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Six days in Melbourne

t
tranewreck Feb 12, 2012 08:35 PM

Visiting from San Francisco (California) and excited about our upcoming trip.
We will be staying on Queen near Bourke and Flinders Lane near Spring.

No car but will use public transportation when available.

I'd appreciate recommendations for good coffee options within walking distance of our two hotels (and I am comfortable walking several miles-will have daytime free while my partner is at a conference).

Also looking for craft beer options, the more variety and choices the better. I have no interest in mass production beers/ales or those that we typically see on shelves in the U.S.

Gastropubs with decent food and a large number of beer options?

Not interested in high end joints but am interested in places that exemplify local/regional fare.

Also interested in exemplary Asian -pretty much anything-as well as Turkish, Afghan....

Bakeries? Especially any that are using natural rise methods.

thanks in advance.

  1. c
    camdira Feb 21, 2012 02:32 AM

    Hi there. When will you be in Melbourne? If you are here in early to mid March you will be lucky enough to be around for the Melbourne Food and Wine festival.

    http://www.melbournefoodandwine.com.au/

    I agree with the other comments re Josie Bones for beer, but coffee.....where do you start?

    6 Replies
    1. re: camdira
      t
      tranewreck Feb 21, 2012 06:08 PM

      In Melbourne now and have appreciated the CH suggestions which helped me get started.
      Coffee everywhere and haven't had a bad one.
      Enjoyed Seven Seeds and BBB among many.
      Heading to the League shortly.

      Cookie and Josie Bones both featured four local beers on tap along with fun food selections
      that paired well.

      Any CBD or Tram ride accessible food offerings that you feel shouldn't be missed.
      I am avoiding very upscale places ($50 mains) but thought Cookie and Josie Bones very reasonable if that helps.
      Really open to anything. Probably not Italian (plenty of options in San Francisco) but Indian, Indonesian, Thai, Chinese, Pan-Middle Easter (though avoiding Malouf's pricey place) or anyplace that allows local sourced food shine and /or is inventive, creative, playful, thoughtful and mainly delicious. Guess I haven't helped narrow down the options too much but thanks for your input

      1. re: tranewreck
        m
        mr_gimlet Feb 21, 2012 09:41 PM

        Chin chin for modern Thai but you might have to queue.

        Bar Lourinha for superb tapas (better than Movida) or take a tram along Gertrude Street to Anada.

        Sichuan House if you like chilli, lots of chilli, and authentic sichuan cooking. Not for the faint hearted but almost like being in Chongqing. And inexpensive.

        Nelayan on Swanston Street for Indonesian, international student haunt. Also Coconut House at the market end of Elizabeth Street, pan Asian but primarily Malaysian. There is also a cheap and cheerful chinese, Rose Garden, on the same block - does roast meats and southern chinese standards.

        Traditional Thai seems a bit hit and miss in the CBD and surrounds, I like Ghin Khao on Swanston but have heard mixed reports from others. I would suggest that Cookie was your best bet and you've been.

        Victoria Street in Richmond is Little Saigon, its interesting to walk along the street and there are loads of restauratns, but the food isn't fantastic (or expensive).

        1. re: mr_gimlet
          c
          camdira Feb 22, 2012 12:27 AM

          I am personally not a fan of Nelayan, and my pick for Indonesian (Balinese) is Warung Agus in North Melbourne. My wife reckons its the best Indo food in Melbourne, and she is Indonesian.
          Not sure about Vietnamese, Dandelion in Elwood is supposed to be sensational, but pricey. There aren't many authentic Vietnamese restaurants in Melbourne to my mind, more Chinese amalgams than anything.
          For good creative pub food give the Post Office Hotel in Sydney Road Coburg a go. The chef used to work with Malouf at MomMo, and the food is a modern take on Middle Eastern. Bookings are essential.
          For great dumplings I would suggest Hu Tong Dumpling house in the CBD. For other Chinese alternatives, maybe the Supper inn. i have never been myself but it gets great wraps from local chefs, and is open late.
          Bar Lourinha as Mr_gimlet suggests is very good. Apparently Easy Tiger in Smith Street Collingwood is great for thia

          1. re: camdira
            m
            mr_gimlet Feb 22, 2012 12:45 AM

            Easy Tiger to me was pretty disappointing, but a large chunk of that is the hipper than thou front of house staff that populate much of Smith Street with their braces and pointy shoes. So if you like that kind of thing you'll probably enjoy it more. (My sole Smith hangout is populated by bitter French women).

