Celebrate the end of exams with a bang!
Settle in, you're in for a LONG post because my last week in Australia was mostly spent eating, walking and more eating. Before I've even sorted accommodation for a trip, I've probably already spent hours scouring the internet for food recommendations and compiling a list which I then base my itinerary on.
Bookmark this post for the next time you're across the ditch, because I promise you, you won't go hungry.
It is no wonder that Melbourne is regarded as the food capital of Australia, because it seems that every corner you turn is a ‘top’ restaurant, café or bakery. I had an extensive list of recommendations and didn’t even get through half of it, but here are some of my top picks.
Location: 119 Rose St, Fitzroy / Shop 16, 161 Collins Street, CBD
We’ll start with potentially one of the most hyped places in the city; you’ll see Lune mentioned in just about every Melbourne food guide. Located on a quiet street in Fitzroy, the line is almost guaranteed to snake down the road.
The aesthetic of the old warehouse converted bakery is so on point. Exposed brick, timber rafters, concrete floors – you get the picture. Bang in the middle is 'the cube' which is their temperature-controlled kitchen where you can watch the pastry chefs work seamlessly to craft the croissants.
The Big 3 Croissants
- Almond – twice-baked: Forget a sprinkle of almond flakes, Lune go hard and pack the top of the croissant with almonds, almost like the spines of a hedgehog. The inside is filled with a classic frangipane. $9.50.
- Ham and Gruyere: Pretty simple and straightforward but still delicious. A welcome break after tasting the other sweet ones. $9.50.
- Chocolate Chip Cookie: These are croissants on steroids. Filled with a chocolate chip frangipane, there are big chunks of broken up cookies on top. $12.50.
Location: 180 Flinders Ln, Melbourne
Modern Asian eateries are everywhere in Melbourne, with hugely popular restaurants such as Chin Chin and Mr. Miyagi featuring in just about every Instagram feed. Supernormal falls slightly off the radar, but that’s not to say that it's not popular given it has over 2000 reviews on Zomato alone (rated 4.6/5 in case you were wondering).
We sat at the bar where you could watch the chefs plate up, and waited for our food while snacking on the complimentary roasted pumpkin seeds (they are honestly addictive).
We had sesame soba noodles with chicken, prawn and chicken dumplings and winter greens with yogurt and XO sauce. The dishes are made for sharing, and portion sizes are reasonable; we were surprisingly full without ordering a typical “main” dish. Most of those dishes clock in under $20, with meat and fish mains priced upwards of $35.
Location: 299 Lygon Street, Carlton / 8 Degraves Street, CBD
Gelato is huge in Australia. There are dairy-free options (such as persimmon) as well as traditional flavours such as pistachio and fior di latte. The gelato has a lovely, almost whipped texture, and isn't too sweet (in other words, you can totally have two scoops and not feel sick).
$8.50 for two scoops in a waffle cone.
Location: Queen St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
You can get to this classic tourist ‘must-do’ on the free trams (which by the way, makes travelling around Melbourne such a breeze). There is a huge selection of stalls from produce to the cavernous deli hall filled with an array of cheeses, antipasto, bratwurst hot dogs, coffee and baked goods. We went for Turkish boreks - - spinach and feta, and spicy lamb. Only $5 each and quite filling! I also spied a cannoli at M&G Caiafa so had that for lunch dessert.
Lunch dessert is an essential and totally acceptable when on holiday.
Location: 295 Drummond St, Carlton VIC 3053, Australia
If you like ALL things cheese and carbs (and who doesn’t), DOC is the answer. Printed on the menu is the sources of all the different ingredients they use, which is an interesting read and guide to help you choose what to order!
We had the Australian fior di latte with speck (a lightly smoked prosciutto), and two pizzas with the classic thin crusts on the verge of being burnt (in the best way).
Location: 287 Lonsdale St / L01/157 La Trobe St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Located in both Emporium and Central malls, this place is great to rest up with a comforting bowl of ramen. Here you can get their signature lobster ramen and lobster rolls. The Tokyo lobster roll is a play on the classic New England version, with wasabi mayo and avo inside the soft, buttery bread. There are also plenty of classic Japanese side dishes to choose from including okonomiyaki, gyoza and sashimi.
Location: 335 Flinders Lane
We randomly came across this place on Sunday night, and were completely taken by surprise when we walked down the stairs and realised it was a full on arcade. Grab a booth and you can play Mario Kart on the console while you drink! There are also old-school arcade games like pinball which accepts coins.
