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Highlights: Melbourne

31 October 2010 2,088 views 2 Comments

We went to Melbourne for a couple of days for meetings about ad:tech Melbourne (launching next year, exciting..) and then stayed afterwards to play. And we played hard :)

I won’t pretend to be a Melbourne expert but here’s some of the places that we went.

coffee shops

Mr Tulks coffee shop at the State Library (328 Swanston St) seems fairly popular. The outdoor seating area was nice, and indoors has character courtesy of the library location obviously. Staff were Melbourne-cool, the coffee was good, we all came back twice.

Self Preservation coffee shop (70 Bourke St) is co-housed with a jewellery and gallery. Tim and I arrived here having been snowed on by pollen, coughing and spluttering so we did actually need some tlc. And then we stayed for a few hours (“You get the award for longest visit.”) so the gallery etc was a good distraction for us. The food here was outstanding.

Centre Place in the CBD is a little laneway chock full of coffee shops. On first glance they all look the same but on closer inspection the menus are different and further closer observation the service is different too. Unfortunately we chose poorly and went to Issus Cafe. I wouldn’t recommend it. The service was rubbish at best and the food was average at best. Sadly true. And a shame because some of the others looked much better. Let me know the ones you would recommend on here for next time.

Sarah and I only had a brief stop at Chapellis (571 Chapel St) but it was cool. A great looking deli/cake selection, good atmosphere, spacious, we were happy.


I had a quick lunch at La Camera on Southgate (Mid Level, East End, Southgate). It’s a fairly touristy spot, on the river, sandwiched between other similar places. The service was super fast, the prices were reasonable and the food was good. Ideal.

Sarti’s (6 Russell Place) was, without a doubt, the stand out restaurant of the trip. Tim and I were taken for lunch here, and very grateful we were too. The service was incredible – just wave your arm for an entree selection and the waitor brings oysters, scallops in gremolata, polenta fried calamari, ciabatta and oil and shrimp mousse cakes with caviar. All beautifully prepared, but not fussy, and full of fine flavours. We all ordered from the Specials Menu. Tim had horse, recently legalised for menus in Victoria – “I ate horse!” I had housemade spaghetti with calamari ragout, rich and creamy – two words I didn’t expect to apply to that sauce. And the pasta was a perfect texture. Another wave of the hand and we received side dishes and glasses of wine matched to our plates. It was delicious and a fantastic experience. I would highly recommend this restaurant.

A very close contender for best restaurant was Misuzu’s, an awesome Japanese restaurant near Albert Park (3-7 Victoria Ave). We sat at the bar (love doing that) and had beers then sake. It’s only the second time I’ve had sake and I’m still getting used to it, little sips Lucy, but it does match the food really well. We started with salty edamame. Then zucchini okonomiyaki which I was really excited about because I haven’t had it since being in Tokyo – it was firm with gooey inside, lots of salty fish-flake flavour, just perfect. And the ’40 dollar sashimi plate’ which was superb: action packed special rolls, crisp sashimi, smooth sushi, lots of shaved vegetable bits & pieces around the plate, heaps of pickled ginger. Seriously impressed.

Stranded in the rain on Saturday Sarah and I gave in and went for wine and cheese at Caffe e Cucina (581 Chapel St). It’s a cosy, gorgeous restaurant with more cosy street-seating. Our waitor was friendly and charming and we enjoyed a beautiful bottle of red, some olives (warm, yesss) and a cheese plate that was quite literally perfect.

clubs / bars

Little Markov (350-352 Drummond St) is actually an odd little place. It’s on a side street where you wouldn’t expect a smart wine bar and it seems to be co-located with its own sister wine bar. Okee dokee. That aside it’s somewhere between being funky and functional, the cocktail list is good, the wine selection is ok and the atmosphere is pretty cruise-y.

Everyone seems to have heard of Night Cat so Sarah and I are glad we went! It’s wicked. A pretty big, open club with a stage area in the very middle where a 10 piece jazz band played on the night we were there. They were excellent, I’m not cool enough to describe this well but they were funk, soul, groove, and there was some good busting of moves :) And after the live music, the sound was still fun n funky. I got involved in some sort of Brazilian salsa dancing, I don’t know the correct name for it but there was a lot of samba type movement, a fair few leg kicks and some out-of-hold freestyling. I wasn’t sure if I’d nailed it but then someone came to say “Thanks for the performance”, so I guess that’s a yes…

Yah Yah’s was the final destination for the weekend. It’s a little club, but attached to a big club I think (?), it was scruffy, scummy even, sweaty, and full of people with the same intention: dancing, fun, fun, fun and dancing. Sarah and I put in an excellent performance. There may have been a dance off (or three), there may have been some pole-dancing demos, there may have been on stage knee slides, there may have been a t’shirt swap (#whoyougonnacall).


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