The trip started with lunch at Southgate, a new shopping and entertainment complex across the river from Flinders Street Station. It felt rather like venturing into Harbourside, but newer. With touchscreen tables for information stands. Fun.
Soup of the day at Blue Train Cafe - $12.80
Carbs. And fat. Just the sustenance I needed for an afternoon of walking around the city. Not that it ended up being that way - decided that the free City Circle trams would be a better idea.
Day 2 started wonderfully with breakfast at Cumulus Inc.
Lyonnaise sausage, pork hock, beans and sourdough toast, with 65/65 egg
Best breakfast of 2011, undoubtedly. After 5 years of Canberra quality, the price was a pleasant surprise. I'm just sorry for not trying the lemon curd madelines - it felt weird to order only one, when other tables were getting at least 3. Something for next time.
Next stop: the Sensory Lab at David Jones.
Hario siphon coffee.
Loved the single cubicles, didn't enjoy the coffee as much. It was good - don't get me wrong - but at $8 a pop it was a bit steep. Then again, I have been treated to the best coffee in Canberra almost every day for the past 2 years (3-cup for $5, a bargain compared to SL); and I'm much too used to their richer, less fruity blends and so the high acidity was something to get used to.
After coffee, it was time for cake. Having read about Lux Bites, a trip down to Toorak Road was in order. Any excuse for a tram ride.
And it didn't disappoint. Perfect salted caramel macaron atop a caramel chocolate slice. Delish. Service was warm, friendly and spot on, too. Delightful.
The best decision was to go with daily metcards. $7 for Zone 1 only (Monday - Saturday) and $3.20 for the Sunday Saver (Zones 1-2) saved so much unnecessary walking around. Also saved me from becoming drenched - it started pouring halfway through breakfast at Cumulus Inc and didn't really stop until I stepped out of Lux Bites.
Dinner was with a good friend at Shoya, a teppanyaki-ryotei-sushi restaurant opposite Hutong on Little Bourke Street.
It was delightful - the sashimi in ice bowls was definitely the stand out. Ultra fresh, with fantastic knife work, it comes a close second to Japan.
Saikyo miso cod - silky, sweet, packed with umami, perfectly balanced.
Sake was wonderful too - it was a try before you order affair (something I will get used to!). The glasses were also beautiful - I'm told they're traditional Satsuma kiriko cut glass from Japan.
Dessert - uni (sea urchin) cheesecake. Yes I did order it because it was "out there". It didn't look or taste of uni at all, just a pleasant egginess and creaminess which was pleasant with the slight savoury taste from the cheese.
Day 3 started at Auction Rooms. Quirky, bare brick walls, sugar in old soup tins, coffee was a joy and breakfast delightful.
French toast with vanilla custard and poached pears
Second stop was Queen Victoria Markets, which unfortunately didn't get as many photos because we were in a rush and well, I was lazy. Second coffee of the day from Market Lane - wonderful.
Third stop - early lunch at St Ali. Yes, J, I did make it! Thanks for the recommendation.
There was a small crowd outside the place, which didn't diminish at all while I was there. Eccentricity seemed to rule, the menu was filled with hilarious names. The salmon on quinoa salad was tangy, zingy and refreshing - really needed the greens after 2 days of fiberless meals.
Breakfast on day 4 was my last meal in Melbourne. Discovering Cafe Vue was about 5 blocks away from my hotel, there was really no excuse to not go and try it out.
Croque Monsieur came piping hot, it was crunchy, with the right amount of seeded mustard, melted cheese, and the best ham I had ever tasted for a long while.
4 days, 3 nights, definitely not enough time to try everything I wanted. Until next time, Melbourne!