bibelot - an artisinal pattiserie and dessert bar serving up the most exquisite cakes and opulent chocolates (how insanely detailed is that Easter Egg display above?) that you'll want to buy as souvenirs. Fun fact: Andrea Reiss (Dre), the chef pattiserie of Bibelot, enjoyed a Michelin star-studded success in London and Paris (working for Hakkasan/Yauatcha group and Taillevant) before bringing her expertise back to Melbourne and opening her namesake, Chez Dre.  

Melbourne, Australia: 11 Restaurants, Bars, & Cafes to Try  Hash Specialty Coffee & Roasters, Market Lane Coffee, Chez Dre, Bibelot, Good Egg, Il Fornaio, Matcha Mylkbar, Lui Bar, The Waiting Room, Rockpool Bar & Grill, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal




5. GOOD EGG
303 COVENTRY STREET

In this wayward, wicked world we live in it's hard enough to be a good egg let alone produce a whole coop of them (parents who let their snotty, screaming sprog run amok in department stores, I'm looking at you). Yet that's exactly what this compact and conscious eatery opposite South Melbourne Market does. Good Egg serves up free range Daylesford eggs among other sustainable ingredients, so the more ethical among you can dine on their burgers (below) with a disposition as sunny as their uplifting yellow decor. The panko crumbed scotch eggs are a thing of beauty, and bloody delicious to boot: the green one is falafel with harissa yoghurt, and the other is pork and fennel with roast tomato relish. Eggscellent!













Melbourne, Australia: 11 Restaurants, Bars, & Cafes to Try  Hash Specialty Coffee & Roasters, Market Lane Coffee, Chez Dre, Bibelot, Good Egg, Il Fornaio, Matcha Mylkbar, Lui Bar, The Waiting Room, Rockpool Bar & Grill, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal


Melbourne, Australia: 11 Restaurants, Bars, & Cafes to Try  Hash Specialty Coffee & Roasters, Market Lane Coffee, Chez Dre, Bibelot, Good Egg, Il Fornaio, Matcha Mylkbar, Lui Bar, The Waiting Room, Rockpool Bar & Grill, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

Melbourne, Australia: 11 Restaurants, Bars, & Cafes to Try  Hash Specialty Coffee & Roasters, Market Lane Coffee, Chez Dre, Bibelot, Good Egg, Il Fornaio, Matcha Mylkbar, Lui Bar, The Waiting Room, Rockpool Bar & Grill, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal


6. IL FORNAIO
2A ACLAND STREET, ST KILDA

On the quieter end of Acland Street toward Fitzroy Street is where you go to get baked in St Kilda. Il Fornaio - Italian for 'the baker' - is an industrial space in a leafy residential street, seemingly incongrous with the traditional Victorian mansions around it, but its delicious, delicious carbs are exactly the sort of comfort food you'd expect in such a cozy part of the neighbourhood. The smashed avo on toast was orgasm-inducing but it was the matcha coconut latte (above) that was literally life-changing (ask my housemate, who has to deal with green-stained kitchen counters as I try to recreate the drink at home).


7. MATCHA MYLKBAR
72A ACLAND STREET, ST KILDA

Matcha Mylkbar is a rebel with a cause (although you may not think it from their too-pretty-to eat creations on social media) - Melbourne's first matcha bar (above) famous for their green pancakes, so gorgeous that even the most commited carnivore would make the trek down to St Kilda to try their plant-based menu. Making people make healthier choices, one Instagram post at a time. Coffee lovers, ask for the Flight - the barista's choice of four lattes (I got chocolate, apple pie, carrot cakes, and ginger & tumeric). The place is always packed, but well worth the wait for.



Melbourne, Australia: 11 Restaurants, Bars, & Cafes to Try  Hash Specialty Coffee & Roasters, Market Lane Coffee, Chez Dre, Bibelot, Good Egg, Il Fornaio, Matcha Mylkbar, Lui Bar, The Waiting Room, Rockpool Bar & Grill, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

Melbourne, Australia: 11 Restaurants, Bars, & Cafes to Try  Hash Specialty Coffee & Roasters, Market Lane Coffee, Chez Dre, Bibelot, Good Egg, Il Fornaio, Matcha Mylkbar, Lui Bar, The Waiting Room, Rockpool Bar & Grill, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal


Melbourne, Australia: 11 Restaurants, Bars, & Cafes to Try  Hash Specialty Coffee & Roasters, Market Lane Coffee, Chez Dre, Bibelot, Good Egg, Il Fornaio, Matcha Mylkbar, Lui Bar, The Waiting Room, Rockpool Bar & Grill, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Melbourne, Australia: 11 Restaurants, Bars, & Cafes to Try  Hash Specialty Coffee & Roasters, Market Lane Coffee, Chez Dre, Bibelot, Good Egg, Il Fornaio, Matcha Mylkbar, Lui Bar, The Waiting Room, Rockpool Bar & Grill, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal


8. LUI BAR

I missed the chance to eat at Vue de Monde but happily I got my sky-high fix at Lui Bar on the same floor. This cocktail lounge boasts stunning views of Melbourne, but that's not to say that the inside isn't snazzy too - the ambience is classy and playful, with a chandelier of clouds hanging over the bar and nutella donuts to nibble on alongside sophisticated cocktails. Show up during golden hour (one hour before sunset), pull up at a window table and enjoy the view transition from day to dusk to night.






