I’ve visited Melbourne numerous times, mostly for work and usually for no more than a couple of days at a time. I know the central business district pretty well, and have ventured to the main shopping precincts, such as Brunswick St in Fitzroy, Chadstone, Chapel St, Bridge Rd. All good.
When it comes to eating, it’s usually the CBD, Southbank and St Kilda. Though I have been to Pearl restaurant in Richmond, where there was an amusing case of mistaken identity that I’ll tell you about another time…(they thought I was someone important)...
Anyway, this time I had to go to for work again, and decided to stay the weekend, to fit in some extra eating and shopping. And due to some wonderful Melbourne food bloggers, I found some new places to try.
But let’s start at the beginning, at Sydney Airport.
Food stop number 1: McDonald’s in the T2 terminal, where I had a limited edition double cheeseburger (with lettuce and mayo) – it filled the spot before the flight.
On board DJ838: Didn’t eat anything, but read Gourmet Traveller and watched Sex and the City (saw 2 episodes before the free view got turned off).
Out the window: The lovely Sutherland Shire in Sydney’s south is surprisingly picturesque from 1000 feet.
On the ground in Melbourne: I love the feeling of being in a ‘new’ place. We stayed on Collins Street.
The shops in Melbourne CBD are pretty much the same ones as in Sydney (and vice versa). One of my favourites, though, is Little Salon in Little Collins Street (see previous visit here). They have a great range of jewellery (got another Love necklace) and clothing and accessories.
A tradition of mine on arriving in Melbourne is to have something from Grand BBQ, which is in the Target Centre in Bourke Street. I was a bit dismayed to see that the decor had been fancified since my last visit, and the menu has been reduced from about 50 dishes to around 30 dishes.
We had #6 (roast duck and bbq pork noodle soup) and #26 (beef brisket and wonton noodle soup), each about $8.50 (the prices have gone up, too). Relief that they tasted the same - tasty, sweet stock with plump wontons and juicy duck/pork. And I love that you get your own black tea - served from an urn at the back of the cafe, very Chinese!
Decided to walk off the meal, since I wasn't sure we'd be able fit in dinner at this rate, so we wandered up to Melbourne Central (Lonsdale St). We walked up Russell St and in the window of a restaurant (Korean?) saw these plates of plastic food covered in plastic. Would have thought you could just give them a rinse...
Back on Collins Street, the late 19th century architecture is both gothic and lovely. The condition of the facade of the BNZ bank branch is wonderful, isn't it (below right)?
I hadn't made any bookings for dinner, as I'd hoped to go to Cumulus Inc. But because of our late noodles, hunger pangs didn't appear till 8pm, too late to go to Cumulus Inc - with their no-bookings policy, I didn't feel like waiting. The internet comes to the rescue, and I found Bistrot d'Orsay (through good reviews on Eatability) and managed to get a table for 8:15pm. At this stage I was a bit worried: if the restaurant was any good, why weren't they booked out on Saturday night? I needn't have worried.
Bistrot d'Orsay is located in the theatre end of Collins St. With the Athenaeum on one side and the Regent opposite, it's ideally sited for pre-theatre dining. It also means smokers congregate on the footpath outside during intermission.
Loved the look of the restaurant - very Gallic, with mural on the ceiling, those wicker seats on the footpath, and panelling and tasselled lampshades inside.