Discovered this BBQ joint that wasn’t known to my buddies in Melbourne even! Really love the comfy Ambience, well BBQed foods and craft beers on taps! Love the staff there, super welcoming and efficient!
Friends from abroad driving there is not difficult but do not block any traffic when you park by the side of the roads ya! Reservations highly recommended!
I told myself to complete this write up before my next trip and here I am now compiling all the unique eating places which I’ve been to during my last trip in Aug this year (2016). There are definitely more hidden gems located in this beautiful city which I call my second home. Maybe I can unearth them up during my future trips there to visit my beloved God daughter and buddies.
For those going to Melbourne for the first time, this may not be a good guide for you because first timers usually go to the usual touristy and popular places. Follow a tour if you need to but if you like free and easy like me, maybe you might wanna check out my previous posts of the following:
1. GLADSTONE VIEWS FISH & CHIPS (CAR BONNET EXPERIENCE)
If you’re renting your cars from APEX like I did, you may be hungry after all the documentation. I found this little takeaway store not too far away, just to try some local fish and chips. It was surprisingly good, so was the burger. Just don’t look at how they prepare the food though, hygiene is definitely questionable. But after deep frying, no worries mate! Afterall, how often you get to enjoy lovely weathers and savour your food off your car bonnet? 😉
2. HELLO COFFEE (DOCKYARD EXPERIENCE)
Found this little gem when I was at Apollo Bay. Located amongst a dockyard area, Hello Coffee started less than a year ago. Very self-sufficient by roasting their own beans and getting supplies from the neighbouring farms. Totally envy them on the the freshness of these supplies! A very nice place to chill and would revisit if I have another chance.
3. FOCUS COFFEE (RARE COFFEE BEANS EXPERIENCE)
Little do many know that this coffee joint imports their beans from the world renowned Ninety Plus Coffee whose coffees are largely sort after. Coming here you will definitely satisfy your caffeine cravings. You may wanna check out their daily specials as well if you’re feeling peckish, they change their menu frequently.
4. LONGRAIN RESTAURANT (HIDDEN GEM EXPERIENCE)
Tucked at the end of Little Burke Street, this restaurant is always crowded with locals mainly and little do they know that the chef there used to work in Michelin starred restaurants. It was recommended by a manager at a whiskey distillery down at Apollo Bay area. The Thai-influenced fusion food was amazing all the way from appetisers to desserts and the wine selection was pretty good as well.
5. THE VERTUE OF THE COFFEE DRINK (BEHIND PETROL KIOSK EXPERIENCE)
This one’s a winner. Finding this place is half the fun! I circled around a few rounds just to find this place. What’s even better is, they have awesome beans which are roasted in-house and the food is just to die for! Service wise is just excellent. Definitely needs a revisit!
6. AUNTY PEG’S (NO MILK EXPERIENCE)
Aunty Peg’s is a spring off of the famous coffee roaster/cafe Proud Mary. This premise not just roast for their own branches but supplies to other cafes as well. so what’s so unique about this place? They only serve black coffee… meaning, they do not have milk at all. So if you love coffee as it is, you can order your filtered coffees and espressos here like I did. Nightmare to milk base coffee drinkers. Heh heh…
7. IZAKAYA DEN (UNDERGROUND EXPERIENCE)
Like some of the places listed here, half the fun is finding them. I came across this place by chance and was indeed quite hard to find. Service is excellent, food is damn good. A little pricey though, but the quality is what you are paying for. Check out below how I found the place.
8. BROTHER BABA BUDAN (CHAIRS OVERHEAD EXPERIENCE)
Ok this place is not exactly hidden but I have not written about it for my previous trips. But the unique thing about this place is that they hanged all the chairs up on the ceiling! But of course their coffee is good as well… Seven Seeds is a little hard to go wrong. 😉
9. MART 130 (TRAIN STATION EXPERIENCE)
This is another unique place which is introduced by a friend. Love this old train station converted into a cafe. The food here is actually pretty good! Coffee is ok. Best place for brunch but can get super crowded.
10. EASEY’S (TRAIN CARRIAGE EXPERIENCE)
Easey’s is one of the most unique places I’ve been. From the above train station, to eating in a train carriage. Not a common place for tourists but definitely a great place to satisfy your burger cravings.
