Last month, Jien and I took a short break from the chaos of work and visited Melbourne with May Anne in tow. It was our first time visiting this city and we got plenty of recommendations from friends and some of Bangsar Babe’s followers.
Melbourne has a pretty good mix of food and sightseeing. Weather was great and we were lucky we only had one day of rain. I feel a lot of the cafes and restaurants aren’t child-friendly as they don’t offer high chairs. Nonetheless, Jien, May Anne and I had a good time as a family.
For those planning to travel to Melbourne, I’ve compiled a list of places to visit and spots to eat in this city. Hope this helps with your travel plans, especially if you’re traveling with a baby/toddler!
VISIT: Melbourne Zoo
I wasn’t expecting much from the Melbourne Zoo but we ended up staying for close to 4 hours because I really enjoyed walking around! The zoo is well-maintained and the animals were aplenty.
There’s also plenty to see as the zoo is pretty large so be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes when you visit. The entrance fee is AUD38 per person; a bit steep but the experience is worthwhile in my opinion.
Elliott Ave, Parkville VIC 3052, Australia
EAT: Hardware Societe
Hardware Societe was highly recommended by friends and even some of my followers so Jien and I knew this is a place we HAVE to check out. Even on a weekday, there’s a queue so expect to wait a little as the place is small.
For parents travelling with their baby/toddler, you might want to check out the Hardware Societe on Katherine Place rather than Hardware Street. The former is bigger and more comfortable overall. But I prefer the cosy vibe at the Hardware Street outlet.
10 Katherine Place Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
Tel: +61 03 9621 2100
123 Hardware Street Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
Tel: +61 03 9621 2100
EAT: Humble Rays
My cousin suggested Humble Rays for brunch — citing it’s one of the more popular spots in Melbourne. She wasn’t kidding. There was a long queue and we waited for 45 minutes to get a table!
Good thing weather was nice so we didn’t mind standing outside waiting for our turn. My crab meat scramble was pretty good and it comes with a twist; Sriracha mayo and chilli oil for an added kick. I definitely enjoyed this more than the version from The Mess Hall.
71 Bouverie St, Carlton VIC 3053, Australia
Tel: +61 3 8354 8459
VISIT: Queen Victoria Market
I find the markets in Melbourne very enjoyable, especially Queen Victoria Market. There’s plenty to eat, see and shop here. From the freshest seafood to top quality beef, right down to artisan cheeses and hot food items.
Market Lane Coffee is worth a shot if you’re looking for decent coffee in at the market. There’s also American Donut Kitchen, which you should try if you’re a fan of jam donuts — they do it good!
Queen St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
*closed Monday & Wednesday
I tried the standard 8bit burger and also the Double Dragon since these two were recommended by the 8bit staff. Good burgers, but not the best I’ve had to be frank.
The 8bit burger is a classic — beef patty, lettuce, tomato, cheese…basically your no-frills burger that does the job. That said, I prefer the Double Dragon as it’s a richer burger with double beef patty, double cheese and double bacon.
231 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Tel: +61 3 9687 8838
VISIT: Royal Botanic Gardens
Like the Melbourne Zoo, I also enjoyed my time at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne. I actually preferred this to the one in Sydney for some reason. The landscaping is beautiful and weather was great.
I also reckon it might be due to the fact that I now take time to appreciate the little things in life. May Anne had a wild time chasing after ducks (more like, attempted to) by the pond.
Birdwood Ave, South Yarra VIC 3141, Australia
EAT: The Meat Wine & Co.
Highly recommended by many, The Meat Wine & Co is a great place for steaks and ribs. We got both the beef ribs and pork ribs, plus a rib-eye. They were good stuff.
The ribs were tender and falling off the bone; and I particularly liked the beef ribs. I also liked the steak, which was beautifully seared on the outside. Service isn’t as amazing as the food was unfortunately. It was difficult to get the staff’s attention so it can be frustrating amidst all the closely put together tables.
