The Canberran on Tour: Melbourne Report

by The Editor

The Canberran spent the weekend wandering the streets of Melbourne in search of delicious tidbits for the eyes and for the palate.

We spent most of our time in the city, dodging trams and taking in the Hipster fashions.  Never in our lives have we seen so many young men wearing bow ties and prescription free glasses.  You know your movement has gone mainstream when, for eight bucks at Cotton On in Bourke Street, you csn pick up a pair of these:

Sigh.

Still, your correspondent was dedicated to the cause.  Check out the highlights after the jump.

Black Pearl

304 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

A tidy little bar where cocktails are the focus.  Never have we run into a spot with such encyclopaedic knowledge of liquor.

Liked

A twist on the martini.  Rather than vermouth, our bartender used Islay whiskey before adding Tanqueray and olives.  Sublime.

Disliked

The bartender was perhaps a little too passionate. The endless bar culture stories got in the way of our own conversation.

The Botanical Hotel

169 Domain Road, South Yarra

The Botanical Hotel has just reopened following a complete refit. The previous high standard is maintained with minor tweaking.

Liked

Crispy skin barramundiwas delicious. The clear wealth of fellow diners was amusing in a heartbreaking way.

Disliked

Large sliding doors remained open even though it was 18 degrees and windy outside. You and your food lose warmth very quickly.

Chin Chin

125 Flinders Street, Melbourne

THE place to be in the Melbourne CBD.  An Asian inspired menu in a venue with design queues from Melbourne street art.

Liked

Sharing plates of dumplings and laughing at our attempts to assemble rice paper rolls.  The staff were fabulous and attentive.

Disliked

The current trend for not taking bookings.  It makes things difficult for larger groups.  Still, when you’re this popular…

Cookie

253 Swanston Street, Melbourne

A stalwart of the city scene. Asian inspired dished compliment quality booze served in an enormous barn of a venue.

Liked

A parade of funky Melbournians makes for excellent people watching.  The guy with half a peacock on his shoulder was a highlight.

Disliked

$35.00 for two and a half pints of Australian beer?  Do I get a kiss with that?

Cumulus Inc.

45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

A consistent performer for the well-heeled city types.  It’s the more casual little sister of the wonderful Cutler and Co.

Liked

A delicious plate of charcuterie with sauces revealing themselves under slices of cured meat.  Someone received a whiskey and water, with the liquor in a simple glass, the ice in a small steel bucket and the water in a graduated measuring cup.  The entire ensemble arrived on a tray.  Fabulous.

Disliked

The bar had a swarm of staff polishing and stocking the service area.  Getting their attention was at times a little difficult.

Emerald Peacock

233 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne

One floor indoors, another a rooftop bar.  A relatively large city venue built for drinking rather than eating.

Liked

Rooftop looks a great place for a late afternoon

Disliked

Too cold for outdoors, we retired to the downstairs section to yell over the music booming at four in the afternoon.

La Luna

320 Rathdowne Street, Carlton North

An intimate venue where meat is the order of the day.  Vegetarians need not apply.

Liked

An extraordinary standard of meat preparation.  Our 16 hour braised shoulder of lamb could be taken off the bone with chopsticks.

Disliked

The portions are massive, so dining couples beware!

MoVida

1 Hosier Lane, Melbourne

What hasn’t been said about Frank Camorra’s homage to the Iberian Peninsula?

Liked

Pork neck and clams swimming in broth.  The service is attentive, and you can’t help but smile and as the flavours whisk you away.

Disliked

Though grateful for a seat, the bar is a bit of a squeeze at times and distracted from the job at hand.

New Gold Mountain

21 Liverpool Street, Melbourne

A late night venue with cocktails and table service.  The dizzying walk up the stairs prepares you for the elixirs contained within.

Liked

Nothing is more decadent than sinking into a couch in the ‘red’ room and waiting for your drink of choice to be delivered.

Disliked

Hmmm… my hangover?

Trunk

275 Exhibition Street, Melbourne

One of the darlings of the current Melbourne dining scene, along with Chin Chin (see above).

Liked

On our visit a tradesman in high-viz workgear sat next to us and drank two glasses of Italian red.  Oh, and the pasta.

Disliked

Having to leave.

So, there you go.  I’m still terrified to look at the pile of receipts in the back of my wallet.  Perhaps after a martini or two I might gather the courage…

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