Alright that’s all for now, Melbourne never fails to amaze me with new stuffs with every visit. Feel free to ask me about Melbourne if you’re planning a trip there via email@example.com. I’ll reply as soon as I can. Till my next post, Merry Christmas y’all!
Sorry for not writing after so long as I’ve been swarmed with work, training, and trip to Melbourne (Will post some of the interesting places I’ve been later). So now I have time to complete this blog and post this up. Have a good read and laugh about it if it tickles you.
Just 5 weeks ago, I took up the offer to drive with Uber and was given 10 free hours + free petrol to try Smove car rentals. When I announced under my Instagram account, many friends thought I was already driving for Uber for good. Well it was a day of trial and I love driving, so I was so looking forward to it. But before I start, this blog post is totally out of my own accord and I’m not paid in anyway by Uber or its partners, nor any of their close competitors. What I write is totally what I’ve experienced which may not be experienced by others.
So before I actually started, many things were already running on my mind many days before on how it would be like driving around. Would it be like playing the Crazy Taxi game on Playstation? Would I feel stress driving in the already congested roads and would I be meeting weirdos or unreasonable passengers? What if there’s one who is just so irritating that I might just slap him/her on the face? Haha! Don’t worry all under control.
Smove cars are predominantly catered for Uber Partners (Drivers) only and to be honest, I love their high tech tracking systems as well as locking and unlocking the cars just by using your registered EZLink Cards. Not to mention the widespread locations where the cars are available… Although none are within walking distance from me. So I had to Uber to these locations in order to be an Uber Partner. Ironical right? Oh well, story of my life.
Riders aka Passengers
To be honest, throughout all the 14 riders I met during my trial day, most of them are nice, some preferred to remain quiet, some would tell you where have the best foods around where they live, some will try to fish my details about me about what I do. But overall I gave all of them 5 stars rating for not being difficult. Hehe.
I love driving and most of my closer friends know that. Of course stuck in a jam is not a joyous matter but it trains my patience though. So the big question is, can anyone make a living out of this? Definitely can. But after some calculations, the driver probably has to clock a minimum of 10 hours per day in order to cover rental, petrol and earn a bit. If you’re fine with that, then join the team of Uber drivers!
As a hardcore Uber user myself, I’ve had my fair share of stories from the other drivers. Some would complain a lot (then why continue driving leh?) just to make sure lesser people sign up with Uber as drivers to have lesser competition perhaps? Some would show me their record earnings per week, I witnessed one driver who screenshot his record earning of $2700+ a week with incentives. But I believe her worked like hell lah, 14 hours per day maybe? Then there are a few occasions where I would be informed that the driver is deaf and/or mute. My recent encounter with a Roland was pretty inspiring cos he was previously paid below $1500 for hi jobs due to his disability despite putting in hard work. Via a lot of hand signs, Roland told me now he is fetching at least $3k a month, a much more comfy pay for a family of 5 with 3 growing children. I am glad to meet these drivers because at least there are some positivity for being an Uber Partner. One very thoughtful thing is, the Uber Partners’ app has the function to flash when there’s incoming rider request for the deaf and mute. That is something I have to give it to Uber. Their system is very well thought of, and perhaps one of the more advance ones around out there. In the US, Uber has started working with Hotels where you can even check in via your Uber app and arrange Uber pick up at the airport. Any flight delays would be updated for the drivers to plan their drives as well. We should see this happening in Singapore soon perhaps.
I have since signed up with Uber and rented a car of my choice with them. I will be driving during my free time and tell more people about BLACK&INK! Ok and maybe Uber… But I’m not their ambassador so won’t try too hard. Hahaha! I may also be open for the following:
1. Corporate bookings
4. City tours
As for friends who also wanna drive for Uber and not sure about it, feel free to ask me about it before committing. Loads of incentives and cashback! PM me for details or sign up at http://partners.uber.com/i/t753epcvue.
Days 6-10 in Melbourne were the days I sprained my right foot and was in serious hurt. Thank God one of our friends has painkillers which literally helped me tide through the entire 5 days. I have compiled what I have tried in not just the rest of the city but also in Phillip Island as well. Some are really crappy, so I hope you guys won’t experience the same crap as I did. Anyways, here goes the list of places I’ve visited for food and fun.
