I went to Melbourne on a short trip to see John Mayer back in 2010 when of course, he wasn't touring to Perth. Being a little older now I was excited to explore a little further, especially since Mike hadn't been to Melbourne before and wanted to eat all the food and drink all the coffee.
So as soon as the semester was over, we got on a plane, got a cute little Airbnb in the city and spent 4 nights and 5 days seeing everything we could think of. First stop was St Kilda at Monk Bodhi Dharma . Their kitchen had just closed so no food unfortunately but the coffee was divine. We travelled up Chapel Street, stopping for some Gelato Messina, past Prahran Market to make a quick stop at Market Lane so Mike could pick up some beans. I couldn't wait to try something sweet at Burch & Purchese, and they didn't disappoint.
That evening we met up with a Perth friend who invited us along to a Latte Art Competition at Top Paddock to raise money for the Dukunde Kawa Cooperative which represents 2000 small coffee producers in Rwanda's North Province. The funds raised will go towards purchasing a milk pasteuriser for their dairy. We had a great night watching the teams try their best to pour some latte art into interesting shaped ceramics.
I also have to make an important mention to 1090 Burger in Richmond. I was so hungry I didn't take any photos here but the burgers were amazing!
The next day we went down to Higher Ground for breakfast where I had an amazing kale and cauliflower salad with miso, almond hummus, avocado, poached egg and salted seeds. The space is also a must see! Another great spot for coffee in the CBD is Patricia, we saw the crowd of people and the line out the door and found it straight away. We hung out inside for a while, chatting to the baristas and watching the morning crowd. A short stroll away is Doughboys - one of the best doughnuts I have ever eaten. We should have come back at least a second time before leaving. The Myer windows are truly spectacular and I was so happy we were here at the right time of year for them.
Brother Baba Budan was recommended to us by Melbourne locals, I loved the chairs on the ceiling! We came back twice during our stay. Some wine and lunch at Sun Moth Canteen & Bar went well with a friendly chat with the owner and some laneway exploring and finding cute little shops.
Mo Espresso uses Mork Specialty Hot Chocolate so we jumped on a tram to North Melbourne to check out their cafe - which is freaking awesome! Such a pretty little space and great ways to enjoy hot chocolate as well as other chocolatey treats. I had the campfire, you flip the glass filled with smoke and pour in your hot chocolate, swirl the marshmallow around and sprinkle the charcoal salt on top. Mike drank his the Swedish way, from a little bowl, this also had malted meringues and caramel. A short walk up the road is Auction Rooms, we were too full to eat but enjoyed an icey coffee before heading back to our apartment.
We ventured out later for some dumplings in China Town and picked up some treats from Zumbo on the way home. That caramel cube was perfect, I really do need to try one of his recipes (I have two of his books!). And that macaron is fairy bread flavoured, seriously, I want these all day everyday.
Saturday morning we went out to Fitzroy. Industry Beans for breakfast, which unfortunately has a Crossfit next door so the ambience was interrupted by loud music and a woman screaming encouragement at gym goers. But the coffee and food was wonderful, I really wish I had ordered something more adventurous than smashed avo - but when you're craving smashed avo, you get smashed avo! We walked past Doughnut time but were determined to find Lune Croissanterie on a recommendation from Mike's boss. Lune did not disappoint, we were hit with this divine smell of sweet pastry before we reached the building. There was a line out the door, but by the time we ordered, the line was twice as long as when we arrived (we seemed to have a knack for this - everywhere we went we were at least 10 minutes ahead of the crowd). Mike had a kaya cruffin (*drool*) and I had the best almond croissant I have ever eaten. You can also watch the pastry chefs doing their thing in this glass box that made me think of Magneto in his glass jail cell, but the space really is something to admire.
I was truly spoilt for choice when it comes to photographs. I could dawdle around Melbourne for weeks. We met up our Perth friend at Aunty Pegs and were treated to a tour of the Proud Mary roastery. I treated myself to some serious shopping at Clear IT - the Dangerfield Outlet Store, and found a dress I had missed out on a few months ago. Belles Hot Chicken for a bourbon and iced tea to cool us down and a feast to keep us going. The chicken here is super big, juicy and delicious!
Back in the CBD we went to Touche Hombre for dinner and sat at the bar chatting to the bartender. We got a load of bar recommendations from him but really wanted to see the whiskey collection at Boilermaker House. I loved the decor, everything has been really well thought out and you could grab a booth, order some charcuterie and settle in for the evening. But I have a sweet tooth and we found Nitro Lab for some ice cream before going home to rest our legs.
Sunday morning we crossed the city to Operator25 for breakfast, the quirky signs here are a cute addition and the asian inspired menu is pretty damn tasty, the Matcha Almond Hotcakes were super filling! But not enough to stop us from walking down to Short Stop to top us up with a donut for second breakfast.
Another old Perth friend was working at Top Paddock so we made the trip back out there for lunch and we are so glad we did! We got to gush over the cutest sausage dog while we waited to be seated, had some amazing coffee and delicious lunch. We had been walking over 15km a day so decided to spend the afternoon resting at the apartment to prepare ourselves for our final day. Only ducking out for a quick burger at 8bit.
A quick coffee back at Higher Ground then off to find 5 and Dime Bagel for brunch. Once again, we arrived before a rush. The selection here is awesome, but I still have my favourite bagels here in Perth! By chance we got onto one of the old trams, bustled past Flinders Street Station and onto the National Gallery of Victoria. You might be able to see Mike really enjoying the art. But we both enjoyed the mirrored Semicircular space by Jeppe Hein.
Over to South Melbourne for St Ali where I had the most amazing meal of my life. The house smoked lamb brisket was smokey and tender - I could eat this meal forever, I never wanted it to end.
Overall, our first proper holiday together ended with us tired and sore, but not killing each other. Big plus. I'm stoked I picked up some cheap clothes and brush pens to try and Mike has a few different bags of coffee to test out. He keeps joking about getting on the next plane and moving there, and I'm not going to lie, I wouldn't not go too. But I do love Perth, with less than half the population, this little city still has so much to offer. But thanks Melbourne, til we meet again.