3 Freshwater Place Queensbridge Square Queensbridge Street, Southbank VIC 3006
Tel: +61 3 9696 5333
EAT: Royal Stacks
This was our first burger stop in Melbourne as it’s just down the road from where we lived. The burgers are hearty and flavours are good. In terms of variety, I’d say there’s not as much variation as a Malaysian is used to but definitely good, honest burgers.
I got The Saint — a sizeable assemblage of two patties, cheese, onions, cheese and bacon. Jien opted for The Stack, which is less messy but equally tasty.
470 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Tel: +61 3 9620 0296
EAT: Tipo 00
The food at Tipo 00 is amazing. Really good, hearty cooking and well put together flavours that bounces off beautifully against one another. You’ll need to call ahead to book in advance — we did that after failing to walk in on our first attempt.
Service is attentive despite the full house and narrow space. Definitely try the burrata and lamb tagliatelle; the latter is meaty without overpowering the pasta flavour and had just the right balance of richness. The grilled ox tongue is fabulous too.
361 Little Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Tel: +61 3 9942 3946
VISIT: South Melbourne Market
South Melbourne Market houses some of the best coffee spots and pastries in Melbourne, so I was told. With that in mind, Jien and I set out to explore the market and all that it has to offer.
On a Friday, the market is crowded and there were long queues at Padre and Agathe — both said to serve good coffee and one of the best croissants in the city. I wasn’t that impressed unfortunately.
You also get access to plenty of fresh seafood, hot food items (the seafood chowder is delicious) and an array of baked treats. Go for the fish & chips — they are super generous with the chips which I couldn’t finish. There’s also Mornay Rock Lobsters at super reasonable prices (AUD29) so go crazy!
322-326 Coventry St, South Melbourne VIC 3205, Australia
Tel: +61 3 9209 6295
VISIT: Yarra Valley
I reckon it’s best to visit Yarra Valley towards the later half of the week as a lot of vineyards weren’t open when I went on a Wednesday. We were fortunate some remained open, like Yarra Yerring, Five Oaks and De Bortoli.
I really enjoyed my time going through the tasting sessions (a small fee applies) and the fee is waived with purchase of a bottle of wine. I walked away with 6 bottles of my top picks!
*take note of some vineyards’ business days. I checked online but I feel it’s not updated so it’s best to call them.
EAT: Meletos at Yarra Valley
A lovely lady from Five Oaks recommended Meletos to us when we had the wine tasting session at the shop, so Jien and I gave it a shot. It was a lovely recommendation. Great ambiance with an open kitchen concept.
The place was beautiful, despite the rain that afternoon. Food is also good — we had an antipasti platter, a pizza and a prime rib. All good in their own right. Even May Anne enjoyed her fair share of freshly baked bread with olive oil.
12 St Huberts Rd, Coldstream VIC 3770, Australia
Tel: +61 3 8727 3030
DRINK: Coffee at Rudimentary
I’m not sure if Rudimentary is easily accessible via public transportation but if you’re renting a car, you might want to drive into Footscray an explore the area.
My friend Charles took us to Rudimentary by car and I feel it’s one of the better ones I’ve tried in Melbourne.
16-20 Leeds St, Footscray VIC 3011, Australia
Tel: +61 3 8596 6909
EAT: Co Thu Quan
Vietnamese food is said to be “better” in Melbourne so my expectations were high. Co Thu Quan comes highly recommended by Vietnamese residing in Melbourne so I figured it must be (legit) good.
We ordered a good spread here to enjoy a bit of everything but I feel only the Bahn Xeo is rave-worthy. The rest of the items were alright; nothing mind-blowing.
6/234 Victoria St, Richmond VIC 3121, Australia
Tel: +61 3 8589 6339
We had a good time in Melbourne overall. Would have liked to stay slightly longer (10 days would be nice) but time didn’t permit. So I guess I’ll need to revisit since I didn’t get to see a few other places. ;)