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Melbourne Recommendations

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Hi

Will be going to Melbourne for 6 nights/ 7 days in late March/ early April.

I have a shortlist of restaurants below and would appreciate your comments. Would like a mix of fine and casual dining, breakfast/ brunch places with the emphasis on food first and ambience next. Mostly like Western fare and enjoy both traditional and creative food. Australian prices are very high and coupled with a strong AUD, some prices are prohibitive, so comments on best value appreciated, as are suggestions of places I have missed.

1. Vue De Monde (for lunch - most likely the $100 menu gourmand or $70 menu du jour - how do they compare?). Is there much point to trying Bistro Vue or Cafe Vue as well? Probably the latter for brunch?

2. Cumulus (for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner)

3. Cutler & Co. (for dinner alacarte or Sunday lunch at $70) - am I better off with the $150 tasting menu? Also, I understand Embrasse also does a Sunday lunch for $62 and Circa for $65. Any opinions on which Sunday lunch is better as I have only 1 Sunday there.

4. Cafe Di Stasio - preferably for lunch as prices are better value and there is a set lunch.

5. Movida or Movida Aqui - which is better? Also, better off alacarte or $75 tasting menu?

6. Jacques Reymond - lunch or dinner? This seems similar to Vue De Monde with more of an Asian influence.

7. Rockpool Bar & Grill - prob the bar for a burger

8. Attica - Tues night 5 course chef's table at $90 or mid week night 5 course for $110 - is the $20 saving worth the punt or some of the trial new dishes hit or miss?

9. Embrasse - either for Sunday lunch, $45 lunch or $90 tasting?

10. Verge - 5 course tasting at $95

11. Maze - lunch at $38 for 3 courses

That's all I've managed to come up with.

Your comments much appreciated as are any other suggestions.

Thanks

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  1. That's an impressively detailed list. Some general comments.

    Yes, Cutler and Co does Sunday lunch but it is very different from their other meals. kersizm can advise on Embrasse. VdM - not sure if lunch shows them off to their capabilities - its full of lawyers when I have been at lunchtime and so prefer bistro vue - don't do the menu du jour, you need the full whack or don't bother. Same comment on jacques. No, bistro vue and cafe vue aren't worth a special trip

    movida and next door are more barlike. aqui is a bit more restauranty. agree with lunch at di stasio. attica go for the classics not the experiments.

    I wouldn't recommend Verge or Maze to anyone visiting.

    Missing from your lunch list is Maha, the best value lunch in the CBD. Also possibly PM24, Mouchel's new place. Also, is there a reason you are going 'classic' - do you live in Asia?

    57 Replies
    1. re: mr_gimlet

      For brekky we really enjoyed Birdman Eating (Gertrude St), Alimentari (Brunswick St) and Dench (Scotchmer St -- both for brekky and baked goods generally). For casual, we liked Lladro (pizza and Italian) and Anada (Spanish), also on Gertrude St.

      You're very lucky -- I'd be thrilled to have a week to eat in Melbourne ...

      1. re: mr_gimlet

        I've been a number of times to Embrasse and love it. With the Sunday lunch the focus is a home-style sharing meal, it's a much more simplified menu to Nic's normal menu. However, I think it's a great deal. The tasting menu is a lot more creative with gels, foams and soils.

        Agree on VdM and Jacques. Unless you are going to do them properly, don't bother.

        You've got a lot of the big names in there. As kelewis suggests you could throw in Ladro, Anada, Bar Lourinha (although it seems to have dropped off a bit), Journal Canteen (simple homestyle italian, a great Melbourne place for lunch), Huxtable, etc etc.

        For breakfast/brunch: Pope Joan (my new favourite), de Clieu, Seven Seeds, Cavallero.

        1. re: kersizm

          Hi kelewis and kersizm

          I think I'll have the Sunday lunch at Embrasse. Nic's normal menu seems similar to VdM in that l'Astrance, NOMA way - looking at the pics on the site with the menu listings echoing the ingredients ala St. John.

          I am a sucker for homestyle Italian so Journal Canteen sounds good.

          How similar is Anada to one of the Movida's? I feel I may be repeating.

