I love meeting up with my Mum and Auntie in the city for lunch whenever those two peas in a pod invite me along (they know I’m always up for a long lunch!) and this lunch was no different, I was happy and excited because it was my Birthday (oh how quickly that came around!) (excuse the blurry photo taken in my excitement/haste)
They wanted to opt for somewhere close to Parliament Station (not realising the entrances to Parliament Station spread from one end of Spring to the other) so we met up at 65 Degrees for a highly anticipated baguette.
I can’t help thinking when we’ve scooted down the alleyway at the bottom of Monaco House that this would be a pretty good secret spot for a bit of a liaison of sorts. I just love that word.
My lunching partner C and I figured this was definitely worth a try – not too far to walk from work at lunchtime (ah, this lunch hour is closely guarded!) and with the enticement of a good coffee to finish (or finish me off, as it were). I definitely appreciate a good hidden gem, so I’m always up for a treasure hunt down some of Melbourne’s laneways.
I’m going to have to eat my words. Hopefully not literally. For ages I’ve been citing Pho Dzung as the easiest spot to go for good pho up my end of town (you know, up the top end) and that although I think MVNH is better, Pho Dzung comes a good second.
Not only is the pho seriously msg-erific and prone to cause serious headaches and parched throats, I was actually poisoned by the food this time around. And I think the deliciousness of the pho has gone downhill too, just sayin’.
This is a fail. Service is bad (although when has it ever been good?), the place is still as popular as ever and it is a cheap eat, but desperation won’t drive me here now. I would much prefer to head down to Swanston Street and get some real food that won’t leave me feeling msg’d and rotten on the inside.
If you haven’t checked out Equitable Place yet in the City for lunch, you’re missing out. It is such a small laneway just off Collins Street (near the corner of Elizabeth Street) and if you blink, you’ll miss it. It contains about 5 or 6 cute little lunch eateries, which are mostly takeaway (not much room to sit in a cramped laneway).
Brown Bagels is one of these cute little shops, run by just two bagel technicians at any one time, who make up simple and delicious combinations from fresh bagels and fresh ingredients. Continue reading
What is more wonderful than a really good hot cup of coffee?
Well, a hot cup of coffee with a face on it.
This little eatery at the top of Bourke Street is a reliable choice at pretty much any time of day, for any occasion. I’ve come here for the odd sneaky dessert, as well as for dinner (on dates, some good, others not so much…) and a good morning tea coffee the time we strategically left the building before the fire drill started (I have friends in high places, what can I say? Haha). I’d never come for lunch before, but it was actually a marvellous surprise.
Our team at work went to celebrate H’s leaving us and A and I getting qualified. Yes, so many celebratory meals! You have to have a good reason to go out all the time… and this was certainly well worth it. We took up the whole of the giant table upstairs – I didn’t even know it was up there, but easily caters to large groups.
We left it up to the boss to order a smattering of different entrees, which included the incredible croquettes (with harissa sauce, absolutely melt in your mouth), Polenta chips with aioli – polenta is a huge tick in my book, any day of the week, and these were the perfect crispness from the pan and soft polenta centres, with incredibly lip-smacking aioli. The calamari fritti with tartare and roquette was certainly the most delicious calamari I’ve had this year, hands down. I don’t know where they’re sourcing their ingredients but these were fresh, soft and tasty. Sadly, no photo, but the croquettes were pretty photogenic:
Was it ever going to be any wonder that I’d choose PM24 for a celebratory dinner? For me, it was ticking all of the boxes: Philippe Mouchel (back to wow me again), French Bistro-style cuisine, Pinot & Duck combinations and the promise of dessert later…heaven on a plate. The only problem was this: do I book it in for the celebration of getting certified (April) or my Birthday (June)? After a collegue of mine went back in March, I figured I couldn’t really hold back any longer.
And yes, I do believe that is PM himself at the counter there placing the finishing touches on some dishes! (My sister, ever the food-fangirl, got him to sign a menu at the end of the night. Typical)
And yes, it HAS taken me over a month to get my act together and blog about the experience. And for this gushing post I am truly, truly sorry. If the sight of warm sourdough makes you salivate like a puppy, look away now.
Heard about Kenzan Japanese in the good food guide? It’s been around for a while, it’s a bit of an institution (god, when do we ever escape that word in Melbourne?!) This was my first foray into the dark regions of Collins Place (that’s not supposed to sound dirty) and I wasn’t disappointed. But then again, I wasn’t footing the bill on this one.
The rounds of food went by so quickly and were so varied, it’s actually difficult to remember. Sadly, I don’t think anything stands out in particular, although the quality was very high. Pickled vegetables $8.50 (not so keen on the brussel sprouts, but hey)
Shitake stuffed with prwn and deep fried $20
One of my mates at work came up to me the other day and wanted to know if I’d been to Lupino (it’s just a short walk down from the office). He said he ‘fluked’ booking a good restaurant when he recently took his parents out to dinner and they all had an exceptionally good meal; pizza, pasta… not to mention the desserts.
I went with my drinking parter L, and because we rocked up without a booking we were seated up at the bar, where we could watch the chefs work their magic with some pasta.
This is definitely the most popular Pho spot in Melbourne: like every other pho destination from here to the Mekong delta, it has patrons spilling from the doors and knocking each other around with their elbows trying to get first dibs for the next free table… but the thing that sets it apart is that it has the reputation for the best pho around. Even the cute jibe on the front window about Bill Clinton eating there is a hint to its popularity: it’s a Melbourne institution.
So how does it rate?