Melbourne Photo Diary (:

It’s been a month since I got back from Melbourne, and the nostalgia is still there :’) I miss it so so much!
Monday morning rush in Melbourne
I love Melbourne for its markets and homeware stores, its florists and fresh produce. I could have gone on a completely crazy buying spree, but the only thing stopping me (fortunately or unfortunately) was my lack of luggage space. I’m so gonna fly there with 30kg luggage allowance the next time I go. Haha I could start stocking up items for my future home perhaps? :P
Went on a wine tour with Sam and that was definitely one of the highlights of our trip ^^ This was at the Domaine Chandon winery, which is related to Moet & Chandon! 
Those gorgeous rolling green fields behind us :’) Sam was just commenting on how the vineyards here look so pretty! Greener and lusher than those we visited in Tuscany. Perhaps it’s because of the different seasons, or the mood we were in. But we really had an awesome time during this wine tour ^^ Gotta admit it was a little too much in the end. I had almost enough to drink by lunchtime :x 
Love this photo of us :))) 
I’m having this inner conflict about taking photos nowadays. Always want to capture all these beautiful moments together on camera, so that I can look back at those days :’) And we should always take more photos when we still look young and fresh, right? Haha. But Sam just isn’t a fan of taking photos -.- and sometimes the act of photo taking just interrupts the moment that should be enjoyed at that point. Am I making any sense? 
One of the best lunches we had was during the wine tour at Rochford Winery. That wagyu beef cheek with mashed sweet potato bathed in red wine jus was to die for!
We sat on the green grass, shared a cup of gelato and soaked in the afternoon sun (:
I really appreciated the time I had for myself in Melbourne. It was a good balance, spending time with Sam and other people, and also having a break to just wander alone. I took the safer route so that  I wouldn’t get lost, along the Yarra River. And it is so picturesque :’) It would have been wonderful walking along that stretch with Sam too. But alone, I had the chance to fully soak in the beauty of my surroundings and enjoy the sights and smells. This feeling of space, even in the city is so incredible, and is one thing I really wish Singapore had. 
Thankful for the late sunsets there :) This was at 7.30pm and the sun hadn’t even started setting. So glad for the long days which gave me extra time to explore all these places.
Full of awe as I stood at the magnificent Shrine of Remembrance :’) It’s much nicer when it’s empty haha.
Watched the sun go down over the Melbourne cityscape (: 
Yet another experience of travelling together and we’re improving each time! Hehh ^^ 

More food in Melbourne

So apparently I can’t stick to just one post of food in any country. If you’ve checked out my previous travel guides you’ll probably find that more often than not I’ve got more than one food post for each city. What can I say? I love food haha. Sorry, not sorry :p
Anyway, while brunch is a definite MEAL OF THE DAY in Melbourne, there are tonnes of other good food that you can find there. This city is a melting pot of international cuisines and you can probably find more Asian food than any other western food here. Unfortunately I didn’t get to try much of it, but there are other things that I have to recommend.
Brown Bagels
330 Collins Street, VIC 3000

brown bagel smoked salmon cream cheese bagel
Tucked away in a little alley off Collins Street, you wouldn’t come across this place unless you’re in the know. And of course you are, now that I’ve told you. And there are lots of reviews of it on Urbanspoon as well! I was hard pressed to select a bagel from the list of flavours because they all sounded so yummy! While I’m not usually a fan of bagels, I really enjoyed this one (: The poppy seed bagel had the most incredible texture, and the combination of smoked salmon, cream cheese and capers can’t go wrong.
N2 Extreme Gelato
329 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, VIC 3065

N2 extreme gelato

Wacky names, and even wackier flavours. What makes N2 Extreme Gelato stand out is the fact that your ice cream is created a la minute right in front of you. You will not find ice cream tubs in this store. Instead, you see ingredients and blenders and liquid nitrogen and *BOOM* there you have it – your cup of ice cream made from scratch. Flavours change regularly, so there’s always a reason to keep going back.