          Thanks for all the brunch breakfast places. My gut feel now is prob for Pope Joan (dish recommendations?), either de Clieu or Seven Seeds (the latter sounds like a coffee pilgrimage place with great French toast from what I read, while the former is prob more fanciful in breakfast offerings), Cavallero for anytime eating, Birdman Eating, Dench for baked goods (any pastries in particular?).

          i'll keep Ladro in mind for pizza.

          Thanks again

          1. re: mikey8811

            I have to be honest in that I don't particularly like Movida. I think it is over-priced and over-rated. Movida Nextdoor, Bar Lourinha and Anada for me are the better options. I haven't been to Aqui so no comment there.

            Pope Joan has a lot of things on the menu worth eating: The fried egg and bacon sandwich, the cornish sandwich, home made fish fingers, the ploughman's lunch, the smoked pork belly.

            de Clieu and Seven Seeds have the same owner. There is a big focus on coffee but de Clieu has the more interesting menu. Yesterday, I had toasted baguette with roasted cherry tomatoes, fresh ricotta, prosciutto and extra virgin olive oil. Delicious!

            Dench for the beer bread! If you like baked things, I'd also suggest babka; the shoo-fly buns, rhubarb danish, tarte tatin are all first class. Pity the coffee is abysmal. Oh and if you go to St. Kilda to di Stasio you'd be crazy not to go to Baker D Chirico.

            If you want pizza, DOC hands down!

            1. re: kersizm

              Just lost a long reply, flip.

              Movida has a handful of truly great dishes. The problem is you do them all in one visit. Aqui is much more restauranty whereas movida and next door are very barlike. Aqui is in the middle of the legal district which tells you lots.

              VdM - tasting less sophisticated and shorter than the evening - but everyone in the kitchen will be churning out lunch of the day to lawyers. So I'd say it would fall short of the experience you are looking for.

              Pizza, DOC is tops, but there a couple of places in the same space - Barbagallo and 34 in the CBD, Mr Wolf in St Kilda, iCarusi in East Brunswick - that all do superb pizza. It depends where you are at the time (though Carusi can be a bit pizza nazi)

              Thinking of other cuisines, what about top class Italian? There are a handful in Melbourne. My Asian visitors (mainly HK and Singapore) usually want to do an Italian, a steak place (LaLuna, Middle Park Hotel, The Station in Footscray and The Point in Albert Park are all cow heaven) and a French bistro (FranceSoir, Libertine). I would add though that the possible attraction of all these places is that they are wine friendly foods and so allow the consumption of enough wine to float a cow.

              PM24 - I would think they would be chucking out to meet 730 and 800 bookings.

              Attica - Tuesday is for people who've 'done' the menu, the stuff in the menu is there because its a stayer.

              Comment on Journal - I had heard the cheffy woman has stepped down from the kitchen recently.

              1. re: mr_gimlet

                Oh let me add my support to Libertine. It's definitely worth heading to.

                1. re: mr_gimlet

                  Hi Mr. Gimlet

                  I get on this board and I am revising my list with all your suggestions.

                  What are the handful of great dishes at Movida? I'm alright with that since I'll only have time to dine there once.

                  Yes, I'd like a steak place - I looked up your suggestions and so far am thinking Middle Park Hotel - meat with a gastro pub twist, although The Station is not far behind. I really like the setting of The Point in Albert Park but the prices seem costly - is the cafe worth going to for lunch?

                  Yes, I would like an Italian - I thought I was doing that with Di Stasio and Journal although these are prob the casual eats.

                  Yes, I would like a French - I thought I was doing that with Embrasse (the Sunday lunch) or even pre theatre with PM24.

                  Dilemma - since I prob would like to add in more of your suggestions, I have to prune my own list. I am thinking the following are similar - VdM, Cutler & Co., Attica. If I am to do only one or two of them, which should it (they) be? Attica is prob the most molecular of all from my understanding. Am leaning towards VdM (menu gormand) and Cutler (ala carte)

                  I'm staying at The Blackman so I hope all these places are easily accessible by public transport.

                  Also, if I don't make it to The Point as a steak place, i understand my hotel is near the park and lake so would a stroll around replicate the ambience of the place ;)?

                  Another restaurant I came across is Tempura Hajime - prob the only Asian I would consider. Any thoughts?

                  1. re: mikey8811

                    To ask for something like 'the best Italian' in a city like Melbourne is meaningless. It's like asking for the best Guangdong food in Hong Kong. Melbourne has dozens of really, really good places from coffee only to michelin star. There is little between the best performers in each class, and in my case it boils down to where I am going to be and whether it is BYO. In many cases, good performers aren't worth trekking across town for - Melbourne is a huge city.

