When in Melbourne…

Last weekend was my third time in Melbourne in the last three months! Once for pleasure and twice for work. Having been to Melbourne many a time, my visits there nowadays are generally work related or to visit friends and family.

Heres my thoughts on some of the places we wined, dined and had coffee/tea at in the last few visits…

Manchester Press

This place is down a little alleyway off Little Bourke Street emanates a true hipster trend with wooden furniture rustic finishing and unpolished floors.

Their coffee is really the star of the place. They have your usual coffee choices including filtered coffee which comes out in a percolator. Upon chatting with one of the baristas, their coffee beans are sourced locally and their chocolate is from Koko Black.

I’m no coffee connoisseur but I love a good mocha. My first taste of their mocha (soy decaf) was last month during our mini-break to Melbourne. After a long day of shopping it was just liquid gold! It was the perfect blend of chocolate and coffee; not sweet but chocolatey, not bitter but being able to taste the coffee.  The high quality chocolate from Koko Black definitely shines through in their mocha.

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Mocha with pistachio and raspberry cupcake

Last weekend (after having spent two days in a seminar) I had to go back for more. This time I went on Sunday and got there just before they were going to close. Just a note last coffee in a cup orders are at 4.30pm on a Sunday. If not, it is in a takeaway cup. Their mocha is as good as I remembered it the first time.

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Take-away mocha

If you are a mocha lover, this is definitely a place to go! I have heard they are also known for their bagels but haven’t had the pleasure of trying one yet…. Next time!

Hellenic Republic

Located in the eating area of Melbourne along Lygon Street in Brunswick, this place is a bustling restaurant renowned for its Greek food. Owned by George Calombaris from Master Chef it boasts an extensive menu of authentic modern Greek food.

We went with a group of friends during our mini-break in Melbourne. This is somewhere which needs to be booked well ahead of time especially if going with a large group. It was extremely popular and does set seating times.

We ordered a sharing Trapezi menu to try as many different dishes as we could. The menu started with mezzethakia (fresh appetisers)…

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Toursi and tyrokafteri
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Pita and Taramosalata
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Saganaki

Followed thalassina (seafood) which included delicious salads. You read right… Their salads were amazing. Not your usual Greek salads…

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Chargrilled fish
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Cuttlefish, cucumber, chilli and blood orange dressing
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Cypriot grain salad

Then was the kreata (meat) where they brought out lamb and chicken Greek style.

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Chicken from the spit and slow roasted lamb shoulder
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Lahanosalata

The menu ended on a sweet note with chilled rice pudding salted caramel, almond shortbread crumble and pistachio. The first few mouthfuls were delicious but after a heavy meal it was almost too sweet and not enough saltiness from the salted caramel. While it was tasty, not the best Greek dessert I have had.

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Chilled rice pudding, salted caramel, almond shortbread crumble and pistachio

If you enjoy good Greek food or love Master Chef, I would recommend eating here. Great atmosphere and good modern Greek food with a traditional touch!

Maxims Cakes and Pastry

Egg tarts were one of my favourite desserts as a child. As I have grown older, I have started learning about the different egg tarts and knowing what constitutes a good egg tart.

A few years ago, I discovered Maxims egg tarts. Maxims are located on Little Bourke Street in Melbourne CBD. They are an Asian bakery, much like a smaller version of Breadtop. They sell Asian baked goods but are renowned for their Hong Kong style egg tarts.

On our recent mini-break to Melbourne I recalled that I hadn’t been to Maxims the last few visits to Melbounre. This made me think back to the first Maxims egg tart I had and how I brought some home for my family who enjoyed them as much as I did. As we walked pass the store while shopping during our mini-break in Melbourne, I knew I had to have one. Their egg tarts have a fluffy, buttery and light outer pastry filled with a creamy golden yellow smooth centre. Yummy!

*devoured the egg tart before I remembered to take a photo*

A wonderful afternoon (or morning or anytime) snack!

Brunetti

Brunetti is also located along Lygon Street. If you know me well, you know that I love a good dessert to finish of a good meal! I have had dessert at many places. Brunetti is definitely a stand out for me. The minute you enter Brunetti you know you are in good hands. They do a beautiful selection of cakes, tarts, chocolates and the list goes on as well as coffees and drinks.

It was packed when we went on a Saturday night during our mini-break in October. They ordering system is via tickets. We took our tickets, decided on our order and when it came our turn we ordered our desserts. They have a bar area for ordering drinks.

We had the strawberry and coconut mouse cake, a couple of tarts and a mille-feuille. They were all so good! Perfectly created and tasted amazing. The strawberry mouse cake and tart with pine nuts were my favourites. The minute I saw the strawberry mouse cake I had to try it because it looked so pretty.DSC03761

Must visit this place if you like cakes!

The Meatball and Wine Bar

My friend took me to this tucked away wine bar along Flinders Lane last weekend when I was in Melbourne for a seminar. The place has a rustic yet sophisticated feel. We were seated at the bar and noticed some cool details about this place. They have bag/coat hooks below the bar where we were able to hang our bags/jackets.  There is a’meat dept’ at the back of the bar.

Food menu, as you guessed, is meatballs but with a twist! They had fish balls, vegetarian balls and pork balls. The way the menu works is you choose your meatball, your sauce (red, green or white) and your base (pasta, vegetables, beans etc.). There was also spag bol on the menu and sides.

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Tasty Aperol Spritz and delicious fish ball, salsa verde and veg (would have been tastier with pasta)

Wine menu is extensive boasting a large variety of wines. They also have Aperol Spritz a drink I had in Italy which I loved and have not seen in Australia yet.

This place is an absolute treasure. Great food and drinks!

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