Yarraville Gardens Food Trucks

My most interesting dining experience in Melbourne was my dinner from the food trucks! Oh, we know how difficult it is for such a concept to be licensed in Singapore. And yet in Melbourne, I found an entire row of trucks all selling different types of food, lined up in front of a football sized field. I went on a crazy food spree and we ordered this for two people to share. Those kimchi fries….yum!
San Churro
Shop LTL 255, QV Centre, Swanson Street, VIC 3000
chocolateria san churro melbourne
You can probably find San Churros in quite a number of places in Melbourne. It’s one of their most popular food chains there, and there’s a good reason for it! Despite having one of the worst sore throats in my life, I went ahead and ordered this because I simply couldn’t resist it! You can a choice of different portions (this was for one person) and white/milk/dark chocolate sauce. Gosh. If I wasn’t having a sore throat, I would have slurped up the entire cup of chocolate!
There were so many other foods I wished I had the time (& tummy space) to try! I’ve heard rave reviews about the Korean and Vietnamese food here, and if you go to Lygon street, please eat the gelato and tell me which one is good!!!


Brunch in Melbourne

The answer to Melbourne’s favourite meal of the day – BRUNCH! :)
Whenever I asked people for recommendations of food in Melbourne, the topic would inadvertently turn to this meal, in between breakfast and lunch, for the lazybones, or simply those who have the time to spare to languish over a delicious meal, relish every mouthful of the food, and indulge in their caffeine of the day. I know how I’m sorely missing out, being rather averse to coffee, but I was definitely in for a treat with the food. And while these cafes I’m recommending are solely on the basis of their food, I’m sure their coffee is pretty good as well because it is rare to find a bad cuppa in Melbourne. 
I need to be more efficient in writing these posts (as you know, I have the tendency to ramble), but I’ve got to pen this down – Australians are proud of their brunch, and they show it. The brunch here is so mind-blowingly good, that I can’t wrap my head around what we’ve been eating in Singapore. You can refer to my lists of best eggs benedict, french toast, waffles etc, and they are good, but…it just gets a little tired after awhile. It’s…common. In Melbourne, they don’t do common. They do loud, they do unique, they do creative. This is probably a generalisation, but I don’t believe it’s far fetched to say that no brunch is the same anywhere in Melbourne
Here are the must-tries:
Hardware Société
118-120 Hardware Street, VIC 3000
Hardware Societe
Man, can you resist a cafe when it has such cute servers like them?! ;) 
Hardware Societe daily special tuna salmon tartare
We were really lucky to get front-row seats at this cafe. At a bar seat right in front of where the chefs were whipping up their meals. It was fascinating to say the least. I took a leap of faith and ordered the daily special, which was a tuna & salmon tartare on a bed of quinoa/barley/pomegranate salad, topped with two poached eggs and homemade crisps. GOSHHHH. Just the way our server described it made me drool already. I just had to order it!!! And it was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING. I hope they get this on the main menu soon! 
Hammer & Tong
Rear 412 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, VIC 3065