                    Steak - the Point is a full on restaurant, the other two are pubs (Footscray is not a fabulous area, so don't go for a post dinner stroll). LaLuna is half way.

                    Movida - can only remember the anchovy and tomato sorbet as it was all so long ago. The staff I'm sure will help. If you are eating on your own, then just sit at the bar - the portions aren't that huge.

                    Your hotel is well positioned for tram and you can change onto a train, but you may be looking at a long trip. The tram route you are on is a single journey to all the CBD restaurants, FranceSoir, Da Noi, DOC, and Attica.

                    I would recommend Da Noi for your Italian dinner (still do lunch at di Stasio, its so cheap). Your top end is a tough call, because I don't know where you've been or what you like - Attica to me is very Catalan with a bit of Noma thrown in, VdM is classical textbook Michelin in a boring space (probably 1* pushing 2* level), Cutler and Co is just modern (not meant in a denigrating way) but it is really, really noisy. I prefer Cumulus to Cutler.

                    On the French, I think you are missing out on bistro style. Of course, if you spend a lot of time in French bistros then this may not be of interest, but for Melburnians it is our comfort food.

                    Your priority now should be locking in Friday and Saturday nights. VdM, Attica and Cutler will be full.

                    Tempura hajime has a good reputation, but it is well regarded because we don't have anything else like it. I have never managed to get a booking there but I think kersizm might have been.

                    1. re: mr_gimlet

                      I went to Tempura Hajime many many moons ago and thoroughly enjoyed myself. It still has a good rep, even though it has changed owners.

                      1. re: kersizm

                        Just to follow up on this. I went to Tempura Hajime last weekend. It is still excellent and one of the most "japanese" restaurants in Melbourne.

                        If you can't afford the airfare to Tokyo, it's a great place to go.

                        1. re: kersizm

                          What's the booking lag like? It has always had that air of long waiting?

                          1. re: mr_gimlet

                            I didn't book but my girlfriend was able to book for us on a Saturday night with a couple of weeks notice.

                      2. re: mr_gimlet

                        Hi

                        Thanks for your detailed reply.

                        Don't get me wrong - I wasn't really asking for a best Italian.

                        As it turns out my going to Great Ocean Road day tour takes out one day from my eating.

                        I'm now unable to do the Sunday lunch at Embrasse - is the Saturday lunch worth doing there? It seems to be good value.

                        I'll be doing DiStasio and Cutler & Co. (full on Fri & Sat like you said) on Sunday. Do you know if there is a Sunday surcharge for these places?

                        Thanks

                        1. re: mikey8811

                          Saturday lunch is my favourite meal out but it pains me to say that many places are closed. Embrasse will be great, so is Libertine especially if you hit the last Saturday of the month. Its really because the kitchen is opening for prep for the evening, so they might as well cook.

                          There won't normally be a Sunday surcharge, its very rare in Melbourne, but I think you will find the di Stasio bargain lunch is only available on weekdays. Then it becomes a very expensive proposition.

                          Edit: Libertine set lunch is no more I have just discovered. Pity.

                          1. re: mr_gimlet

                            Yes, I looked at the Libertine website and they don't do set lunches anymore. The DiStasio website says the bargain lunch is available everyday but I sent them an e-mail to ask just in case.

                            I was wondering if I should drop Journal Canteen from my list since the chef Rosa Mitchell has left. Any reports on food quality since?

                            On my last night (have a late night flight) I booked at PM 24 for the pre-theatre meal. This is apparently the same as the lunch deal - 2 courses for $45 and is a selection from the chef's menu and not the regular ala carte. Any experience?

                            Also, I have Middle Park Hotel scheduled for Sat night but looking at the website it doesn't seem that appealing now since the offal type dishes that I read about in the Age review from a while back are now gone. The Point also offers a $35 for 2 course lunch and has a cafe. Any experience with that?

                            1. re: mikey8811

                              I went 2 weeks ago to Journal Canteen. Seemed on mark for me, but my girlfriend complained about the pasta suffering from an oil bath!

                              1. re: kersizm

                                I have also just been recommended The European for the Chateaubriand - was thinking of replacing Journal Canteen with this. Any experience with the place? The last Age review was in 2006.

