I would like to say that Melbourne screamed at me when I arrived but I’d be lying. I arrived from Mildura feeling like a small town valley girl waltzing into the “Big Apple. Foggy head, misty eyes and all a bit delicate I landed into Greenhouse Backpackers coincidently on Tuesday night which is free pasta night and was served pure comfort dinner – Bolognese and a creamy mushroom sauce. It was almost like they knew I was coming and were offering me a great food hug. The next morning my day began with Silverchair playing over the radio followed by being poo’d on by a bird while waiting for the State Library to open. I took all of these things as a good sign… My welcome to Melbourne. Even the poo – a well wish from above?
My first week and a half here has been a muddle of job hunting and discovery. Melbourne from a birds eye view looks like any other city, the first hint of its hidden charm and quirkiness being the interesting architecture that is in and around the city and then as you zoom in and begin meandering down lanes and alley ways, looking up to roof tops and on the side of buildings a whole other world appears. Roof top patio’s or cinema’s under the stars. Eye catching street art and graffiti covers walls, the most well known being on Hozier Lane. However, Fitzroy and the outer suburbs hold just as much and quite a bit of stunning commissioned works by the likes of Adnate, Rone and Argos. Fitzroy was the first area to start winning me over. Filled with character, not to mention a cool bar which serves delicious four dollar pizzas. It is the oldest neighbourhood in Melbourne.It’s surrounding neighbourhoods Collingwood and Carlton share the same atmosphere and are Choc-a-block full of cafés and restaurants that I want to sample.
The coffee culture here in Melbourne is brobdingnagian (of huge size, gigantic, tremendous – word of the day on my dictionary app) and I truly wish I liked coffee. The coffee art in itself is amazing and if I were a barrista getting a job would be much easier as they are always on demand. Because of the coffee culture it has created a plethora of adorable, funky, cozy, hipster cafés of any and all descriptions and I have discovered the world of deconstructed Chai’s, as I have so called named them. Basically this means you have to put them together yourself! How fun is that! They give you a pot of chai latte filled with the real tea and spices that smells heavenly, a ramekin of honey, mug, strainer and possibly a side of extra warm milk so you can mix your chai latte to your desired strength and sweetness. I have found two worthy of mentioning: one from The Journal on Flinders Lane handily placed beside the public library and the second in St Kilda, 95 Espresso Bar. 95 Espresso Bar also makes a coffee called Magic which by the reaction when drunk is accurately named.
And, but of course, being in a new city means I have recommenced the brownie trail! I asked quite a few people when I arrived in Melbourne where one could find the best brownie and was met with a lot of blank stares. So in the end I turned to Google and came up with an article from GoodFood on their top 5. Obviously number one had to be tested and handily a group of us were planning on checking out the neighbourhood where the cafe was based. So off we went on a search for GoodFood’s number one brownie. Tomboy cafe is a hipster, quaint wooden floorboard, chunky wooden tables with a minimalist but comfortable feeling cafe and their nougat brownie is simply delicious. They do all kinds of flavours as well so you can go back and try a different one if you wish.
I have finally slipped back into the city groove. Wanting to sit in cafés, parks, go shopping…well maybe that never really changed but I am embracing Melbourne with its brilliant tram system and the free travel zone, the super talented street artists that can be found throughout the city like in front of the ginormous H&M or at the Queen Victoria Market, the markets in general, sushi (I truly have eaten so much sushi since arriving here) and the lifestyle that exists along the Yarra River which runs through the heart of the city both the soaking up the sun perhaps with a pot or schooner and jogging or strolling along the river. Melbourne has won me over and I am officially looking forward to exploring all of it’s hidden and non hidden gems, soaking up the vibrant music and arts scene and maybe even perhaps venture into the world of coffee.