Experience: Needs no introduction but to be honest, my first time trying then. Sumo Salad is prolly in most food courts and this was at Westfield, Doncaster. Love the selection and they are really tasty in big portions!
Experience: Travelled from city to this place for berries picking. More for the kids than anything else. Nothing much for us to pick anyways and the berries are pretty sour. I would say you can skip this one unless you want your kids to experience this.
Location: www.upickberries.com.au for more details and timings.
Experience: This place is a knock off. So expensive and yet there’s not many penguins to see coming in from the sea. The food at the cafeteria is average. Fish and chips was the best but also so so only. Most of the penguins are actually in their burrows instead along the pathways. You get to see them more there. Great for kids experience though.
Location: 930 Phillip Island Road, Newhaven VIC 3925.
Grand Taipei Bakery
Awesome food and service. Cooks really fast. The bakery front reminds me of the traditional bakeries in our neighbourhoods. Go for their famous Pork Chop Rice. Highly recommended. Cantonese speaking too.
Location: 594 Station Street, Box Hill VIC 3128. Opens 9.30am to 9pm. www.facebook.com/grandtaipeibakery
Love this place even though have to queue. Very squeezy inside but so lively cos of all the shouting of welcoming the customers, serving the food, thanking and saying goodbye to them, etc. Ramen wise, very good. Finished every drop of broth that was on my bowl. Highly recommended!
Takeaway for one supper and was surprise the food was quite tasty. Price point is pretty reasonable for Aussie terms and portioning was as usual, large. Located just opposite Hakata Gensuke. Great for suppers!
Location: 175 Russell Street, Melbourne VIC 3000.
Using 2 x 2 groups Astoria Plus4U, it’s amazing the barista can pull such lousy espresso shots. The latte I ordered lacked body and typically cup of coffee-flavoured milk from a coffee chain. However, the almond croissant was pretty good. Wasted no good coffee to go along with it. Skip.
Location: Everywhere in Melbourne. This branch I went to is at Level 1 Qantas Departures, Melbourne Airport.
Began Day 5 in Melbourne by heading out early in the morning to return my rented car as I was heading to Philip Island with my friends the next day in a bigger car. Today was the day that I walked so much, that I injured my right foot. You see, Melbourne City is such a nice place by foot, you just keep going without realising how much you’ve walked! I reckon I did about 10-ish kilometers that day! Anyways, check out the pics below:
Experience: Krimper Café is located at a very small alley right smack in Melbourne city, in between La Trobe St and Londale St. I had to circle like 3 rounds to find the location and parking. Parking is along La Trobe St or Queen St, then you’ll have to walk in to locate Guildford Lane. Once you see a little red signage, that’s them. I totally love the ambience, the whole feel of the place is really great. Hispter-like, but then again they do respect the environment they are in and tried using back the furniture that were manufactured at this same location under the branding Krimper. Yes, this used to be a factory/warehouse for Krimper furniture. I was greeted by a lovely service staff who introduced me to the place and the things around the café. The house blend then was Honeysuckle from Proud Mary, and my latte was pretty good, suspected slightly higher dosage per serving. Very great experience, love it and will be back.
Experience: This is permanent pop up located at the front of Queen Victoria Market. They do have some seats and long tables as well to share with others having a cuppa and brekkie there. No joke during summer, but nice during winter. Coffee used here is from Di Bella Roasters, which apparently originated from Sydney. The coffee I felt wasn’t extracted properly, the body didn’t turn out right for me. However, the banana bread is definitely value for money and the staff were super friendly!
Location: Queen Victoria Market. Daily.
Mercat Cross Hotel
Experience: Just below this budget hotel, there is an open air café located at the beginning of Therry St. I didn’t take down the details of this place as I was with a bunch of friends with kids so was quite chaotic. However that said, they have a good range of sandwiches and the servings are really big. Coffees are mediocre but go for the food is fine.
Location: Below Mercat Cross Hotel facing Queen Victoria Market.
Experience: Another pop up stall in Queen Vic Market which seems to be a permanent fixture. This little ‘van’ stall churns out loads of doughnuts daily at only $5.50 for 5pcs! Each doughnut is stuffed with delicious strawberry jam and served piping hot!
