I recently travelled to Melbourne, accompanying the Mr whilst he was undertaking a course for work. It was a great excuse for a break to do some shopping, catch up with friends and eat my way around Melbourne too.
Our first stop was to a highly recommended pub that specialises in the good old parmigiana and hand crafted beers - Mrs Parma's.
The Aussie parmigiana consists of bacon, egg and beetroot toppings. All the parmas come with napoli sauce and melted cheese as a standard; there's 14 different variations of toppings, plus daily specials. All of the parmas come with a side of chips and salad.
Fish and chips
The menu also consists of the regular bistro classics. The beer battered Rockling fillets and chips pale in comparison to the parma; the batter is quite thick and stodgy. Definitely recommend sticking with the speciality parmas here.
After a quick shopping expedition in the city, I spotted the Milkcow pop up located at The Strand. Milkcow is originally from South Korea and known for their milk, creamy and organic soft serves, and is currently making a temporary appearance in Melbourne.
100% organic honey swirl topped with a honeycomb wedge. The soft serve is lovely - it manages to be incredibly creamy whilst still remaining light. The honey adds a nice touch; I like how the coldness of the ice cream turns the honey solid.
There's more toppings than you can poke a stick at, including options with fairy floss and caramel popcorn.
Get in while you can - originally slated to end on the 31st of May 2016, it seems that due to the popularity of the pop-up, Milkcow's time in Melbourne has been extended indefinitely.
Still on the dessert note, I was surprised by how many asian dessert options were dotted around the city, or to be more specific, the Chinatown area. On our first night in, we stumble across this dessert cafe, Satu Produk Durian, that specialises in durian desserts (of which I am not a fan of!).
We go for the more standard desserts options, without durian. Our selections include a mango pomelo sago with coconut and matcha jelly (top right), and a matcha sago, with grass jelly and mango (bottom left).
The online reviews for this place are not too favourable and the desserts seem to be hit and miss.
The next morning, I venture out for a solo brunch. One street that always pops into my mind in Melbourne is Hardware Street - home to Hardware Societe and a handful of other great cafes. As I'm catching up with a friend later on in the week at Hardware Societe, I decide to check out one of the newcomers, White Mojo.
The menu consists of some traditional breakfast items, as well as some more fun, experimental dishes. I like how the menu is an all day affair with no separation of breakfast and more lunch-esque options.
The interior is bright and streamlined, with grey honeycomb marble and light wood being the main features.
I don't think I had a disappointing coffee during my entire Melbourne trip, and White Mojo is no exception.
Cauliflower panna cotta
The cauliflower pannacotta was brought out to the table covered by a glass dome, and uncovered to reveal a cloud of smoke. Very theatrical.
The dish itself consisted of a black pudding dust, Canadian scallops, crispy pancetta, 63 degree egg, dehydrated red onion, and potato popcorn. The cauliflower panna cotta was more of a cauliflower puree, than a set panna cotta. The cauliflower went very well with the scallops and pancetta, though I thought there was too much of the panna cotta, I ended up leaving some behind.
The counter had dozens of these irresistibility cute small cake donuts. I grab a matcha flavoured one to take away.
Matcha cake donut
A firm Melbourne favourite for cakes is Luxbite. This time I visit the conveniently located city branch, T by Luxbite.
T by Luxbite is located in Flinders Lane and is a condensed takeaway version of the original shop in South Yarra. There's a good selection of individual cakes and tarts, as well as some whole cakes.
There is also a sampler option with a few petit four sized pieces of cakes, as well as macarons and tarts - I was tempted to get this, but limited myself to selecting two cakes instead as I still had days worth of eating to do in Melbourne, and had to save space(!)
The lollybag cake consists of seven layers; starting with the banana lolly joconde (almond sponge), Freckles crunch, Jaffa ganache, Musk marshmallow, banana lolly joconde again, Spearmint lead buttercream and a Redskin glaze.
Sour cherry jelly, white sesame caramel, black sesame panna cotta filled chocolate tart, coffee and hazelnut praline mousse, white chocolate glaze.
For a quick and easy dinner, Shanghai Street was a fantastic option. There seems to be a few branches around the city; we went to the one located on Little Bourke street.
The shop is busy and seating is cramped, and there's usually a queue come dinner time. Don't be deterred though, the food comes out quickly and the line seems to move fast.
Chicken and prawn boiled dumplings
Beef noodle soup
The food is simple but delicious; and for $10 per person, it's awesome value too.