Melbourne, Australia: 11 Restaurants, Bars, & Cafes to Try  Hash Specialty Coffee & Roasters, Market Lane Coffee, Chez Dre, Bibelot, Good Egg, Il Fornaio, Matcha Mylkbar, Lui Bar, The Waiting Room, Rockpool Bar & Grill, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Melbourne, Australia: 11 Restaurants, Bars, & Cafes to Try  Hash Specialty Coffee & Roasters, Market Lane Coffee, Chez Dre, Bibelot, Good Egg, Il Fornaio, Matcha Mylkbar, Lui Bar, The Waiting Room, Rockpool Bar & Grill, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal



9. THE WAITING ROOM


If you had told me that there was afternoon tea to rival some of the best I've had in Britain, in a gilded monolith of a tower that is a Babylonian beacon of excess calling out to gamblers with its siren song of slot machine music I'd have laughed and fallen into the Yarra River. Yet there I am in the Waiting Room in Crown Towers, with about 30 distant Chinese relatives (99% of them whose names evade me), enjoying some seriously cracking pastries. It's unapologetically glitzy and luxurious, and its location as the lobby lounge means its perfect for watching glamourous people come and go.


Melbourne, Australia: 11 Restaurants, Bars, & Cafes to Try  Hash Specialty Coffee & Roasters, Market Lane Coffee, Chez Dre, Bibelot, Good Egg, Il Fornaio, Matcha Mylkbar, Lui Bar, The Waiting Room, Rockpool Bar & Grill, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal
Melbourne, Australia: 11 Restaurants, Bars, & Cafes to Try  Hash Specialty Coffee & Roasters, Market Lane Coffee, Chez Dre, Bibelot, Good Egg, Il Fornaio, Matcha Mylkbar, Lui Bar, The Waiting Room, Rockpool Bar & Grill, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal


10. ROCKPOOL BAR & GRILL
CROWN TOWERS, 8 WHITEMAN STREET

The Rockpool Bar & Grill concept - there are also outposts in Sydney and Perth - is chef Neil Perry's elevated version of the American steakhouse. And how - it's a glossy, sexy, designer space with just the right amount of dark, moody masculinity even in daytime. The menu is modern Australian dishes, some of which are boldly done the 'Neil Perry way' such as the steak tartare. Personally, his steak tartare wasn't my style - I prefer mine the traditional way - so it was very kindly waived off the bill. The rest of our meal was outstanding: a surf n' turf spread of *deep breath* crudo of hiramasa kingfish, ocean trout, yellowfin tuna, and coorong yellow eye mullet with coriander, horseradish, and finger lime; Alaskan King Crab cocktail, the most perfectly cooked steak with a side of rosemary roast potatoes, and incredibly moreish chunky chips. Also amusing was our view of the Melbourne Aquarium, opposite - Me (glances down at my fish crudo): "Do you think that's where the seafood comes from?" My date (without missing a beat): "Absolutely."




Melbourne, Australia: 11 Restaurants, Bars, & Cafes to Try  Hash Specialty Coffee & Roasters, Market Lane Coffee, Chez Dre, Bibelot, Good Egg, Il Fornaio, Matcha Mylkbar, Lui Bar, The Waiting Room, Rockpool Bar & Grill, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

Melbourne, Australia: 11 Restaurants, Bars, & Cafes to Try  Hash Specialty Coffee & Roasters, Market Lane Coffee, Chez Dre, Bibelot, Good Egg, Il Fornaio, Matcha Mylkbar, Lui Bar, The Waiting Room, Rockpool Bar & Grill, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

11. DINNER BY HESTON BLUMENTHAL
CROWN TOWERS, 8 WHITEMAN STREET

...and finally, this UK expat comes full circle at the second restaurant of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal. The Melbourne branch featured staples from the Britain's culinary l'enfant terrible - such as the mind blowing Meat Fruit and Pineapple Tipsy Cake - with Australian additions to the menu. I'll talk more about Dinner by Heston in my next post, but here's a tantalising nugget - I ate kangaroo. Yeah.


Have you tried any of these restaurants, bars, and cafes? Which one of these do you like (the look of) best? What are your favourite places for wining and dining in Melbourne?


No comments:

Post a Comment