Location: Queen Victoria Market.
Bratwurst Shop & Co.
Experience: This shop has been here for the longest time providing one of the best bratwurst you can find in Melbourne and perhaps even Australia. All their bratwurst are big and juicy, that you’ll never get sick of eating them! Served with a generous amount of sauerkraut, caramelized onions, cheese and mustard, I just wanna fly there now and indulge!
Location: Queen Victoria Market stall 99-100.
Boost Juice Bars
Experience: They are EVERYWHERE! Not too expensive and they have some really delicious fruity/veg recipes for all kinds of reasons/diets/purposes.
Da Rin Korean Fried Chicken
Experience: Located just below my service apartment and always crowded, this restaurant is managed by native Koreans and even the staff are Koreans. The whole restaurant’s ventilation is not that good and reeks of oil. But food wise is not bad, I had the Ginseng Chicken Soup and boneless fried chicken. The Ginseng Chicken Soup is boiled till the bones can also be eaten and the soup was like thickening/jellifying. Really good but the price was a little steep at AUD$30. Rice not included.
Location: 169 Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC 3000.
I’m gonna leave you with pics I took around town… I love everything about Melbourne; the culture, the street art, the traditional architecture, the sunsets, the weather, and obviously, the FOOD! Enjoy viewing them!
Began the day at a neighbourhood centre looking at the veg and fruit stalls and how excellent the produce is in Australia. Seriously in love with their mangoes and avocado. Cheap and good!
Experience: Was at Bakers Delight at the neighbourhood place and just in awed by their selection of breads and the massive portions of it. And they are like our BreadTalk and they are everywhere.
Location: Everywhere in Melbourne.
Miss Marie Café
Experience: Yes I’m back again at this place and this time for the brunch! Crowded as expected but we managed to get a table for 4. The food is really good and fresh. Reasonably priced as well. Latte was different ‘cos not prepared by the boss. Overall is a nice dining experience there!
Experience: This coffee bar is exactly what I envisioned for a traditional coffee bar. Coffee is the main product while everything else is secondary. This is prolly the only place in Melbourne being so coffee-centric and definitely deserves my respect. Ordered the ice white, really lovely with the right body and taste. This is a place which I will revisit when I’m back there.
Experience: I remember when I first stepped into Melbourne in 2002, Sofia has already established themselves as a damn awesome Italian joint in Camberwell since 1969. The servings are humongous as usual and the stacking of the gelato is just amazing how they can pile up the ice cream on one small bowl. Although faced with some food poisoning issues sometime in the last decade, Sofia is still standing strong with 6 outlets now in the whole of Melbourne. So buying takeaways here is not uncommon as the food is still damn good even after packed home. The food is still very good, with their home made pastas and halal certification, this place is a roaring success. They play a very big part in the community too in many charities which set a very good reminder for us in business to give back to society.
Experience: This product is just launched by Coca-Cola in Australia and probably one of the better milk coffee drinks. This double strength one is a lot better than the normal one but the milk used seems to be powdered base. Nevertheless still a very good substitute when fresh brews are not available, especially at night when the urge for a fix sets in.
Location: Most supermarkets and convenience stores.
Started writing on Day 5 already… Day 5 is unfortunately a day where I sprained my right foot for walking too much around the beautiful city, but seriously, no regrets. I will be sharing some of the awesome views and pics here and you’ll know what I mean. Stay tuned folks!
After a tiring Day 2, around Northern side of Melbourne, I started Day 3 with Southern side of Melbourne. Check out where I went below:
St. Ali Coffee Roasters
Experience: Another top few roasters and coffee distributor in Melbourne, it was difficult to locate this place as there are no signages outside. Finally using gut feel, I found the place by parking my car and search for it. From the outside it looks like a warehouse, and inside is also a little run down, which gives it a little indy feel. St. Ali is also the birth place for the World Barista Championship 1st runner up, Matt Perger. When I was there I was told Matt is in Singapore, consulting Oriole Roasters. But I thought I saw him sitting one corner briefing a bunch of peeps… (See pic above). Anyways, I asked for a café latte and tried one of their best-selling Almond Caramel Tart. The latte came with a bunch of foam of a cappuccino and tasted really bland. From the colour of the cuppa, it looked like our Teh Tarik… Sad. The tart however, was good. Sweet but very nicely done with the right flavor and crunch. Service was really good too, at least the waitress made me felt comfy and recommended the tart to me.
