Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Melbourne Food Scene

Melbourne has a buzzing food scene and cafe culture. We spent two very pleasant evenings in the districts of Carlton and Fitzroy during the Grand Prix weekend.

Melbourne also has what is reputed to be Australia's best food market, the Queen Victoria Market. Personally for me that is a tight call with the excellent Adelaide Central Market. Quibbles aside they are both excellent.

Caffe e Torta
For breakfast one morning we went to Cafe e Torta in the Royal Arcade. Despite the Italian name the decor had a French flair. The food was typical Australian cafe culture (fresh and simple ingredients) with a pan-European influence.

The dish that intrigued me the most was Clint's poached eggs on avocado and toasted Turkish flat bread. A lovely looking brunch dish. I have since attempted to re-create the dish at home. Unfortunately my avocado wasn't ripe enough. A good excuse for a second go!

Red Chilli
For dinner on the Saturday night we went to the Thai restaurant, Red Chili in Fitzroy.

It is the first time that I have eaten Thai food since leaving Thailand and it wasn't too bad. We had a pretty authentic pork laab and red chicken curry. The stir fried vegetables were less authentic, but I have found this is often the case as local vegetables differ from country to country.

I was pleased that I managed to speak exclusively Thai to the waiter and we got exactly what we ordered. Always a positive sign! For the first time outside Thailand my Thai wasn't remarked upon, it usually draws some form of reaction. Polite compliments, at best, or raised eyebrows.

There seemed to be some form of chili conspiracy going on in Brunswick St. In addition to Red Chili, there was a Blue Chillies restaurant and a third restaurant with chili in the name that I can no longer remember. Tremendously useless fact for you.

Labour in Vain
We had a pleasant candlelit drink in Labour in Vain during Earth Hour.

Pen and Clint have visited the pub on all of their previous visits to Melbourne. I can see why. It is a very welcoming and atmospheric pub featuring some of Melbourne's famous graffiti.

They used to brew their own beer, but have stopped since Pen and Clint's last visit. I was more than happy to settle for a Coopers Pale Ale followed by a Mountain Goat.

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