07 Aug // Adventure awaits: Melbourne

Coming at you from Melbourne, Australia, where the food is incredible and the wind is worse than I’d prepared for but the sun is out. It was a big few months of packing and farewells, with a trip to the States and Canada thrown in for good measure. As a result I can barely fit my jeans anymore, but I consider it worth it having experienced a country where you can swap your side of toast for a side of pancakes. God bless America. 

And so, Australia, and an exciting new adventure and too many beers, and job hunting. I’m still available for freelance work of the writing variety [shameless self promotion ends] and I was even tempted to come out of retirement from throwing dinner parties when talking about it the other night. But I’m after a job, and in the meantime I have many recipes to share and a lot of recent travel adventures to write about, so I might just make food blogging a thing again? Which means I’m glad you’re here. Melbourne is one of the greatest food cities on the planet, and it’s in a beautiful roundabout way that I was brought here on a four-day food date this time last year, and now we’re residents. We’ve been a few times between then and now, and food is always a highlight. Here are some favourites.

Your coffee options are pretty much endless, but my favourite is Patricia Coffee Brewers, a standing room only spot in the city I found once when lost down a laneway, with gorgeous tiles and complimentary sparkling water (the greatest). You can stand and watch the action on the machine or hang outside on a crate. So far I’ve also had excellent flat whites at St Ali, Square & Compass, Brother Baba Budan, Burnside, and Kapé.

On our first hungover Saturday in town (#hangoverswithdelaney) Tom introduced me to the gloriously crispy (and fatty and sticky) pork banh mi at Trang Bakery. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since, and even though being told You Must Go Here is one of the most irksome phrases in food writing, it really is one hell of a sandwich.

Speaking of people telling you that you must go somewhere, Lune is one of those places. We went and we queued and the croissants are ridiculously good, especially the seasonal specials (I had a yuzu curd one recently which knocked my giant socks off). A classic is a good place to start if you’re a purist, and you can wash it down with filter coffee.

We’ve had some ridiculously good cocktails at Etta, and Geralds Bar (also great food) and Kisumé (if you’re wanting to splash out, their chef’s table experience is heart-for-eyes-emoji emotional).

Great beer has been consumed (just this week alone!) at the Rainbow Hotel, Stomping Ground, 3 Ravens, and Colonial Brewing. Colonial do burgers and pizzas, one of which is called the Johnny Cash, which comes with a warning and a hot chilli sauce base instead of a tomato one. We found out AFTER TRYING IT that it is in the vicinity of 3 million scoville units on the scale of chilli heat. That means it’s basically inedible, will make your lips tingle and feel like they’re going to swell up until you can’t talk, and will repeat on you the next day. My friend Wendy got instant hiccups, sculled her beer, and looked like she was going to cry. You’ve been warned.  

If you like pasta you’re in trouble, because there is good pasta absolutely everywhere. Grossi Florentino; his casual bar next door; Osteria Ilaria (controversial opinion: it’s better than its more-famous neighbour Tipo 00); and my absolute favourite Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar. We have nowhere near scratched the surface on our eternal quest for a good plate of pasta.

And a few other goodies: the bao at Shop Ramen, the sourdough at Embla (and their creamed corn if it’s back on the menu), the chocolate sea salt cookie at Cumulus Inc., the chicken rendang roti with smoked mozzarella at Magic Mountain, that award winning burger at Rockwell and Sons, a $20 Tuesday steak at Natural History, the chicken sandwich (which let’s face it is really a burger) to end them all at Belles Hot Chicken, a drunken feast of epic Chinese food at Supper Inn, and afternoon tea of black coffee and the blueberry pie at the aforementioned Pellegrini’s, with cream. Did I mention my jeans don’t really fit anymore? Worth it.