Location: 12-18 Yarra Place, South Melbourne VIC 3205. 0700-1800hrs.
Dead Man Espresso
Experience: After a not so ideal coffee, I went on to check out another joint in hope for better coffee around the corner. Dead Man is a coffee joint featuring 3 local roasters at anytime. Equipped with a 3 group La Marzocco and 3 Roburs, these guys are serious about their coffees. Didn’t try the food but wasn’t hungry after all the coffees and milk. This place packs with people working around the area and the 2 baristas behind the machine keeps churning out cups after cups. Coffee is much better and at least I am satisfied for now.
Location: 35 Market Street, South Melbourne VIC 3205. 0700-1600hrs.
Experience: Took a drive down towards Church Street to head for this great place for lunch. Managed to slip in late noon time and got a seat for one. Ordered the famous Soft Shell Crab Burger (AUD$21.00) and sank my teeth into juiciness! Really nice and it has a whole soft shell crab inside. Love it although a little pricey. Spotted the lovely white 3 group Synesso and a couple of top end grinders, I decided to try the latte as well. Beans are from Five Senses and tasted pretty good. But I heard that they might be roasting their own beans soon which to me makes financial sense as they obviously have the volume there. Must visit for their food!
Location: 658 Church Street, Richmond VIC 3121. 0700-1600hrs.
Burch & Purchese Sweet Studio
Experience: This is a twist from the regular eateries I would visit but I heard this is a great place to satisfy your sugar cravings. Met the celebrity chef David Purchese in person and his lovely wife who went through most of the products with me while I was there. Very passionate couple owners and you can see from their work! No doubt the products are a little on the pricey side, but it’s a lot of work on the presentation and the ingredients are of top quality. Still, B&P is doing very well and a birthday cake from there will definitely put a smile on the birthday boy/girl’s face. 😉
Location: 647 Chapel Street, South Yarra VIC 3141. 1000-1830hrs.
Monk Bodhi Dharma
Experience: Seriously finding this place is half the fun. Located at the back alleys, Monk Bodhi Dharma has already a cult following for their coffees and food. If you’re a vegetarian or even a vegan, you’ll love this place. The good thing about this place is not just the interesting run down ambience, but also they roast their own beans. Although run down looking, they have a 3 group Synesso and 4 Mazzer grinders serving 4 single origins. Love the chat with the barista and their passion in doing good coffees. Definitely good education for me for setting up BLACK&INK.
Experience: Haha you must be wondering why I’m writing about the stadium. Well… I was here for a soccer match and had fish & chips for dinner! It wasn’t that bad as per all stadium food, and it was served hot. Lovely weather, lovely food, lovely match. The atmosphere for soccer matches overseas is just different from what we have at home. ;P
Location: Olympic Boulevard, Melbourne VIC 3000.
Gelato Messina Fitzroy
Experience: I heard a lot about this place from my buddy and we decided to check out this place after the soccer match. Reached there almost at 11pm and we were greeted by a long queue… good thing they close at 2330hrs during weekends. So we waited for more than 20 minutes for our cones and you must really squeeze inside and fight for your space in front of the display counter in order to be served. For a triple scoop, it was only AUD$7, so we went for it. One of the best ice creams I’ve ever tasted, wanted to go back for seconds but the queue put me off. Definitely a place to visit if you’re in town. It’s pretty near Proud Mary.
Location: 237 Smith Street, Fitzroy VIC 3065. 1200-2300hrs.
Experience: Maccas is the term used in Melbourne for MacDonald’s. I ordered their special Angus McOz which featured 100% Australian Angus Beef on a nice soft wholemeal hamburger bun, topped with loads of veg, cheese and beetroot! Awesome supper for AUD$6.60. Yums to the max!
Location: Everywhere. 24 hours.
Struggling to complete Day 4… stay tuned guys!
Big Roy 😉
Foodophile Who Blogs & Vlogs To Help Small Businesses