Where do you go for coffee before work/after work/not at work?
Dukes Coffee Roasters is my one-stop coffee shop on the way to work. No matter how busy they get they always produce a great quality coffee. Commonfolk Coffee Roasters in Mornington as the cold drip and pour over are worth the drive from the city and while you’re enjoying your coffee check out the local artists that share the space. Industry Beans Fitzroy. The team here will lead you through different brewing methods, roasting, the different flavours of different origins and you will leave enthusiastic about coffee.
Favourite places for breakfast and brunch or sweet treats?
Rustica Fitzroy because the closest match I’ve found to a real Portuguese tart is made at Rustica. The staff are welcoming and the menu inspires you to try a breakfast that may be outside your comfort zone that you won’t regret. Dee’s Kitchen Dromana. With that city buzz and the fact it is by the beach I get the best of both worlds. Friendly staff and a talented kitchen team whipping up great middle-eastern inspired dishes. Giddiup in South Melbourne is my favourite trendy local cafe that is great for breakky and lunch or grabbing one of their delicious house-made sandwiches or a wholesome salad and coffee on the go.
Favourite Melbourne restaurants for special occasions?
Cumulus Inc. and Cumulus Up - Although you may say this is my biased opinion, I would still count Cumulus as one of my top 3. It is a restaurant that is based on fresh produce and dishes inspired by talented chefs and knowledgeable and friendly staff who will always provide you with the full experience. It is also the restaurant that got me excited about working in the Melbourne restaurant scene. Tipo 00 the one Italian restaurant in Melbourne that I think truly represents Italian cuisine with a modern twist and takes me back to my travels around Italy. The stinging nettle risotto and rabbit pappardelle are a must. MoVida has amazing Spanish tapas and if you’re waiting for a table they have MoVida Next Door where the team will set you up with a drink and a snack while you wait.
Best bars to head to after work and on your days off?
Gin Palace - the knowledgeable staff can help steer you through a vast selection of gin (my spirit of choice) to match your tastes or introduce you to something new and then top it off with one of their famous chicken sandwiches you won’t forget. It is a great bar for people in the industry to amalgamate after those busy late night shifts. The City Wine Shop - let the staff talk about wine with you, purchase a bottle and take it home or enjoy it with a charcuterie board and if you have time make sure you visit the cheese cave. Lily Blacks is a hidden laneway gem where you can have the perfect cocktail tailored to your taste and you’re always likely to run into a friendly face once all of the restaurants around Melbourne close.
Where do you go for fresh seasonal produce and market bargains?
Spring Street Grocer for the fresh fruit and vegetables, delicious take home meals if I don’t feel like cooking but most of all the cheese cave downstairs is a must visit. South Melbourne Market. This market is a foodie’s heaven. While you are weaving your way through the fresh produce and different flavours and cuisines make sure you take a break and grab a freshly shucked oyster from one of the seafood stalls and Prahran Market in South Yarra. Like South Melbourne market, Prahran Market sources the best produce to add to your dishes but as a bonus you will also find The Essential Ingredient.
Where have you had the best interstate dining experiences?
Bentley in Sydney. Brent Savage has definitely given me one of my best dining experiences in Sydney with every dish leaving me asking “how did he come up with that?”. Worth the travel up to Sydney. Cafe Paci before it closed had a fantastic set menu with little twists and the sommelier tailored a great selection of beverages to match. I was happy for Café Paci to do all the work and I just sit back and enjoy the experience and Momofuko Seiobo in Pyrmont is a food-lovers dream. If the customer is looking for that sharp and friendly service with dishes that are innovative and created to perfection then this is the place.
See where else to eat & drink around the country: