ON every street and laneway, there are shopping, dining and cultural experiences to discover. It’s the home base of several celebrity chefs Neil Perry and George Calombaris.
There are many cafés and restaurants in every lane of Melbourne
My mother, being based in Melbourne in her younger years, was the best person to help me explore the compact city in a a couple of days. Must-visit places include baking genius Adriano Zumbo’s Zumbo for lamington tarts, macarons and pastries.
Chef Rohan D’Souza (in orange) with the chefs at George Calombaris’ The Press Club in Melbourne
Next, try Local Birds, an old fashioned eatery that offers hot, toasted jaffles, banana bread, choc raspberry brownies, and has a seasonal changing menu.
B’cos is a boutique Brazil-inspired café, grill and bar on 353 Little Collins Street. Make your own meal or choose from a range including meatballs, 16-hour slow-cooked pork or zucchini fritters
Get a sugar high at Max Brenner’s with chocolate pizza studded with marshmallows, and a choice of caramelised nuts or fresh raspberries. Arbory Bar is uniquely located next to platform 13 of Flinders Street Station.
This outdoor bar and restaurant spans the length of the station, for 150 metres along the Yarra River.
Located on 72 Flinders Street, The Press Club offers unique modern Greek cuisine. The space is intimate yet relaxed, accompanied by fabulous service. Try their signature three-course lunch, from salmon with a deconstructed tzatziki to a 48-hour slow-cooked beef.
Owned by popular chef Adriano Zumbo, whom readers might recall from hit show, MasterChef Australia, D’Souza picks Zumbo as a must-visit if you love pastries
Sydney has the pressure on this year to maintain its reputation as Australia’s dining capital. Whatever your flavour or style, there have been a number of exciting new openings to whet your appetite.
Woolloomooloo has many hidden attractions. These include China Doll (in pic above) for modern Asian, Manta for fabulous seafood and Aki’s if you crave for fine dine Indian food
My first stop was at Darling Harbour, a throbbing family recreational centre with parks, kids’ play zones, the maritime museum and a large number of eateries. Head to Taste Baguette for a brunch. Also try Spanish tapas at Toro’s.
Surry Hills is another food haven lined with old school pubs, gelato cafés and pastry shops. A visit to The Clock was a stand out choice for a good old pub meal (above). Another must-try is dessert bar Gelato Messina. My pick was the intense chocolate dessert Biggie S’mores
Head west to sample a variety of Asian food. Take a ferry ride to the iconic Sydney Harbour and dine at the Opera Bar & Kitchen.
My picks at Bondi Beach were Icebergs, Hurricane’s Grill & Bar, and The Bucket List. Spread over two sections, including a pool deck and a fully stocked bar, Icebergs is an elegant space overlooking the sea with some divine Italian seasonal food such as Black Garlic Bruschetta, Sorbello Tomato Carpaccio and Scallops with local Burrata. The Bucket List offers fresh salads, rolls, fish tacos and jerk chicken wings to name a few.
Another brilliant highlight of the evening was the biggest outdoor white picnic called Dinner en Blanc, held annually at the Opera House. Do look this up as it is a one-of-a-kind experience. Also on my list were Watsons Bay and New Town.
Love seafood? Try the seafood platter at Cyren, popular for its fresh catch