Monday, June 15, 2015

Eating Around Melbourne - The Coffee Edition and Queen Victoria Market

For those who followed me on Instagram or know me personally, yes this Melbourne trip happened back in April. Yes, it's harder for me to remember how everything tasted back then. But I still want to share these moments to the rest of you...even though my recollection may not be as strong. And yes my backlog is bad right now thanks to full time work, gym, various social outings, tiredness after work, and a horrible addiction to endless episodes of 'If You Are the One'...

Sadly for myself, I had to arrive late on Friday due to work so I didn't end up going to as many as I hoped especially when other plans were in the works and some had to return to Sydney very early on Sunday. While everyone was planning to go on a trip outside of Melbourne, I decided to stay and continue my foodie journey on my own.And you know what? It is actually not as bad as you may think! So this post will be basically a collection of mini reviews (or should I say adventures?) that I've had in roaming around solo in Melbourne CBD, South Yarra and Fitzroy. Heck it's better than a $65 banquet at a single fine dining restaurant and you're still hungry (sorry guys :p). This post will be about my many coffee adventures in two days as well as a trip to the markets to clear my head in the morning.


One of the sights that I regret missing out on last year's Melbourne trip was a visit to the famous Queen Victoria Market. Thankfully this was the first thing on my agenda for this trip. While there were aisles of second hand clothing, flowers, and of course groceries; the section that caught my eye the most was the deli and cheese. Since it is one of Melbourne's main attractions, it was no surprise how chaotic it really was when I was trying to walk around (sorry about the pics). 

So much meat and cheese on display. There's also a few stalls dedicated to fresh and dried Italian pastas, sweets and a few popular takeaway delicacies such as "borek" and "bum burner" (I believe this was extremely spicy sausage...looks like it. The only thing that saddened me a bit was that there wasn't many stalls doing cheese tastings...though I guess you could ask the people selling it. Otherwise, you could easily spend many hours walking around the whole market. You can even grab a doughnut at the American Doughnuts van parked at the markets.


Not long after this, I was already in need of a caffeine hit. Brother Baba Budan is one of those really tiny cafes where you can get a quick coffee or a sweet snack whether it's for a quick take away or a sit down to chill...if you can get a table. Despite the little space, there were hoards of people crowded inside but that was part of the vibe of BBB. It's signature clutter of chairs stuck to the ceiling was an eye catching moment.

Skim Latte ($4.00)

It was actually thanks to this coffee spot that I discovered how much I really lie lattes. While they use their own house made coffee beans, they also source coffee from their equally renowned sister cafe, Seven Seeds. The latte itself had a smooth and light texture with a fruity aroma. It also still had enough intensity for that caffeine hit without that strong, bitter flavour. It's a busy yet lovely hangout which has that unique, funky atmosphere that makes it look so...Melbourne! (*facepalm*).

Brother Baba Budan
359 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9606 0449
Mon-Fri: 7:00am - 6:00pm
Sat: 7:00am - 5:00pm
Sun: 8:00am - 5:00pm
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Literally just around the corner from Brother Baba Budan in a hidden laneway was Manchester Press. I was slowly getting hungry but since it was just me roaming around the city (while everyone was off to the hot springs at the Peninsuila), I sadly knew I had to be a tad selective. Operator25 was on my mind and around the area so...I got ANOTHER COFFEE. Plus the queues were quite busy. If you love your bagels, this place is certainly worth the wait with its varied selection of toppings to choose from. Interestingly, by the time I've finish ordering my coffee, the queues have moved quickly but alas, too late. As for the mocha, it was not too sweet with a good amount of bitterness. I believe they use the coffee beans from Coffee Cartel Roasters so there was a more roasted flavour. Oh yeah, that was my third coffee of the day. Booyah.

Skim Mocha ($3.80)

Manchester Press
8 Rankins Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9600 4054
Mon-Fri: 7:00am - 5:00pm
Sat-Sun: 9:00am - 5:00pm
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Skim Mocha 

At the time of my visit, Operator25 has been one of the hottest cafes with countless fellow Sydney bloggers and instagrammers also making visits there this year so I knew I had to make a visit while I'm in this part of Melbourne. Interestingly, instagram was flooded with pictures of the food here from fellow Melbourne foodies. Turns out that they only just released their Autumn/Winter seasonal menu on that same weekend. Got yet another mocha, which was also decent quality. Coincidentally, they also use Cartel just like Manchester Press but the mocha had a smoother texture at Operator25. Didn't want to drink the coffee at first because of the look of that coffee art.

Balinese Pulled Pork Burger with sweet potato wedges ($20.00)

One of the dishes I tried was the Balinese Pulled Pork Burger. Looking back, I'm not sure why I chose that dish especially when checking the menu again and spotting a few other dishes that I would have ordered instead. Probably due to my usual indecisiveness and asking the staff for recommendations. The pulled pork had an overly strong flavour possibly from the various seasoning in the meat combined chilli mayo, cabbage and carrot slaw in the filling. The saving grace was the gooeyness from the fried egg as well as the crispy and not-too-salty sweet potato wedges. I'm guessing this wasn't the right dish for me but I'm still keen to make a return to try one of their other dishes depending on the schedule.

25 Wills Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9670 3278
Mon-Fri: 7:00am - 4:00pm
Sat-Sun: 9:00am - 4:00pm
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On our last day in Melbourne, AC and T wanted to go to Passionflower while I was keen to try one more eatery. Unfortunately my original plan for a takeaway at Huxtaburger on Collins Street was way too far from where my friends were. So I settled on a quick and final coffee fix at the very hidden and hard to find Bowery to Williamsburg on Oliver Lane. The interior has a more American - New York metro style from the decor as well as some of the items on the menu such as the Reuben Sandwich, Philly cheese sandwich, bagels and melts. They also have a salad bar if you're are up for clean eating. 

Skim Mocha ($4.50)

The coffee at Bowery to Williamsburg was made with Padre coffee beans from Brunswick and served with a complimentary Hershey's Kisses chocolate! The flavour had a stronger, bitter flavour with its texture leaning on the more robust, grainy and rustic side compared to the other mochas. Whih is good sine it gave me enough energy to last for the rest of the day without any extra caffeine hits.

 Bowery to Williamsburg
16 Oliver Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9077 0162
Mon-Sat: 7:30am - 3:00pm
Sun: 8:30am - 3:00pm
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Stay tuned for more Melbourne recaps coming up soon on The Random Foodie including more savoury and even more sweet eats!

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