            Indo is hard to pin down as it seems to depend where you come from (I think Warung is Javanese?). I am regularly taken to Nelayan by Indonesian students, but price is clearly a factor.

            Post Office is my local. I'm not convinced. If you're going to come up Sydney Road, I'd go to Woodlands - and it has a superb beer selection.

            1. re: mr_gimlet
              c
              camdira Feb 22, 2012 01:46 AM

              Warung is definitely Balinese, or so my Javanese wife tells me, and I cant remember seeing much Babi (pork) in Java. My wife also frequents Nelayan, it just isn't my thing. Where is that Smith St hangout? I must try Woodlands. How is the food there?

            2. re: camdira
              kersizm Feb 22, 2012 03:15 AM

              Supper Inn gets great wraps because it is open at 3am. When I was working in kitchens we would end up there regularly getting drunk as a crew. However, on the whole it isn't that good. Sichuan House is the best for Chinese food in the CBD.

              For vietnamese Pho Huong cnr of Russell and Lonsdale and its (superior) branch on Barkley in Footscray are excellent.

              Bar Lourinha is one of my favourite places in Melbourne. It can get pricey though.. especially if you like to drink - like me. ;)

      2. debbieann Feb 17, 2012 04:02 AM

        here is a nice summary of the best coffees in Melbourne
        http://www.melbournecoffeereview.com/...

        1. debbieann Feb 13, 2012 01:30 AM

          so much good coffee - really try them all - some favorites -almost too much to say just about coffee

          brother baba budan-important in the overall relationships of great espresso in Melb

          cup of truth-we love the friendliness of this place, but you have to go a few times, it is underground, in the degraves subway near the city library, standing room only

          seven seeds- up near victoria market, more breakfasty and sit awhile sort of place, and great coffee

          dead man espresso - either a walk or a tram ride, out of the way, but good breakfast and great coffee, good vibe

          st ali - one of the motherships, also slightly out of cbd, but one of the pillars

          also a tram ride, but worth it: Proud Marys - maybe my favorite - but I also love Three Bags Full - they are both great food and fantastic espresso.

          (who do you love in SF? I love BB in Linden)

          as for craft beer (you sound like you like the same things I do) - I think Josie Bones has the best list of craft beers. get on the 86 tram. they have a stunning selection of beer and also great offal. I think I've written about it. We like hoppy IPAs and Josie Bones always has a few we've never tried before.

          if you want to buy some beer to have in yr hotel room check out Purvis Beer on Bridge Rd, plus they are good people there and can tell you which pubs have good beer.

          also not a bakery exactly, but I like to hang out at brunetti and eat italian pastries and watch the people go by, there is one in the cbd, but it isn't as satisfying. transit will get you everywhere. Melbourne has my favorite transit of any australian city.

          6 Replies
          1. re: debbieann
            m
            mr_gimlet Feb 13, 2012 02:20 AM

            Don't forget League of Honest Coffee near the Marriott in the CBD, definitely top 5 status

            1. re: mr_gimlet
              debbieann Feb 13, 2012 05:45 AM

              haven't tried that one - will check it out!

              1. re: debbieann
                kersizm Feb 13, 2012 12:07 PM

                Don't forget de clieu for coffee!

                In terms of pubs for beers.. hmmm... Mrs. Parmas has an excellent selection of local craft beers but it's not very gastro or classy. It does have 20 varieties of Parma, though.

                Cookie has a massive list of imported beers and great Thai.

                1. re: kersizm
                  t
                  tranewreck Feb 15, 2012 06:30 AM

                  Variety of local craft beers is far more important than gastro or classy.
                  For frame of reference, Toronado (great choices with 45+ taps but has never been accused of being 'classy') is one of my haunts in San Francisco.

                  1. re: tranewreck
                    kersizm Feb 16, 2012 12:08 AM

                    Mrs Parma's has 7 taps and about 40 different local beers.

                    Beer Deluxe is probably another option but it has less focus on local beers.

            2. re: debbieann
              t
              tranewreck Feb 15, 2012 06:27 AM

              Thanks for the coffee and beer suggestions.
              Yes, BB on Linden is close by and a favorite but don't need an Australian clone and want to see what others are doing.

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