I heart Melbs
Living in Queensland, sunshine and the outdoors is a daily focus for Kirsty, so visiting Melbourne was a welcome change of direction – hello indulging sleep-ins, splurging at the shops and let’s not tell her PT about the food … What’s not to heart?
Over the New Year I booked a hotel off my bucket list – the Grand Hyatt Melbourne for Mr LML and I. And I’m happy to say it made a special trip, amazing.
I love a boutique hotel but there is something about the slick way that a polished chain like the Hyatt run their show that makes you feel like you’re warmly wrapped up in cotton wool. Years and an expanse of experience around the world means they’ve thought of everything before you even dream of it.
• Champagne and nuts on arrival. How did they know?
• Views over the city. Exactly what I wanted!
• A concierge who knows the hottest restaurants around. No need for my other tips.
• Ipod dock by the bed. Simple but fabulous (and already replicated back at home).
You get the picture. On top of the service our room is huge, the bed comfy and parting to hit the shops was hard… but we persevered.
On my second trip (for the Australian Open. Woop!) I was spoilt rotten by the Clarion Suites Gateway who showed me how the other half live by putting me up in one of their penthouse apartments.
I have to admit, the three bedrooms, two bathrooms, full kitchen, dining room, lounge room and impressive entry were probably a tad much for little old me. Having said this, I could get used to having a spacious and modern apartment in the centre of Melbourne. You could live with a family quite comfortably or maybe just me, Mr LML and a lot of shopping bags.
With views over the river to the Crown Complex, you know you are right in the heart of the action. Getting up the next morning and leaving was exceptionally hard. I still wonder if they would have found me if I just hid in one of the linen cupboards.
It’s no secret Melbourne is renowned for its impressive dining scene. Here’s my three red-hot tips for places you have to go to:
1. ChinChin and Gogo Bar – Every time I’m in Melbourne the phrase “Why don’t we have anything like this at home” comes up and Chin Chin was one of ‘those’ places.
Even though it was just after New Years Eve and the city seemed quite quiet, this funky little restaurant was packed and a hive of activity. It only takes reservations for 10 – 12 people so we had a small wait in GoGo bar downstairs. I can’t remember the name now but there was definitely some elderflower involved in my cocktail and you should definitely look out for it and order it if you are there.
GoGo was the perfect distraction while waiting for our seat at the bench of the ChinChin bar. Watching the cocktail waiters at work is such a fun way to dine and allowed us to quiz the friendly team on all sorts of cocktails while we waited for our food.
The meals are medium sized and perfect for sharing a few plates. I highly recommend the pork belly. It was amazing!
2. La Citta in Degraves Street – After dinner my next passion is breakfast and Degraves street is the place to be gauging by the crowds. This bustling laneway was packed with Melbournites in their element – drinking good coffee and eating yummy breakfasts. After our cocktails at GoGo bar the night before we were keen for something filling so I ordered poached eggs with mushrooms, grilled tomato and a side of salmon. Okay it was huge but still felt light compared to MR LML’s French toast with maple syrup and bacon.
The coffee was so good we had seconds and enjoyed watching the crowd busting around us. Afterwards you can easily roll out and straight into the shops in Flinders Lane. A great way to start off a shopping day.
3. Mamasita – This Mexican restaurant in the city is also too popular for reservations, but has been on my bucket list for years and I was determined to dine. As it turned out January is a great time to brave the queues and we had a short 30-minute wait for our spot – at the bar again, so Melbs.
The wait was definitely worth it… although it took a lot of convincing to get Mr LML to stand still, he was easily coerced once we looked at the menu and I promised him fancy Tequila shots for starters.
The staff were friendly and patiently explained the menu. The food was fresh, spicy and delicious. We opted to taste as many flavours as we could so got lots of little things including a selection of soft tacos with braised meat, quesadillas, and we lashed out with the Ceviche De Veracruz – raw snapper marinated in tomato, olive, green chilli, lime & coriander – Wow!
There is so much to say about what I love about Melbs, however after writing this I’m going to have to take a break and get something to eat.
What’s your favourite Melbourne restaurant? Post your comment below.