                                1. re: mikey8811

                                  They're very different. It's one of my more favourite places for a longish lunch and I am often found in the City Wine Bar (their casual bit) eating rillettes. But I'm not sure I would say they are famous or recommend them. It might be a bit too much for lunch. I'm can understand why someone would recommend it for the wine though.

                                  l like Journal because you get a nice bowl of pasta quickly, and it is step up from a sandwich - but I wouldn't walk across the city for it. I go when I go next door to the library.

                                  1. re: mr_gimlet

                                    I just checked European opens for supper - I'm a glutton so I'll try to fit both in.

                                    Is the steak at European a good substitute for Middle Park Hotel?

                                    Ladro or D. O. C.? Both sound great - Ladro seems like a better all rounder but the mozzarella bar sounds good too.

                                    1. re: mikey8811

                                      DOC.

                                      1. re: mikey8811

                                        I always have pork belly or schnitzel at City Wine Bar (its part of the European) so I've never had steak there. I'd recommend CWB over European for supper, it has a better vibe and is less formal. And of course there is the Supper Club. Did I mention the Supper Club....

                                        DOC over Ladro. Ladro is a bit dated and completely up itself, plus you can get to DOC on the tram that goes past your hotel.

                                        1. re: mr_gimlet

                                          I didn't really like the European - it just felt dated and old. I like DOC a lot, the pizzas are delicious and it is young vibrant and Italian, plus I like dessert at Brunetti. for lunch these days I like Earl in the back of 500 Bourke.

                                          1. re: debbieann

                                            I thought you lived in Tasmania these days? Earl is nice for lunch if you have $14 to blow on a sandwich.

                                            1. re: debbieann

                                              Why would you go to Brunetti for dessert, when the Tiramisu at DOC is the best in Melbourne??

                                              1. re: kersizm

                                                Maybe not everyone likes tiramisu? And the coffee at Brunetti is probably isn't far off the worst in Melbourne as well. But their cakes are very impressive looking and its a nice place for a visitor to go.

                                                1. re: mr_gimlet

                                                  Hi Kersizm, Mr. Gimlet

                                                  The girlfriend wants to do a dining with a view meal. Will have blown our budget with VdM & Attica by then. Contenders are The Point (2 course Express Lunch at $35) or Stokehouse (The Beach Bar & Grill menu with mains at $25 up). Which would you suggest?

                                                  Also, bars for drinks & people watching in Fitzroy on Saturday night appreciated.

                                                  Thanks

                                                  1. re: mikey8811

                                                    Black Pearl for cocktails, Newtown Workers Club for grungy hipster vibe, Labour in Vain for a Fitzroy pub. I do suggest though that you walk to Cure on Rathdowne Street in Carlton for a drink - hipster bar with good wine, beer and cocktails.

                                                    1. re: mikey8811

                                                      The view is nicer at Stokehouse (you're talking about downstairs). The food is likely to be marginally better at the Point but not much in it. Views generally cost money here.

                                                      kersizm, where is Cure? Never noticed it before.

                                                      1. re: mr_gimlet

                                                        My initial attraction for The Point was that it's a steak place as recommended here but I guess I ain't gonna get a good steak at the Express Lunch price. I'll just have a drink at the Stokehouse bar & grill (yes, downstairs) instead. I think I'm gonna swing for just a main at either Middle Park Hotel (but all the offal dishes seem to be gone) or The Station Hotel Footscray for a final lunch (the braised pork trotter with sweetbreads or one of the steaks), since I do not have a Gastropub meal on my list. Any thoughts on which one?

                                                        1. re: mr_gimlet

                                                          164 Rathdowne. Great bar snacks and drinks. I haven't had a chance to eat there yet.

                                                          1. re: kersizm

                                                            Hi Kersizm

                                                            No, I meant choice between Middle Park Hotel or The Station Hotel Footscray as a Gastropub cum steak meal.

                                                            Someone also mentioned Josh's ice cream in Middle Park - is this worth going to?

                                                            Oops I realise you were posting the address to The Cure to Mr. gimlet's query

                                                            1. re: mikey8811

                                                              Dude I accidentally replied to yours and not Mr. G's above post.

                                                              1. re: mikey8811

                                                                Jocks ice cream. Like most of these places, if you are in the area, I would go. I'd probably recommend Middle Park over Station simply because it will be much easier to get to.

