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melbourne

So, Melbourne.

ate

  • Grossi Florentino Cellar Bar - best antipasto ever and the veal papardelli was incredible.
  • Lounge (downstairs) - one of the most memorable eats, cheap and very good. Amusing but attentive service, (mostly) great music. Risotto so packed with prosciutto I couldn't finish it and some of the best turkish bread & dip we've ever had... The other night we were trying to work out what we wanted for dinner and all I could come up with was "Well there's a great place on Swanston Street..."
  • Ortigia - After arrival on our first day we set in search of coffee ("my kingdom for a latte..."). Ortigia is just outside the hotel, so we took a punt and walked in to what turns out to be a Melbourne Institution™. Awesome single slice pizzas and great coffee, plus a chandalier worth some ridiculous amount of money. A simple marble bar seats about six people and they serve out the window into the alley. Not to be missed.
  • The Mitre Tavern - Grabbed a meal here the first night since it was right next to the hotel; turned out to be a good tip. I'd say "cheap and cheerful" but that would be downplaying it - a cozy pub with good food.
  • Cafe 97, St Kilda - coffee, muffin and pancakes... we were almost too full to take a walk around St Kilda afterwards.
  • Cafe Sweethearts - voted by L to be the best breakfast ever and that's not a review to be ignored. Boring decor (in my opinion) but good food and coffee.
  • CAdeVIN - A tiny alley with a tarp thrown over it... in what seems to be true Melbourne style if you can fit a kitchen and at least two tables, you set up a cafe. L conquered a truly impressive pizza and I enjoyed a great pasta. In Brisbane you get Jimmy's on the Mall, in Melbourne you get CAdeVIN...
  • Don Vincenzo - I can't really review this fairly, since we know the chef :) But my steak with kipfler potatoes was great!
  • Retro Cafe - sort of like Brunswick Street's answer to Betty's Soup Kitchen on Oxford Street, Sydney. Maybe. Not notably cheap but the vibe is nice and I can understand the desire to take a laptop or good book and just camp out by the fireplace.
  • Supper Inn - Another institution, we went here after another restaurant kept us waiting for 40 minutes and lost our order. We'd seen the line at Supper Inn and decided not to wait. As it turns out it would have been faster, but no matter:)
  • Assorted cafes we forget the names of.... In one of life's shitty jokes, I was well off my food for a few of the days; thankfully usually rallying to enjoy dinner (phew! :)).

saw

  • Ross Noble - Holy crap. He went for three hours and our guts hurt from laughing. I think you could see him two nights running and get two entirely different shows.
  • Arj Barker, after an extremely long period of standing in line in the cold. Damn "general admission". Damn it to hell. Arj was funny as all hell, although completely unfriendly afterwards to anyone who wasn't buying merchandise. Pity really.
  • Dylan Moran - He is Bernard Black. Need I say more? The show seemed awfully short though. Maybe we were just spoiled by Ross Noble :)
  • LanoWoodley (oops), Daniel Kittson and various other comedians in the street...
  • Spruikers for comedy shows, wandering the streets. If you're ever in town during the comedy festival and you have an evening free; just go stand out front of the Town Hall. Lesser-known comics are likely to be giving tickets away for that evening!
  • Melbourne Zoo - Meerkats! Unfortunately all the big cats were proving that they really are cats... it was chilly so they all went to sleep.
  • The Espy - Didn't have time to go in, but we did take a few shots of this institution so beloved by Melbournians.
  • St Kilda Pier - Too packed to walk out onto it, unfortunately. We would have persevered but we had to hot foot it back into the City to catch Dylan Moran that day.
  • Trams, including every twelve minutes on a public holiday.
  • People complaining about trams - dearly wanted to smack them out, the pampered little princesses. If you live in Melbourne, don't complain about your public transport. Come and try Brisbane's bus service, then get back to me.
  • Flinders Street Station - It has clocks! ;)
  • Federation Square - It has some ugly buildings but it's an impressive space. We did see some crazy people in marching band uniforms (in the freezing cold) playing Do Ya Think I'm Sexy and Sex Bomb on whistles.
  • Queen Victoria Markets - The food market was great but the "craft" market was actually disappointing, although we did cut our visit a little short so maybe it got better if you last the entire way through. We mistakenly ran off to Hamer Hall on the wrong bloody day. Both of us could have sworn the tickets said Sunday when we bought them... but apparently not ;)
  • Melbourne Central - Took obligatory photos of the shot tower, which was one thing I remembered from my last visit to Melbourne many years ago during a family holiday.
  • Almost no street art, bollocks to the Comm Games organisers for that one!
  • Seas of people wearing black. How could I not feel at home? :)

shopped

No doubt I forgot some other places. My credit card is not speaking to me.

things i'd prefer not to know

"This is your Captain speaking. We have climbed to our terrifyingly high cruising altitude. We have one hell of a tail wind and are now travelling at just under 1000km per hour..." (I may be paraphrasing...)

Fucking what? Nearly 1000km/h in a commercial airliner? Are these tubs supposed to go that fast?? How the fuck do you plan to slow down at the other end? (As it turns out, the answer to that last one was "by diving during the approach then landing with about three inches to spare").

overall impressions?

Melbourne appears to be entirely composed of Institutions™ :) Every alley has fifteen cafes; the cold is all about the wind chill; trams rock...

People seem to think Melbournians are inherently more stylish than, say, Brisbanites. This is bullshit. It's just that in Melbourne people quite literally wear more clothes. It's too fucking hot here to wear what is worn down there... and there's only so much personality you can inject into a tshirt and shorts.

The general standard of coffee is definitely higher. The general standard of building maintenance is lower (eg. look above street level on Brunswick Street). There are heaps of wonderful old buildings.

We had seven nights. I think it's fair to say that we comprehensively scratched the surface :)

I could get used to Melbourne.

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Comments

Anonymous Nikki  

May 06, 2006 5:08 pm

I saw most of those people at the Comedy Festival too. I probably liked Arj & Ross the best.

The zoo is a sham. I went in summer & the big cats were asleep then too. I thought it was the heat!! All I saw was a fishing cat.

Your comment about wearing more clothes made me laugh.

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