That last post, uh, got away from me a little.
Safe to say my blogs are not carefully-planned affairs, and around word 2,000 I realised that the list of foodie locations I wanted to wax rhapsodic about probably deserved its own post.
Note: sometimes I eat healthy food, but I’m not going to talk about that here because it’s boring. Eat an apple between these, you’ll be fine.
When my sister gave birth to my nephew last year, I didn’t take flowers to the hospital the next day. I took Beatrix. Not an entirely unselfish action – who do you think got to eat cake with her as we cooed over the new addition? We celebrated with Beatrix again this year when he hit his first year of orbiting the sun.
Luckily, you don’t need to push a human out of your vagina to celebrate with Beatrix. Maybe you need a reward for a tough week, or for the sheer slog (from the northern suburbs at least) of getting to their postage-stamp sized shop in North Melbourne (I’m being dramatic, it’s a short tram ride from the city or one train stop from Southern Cross and a bit of a stroll)
Above is their cocoa meringue roulade with ricotta cream and toffeed banana. I know, right? It was even better than it looks. It’s actually impossible to buy a bad sweet at Beatrix (not hyperbole, a scientific fact proven by buying a lot of things at Beatrix). And it’s a good thing they’re so dependable, because you can’t always rely on your favourite item being available – their list of cakes, sweets and sandwiches changes daily. I strongly recommend keeping an eye on their Instagram, as they’ll usually post the cake list the night before, and the savouries morning of. But don’t worry. Point, purchase, put it in your mouth. It will be good.
Important note: Beatrix is open Tuesday-Saturday, so if you’re only in Melbourne for a weekend, plan accordingly.
You probably haven’t had a croissant this good in Australia. I’m sorry, it’s true. And there’s a small chance it will ruin you for all other croissants, but it’s worth the risk.
Check this out:
Its a temperature-controlled room within Lune, specially built to make sure your croissants come out perfectly. And yes, you can marvel at their artistry and attention to detail while you munch on their wares:
Hot Lune tips:
1) Try to get up reasonably early if you’re going there on the weekend. I’ve seen them sell out by lunchtime multiple times.
2) Fight like hell to get in to the Lune Lab
It’s held on weekend mornings, and is the best bloody three-course pastry meal you’ll ever have. I’ve done it twice, and I’m doing it again in the new year. It’s definitely in the ‘treat’ category a $60, but tbh once you’ve done it you would consider paying that just for the first course – a plain Lune croissant, warm and fresh from the oven. This is followed by a savoury course, which changes by season. In summer, it was a danish-style pastry with burrata, heirloom tomatoes, basil oil and confit garlic fromage blanc. In winter, a roast pumpkin escargot with taleggio, burnt butter dressing, capers, radicchio and roasted hazelnuts. This is followed by a dessert course, also seasonal – in summer this year is was a choux with earl grey custard, raspberries and salted macadamia crunch. In winter, a citrus square with amoretto and ricotta mousse, pink grapefruit, orange, cara cara orange and candied cumquats. Oh, and in addition all that, you also get bottomless coffee.
If you can’t get in to Lune Lab (and don’t be surprised – tickets are released every 2-3 months and they are snapped up in minutes, with only 8 people per session), then never fear, because this creativity is carried over to their regular menu, with a Christmas addition to their croissant lineup including a turkey croissant with cranberry & sage stuffing and walnut crumb.
Note: They’re now open seven days a week (blessss – I had some disappointments during my wild no-job-to-be-at days), but only for takeaway on Tuesday and Wednesdays.
Honourable mention: Trekked it to Fitzroy, only to find Lune are sold out? Can’t get flaky pastry off your mind? Wander down to Smith St and hop a tram down the street (it’s also walkable for the keen) to Gontran Cherrier. They make a killer pain au chocolat, and their cafe au lait is basically a fucking bowl.
Summer heat you got down, and not in the mood to shove another baked good in your mouth? That’s weird, but I’m here for you. I probably haven’t tried enough to say it’s definitively the best, but Il Melograno must sit pretty damn high on Melbourne’s gelato rankings. It’s definitely the best that sits across the road from my favourite cinema, and it’s certainly the best in UberEats range of my house (dangerous, dangerous). They have a bunch of yummy savouries in the cafe, and the day where I had an affogato with their orange-infused ricotta gelato between movie sessions at the Palace may have been one of my finest on earth.