                                                                1. re: mr_gimlet

                                                                  OK thanks.

                                                                  We were also recommended The Botanical. Is Cheong Liew full time there? I had a look at the menu online - nice but costly.

                                                                  Also, Cafe Rosamond for desserts.

                                                                  Any experience?

                                                                  1. re: mikey8811

                                                                    You know the Rosamond thing is Thursday only, with no bookings and is hugely popular? The place is tiny - its a small cafe with two rooms. If you really, really want to go, then you need to be there at the start or on the dot of 9pm. Personally, I have had enough of cooler than cool Collingwood stand in a queue no bookings places. (Unlike kersizm....)

                                                                    1. re: mr_gimlet

                                                                      Nah I didn't know that. I'll give it a miss then - it sounds steep to pay $40 just for dessert. Am going to Attica the same night. Are there any dish requests I should make or just leave it to chance? Same goes for VdM, any must have dishes?

                                                                      1. re: mikey8811

                                                                        No real suggestions, other than some of the waitstaff at VdM have a bit of an attitude. If you get one of the uppity ones, you need to deal firmly with them at the start of the evening - they are very good at upselling without actually mentioning the price of anything. Make clear who's in charge and don't give them carte blanche - some of the upgrade dishes are great, but others are just good dishes with lumps of truffle on.

                                                                        1. re: mr_gimlet

                                                                          Any thoughts on Gill's Diner? What are prices like? Is it a value place? Just saw it listed on The Age's list of Essential Melbourne dining.

                                                                          Also, is Comme Kitchen only for the ambience - there are no prices on the website menu.

                                                                          Thanks

                                                                          1. re: mikey8811

                                                                            Gill's Diner is excellent, very Melbourne

                                                                            1. re: mr_gimlet

                                                                              So, Gill's Diner over The European? I was thinking of doing one of them at about 9 pm on Friday night after a Great Ocean Road day tour. I know the European opens till late but am unsure about Gill's Diner since there is no website.

                                                                              Also, what is Grossi Florentino Cellar Bar like? I was thinking of substituting it for Journal Canteen since it prob costs the same and Risa Mitchell is gone from the latter.

                                                                              1. re: mikey8811

                                                                                FWIW, even though our tour itinerary indicated we would be back in Melbourne around 9, we didn't actually return to our particular residence until well after 10. It ended up being a 12 hr coach tour, after hotel pick ups/drop offs.
                                                                                There were lunch and dinner stops on the tour. Bay of the Apostles was definitely worth the trip.

                                                                                1. re: KarenDW

                                                                                  Darn, I was going to get them to drop me off right at the restaurant in the city. Which tour group did you use? Am thinking of A Tour With A Difference. Where did you stop for meals and was the food decent?

                                                                                  1. re: mikey8811

                                                                                    By the way, do you guys recommend the Prahran Markets? What's the best day to go?

                                                                                    1. re: mikey8811

                                                                                      Never been. I would have thought the best market that side of the city is the South Melbourne Market.

                                                                                      For markets, any day when they're open is the same except Saturday will be really, really busy.

                                                                                      1. re: mr_gimlet

                                                                                        Thanks

                                                                                        Last consultation before going off. What is Luke Mangan's Palace like? Is it a good substitute for a steak place? they have a Monday night $19 steak - sounds like good value.

                                                                                        1. re: mikey8811

                                                                                          I think you answered your own question with the phrase "$19 steak". It is a Monday or Tuesday tradition at most pubs, though the Moreland (not recommended) does it for $9. I may be being overcynical but I doubt it is worth a trip.

                                                                                          Updates: PM24 is getting great reviews. Donovan Cooke has a new mega seafood place at Crown called Atlantic but no reviews yet.

                                                              2. re: kersizm

                                                                So just down from the Baths? Interesting choice of location, though I think Moretons is in that strip.

                                                                1. re: mr_gimlet

                                                                  Yes, just up from the baths, it's a bit of a quiet strip. I am _REALLY_ interested in the place. I have only been there for drinks and snacks once, however.

                                                    2. re: mr_gimlet

                                                      That's a double vote for DOC.

                                                      DOC or Anada for a Saturday night out? Are reservations necessary or possible?

