Image used courtesy of Mugley
I know what you think… You Melburnians. You think that you live in a city blessed with the finest and best value restaurants in the world. With hidden bars so cool that no one knows about them, with liquor laws so relaxed that most bums on the street are running funky little wine bars out of their shopping trolleys. Your espresso flows with the flavours that only a rich Italian heritage can imbue, and celebrity chefs are lining up to fill your casinos with the fanciest dining experiences available.
But I’m not buying it.
My last trip to Melbourne was a disaster. I was young, naive… immature. I thought I could gayly prance my way about the city and run into good food, wine, and coffee at every turn of the corner. That every tram stop was just a hidden alleyway away from the best dining experience of my life, and that every cafe was just waiting for me to order a coffee that would be the best I’d ever tasted.
Ok, so I was clearly delusional. Still, I had somehow built up that idea in my head. Only to be presented with bland over priced food, terrible coffee, and “institutions” that should have been closed down years ago (Perugrinos, most of Lygon St).
This time around, I’m not leaving anything to chance. I’ll be coming over for the finals of the Australian Barista Competition, so the coffee issue should be well and truly sorted. Restaurants, and bars however, are entirely up for debate.
I’ve been hearing many things about many restaurants of late, and have been checking out plenty of blogs for inspiration, but what I’m hoping fellow food lovers and seekers of truth will be able to share with me are those little pearls of wisdom that never quite make it into the travel guides and search results for “best restaurant melbourne”.
I really want some great, unique dining experiences that showcase the best of what Melbourne has to offer, at all stages of the price spectrum.
So far on my tentative list are:
Bar Lourinha or Movida
St Judes Cellar and/or Panama Room
Lau’s family kitchen
The Press Club
Giuseppe Arnaldo and Sons
This of course may not work out, because I’ll be there for roughly 6 nights, and there are clearly more than 6 restaurants on that list. A little whittling down to the absolute essentials may be in order.
So… those in know… please step up to the plate. Let me know where the real Melbourne is, and also how to tell the difference between the cool alleyways, and the ones I’m going to get mugged in.