I don’t need to go on about this one. They don’t do crazy combos like Messina, it’s just damn good gelato. You’ll decide your favourite flavour on your own, but I highly recommend the Bacio.
Bonus: Look I’ve not tried these drinks they make but I’m extremely open to plans:
Royal Stacks/8bit/Mr Burger
At some point over the last few years, American-style burgers became my jam. I suspect it times pretty closely with my trip to New York in 2013, and my first taste of a Shack Burger from Shake Shack. It became my platonic ideal. It doesn’t need to be an intense monster, I can barely even handle two patties, but it should have beef, cheese, lettuce, tomato, mustard, mayo, ketchup and pickles. You can put onion on there if it feels right to you, but I’ll pick it off because I find it overwhelming.
The three I linked to all do some variety on the burger above, and I don’t have a clear favourite, so I’m happy to recommend them all. 8bit does a side of potato gems, which makes them my go-to when I’m in the city, although I’d say maybe they’re the messiest to eat (none of these are date food, however). Mr Burger has the super-indulgent trucker fries with cheese sauce and bacon, and also has a seriously delicious fried chicken burger when you’re in the mood for such things (and they also happen to be the only one I can get delivered to my house, thanks to their permanent truck at Welcome to Thornbury). And Royal Stacks will let you out a mac and cheese croquette on your burger. So.
Honourable mention: I probably don’t eat them quite as often as I used to when I was regularly trekking out to the Lido in Hawthorn and they were just downstairs, but Huxtaburger also do a very solid burger.
Bonus: Although you’re probably a weirdo if you don’t get some sort of fried potato with your burger, all the basic American-style burgers from these venues sit at a really reasonable price point of about $10. Considering they all have CBD venues where you presume things are a bit more expensive, that’s pretty impressive.
Dexter and Takeaway Pizza
Preston is not particularly far from where I live, but it’s not necessarily easy to tempt me to hang out there. It’s got quite a good market but not much else. Apart from this tiny strip of High St, where even the trams fear to tread (it’s near the train station), pumping out deliciousness both sides of the road.
Takeaway Pizza is the new venue from the meat geniuses at Dexter. I didn’t even think I could like pizza all that much. I’ve never got particularly excited about it. But it turns out when you ferment your dough for three days, then cover it with braised lamb shoulder, potato, leek, and lemon thyme, it can turn me around. Even a vegetarian option with zucchini, artichoke, lemon ricotta, chilli and garlic blew my mind. I don’t know how to explain apart from the fact that every element is so perfect that you will desperately even want to find room to eat the crust. They also have a really interesting drinks list and a lovely sunny venue, but let’s be real, when they start offering delivery in the new year, I’m not leaving the bloody house.
Which is good, because it means I can save any Preston visits for the caramel short rib at Dexter. I am not exaggerating when I say this shit falls off the bone.
Oh god, I’ve gone and made myself horrifically hungry now. Let’s change the subject.
I don’t really go out to drink a lot, so I’m not really your blogger for this subject, but there are a couple of special Melbourne venues you should hit up.
They’re all about the cocktail and I highly recommend researching beforehand if you don’t want to spend forty minutes perusing the menu. We’re in serious date night territory with ambience and uh….price, but sometimes you’ve just got to treat your best friend visiting from Sydney as a date. It’s certainly a nice little central location and worked well for us a for a drink and a nibble before Book of Mormon.
Not wildly different from 1806 in general vibe – hey, I like my cocktails – but the service really sets The Everleigh apart from any other venue in Melbourne. Not only will they make you a cocktail shaped to your tastes (I like citrus cocktails, for example, so I let them run wild on that one), the highlight for me was when I departed for the bathroom and when I returned I found out they’d nicked my half-drunk cocktail to keep chilled while I was away. Slightly more appealing than the pub that will make off with your last mouthfuls so they can use the glass.
From memory they don’t do bar snacks of any heft, so it’s not a bad idea to eat beforehand, as a diet of pure cocktails can send you to pissedville pretty quickly, -especially if you’re not paying attention to your mounting bill. The OG outpost of Belle’s Hot Chicken is downstairs, although possibly not a great idea if you’ve dressed up in your finery to match the refined surroundings of The Everleigh. However, you’re never going to be short of a bite on Gertrude Street.