                                                      Would also like to see some people out and about at some bars or hangouts with a relaxed vibe that are nearby afterwards. Recommendations for these also appreciated.

                                                      Easy enough to checkout City Wine Shop or Supper Club - from the website they look like they are just near the European or part of.
                                                      Thanks

                                                      1. re: mikey8811

                                                        Anada, yes, you will need to make a reservation. There are a series of 2 person tall stools and tables so you'd get one of those. DOC, no reservations (one of the attractions of a spontaneous pizza craving) but rarely a long wait.

                                                        Supper Club, City Wine and European all the same kitchen.

                                  2. re: mr_gimlet

                                    Hi, I will be visiting Melbourne from Hong Kong and got a table at Movida, after everyone raved at how awesome it is. In case I order anything wrong to spoil the experience, could you recommend the truly great dishes you were talking about? Unfortunately I'll only be in Melbourne for a few days, with 1 day taken up by the Great Ocean drive and the other taken up by a music festival (Harvest). So much food, so little time!

                                    1. re: kacang

                                      It depends what you like, I think their anchovy and sorbet is a signature dish, others liek the larger steaks and stuff. So just talk to your waiter.

                                      1. re: mr_gimlet

                                        The only thing I liked at Movida was the tripe, which we had to ask for specially as it wasn't on the dinner menu that day.

                                        1. re: kersizm

                                          I find Movida a bit of a one-hit wonder, but it is very attractive to visitors. I'd ratehr go to Anada myself.

                                    2. re: mr_gimlet

                                      +1 on D.O.C, its quite popular nowadays and bit of a waiting line

                                    3. re: kersizm

                                      Hi Kersizm

                                      Thanks for the headsup for D Chirico and Babka - I needed more places like these for a quick bite.

                                2. re: mr_gimlet

                                  Hi Mr. Gimlet

                                  Thanks for your reply.

                                  Is the Menu Gourmand at Vue Du Monde at $100 at lunch not the same as that over dinner for $150? Or are they focused on satisfying the many lawyers, so the standards are lower.

                                  So the experiments at Attica are more misses than hits and not worth saving the $20 for?

                                  Between Movida and Aqui - since they cost about the same and food appears largely similar - which would you say captures the essence of the food the best?

                                  I'll drop Verge or Maze from my list then.

                                  PM24 sounds interesting for the avant theatre (is there a time we have to leave by? Website says orders placed before 7 pm) or lunch.

                                  Yes, I live in Asia so the Mod Oz stuff with many Asian influences don't really do it for me - I always feel if I want to eat Asian, I'll just go to an Asian restaurant. I looked at Ezard and it is very much in that vein so I dropped it. Maha sounds interesting but generally, Asians don't go for Middle Eastern / Mediterranean fare although I used to like Cosmos and Eleni's in Sydney.

                                3. 3 others to consider, Donovans at St.Kilda great atmosphere, excellent food, Cecconis Flinders Lane for authentic Italian and Taxi at Fed, Square is one of Melbourne's best. Da Noi in South Yarra is another worth considering,

                                  6 Replies
                                  1. re: DownUnder

                                    In Melbs I would do:
                                    - Attica everything but Tuesday night
                                    - Flower Drum
                                    - Cumulus Inc (breakfast and/or lunch)
                                    - Huxtable
                                    - Embrasse
                                    - Cutler & Co.
                                    - Anada or Movida (the original)

                                    + Don't miss Der Raum for a drink

                                    Also rent a car and go to Loam and, most importantly, THE ROYAL MAIL!!

                                    Enjoy

                                    1. re: J_A_A

                                      Loam is better than the Royal Mail unless you have 2k to drop on a bottle of burgundy.

                                      1. re: mr_gimlet

                                        I have to disagree STRONGLY with that. The Royal Mail is better than any other restaurant in Australia in my humble opinion. Loam is very good but definitely not as creative. And what did you drink at Loam? A nice Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir? I'd rather spend a bit more and enjoy the Royal Mail's list...

                                        1. re: J_A_A

                                          I agre with J_A_A, but driving three and a half hours from Melbourne is a big ask for someone only in town for a week.

