Top 5 Melbourne (city guide)
There’s a lot to love in Melbourne – edgy modern architecture, a culture of permanent food markets, plus the likes of Attica, Vue de Monde, Andrew McConnell’s varied offerings and the MoVidas … just for starters! So how to narrow it down to just five things? Well – if I’m in Melbourne for only 48 hours … here’s my wish list!
Stay The Cullen
Quirky, bold, sassy, super comfy and a stone’s throw from so many great eats! What’s not to love about this boutique hotel covered in artworks by the late Adam Cullen? Throw in great coffee at Gramercy Social, yummy (reasonably priced) room service and delish minibar treats, and I’m sold!
Eat Café di Stasio
If I only have time for one meal in Melbourne, it has to be here! It’s everything I love about Italian food – simple classic dishes (like outstanding polenta with taleggio, burnt butter and sage), a comfortable familiar dining room (love those light shades!) and hospitable staff who make a mean sbagliato!
Drink Gertrude Street Enoteca
James Broadway may have been the first to pour skin-contact wine in Australia (back in 1998). Now, his wine bar, co-owned with Brigitte Hafner, is a great place for a glass of outstanding wine and plate of simple smoked trout, wild weed pie, charcuterie or cheese. They make a mean martini too.
Shop Books for Cooks
Now at Queen Vic Market (another great reason to visit), Australia’s only dedicated new and second-hand cookbook shop is a treasure trove of books on every cuisine and cooking style. From the quirky (1930s Royal Navy Cookbook) to the classic, plus old menus and recipe cards.
Drive The Great Ocean Road
One of the most spectacular roads I’ve ever driven is a day trip from Melbourne. Book a day tour or hire a car (The Cullen has a fleet of Smart cars available) for the 8-hour round-trip to the Twelve Apostles, a series of striking limestone stacks just off shore in the Southern Ocean.