Having never spent much time in Melbourne, I have always sided with Sydney when it comes to which foodie state wins. However, after just 3 short days in the rival state, I am now a Melbourne convert!
The markets are lined with delis overflowing with homemade pasta and pastries sold by the gram. Packaging is out and baskets full of help yourself goodness are in. Beautiful cafes are filled with passionate coffee makers and every place I stumbled upon was run with local love and foodie pride.
Here are a few foodie treasures I explored on my weekend away..
Young and Jackson
Being my Dad’s favourite Melbourne pub I had to have a quick bite at Young and Jackson on my first night. Arriving at 6pm and grabbing the last table at Chloes Bar, I settled in for the chefs selection of tapas.
First up I was presented with complimentary sourdough severed with indulgent parmasen and rosemary olive oil, a flavour I will definitely be recreating at home!
The plater of tapas arrived and I was pleasantly surprised at what great value it was for the price. The wild mushroom arancini with truffle infused aioli were coated in course parmesan breadcrumbs so where much crunchier than traditional arancini, but delicious and very moorish.
The chicken meatballs were a little on the dry side but the duck shanks with sweet soy and orange glaze were star of the dish – so sticky and melt in your mouth tender, I could have eaten a whole plate.
If you’re hanging around the CBD and looking for a lunch spot I can say with confidence – do not go past Hardware Sociéte. This cafe is amazing, one of the best I have dined at in Australia. The service is funky and friendly and the menu is full of simple, fresh flavours.
The pork belly comes with crushed peas, buttered poached prawns, alioli and watercress (19). The pork is so tender it falls apart by just touching it with my fork and the minty peas are the perfect compliment to the rich buttery sauce.
Seared Scallops with potato and fennel salad, pistou and saffron escabeche (18) is fresh and simple. The scallops are served with the roe which I don’t usually love, but the texture of them with the rocket and fennel salad was perfect.
Market Lane Coffee
I know it doesn’t look like much in my photograph, but do yourself a favour and head to Market Lane Coffee at Prahran Market for a shroom burger.
Market Lane specialises in Coffee, but they have a BBQ set up outside on weekends frying up these burger hits! A massive portabello mushroom is grilled to perfection and drenched in some kind of herb butter (im thinking parsley but im not sure), then covered with thinly sliced onion so soft it must be slightly salted.
To top it all off a handful of sharp parmesan cheese is stacked on a chipotle mayo drenched Dench bun. These burgers are made to order while you watch and only cost (8). Quite possibly one of the most delicious things I have ever put in my mouth at breakfast time.
They also serve up their Dench bread with french butter and homemade raspberry jam (6) for those who don’t get as excited as me about mushrooms.
After eating my shroom burger, wandering through Prahran Market is like torture on a full stomach. Store after store full of cheese, dips and antipasti. Cabbage rolls and savoury pastries are pilled and overflowing on shop fronts. I could have spent all day there, and if I lived there I would have been having an extravagant dinner party that night!
I settled for some free samples (beautifully soft gnocchi with bolognese sauce) and bought a few pieces of turkish delight to eat while wandering.
Walking out of the Market and onto Chapel Street in South Yarra ready for a day of shopping, Melburnians love food so much they are giving it away! Free red velvet cupcake from the Cupcake Bakery on Chapel! Ordinarily I am not a fan of cake (especially cupcakes) but this one was pretty delish – possibly more so because I was on a food high from being at the market.
The Woods of Windsor
Beautiful restaurant by night, delicious sandwiches by day – head to The Woods of Windsor for a real old school treat. The pub has a vintage feel, with dark timber woods and an old school charm that made me feel like I’d stepped into the 1920’s.
Being there at lunchtime meant a small menu consisting of only sandwiches and salads was on offer. No complaints here!
The Stringy Cow came with melty slow braised beef, horseradish, slaw, cheese and pickles (12) with a side of sweet corn, bacon and coriander (3). I went for the sourdough option which was harder to eat but really added to the flavour compared to the brioche on the Rueben.
After walking around in the unpredictable 34 degree Melbourne heat all day, this Bloody Mary (16) was the perfect addition to lunch. Slightly on the spicy side, it was the only thing that could have cooled me down after a morning full of shopping and eating on Chapel Street.
The Reuben wasn’t traditional, which isn’t always a bad thing but I would probably name it differently. With housemade corned beef, pickles, tasty cheese (12) and a side of quinoa, sweet pea and pickled onion (3) served on brioche, it was delicious (especially the corned beef), but the brioche wasn’t sweet enough and a Reuben without sauerkraut is against my religion.
I will be back to The Woods for dinner one day, the menu looks great and it’s the kind of atmosphere you could spend hours relaxing in.
So there you have it, these are the dishes that have made me a Melbourne foodie! Don’t get me wrong I still love Sydney, but why cant we have homemade treats overflowing on markets stalls, 25 delis lined up in a row with an unnecessary amount of choice and free red velvet cupcakes handed out in the street?