                                          I'm echoing a lot of other people here, but I'd definitely say you should check out

                                          - City Wine Shop - their Seared Tuna Nicoise is one of my all time favourite dishes
                                          - D.O.C. - best pizza in Melbourne, IMHO
                                          - Either MoVida (Aqui is bigger, so generally easier to get a table at)
                                          - Miss Jackson (for breakfast/lunch if you're in St Kilda)

                                          If you're open to Asian places, the list gets a lot longer, given my personal bias. ;)

                                          1. re: J_A_A

                                            I have to call Royal Mail again and Loam - I think the earliest I can get reservations for a Sat night dinner is June. We'll fly from Hobart and hire a car and make a wkend out of each one of them.

                                            1. re: debbieann

                                              Debbie-Ann, book Saturday lunch at Loam. It is less busy and just as good. In fact, I prefer the views over the Bellarine in daylight and you can watch the pelicans.

                                    2. Hi Mikey
                                      Here are a few more suggestions for you.........
                                      There are loads of great coffee places but do try the following....Dead Man Espresso - Sth Melb, Market Lane Cafe @ Prahran Market in Prahran, St Ali - Sth Melb.
                                      The Victoria Market is a wonderful food experiences for all of the senses, there is a fabulous bratwurst stall, where you can get for about $8 a seriously good spicey bratwurst in a roll with, mustards, sauerkraut etc - makes a great & cheap lunch. Can also browse the deli hall & pick up some local cheeses etc.
                                      I would also recommend visiting some of Melbourne's rooftop bars - especially if you are lucky with the weather. There are loads of them in the city. These are my picks.
                                      Siglo, which is on the roof of the Melbourne Supper Club which worth a visit for a drink. This is a more sophisticated crowd.
                                      Roof Top Bar (this one is quite grungey, but cool) @ Curtain House - within the same building there is also Cookie - awesome cocktails & great Thai food. There is also Toff, which houses booths in railway carriages. All 3 venues are great & make for a great night out & are "cool & groovy".
                                      You also should look into Hare & Grace - City - the food is excellent & their degustation menu is superb.
                                      From your list I will second
                                      Cumulus
                                      Cutler
                                      Movida - fantastic
                                      Attica - amazing
                                      You should also look into, Maha, Press Club, Newmarket Hotel, Bluestone, Coda, France Soir, Da Noi.
                                      Melbourne has so many great places to eat, you will love it!
                                      Enjoy your trip.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: DAVJ

                                        I went to Maha last night. Don't bother. Will write a proper review in the next couple of days. Good staff though.

                                        1. re: kersizm

                                          Really! I have had great experiences there in the past - look forward to the writeup to find out what went wrong

                                      2. I'm heading to melbourne next week for the weekend... I'm a little overwhelmed with the recommendations given so far. I'm looking for some ideas of places to go for lunch and breakfast. I'm staying on flinders street in the CBD, so some where nearby or accessible by trams.

                                        On previous visits to melbourne I have already tried:
                                        cumulus inc
                                        movida
                                        vue de monde
                                        yu-u
                                        hu tong?

                                        Any must go places for breakfast and lunch in the CBD area?

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: hazna

                                          During my short visit to melbourne I tried:

                                          Hardware Societe (Liked it) - croque monsieur was amazingly rich and satisifying

                                          Longrain (for an early dinner). Being asian myself, I wasn't that impressed with the food at long grain. The betel leaf appetisers were fantastic and a must have. The mains we had were bit of a let down. We had a green curry and 'duck salad'. I'm used to green curries with more coconut milk/cream, so their green curry wasn't my favourite. We wanted something light, so we got the duck salad. There is hardly any salad, it is basically a whole fried battered duck, with some salad garnish. Flavours were a little underwhelming.

                                        2. Hi Guys

                                          Thanks so much for all the recommendations. Just got back from Melbourne and this is the trip report to round off this thread.

                                          I was pretty impressed by the quality of the food if not the high prices exacerbated by the AUD being at record highs (ouch).

                                          Here goes:

                                          1. Cumulus - had lunch there and liked the space. They've gotten the concept right - it's really somewhere you could sit all day. I started off with the black pudding slathered on slices of thick bread (pretty good hearty fare) and followed with the seared scallops with pearl barley & lemon curd filled madeleines for dessert. The produce is well utilised and very fresh and the flavours all stand out. However, it was a meal that didn't really wow me given what I had heard about the place.

                                          2. Rockpool Bar & Grill - popped in for the David Blackmore full blood wagyu burger and was subjected to a long wait at the bar - really packed even on a Tues night at 9 pm. Didn't get to eat until 10 pm. Perhaps due to the crowd, I felt let down by the cooking. The burger patty was overdone and lacked the melt in your mouth juiciness I had expected.

