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Adventures in Australia – Melbourne Part 1, the hotel and the food!

When we landed in Melbourne we were delighted to see a sunny sky after the disappointment of a dreary Hong Kong! Australia’s second most populous city would be our home for the next six nights, which was the longest we would be staying anywhere but we would be packing in alot! Melbourne is know for being an international cultural centre for theatre, festivals, literature, film and of course, food and coffee!! The city is home to a vibrant cafe culture and it has a reputation for having some of the best coffee you will ever taste. In terms on food, Melbourne is a melting pot of different cuisines and cultures and we experienced some incredible meals there.
First the hotel! We had chosen to stay in the Langham Hotel in Melbourne. The hotel had a perfect position on the Southbank Promenade overlooking the Yarra River and we could easily walk into the city centre. It was also in easy reach of several different restaurants and cafes and right next the Crown Casino, a massive entertainment venue incorporating fine dining, nightlife, hotels and gaming.
Though we happy with the location, I found the hotel a little shabby and retro, and for those looking for something more highend perhaps staying in the casino maybe preferable. There are also many boutique hotels in Melbourne that have a more modern vibe. Here are some pics so you can see what I mean.

 

 

And the surrounding area of Melbourne on our gorgeous sunny arrival:

 

As we were exhausted we chose to dine in the hotel that night at the signature restaurant Melba. The restaurant was an all-you-can-eat buffet concept which I am not a fan of but Mr Silver loves!! However, this was more exciting than your average buffet as there were several cooking stations including a tandoori oven, Chinese wok, rotisserie and seafood ice block. The ease of the restaurant was also ideal for two very jet lagged people and we happily washed it down with some Australian sparkling wine.
Generally we found in Melbourne any food we tried was good even a local lunch by our hotel meant fantastic fresh seafood and good wine.
We very much enjoyed trying the local fish such as barramundi which I’d never sampled before!
Here a few other foodie highlights we experienced in Melbourne:
1. Dining in Chin Chin for lunch, a restaurant that focuses on South East Asian cuisine.
2. I got my Nobu fix at Nobu Melbourne, situated in the Crown casino and overlooking the river. Nobu Melbourne has the signature dark stylish interior of the top Japanese restaurant and the food includes Melbourne specialities such as Blackmore Wagyu.
3. Rockpool Bar and Grill is also located in the Crown casino. Chef Neil Perry is one of Australia’s most renowned and leading chef with seven restaurants in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth. The focus in his Melbourne arm is meat and specifically beef which is sourced directly from producers and dry aged on the premises. The seafood there is fabulous too!
The foodie highlight of Melbourne was one of my best restaurant meals of all time. Shannon Bennett intended his restaurant Vue de Monde to provide a theatrical experience and challenge to the idea of great dining. The restaurant itself is positioned on the 55th floor of Melbourne’s iconic Rialto building, providing panoramic views over the city.

 

The restaurant is a black, sophisticated space with conceptual art work throughout. Chef Bennett intended that no space is left unthought of and every wall contains a unique work of art. Now to the food!! There is no menu provided you simply state how many courses you would like and if you have any dietary requirements. Mr Silver and I chose to sample a modest 15 courses… they were small!! According to the website the food is intended to ‘reference our past and history of our country by combining techniques used in generations past together with modern culinary techniques. We aim to present beautiful food that appeals to all the senses and is celebrated not only for the perception of luxury, but for the honesty and integrity of it’s presentation.’ Both beautiful and delicious!
Here’s some of what we ate:
Spanner crab, kohlrabi, avocado, beach herbs

 

Duck egg and asparagus

 

Grapefruit, lime sorbet

 

Barramundi, prawn, herbs, smoked bone marrow

 

Blackmore Wagyu, beetroot, pear, truffle

 

Tonka bean souffle, smoked cocoa ice cream.
We drank Dog Point Sauvignon Blanc and Larmandier Bernier Vertus Champagne.
One of the most exciting and best meals I’ve ever had and excellent service with incredibly knowledgable staff. To top it off they gave us a little breakfast bag of goodies to take home and the next day emailed us the complete menu including our wine choices. Vue de Monde is without doubt my top restaurant choice for Melbourne.
I promise I did more in Melbourne than eat! Next blog post will feature the nature and culture that we saw in Melbs!