Melbourne is very much European-esque. It’s a city that embodies the culture of London and has the youthful characteristics of Manchester. Bring those two cities together and it is pretty much what Melbourne is like. It is a brilliant city and one that is suited to me down to a T. First and foremost the weather is very much like home. They say Melbourne has the four seasons in one day. Ok, apart from having snow, Melbourne pretty much has all of the other elements that occur in England. It can be hot, sunny, cloudy, windy and cold all in the space of 24 hours. So I can see why people prefer to live or visit Melbourne.
The city is adorned with unique buildings with some that are very trippy and far out. There are numerous areas where the buildings don’t seem to line up well and fit together and look as if they’re from a dystopian future. Melbourne is very much creative, stylish and has that sense of freedom where people can be themselves and just have a good time. Just like Manchester it is a city full of young students having the time of their lives and making the most of it. Not only is some of the architecture impressive but so too is the street art which dominates the side streets where talented artists express themselves and produce some quite wacky pieces. It gives the city character and life.
I don’t think anyone could be bored in this city. It’s pretty much alive 24/7 and there’s always something new to do. It is so chilled and for a city which is constant and always on the go, it is a breath of fresh air not to have that hustle and bustle like we have in London.
It is very easy to get around and the tram system is brilliant. Not only is it always reliable, consistent and efficient, it is also a very cheap mode of transport. The best thing about the tram system is that within the CBD it is free. The free tram zone runs right through the heart of the city and even when you’re not in that zone, the fares do not really bite you in the arse.
There’s something for everyone whether it’s doing some retail therapy in the city centre, visiting major landmarks and learning about the city itself or just partying hard at the clubs and bars in the evening. No matter what Melbourne offers a brilliant time.
Places To Eat
Here are some of places that are worth checking out when visiting Melbourne:-
Victoria market is a huge area crammed with food stalls, restaurants, delicatessens, butchers, fishmongers e.t.c. Whatever you want, they’ve pretty much got it. It is a paradise for foodies and you can bet your bottom dollar that all of the restaurants get their supplies from the fruit and veg markets next door. It’s easy to get lost and taken in by everything in and around the market and it’s worth trying some of the produce. I had some delicious fat, plump, juicy olives from one vendor.
Away from the food, Victoria market also entices tourists to check out the souvenir strip where everyone can get their gifts and presents. It is a massive flea market and to be honest it is worth checking out as there’s some pretty good clobber knocking around and at a decent price too.
El Rincon is a fine Spanish Tapas restaurant/bar situated in Victoria market run by a Spanish family who emigrated and wanted to bring a bit of that Spanish style and flavour to Australia. It’s a great place and highly recommended offering the best of what Spanish food has to offer.
The ham and cheese croquetas as you can imagine is rich, creamy and deserve a second order. As for the chorizo, it’s packed full of flavour and swimming in a moreish wine sauce. Soak up the sauce with the bread on the side.
On the veggie side of things, a thick slice of traditional Spanish tortilla is a must and their marinated grilled vegetables is just as good.
Queen Victoria Market, 513 Elizabeth Street, CBD, Melbourne
Belle’s Hot Chicken
As Belle puts it, it’s hot chicken, natural wine and damn good times. At Belle’s the chicken is given some serious loving where the meat is coated in a series of southern spices from the mild to the “really fucking hot”. Choose from tenders, wings and drumsticks and eat to your hearts content. The chicken is succulent and juicy and it’s not greasy either.
The hot fish slider is a thick meaty nugget smothered in a hot crumb and topped with a layer of cheese and slaw. If you like a bit of heat, this is the one for you and as for the peach BBQ ribs, my god they are banging. Pick it up and just go to town on those sweet and sour bad boys.
As for the chicken, definitely get some sort of spice. Southern style is ok but it’s nothing spectacular. For the mild lovers, medium is perfect, has all of the deep flavours but none of the punch and I’m guessing the “really fucking hot” will separate the men from the boys.
With the calories going right out of the window at this joint we got a bunch of sides. Mac ‘n’ cheese is always a good shout and they do it very well. Trust me there has been some awful ones in my time. Belle’s coleslaw is a great side to have to cool things down and to go even further their ranch dressing, homemade ketchup and blue cheese (my favourite) sauces is made for giving the chicken a good dunking.
15727 Collins St, Melbourne, Vic 3065
727 Collins St, Melbourne, Vic 3000
107 Swan St, Richmond VIC 3121
Words can not describe how bloody great this place is. For all the meat lovers out there, this is a top, top restaurant in Melbourne. Put some money aside and treat yourself to this place because it is definitely worth it. From the starters to the main, this place is just heavenly and their steaks are cooked with the respect it deserves.
Rare’s croquettes is filled with jalapenos and corn with a smoked paprika mayo and their steak tartare is mouth-watering stuff dusted with a decent amount of mild pecorino and a gooey egg yolk in the middle.
Then comes the big juicy steaks and quite frankly they’re simply magnificent. Bar marked and cooked to perfection, it is joined by a host of tasty sides including a massive herb and garlic flat mushroom topped with feta, golden chips, roasted vegetables, a super rich jus and if that isn’t enough give Rare’s broccoli and cauliflower gratin a go.
Burger project do good burgers at a decent price. For a fast food joint, their burgers are rated and worth having whether it’s a quick bite to eat or having a full on meal. Like most burger places they promote using good quality cuts of beef and making it on site by hand. There’s nothing on the menu that’s out of this world but as I said it’s worth having. The usual suspects are all there that you want in a burger. A good size and with a portion of crispy hot chips and Burger Project’s chive and bacon sour cream dip and chipotle mayo you’ll be more than satisfied.
Melbourne has a lot to offer and its’ pretty difficult to be bored in this outstanding place as there’s a variety of activities which will entice everyone to see what this city is all about.
Holey Moley is a mini golf place that offers 18 holes of pure golfing laughter. With drinks flowing from the bar this game can get messy and outrageous. Some holes are harder than others but then again we all need a challenge. For the seasoned pros and the newbies, Holey Moley is fun for all. I even managed to get a hole in one. Woop Woop.
Crown Casino offers tourists to splash the cash and take a little gamble but Crown also offer entertainment for families as well as having a load of bars and restaurants.
Indoor rock climbing is also available for those who want to burn off some energy at Hardrock.
To learn more about the city and its history and culture, the museum is a must. Bags of fun for the kids as well, there’s something for everyone and to see more of the landmarks and key areas of the city the free tourist tram is available. A cool way of seeing the city and taking in the sights.
Visiting Chinatown should be on the list as well. I love the area and especially during Chinese New year, there’s a brilliant buzz around the place.
Every year in February Melbourne comes alive at night with their annual event, White Night. From 7 in the evening until 7 in the morning the whole city erupts and parties all night long. There’s street food and live music dotted around the place from drag queens miming and dancing to music , to acoustic buskers and even opera. A surreal event but its a brilliant excuse to party and experience the party side of Melbourne.
For bars, a favourite of mine is Pixel Alley. Old school arcade games including Time Crisis, Mortal Kombat and Pac Man are all under one roof. Trust me, you could spend hours there and why wouldn’t you want to. The inner 90’s kid came out, however I failed to break any records.
For the more relaxed, casual environment we checked out Waterside hotel. With a rooftop bar, there’s no better way than to watch Melbourne go by.