Hammer & Tong soft shell crab burger
Apparently soft shell crab burgers are a big thing in Melbourne, and you can get your fix at Hammer & Tong! A perfectly crisp soft shell crab, sandwiched between two fluffy patties and it comes with a yummy slaw as well. You can find all kinds of slaw here!! It seems like every cafe/restaurant has their own version of it, which is pretty cool. Also tried this really interesting salt & pepper french toast (photo featured in my first post on 5 things to do in Melbourne) which was delicious, despite the fact that I couldn’t wrap my head around the description.
Proud Mary
172 Oxford Street, Collingwood, VIC 3066
This cafe is a coffee roaster as well, so you can expect to find some great brews here (: I had, by far, the FLUFFIEST PANCAKES EVERRRRR. Look at that stack!! Sooooo thick, but super duper fluffy and light. It was really interesting because I wouldn’t typically go for orange-flavoured foods (not that I don’t like orange, but I just like it in the form of fruit/juice and that’s all), but this was a great choice! The tangy orange sauce was so appetising and yummy that I mopped up every bit of it with my pancakes that had the soaking power of a sponge. 
And…that was the day I ate two brunches haha. Things you gotta do when you don’t have a lot of time in Melbourne. Hah!
7 Seeds Specialty Coffee
114 Berkley Street, Carlton, VIC 
So I actually really only went to four cafes. SOBS. Can you believe it?! It’s too little! 
Anyway, I went to 7 seeds on my last day, and I’m really glad I chose it! It’s those kind of really hole-in-the-wall cafes which I nearly walked past without knowing it was the one I was looking for. Melbourne’s cafes are beautiful. You might be getting sick of me raving over these cafes already, but I can’t help it. I love the vibe in the cafes here. The buzz and the bustle, the whole experience is just so invigorating, yet extremely relaxing. I don’t know how to describe it, but you’ve gotta feel it to know it. So I heard a lot about the pulled pork sandwich at this cafe and I had to try it! Definitely one of the better ones I’ve tasted. It was so moist and tasty! And I was sold by that handful of toasted chilli nuts on the side. Can’t resist it. Tried my first (and last) hot chocolate in Melbourne, and I was just wow-ed by their little touches (: That chocolate stick in there? Gosh. It was such a lovely, creamy, chocolatey cup of warmth ^^ I’ve heard their coffee here is amazing too! Do try it on my behalf hehe. 
So…some last words (: While brunch in Melbourne is not cheap, you get what you pay for and more with their huge portions and quality ingredients. Plus, there has to be some value for the amount of creativity they put into their dishes, right? While I tend to hold back a little when I go for brunch in Singapore, I was happy to splurge on brunch in Melbourne. Typically paid around $20 for each dish, and I would do it all over again <3 

5 things to do in Melbourne

I’m back from Melbourne!!! (: Ah, that sweet feeling of taking a break from work and travelling. This was one of the most last minute travel decisions I made, but the trip turned out to be one of the best (:  Didn’t make many plans, simply because I didn’t have the time to, in between work and studying for exams. But my last minute research proved to be somewhat useful, and going with the flow turned out much more fulfilling that I’d ever imagined it to be.
I really enjoyed my time spent in Melbourne, with friends, Sam and also alone. And it was the perfect balance between all three. There are so many things I wish I could share, but it’s just way too much for this little space here. Let’s just start with 5 things to do in Melbourne. This is my personal list, and since this was my second trip to Melbourne, I didn’t want to do much of the touristy stuff. Might be different from what you’re looking at, but I hope this gives you a glimpse as to what Melbourne can offer (:
1. Visit Melbourne’s markets
I’m a HUGE fan of markets, and this pretty much tops my list in every country I go to. I loved Melbourne’s markets for the variety of produce they stocked. Different markets have their own unique character, and it really depends on what you’re looking for. Queen Victoria Market is the go-to for tourists, situated pretty much in the central area of Melbourne. I loved South Melbourne Market for its numerous homeware stores which I went absolutely crazy over! And you’ve got to try Pardon my French, a little pushcart stall selling sweet & savoury crepes. Prahran Market had lovely fresh produce, as well as coffee shops displaying a spectacular variety of beans. For those who love handmade products, Rose Street Market is a must-visit for products ranging from t-shirts, to candles, cards etc. All handmade with love.

2.  Catch the sunset from Eureka Skydeck 88

Melbourne is gorgeous from above, both in the day and night. You can visit the attraction throughout the day, but we chose to go around sunset so that we could watch the cityscape change from the day to a sparkling beauty at night (: Tickets are priced at $19.50 for adults.

*tip: get a copy of the tourist guide for a 10% discount coupon inside*

3. Get lost in a book in the State Library of Victoria

It probably sounds like strange advice to go to a library while you’re on holiday. But if you love books like me, the State Library of Victoria is a magnificent place to visit in Melbourne. Pick a book from the impressive collection and curl up in a chair with it. You could potentially spend hours here.

4. Eat a LOT (i recommend two brunches a day)
^ that was typed by Sam haha but I agree :P

As you might expect…more details coming up in my next post! ;)

5. Chill along the Yarra River

Walk/cycle along the entire stretch of the Yarra River; find a spot on the (fake) grass when you need a break. It’s a perfect day out – what could be better than this? (: