I promised MANY people I would blog about our trip to Melbourne. But I got in a post holiday funk so looking and reminiscing about our AMAZING time just made me sad that I won’t be doing it again any time soon. I quickly got over myself and here it is. Our Melbourne adventure sans kids.
Oh and I will have to do it in parts because I started writing it and realised I had a BUTTLOAD to talk about so here is PART ONE.
WARNING – Lots of food. Some of the images are not my own. I was too busy stuffing my face to get me phone out and lighting was shite, so it would not have done the food justice!!
DAY ONE – If you need a place to stay at Auckland Airport the night before you fly I cannot recommend the ibis Budget at Auckland Airport enough. Like it’s not 5 star but at $89 a night AND you can leave your car there for up to 7 days for about $60 you can’t really complain.
I hadn’t been to Melbourne before so I didn’t really know what to expect. But my 1st impression flying into it was “man it’s really FLAT!”
We continued our love for the Ibis hotels staying at the ibis Budget on Little Bourke St. We were super central BUT when you look at the map of the Melbourne CBD it’s all in blocks and everything looks really close. In reality the streets are QUITE long!! For example we were staying at 600 Little Bourke St and heading to GingerBoy for dinner it was a good 15-20 min walk even though it was on a little laneway just off Little Bourke St!!
The awesome thing about Melbourne is the different cultural aspects of it all. Staying on Little Bourke St you are heading into Chinatown. It really is epic and if you love to people watch you will LOVE Melbourne. Chinatown is full of amazing restaurants each paying homage to their specialty be it dumplings, seafood or noodles. You could literally spend a week eating your way through 500m of Chinatown.
GingerBoy is hailed as Melbourne’s 1st Hawker style fusion restaurant and to be honest it is pretty dang good. It is set up where you order a few dishes to share. We were feeling hungry so got the banquet menu (plus a few cocktails!!). Choosing the banquet menu you are given the fav/most popular dishes on the menu. This is a great way to eat because you get to try things you wouldn’t normally choose. It also gives you a great idea of what a restaurant is about.
The stand out for me was the salt and pepper chicken spare ribs (pretty sure they were chicken wings!) in a tamarind hot sauce. The were almost a smidge on the hot side for me (lil bit of a spice puss) but they were so good I didn’t care that the mouth was on fire!! GingerBoy was also the 1st place I got to try Wagu beef. So I’ve heard about this famed “Wagu”. It’s the mac daddy of beef. For me I’m not a huge steak/beef fan and never order steak when I go out for dinner so it would never enter my head to get it. But holy sweet baby Jesus. It is THE BEST beef I have ever eaten. I can’t even describe why. It was like your eye fillet on steroids and then some. So my challenge to you my friend is if you get the chance to try Wagu …… DO IT!!
DAY TWO – This was a CRAZY busy day. In hindsight I wouldn’t have done this all in one day because I don’t think we got to mooch and really see everything we could have.
We hit the pavement early for coffee and bomboloni (Italian filled donuts) at Coffea an awesome little place on the doorstep of Queen Victoria Markets. One thing about Melbourne is that coffee is GOOD and service is quick. No matter how busy a cafe is your coffee will take less than 5 mins to make an appearance and we were never disappointed. I am ruined for life and become a complete coffee snob!!
Queen Victoria Market you bloody beauty. A food nirvana. It’s a place where you literally don’t know where to start. Because I am a bit of a geek we booked a Foodie Tour of the Queen Vic. A tour which has tastings and gives you a bit of history about the place. I think I turned to Luke at one stage and was fizzing with foodie excitement. There were fat juicy oysters, beautiful kangaroo steaks and this frigging amazing blue cheese that had been skewered with chocolate liquer – mind blowing. There were every kind of olive you could think of, handcrafted chocolates and Luke got pretty excited about the wee craft beer and cider shop (should have gone back to that bit!)
So that was just the meat, fish and dairy hall! You head outside and there is produce for DAYS. Organic, local and veges I had never even heard of, oh and the feijoas for $1 each and they were TINY!
My second ahhhhh moment came when I discovered ReWine. Clearskin wines in ONE litre bottles that you can REFILL. Red, white and the best Prosecco I have ever had. We also picked up some of their famous mulled wine syrup for those winter nights.
We nailed some donuts from the famous donut van (we were told this is a Melbourne insitution and the line is round the block on the weekends), then headed for another coffee to shake off the few wines I had! Queen Vic has another part of the market which we didn’t get to and that was the merchandise side of things. Trinkets and tresures awaited but because we had a lunch booking we had to rush off. Next trip I’m setting aside a WHOLE day to explore this amazing place.
Now Dinner by Heston was one thing we had planned for ages. Dinner by Heston is the antipodean cousin of Dinner by Heston, London. It was proably the most amazing culinary experience I have ever had. The only shit thing was the fact I decided to be a lady and I wore my glam heels. It was a 15-20 min walk to the river and by the time we got there I was blistered and in agony. That said I sucked it up with Luke saying “I told you so!!” – asshole!
My photo’s I took didn’t do the meal justice. If you want a better idea definetly google it!! We got the 6 course tasting lunch and I am so glad we did. Stand outs for me was the “meat fruit” – chicken liver parfait and the hay smoked ocean trout oh and weird but great was the roasted cucumber. Luke was all over the “rice and flesh” – saffron risotto and curried kangaroo tail and tipsy cake with spit roasted pineapple the 1st (yes there were 2!) dessert.
Dinner by Heston was amazing and we both realised that we didn’t talk much through out the lunch because we were so busy watching the staff. It was a well oiled machine with each person having a role in the big picture. We sat opposite the kitchen with the large glass windows which made perfect people viewing. So my recommendation is that is you get the chance go. Have an open mind. be amazed and maybe take your credit card!!
We ended up finishing our Friday in the best way possible with family, cutting shapes in a little place called The Black Rabbit and drinking $10 espresso martinis. Followed by a kebab while walking home. I felt 20 again. However it I did not feel 20 the next morning!!