So, it’s Saturday morning and you have the weekend in Melbourne. Aside from shopping, the big question is what to do?
I’ve kept the focus of this post pretty much to the city – with an excursion to Fitzroy – but there’s so much more you can do besides…like the Brighton to St Kilda Walk, or a cruise down the river to Williamstown.
Anyways, without further ado, here are my suggestions for 24 hours in magnificent Melbourne…For the eagle eyed among you, the base of this is an old post – updated with new finds.
If you’re staying in the city, you have plenty of choices.
My fave in the city is Cumulus Inc (Spring St end of Flinders Lane), but you need to be prepared to queue. Their crumpets with house-made ricotta and rooftop honey is worth any queue. On a cold morning you can’t go past the porridge – and on a weekend can even be justified adding the optional dram of whisky…millions of Scots can’t be wrong.
Further down Flinders Lane is Journal Café. You enter through the City Library and CAE entrance.
I prefer Journal Canteen (up the stairs in the same building), but it’s closed on the weekend. If you’re there during the week, try it out – it’s very retro chic and their smashed avo with dukkah and feta is fabulous. This time I had the zucchini and corn fritters.
Even further down Flinders Lane – heading towards Spencer St – is Grain Store. Their corn fritters are well worth the walk – and it’s a little bit special.
Of course if you’re in Melbourne for shopping, you’ll probably be in the CBD, or Chapel Street – and you don’t need me to talk to you about that.
If you’re into discount shops you might head over to Bridge St, Richmond (tram 48 from Collins St or 75 from Flinders St), or DFO at Convention Centre. There are also outlet shops at Harbourtown.
Generally speaking though, Miss 19 and I aren’t big shoppers, so we keep to the laneways, the small or single design boutiques, and markets such as Rose St Markets. It’s small enough to be creative and maintain its individuality, yet large enough to be interesting. I’ve written about it here.
Rose Street Markets are located at 60 Rose Street, between Brunswick and Nicholson Street. It’s an easy walk from tram 96 (from Bourke St- use stop 16) or the number 11 from Collins St (stop 17). They’re on every Saturday and Sunday from 11am- 5pm.
For more information, check out this link.
Don’t forget to check out the murals in the carpark across the road, and in the streets around.
I also love a good look through vintage shops. If you’ve read Baby It’s You, you’d know that Emily heads into Fitzroy whenever she wants to do some vintage browsing. Gertrude St is great, but you’ll also find some simply by wandering up Brunswick St once you’ve finished at the markets.
It’s everywhere – if you stop and look. I’ve written about it before, but most recently here.
By now you could be getting hungry – or thirsty. In any case, it’s 12pm somewhere, so if the day is fine, head up to Naked in the Sky – the rooftop bar attached to Naked For Satan – about halfway up Brunswick St. The views are fantabulous – and there are plenty of craft beers and vodkas on the list. If you’re peckish, grab a tapas or three.
There are plenty of other places in Fitzroy to try, but for me the decision is simple – dumplings. And the best dumplings in the CBD – in my humble opinion…and yes, I’ve tried many – are at Hutong in Market Lane, off Little Bourke St (or Bourke Street) between Russell and Exhibition St.
Try their wontons in chilli sauce and their xiao long bao. The former are perfect with a beer and the latter are close your eyes good.
Still on the Asian theme, Mamas Buoi in the GPO lane is great for lunch – or dinner. It’s Vietnamese, it’s relatively cheap, and it’s very tasty. Try the pho.
A Maroochydore export, Junk, has just landed in Melbourne. You’ll find it off Little Bourke Street right up the top near Spring St – in the laneway around from Longrain. Absolutely worth a visit.
If, however, you’re in the mood for pasta, go straight up Bourke Street to Grossi Cellar Bar. It’s crowded, it’s simple, and it’s good. In the right weather, and the right mood, you can feel as though you’re in a dark, crowded pasta bar in Rome…or perhaps I’m exaggerating… It’s closed on Sundays though…
Of course you are – you’ve done a lot of walking…
Last trip we tried Madame Brussels – and as an experience, you probably should too. Imagine every single cliché you could think of around a garden party or tennis party. Add some more pink, an arbour or three with fake wisteria, a suggestive menu full of punches, even more pink, and some short tennis skirts, and you could be close to imagining Madame Brussels.
Personally, the punches were a tad sweet for me, but this is a fun spot to faff about on a Saturday afternoon. Where is it? You enter through a rather non-descript door on Bourke St- heading up the hill after Exhibition St.
Section 8 is more my scene. Essentially it’s a bar in a container in a carpark. It’s grungy, a little dirty, very edgy, and has palettes and kegs instead of tables and chairs. I’m setting a scene of I Want You Back there, so had to stop and have a drink or two – and a plate of pork scratchings with apple and horseradish mayo.
I also managed some words with a cocktail at Magic Mountain Saloon (Little Collins Street between Exhibition and Spring), and more words with a glass of red and cheddar cheese and piccalilli mustard at The City Wine Shop in Spring Street.
There are so many great places to try – just jump on Trip Advisor.
If you’re after cheap and cheerful, try Fonda. Fonda Mexican. Get it? Fond of Mexican? Oh, don’t worry… Anyways, Fonda Mexican, up the Spring St end of Flinders Lane, is a perfect spot to stop for lunch – or dinner. Try a taco or two, or a quesadilla. Maybe you’re in the mood for some tequila or a frozen margarita? The corn is seriously more-ish and the chips with chipotle mayo are unmissable.
If you have a little more to spend, but still want to keep it casual and vibey, make a booking at Gazi. Gazi, specialising in Greek street food, is part of George Columbaris’ (from Masterchef – in case you’d never heard of him) stable of restaurants. It’s busy, the vibe is electric, the ceiling of terracotta flower pots is trippy, and the food is great.
We ate so much more than we needed to – and it was all good.
What about you? What are your CBD faves? Any cheap and cheerful eating places you can recommend in the city?
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