food / travel

melbourne food diary

I know I’ve said this about many places, but Melbourne has to be one of my favourite cities food-wise. Famous for its cafe culture and melting pot of different cusines, there’s never enough time to go through my hit list whenever I travel there! Read on for more about my favourite Melbourne spots that I always miss when I’m back home in Sydney.

Tori’s Melbourne, CBD

Tori's Melbourne      Tori's Melbourne

Tucked away in Melbourne’s many streets and laneways is this unassuming cafe, which was absolutely packed on the day I decided to visit! At Tori’s they specialise in artisan cakes and desserts, and boy do they do it well. If there’s one cake that comes close to looking exactly like the strawberry shortcake emoji, this would probably be it. The sponge cake is delicate and the cream’s not overly sweet, not to mention the slice itself is picture perfect.

Drinks-wise I went with their hojicha latte, which was super smooth and warming for the rainy weather at the time. I also got to try their Thai tea flavoured canelé, which really hit the spot.

Shandong Mama, CBD

Shandong Mama Melbourne      Shandong Mama Melbourne

IYKYK 😉 At this point, ShanDong MaMa is an institution on Melbourne’s foodie map. I had long heard about their legendary fish dumplings but hadn’t been able to try them until a few years ago, and oh my… I now know why this authentic eatery is a longstanding favourite for locals and visitors alike.

The Spanish mackerel dumplings are famous for a reason. They have this incredibly juicy fish filling that’s light and bouncy, all wrapped up in a delicate dumpling skin. In other words, it’s absolutely delicious. So much so that when I first tried them, I smashed a whole plate on my own and came back for more the next day. This time I also tried their squid ink dumplings, which are equally amazing. I think inflation may be biting because I swear their plates used to be more generous, but when the dumplings are this good who even cares?

All Are Welcome, Northcote

All Are Welcome, Northcote Melbourne      All Are Welcome, Northcote Melbourne

If you ever pay a visit to the suburb of Northcote, make sure you stop by this local favourite! All Are Welcome is a humble bakery cafe that boasts a huge variety of pastries. It was so hard to choose from the sheer variety of loaves, croissants, cookies and other baked goodies they had on offer. But after much deliberation, we went for a ginormous sausage roll and filled baguette, along with this smoked maple latte that totally lived up to its name.

Mile End Bagels, Fitzroy

Mile End Bagels Melbourne      Mile End Bagels Melbourne

Bagels are a tough thing to get right, even for the most seasoned of bakers. You can’t call it a bagel if they don’t have that signature chewy texture , but if they turn out too dense? They can be borderline inedible. I don’t know how, but I think Mile End Bagels have the secret formula down pat. Their bagels are served fresh out of the wood fire oven, and they are to die for with their fluffy innards and satisfyingly crunchy crust. 

The fillings available are no joke either! Of course I had to try the pastrami, which was super buttery and melt-in-your-mouth soft. But funnily enough, the egg salad bagel turned out to be my unexpected favourite! It comes served with tasty cheese, rocket, dijon mustard and green tomato chutney, which does well to cut through the creaminess. I never knew I could be so impressed by an egg salad sandwich, but life’s full of surprises. Of course, I now rave about this place to everyone I know when I find out they’re going to Melbourne.

Nana Thai, CBD

Nana Thai Melbourne      Nana Thai Melbourne

From the glowing reviews I’d read online I knew the hype for this place was insane, but I still wasn’t prepared for just how busy it would be! I even made a point of getting to Nana Thai before their opening time, only to find a queue that was already ten people deep. If the sound of Thai chatter in the air was any indication, I knew straight away this place was the real deal.

First off we got the usual pad see ew and pad thai, which had to be the sauciest, most flavourful versions of each I’d ever had. But of course, their signature Thai hotpot BBQ was what we came for, and it did not disappoint. Thai hotpot involves using a special grill plate that cooks meat on the top portion, allowing for the juices to drip down into the hotpot soup below. Paired with their signature Thai sukiyaki sauce, the food was incredibly comforting and reminded me of something I’d eat on the streets of Bangkok. Thai hotpot like this is hard to come by in Sydney, so I’m glad I got to try it!

Fluffy Torpedo, Fitzroy

Fluffy Torpedo Fitzroy      Fluffy Torpedo Fitzroy

Ever had a craving for blue Gatorade ice cream? Me neither. But if you’re keen on trying that along with other weirdly wonderful ice cream flavours, Fluffy Torpedo is the place for you! The staff are super friendly and offer tastings of the huge selection of flavours on offer, which are embroidered onto cute fabric panels hanging on the wall.

After plenty of umming and ahing, I went with the salted lemon curd, lemon cream and salty crispy crackers flavour, plus miso white chocolate. Lemon Crisp happens to be my favourite Arnott’s biscuit, so I knew the ice cream’s flavour profile would be fab and it blew my expectations away. Miso white chocolate was also a winner, and incorporated just the right amount of sweet and savoury. My travel companions went with buttered baguette and durian, which were actually some of the more normal flavours on the menu. This may be controversial, but Messina has nothing on this place. I’m dying for them to open a Sydney store already!

Lune Croissanterie, Fitzroy

Lune Croissanterie Fitzroy      Lune Croissanterie Fitzroy

And of course, a trip to Melbourne wouldn’t be complete without visiting this legendary institution! As expected there was a lengthy queue outside Lune when we visited, but the line actually moves pretty quickly. The Fitzroy store even has a giant glass cubicle, so you can watch the pastry chefs do their thing.

This was my first time visiting and honestly? I’m not sure if the croissants are worth lining up for. That’s not to say they don’t taste good though! Each croissant had a crispy, flaky outside and airy pastry layers that formed a perfect Fibonnaci swirl. I also appreciated that the innards are fluffy without being overly buttery, a fate that plenty other croissants suffer from.

Lune doesn’t play about the fillings in their croissants either. I loved the almond option, which was packed with almond meal that had clearly been ground by hand. The ham and cheese croissant also had the fillings rolled in with the pastry, much to my satisfaction.