Melbourne: capital of quality dining, variety and ambience

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When it comes to the three factors most important in hospitality, of all Australian cities, we must admit we think Melbourne wins hands-down. Not always on all accounts, but generally the city delivers well on all three.

 

 

Factor number one: Great ambience.

Melbourne has the highest number of attractive cafés and restaurants in our books, many of which can be found tucked away in discrete little spots. For tourists, this makes getting lost in this city as adventurous an experience as doing away with a map in Paris! And for locals, it means there is always somewhere buzzing or cosy and intimate to go to when they want to catch up with a group or a friend. There’s a certain quaintness to Melbourne cafés and restaurants that you just don’t get in other Australian cities (and no Sydney, a couple of milk crates and tattered pillows don’t quite cut it). That said, Melbourne now has its share of slick, robust restaurant spaces – many of which feature in fabulously revised coffee table tome ‘Flavours Of Melbourne’ by Jonette George and Ethan Jenkins (Smudge Publishing).

 

 

 

Factor number two: Quality cuisine.

Like most Australian capitals, Melbourne boasts a huge variety of cultural cuisines and whether it’s Italian, Pan-Asian, Tex Mex or Tapas you’re after, you can rest assured Melbourne city boasts a fair contingency across the board. Flipping through ‘Flavours Of Melbourne’ it occurred to us that we’d only experienced the tip of the iceberg in past visits to the city. The book goes deep to present Melbourne dining at its fullest: from (literally) underground cafés to rooftop pubs to multi-story restaurants, the full gamut of dining is presented. Recipes, too, are included, as is stunning photographer, of course. And not just photography of food, but detailed imagery that bring the full creative Melbournian ethos to life.

 

Factor three: Appeal to a variety of budgets.

On a trip to Melbourne last year, Cream covered many of the must-go-to favourites (from Manchester Press to Plantation, Bomba to Brooks) and what we found is that you don’t necessarily get what you pay for in this city. That is, you can eat on a budget and eat very well. And you can pay a lot for food that hasn’t filled you up but is oh-so glorious, you’ll savour every morsel. That said, it does pay to do a little research before trekking to the grand city or its surrounding suburbs.

 

 

‘Flavours Of Melbourne’ by Jonette George and Ethan Jenkins (Smudge Publishing) goes into explicit detail about some of Melbourne’s better known eateries, and some underground establishments to boot, taking into account food menus but beverage lists (in some cases), ambience, aesthetic and most importantly, the people behind the businesses, namely the restaurateurs and head chefs who add unique flare and flavour to their respected residences.

The new updated edition is available from May 1 through good bookstores, RRP $69.99.