Cheapest jug is $19; which the bartender kindly pointed out as a more economical option than buying a round of four beers – cheers to that
Bright lights, big city – and a lot of different food to try! Similar to Auckland, it is a hugely multicultural city so you can find heaps of authentic dishes from hawker-style laneways and Chinatown to a coffee culture which rivals that of Melbourne.
Location: Multiple locations including Surry Hills and Barangaroo in the CBD
We walked from Darling Harbour to Circular Quay, and this was the perfect little pitstop in-between. There are heaps of food places in this area, so definitely worth checking out if you want somewhere to eat.
Great coffee, and their signature ginger and pistachio brûlée tart and carrot cake are worth trying. If you're more into the savoury side, apparently they do a pretty mean pork and fennel sausage roll. They sell out often, so get in there early!
2) Single O
Location: Multiple locations including Surry Hills and the CBD (oh and Tokyo if you find yourself there too)
As their name suggests, Single Origin, or Single O for short, is a roastery who supposedly pioneered Sydney’s “third wave coffee movement”. I mean, they offer self-serve batch brew on tap in the same way craft beer breweries do. If you’re in a rush, you can grab one of the four brews on rotation, pay-wave it and go. This is the future guys.
Food-wise, they have a unique menu including crocodile meat ‘croc-ettes’, kangaroo sausages and other native plants and spices in their dishes. There are also vegan and vegetarian options for those less-inclined to eating crocodiles, and the almond croissants are good too.
Location: 500 George Street, Sydney
If you can’t get out to The Grounds of Alexandria (another similar but famous coffeehouse), check out this gorgeous 1920’s inspired coffeehouse in the CBD. The interiors are impressive in their attention to detail, from the antique lamps right down to the old-school plug sockets in each booth (they’re not just for show – you can actually charge your phone while you eat). I almost felt like I was in a themed-restaurant at Disney World!
4) Spice Alley
Location: 18-20 Kensington Street, Chippendale
A laneway full of hawker-style eateries – there are a range of cuisines from Singaporean Hainanese chicken rice and beef rendang with roti, to Japanese ramen, fusion-style burgers and dumplings.
And it is free to BYO alcohol!
I don't know about you, but my current BYO repertoire consists of blurry nights at various Indian restaurants in Dunedin, so I think it is pretty damn cool that Spice Alley offer this.
Cost of an average dish is only $13!
Location: Multiple Available
Get on the soup dumpling (xiao long bao) buzz at the infamous Ding Tai Fun. Apparently each dumpling is weighed to the gram to ensure the ratio of filling to dough is correct, and folded 18 times.
$14.90 for 8 xiao long bao, and there are plenty of small side dishes to choose from, as well as vegetarian dumplings and steam buns
Location: Citymark Building, Shop G6, 683-689 George Street, Haymarket, Sydney
If you happen to be in the Chinatown/Paddy’s Haymarket area, you might spot a long line of people waiting to buy “Yomie Rice x Yogurt”.
What the heck is that you might ask? Basically, it’s like bubble tea but with a chilled drinking yogurt and purple rice instead of pearls. Sounds whack, but it's actually delicious and worth a try! And hey, yogurt and purple rice = probiotics, protein, calcium and wholegrains… so maybe this is kind of healthy too?
$6.30 for the original yogurt and purple rice (they’re pretty filling)
Location: Hyatt Regency Sydney, Level 12, 161 Sussex St
If you’re a sucker for 'drinks with a nice view', this is the place to go. You get a gorgeous view of Darling Harbour from the twelfth floor, although the drinks don’t come cheap (but when are they really?).
Places on my list which I didn’t quite make it to (this time)…
- Cafés/restaurants - Matcha Mylkbar, The Kettle Black, Higher Ground, Manchester Press, Transformer
- Sweet treats - Koko Black chocolate, Baker D Chirico, Milkcow
- Vietnamese - Trahn’s Bakery (Bahn Mi)
- Italian - Tipo 00, Osteria Ilaria
- Greek - Hellenic Republic, Gazi
- Bars – Naked for Satan, Stomping Ground Brewery
- Sweet treats - Koi dessert bar, Black Star Pastry, Rivereno gelato
- Cafés/restaurants - Devon, Meijico, Love Fish, A1 Canteen, Ippudo, Flower Child, Chefs Gallery, Brewtown Newtown
Hope you enjoyed reading about some of the food I ate in Melbourne and Sydney! If you have recommendations to add, chuck a comment down below or DM me @balanceyourplate