                                          3. Vue De Monde - had the $100 menu gourmand for lunch followed by the Gaytime Souffle for dessert which was an extra course. I enjoyed the full on dining experience with great presentation and the waiters were surprisingly friendly, contrary to expectation. Enjoyed the food with standouts being the seared marron and braised David Blackmore wagyu beef cheek. All the little amuse geules, bouches were nice touches to the whole meal. The presentation was similar to Guy Savoy (where I dined in Singapore just before the trip) in terms of the extras but is more contemporary.This was prob my favourite meal.

                                          4. Movida - just a couple of tapas and raciones after the heavy VdM lunch. Again good use of produce. Impressed by the anchovy w smoked tomato sorbet, not so much by the croquetas.

                                          5. Movida Aqui - funnily enough a local friend chose this for lunch the next day. Not really an overlap as we got to try different stuff. Standouts were braised beef cheeks, grilled octopus, tomato and fig salads.

                                          6. Attica - more serious foodie joint than VdM without the show element, although the sight of Ben Shewry & team at work in the open kitchen with apparatus was a show in itself. Standouts were seared wagyu with tongue and an amalgam of other amazing ingredients which I do not remember but really wowed me (this was the best dish of the trip), the slow cooked bass grouper with quinoa and the snow crab starter. Less so the signature potato baked in its own earth. Missed out on the extra Violet Crumble dessert which we arranged for because we were in a rush. Service was very friendly.

                                          7. Grossi Florentino Cellar Bar - post Great Ocean Rd day trip, they had given our table away at The European because we were 30 mins late (saw Peter Garrett there). Basic but well done pasta and canoli. Jovial Italian waiters.

                                          8. Birdman Eating - I had a lot of black pudding this trip. This time with bubble and squeak and a runny egg. Great brunch. They had run out of the Coq Au Vin baked eggs. Great juices!

                                          9. Middle Park Hotel - originally intended as a steak meal, I went all offal instead (I had just come from Singapore and dined at Wolfgang Puck's Cut steakhouse, which is prob hard to outdo) - a salad Lyonnaise with tongue and a a main of veal sweetbreads en croute. Rib sticking fare!

                                          10. Cafe Di Stasio - enjoyed the great value lunch deal, great produce executed well, prawn fritters and just seared pork.

                                          11. Cutler & Co. - again, expected a lot because of the buzz, I found the servings small and the food whilst good did not wow. Had the poached chicken with foie gras parfait, followed by slow cooked John Dory with pear barley and mussels - initially thought to go for the suckling pig but had too much black pudding already and being Asian will inevitably compare this to the Chinese variant. Don't get me wrong, the flavours of all ingredients stood out and were interesting but it was not as cohesive a meal as Attica or VdM. The much touted ice cream sandwich was average. Service was slow and the waiter we had was not very helpful, even slightly churlish. The sourdough bread made in house was really good though. Overall, somewhat underwhelmed by the Andrew McConnell joints.

                                          12. Pope Joan - wow what a friendly, unpretentious place. Much like someone's backyard with a 70's vibe inside and great food. Not a dud - again black pudding with crumbed coddled egg salad, fig salad & bacon and egg sanga.

                                          13. PM 24 - had the great value pre theatre meal - 2 courses of seared scallops and rotisserie rump cap followed by the very good Paris Brest which ties with the VdM Gaytime Souffle as the best dessert(s) of the trip.

                                          Other standouts were Der Raum - bar as theatre - so much work goes into each drink. All well thought out and executed with friendly bar tenders literally just in the room, Baker D. Chirico - great canoli w pistachio, raspberry custard and bombolini (preferred this to Dench Bakers), upon leaving I spied the lemon brulee tart but wasn't able to fit that in.

                                          Once again, thanks for all the recommendations. I missed out on trying DOC, New Gold Mountain and Jock's Ice Cream & the shoo fly bun at Babka (they sold out when I got there) all of which I was looking forward to. Melbourne is a great dining destination, the smaller places have a lot of heart which shows through in the food and quirkiness of the decor and I look forward to returning.

                                          PS. kersizm , you live in a great neighbourhood - Fitzroy is funky, stylish and has great food!