I am still hungry after talking about eating in Paris last week, so I thought I would keep with the theme this week. I have just spent 7 weeks in Melbourne (with a couple of days in Sydney), enjoying family, friends and the food!  It feels like I ate for the entire 7 weeks (so straight back to the gym for me!), but i thought it would be remiss of me not to share some of my food highlights!

The Foodie Highlight: Chin Chin

The absolute highlight of my culinary adventures in Melbourne had to be Chin Chin. This Asian inspired venue is fantastic, but annoyingly doesn’t take bookings, so we arrived at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon to avoid the crowds, only to find that there was a waiting list. After a warming drink in the cosy bar downstairs we headed upstairs to the crowded dining room. The menu is huge, so rather than make decisions we just asked the waiter to bring out whatever they wanted, and were not disappointed.

The food was fresh, innovative and oh so inspiring.  The best dishes would have to be the soft shell crab in red curry, and the rather horrible sounding sour orange curry with whitebait omelette (it didn’t photograph too well either).  Absolutely nothing on the menu was disappointing, the atmosphere is relaxed and the service was flawless, probably helped along by my friend who enjoyed flirting with our waiter.

If you are looking for one of the best restaurants in Melbourne without having to take out a second mortgage on your house, then do not miss Chin Chin.

For the Love of Sushi

I just love Japanese food, it is one of the cuisines I have really missed since moving to India, so it is no surprise that there were plenty of Japanese restaurants in Melbourne on my dining calendar.  My favourites were Sake at Hamer Hall and Horoki.

Horoki is a little cafe in town that I have visited for years that serves some simple but delicious food like a sublime tuna tartare with parmesan and balsamic and the melt in the mouth duck and eggplant  below.

Hands down the best sushi I had was at Sake, on a gorgeous sunny afternoon overlooking the Yarra, life couldn’t get better.  Believe it or not, the food tasted even better than it looks.

Get the Morning Started

My favourite meal of the day is brunch, nothing like starting the day with a serve of eggs with fresh herbs.  St Kilda is like the brunch capital of the world (to me at least), so there was plenty of great starts to my days. From old favourites like the Mexican breakfast at Blue Corn, to peas for breakfast at Miss Jackson and brunch at home in Sydney with my friend Jo, who spoilt me with style.

A Touch of Mexican

There seems to be a huge Mexican trend going on in the Australian food scene at the moment.  I am not complaining, I enjoy the flavours of Mexico and its become a good pub staple as well.  One of the great ones was a trendy new cafe in town called Touche Hombre, I was taken there for tacos and tequila by a couple of lovely ex-work colleagues.

The other photo is from Panama House in Sydney, where they seem to have made Mexican tapas the flavour of the moment.  An aside, whilst I was sitting there eating my taco, I swear I saw Aamir Khan walk past, but just wasn’t quick enough to get his photo.

From the Sea

The seafood in Australia has to be some of the best in the world, so I made the most of it. Plenty of oysters were had, and I just had to go back to Claypots for their incredible shellfish stirfry. An old boss took me out for my birthday to Bacash, which serves contemporary Australian seafood, like the scrumptious crab profiteroles and a hearty salmon steak.

I also tried out the Boathouse in Maribynong, owned by Gary Mehigan of Masterchef Australia fame. Its a relaxed place, and the calamari was certainly worth the trek north.

Fine Italian

I had always considered Melbourne the best place to eat Italian food outside of Italy, but was pleasantly surprised by Cipri in Paddington, Sydney. The food was exceptionally good and the atmosphere… well it was full of first dates and married couples seeking to rekindle a flame, so perfect for people watching. Whilst the food didn’t photograph too well, except for this amazing melazane parmigiana, I had a rich and hearty duck ragu that is well worth going to Sydney for.

cipriIMG_3058

And for simple food

A simple sandwich is another thing that I have really missed, so a quick lunch at the Spring Street Grocer hit the spot, and it had some creamy avocado! At another lunch across town at the Half Moon, nothing says “pub meal” in Melbourne more than a Chicken parma and a pot.

No meal is complete with cheese

It’s no secret that I would happily die in a fromagerie, so when one of my friends suggested trying out a new place called Wine and Cheese, how could I not? It was good, but the best wine and cheese experience in Melbourne for me, still has to be a late night at the Melbourne Supper Club.

Saying Goodbye

After passing through immigration, fine dining has arrived at Melbourne Airport with both Vue du Monde’s child Cafe Vue and Movida available. Movida has to be my favourite Spanish restaurant in Melbourne, so I had to pop in for a final snack.

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