Melbourne

Melbourne

EATs and EATN'Ts
Nobelle Liew
Nobelle Liew

Perhaps it’s because I had my very first cuppa in Melbourne here, Brother Baba Budan holds a very special place in my heart. I’ve tried almost everything on their menu, from their espresso-based drinks to their filters and non-coffee beverages, and I’ll say with 100% certainty that you’ll never have anything short of a bad drink here. Espresso-wise they make a very balanced brew that has a higher level of acidity than most back home, but slightly bolder than those around the area. So you can be sure your white coffees still carries loads of character and flavour.

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I honestly would not recommend joining the crazy queues for Top Paddock, where you’re likely to fork out >30AUD pp for a meal that imho completely doesn’t warrant the price. Would you wanna pay AUD26 for chilli scrambled eggs and like one strip of thick cut bacon? Mind you, the portion’s smaller than average brunch plates in Melbourne too. We tried more than 3/4 of their menu, and of everything we had the Coconut Chia Pudding (AUD18.50) was the only dish we unanimously enjoyed — which says a lot coming from Singaporeans with not-so-innovative brunch options back home.

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No you can’t, you simply can’t. Not when the piping hot cookies boast crispy, golden edges, and a soft molten centre with fudgy chocolate chips speckled through.

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I’ve been to Grain Store thrice now, and never left with a decent photo cause, well, this idiot left her camera in the hotel. I’ll tell you with utmost gusto though, that Grain Store serves among the best food in Melbourne — at least to me. The menu changes seasonally to feature fresh local produce, and very clearly combines traditional European cooking with contemporary Australian influences, to bring us dishes that are, what I’d call, refined country cooking. You’ve got a Mushroom French Toast for example that comes with tons of shaved pecorino, feta, pancetta, and a luscious salted toffee sauce; or a Chorizo Omelette served with local spinach, manchego, and a warm, spiced tomato salsa; or their take on the mushroom benedict featuring huge portobello mushrooms, baby spinach, gruyere potato rösti, poached eggs, and a decadent blanket of hazelnut hollandaise say whut 😮🥰

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That stands for Halal Snack Pack: a super messy, completely not instagrammable, massive takeaway snack that comes in styrofoam box stuffed to the brim with crispy hot golden fries, your choice of a kebab meat, and tons of sauces just poured right over. It sounds meh I’m sure, but when you’re starving from an 8-hour flight, shivering your arse off in Melbourne’s pms-ing weather — this is the best shit ever. There are 2 stores right next to each other, this CBD Kebabs and a Viva Kebabs, and both of them are as popular as they are good so you don’t really have to choose. Now what you should do is head in there and order yourself an HSP, have it topped with your choice of lamb/beef/chicken, choose to have your HSP with cheese, then top it off with garlic sauce and hot sauce. Trust me. You’d want for nothing more.

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And only when you do that, is your Lune experience considered complete. If you haven’t heard of Lune (you must be living under a rock btw), they do the best croissants in Melbourne. They offer a pretty wide variety of croissants, from your usual plain ones, pain au chocolat, and kouign aman, to amazing seasonal ones like Fig danishes, lemon curd croissants, and hot cross cruffins. I’ve been there countless times and I assure you, NONE of Lune’s creations have ever fell anything short of expectation. Actually they all went above and beyond lol. Seeing they’re not likely to come to SG save for the crazily packed Cafe Expo thingy, I’d say: anyone who heads to Melbourne, you better put this at the TOP of your foodie bucket list.

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Cause one, their chilli was SPICY. Nowhere close to how fiery Singapore’s chilli sauces can get, but it’s definitely comparable to the average chicken rice chilli sauce, even spicier in fact! That I started sniffling’s a testament to this chilli sauce 💪🏻 And second it’s the only place I’ve seen use fried shallots as a garnish? Which was absolutely perfect 👌🏻 Honestly the only Chilli Scrambled Eggs out here that does absolute justice to its name.

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There’s just no way Pork Belly & Fried Eggs (AUD26.50) wouldn’t be my favourite, if you see that slab of tender, juicy meat and fantastically golden crackling. That being said, as yummy as it was I didn’t think it warranted the hefty price. The meat was barely longer than my finger, served with 2 bite-sizes nuggets of manchego and jamon croquettes, a fried egg, and a slice of toast. I could get a lot more for that price tbh.

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Scroll through any guide to eating in Melbourne and chances are Hardware Société will make an appearance. It's a charming little café, with brightly-lit interiors, cozy mismatched chairs, and cute retro tins as cutlery holders, smack in the middle of graffiti-abundant Hardware street. They’ve got your usual scrambled eggs and whatnot, coupled with Melbourne cafés’ astonishingly beautiful playing and great coffee; but if I were to be completely honest I’ve always thought their food to be way too pricey. I’d highly recommend popping by White Mojo next door instead.

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I have to be fair: Mr Burger appeared like a rainbow in a thunderstorm. We were grumpy after missing a show at the ACMI (Australian Centre for Moving Image), starving and needing a quick chow, when we turned the corner and walked straight into Mr Burger. Perhaps that's why they made it to this list. Or maybe it's how insanely delish their Mr Chicken (AUD13) was, or how impressed we were with their Trucker Chips (AUD6.50) that came with a shitload of chunky, meaty bacon and 3 cheese sauce. Guess you'll just have to find out for yourself.

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The fact that their opening hype hasn't died down since 2011 says a lot. Chin Chin’s executive chef took inspiration from the streets of Southeast Asia, brought it back to sunny Melbourne and added his own dose of magic to everything. You're looking at stellar dishes like Rendang Curry of Wagyu Beef (AUD27.50), Salad of Shiso & Sesame Prawn Dumplings (AUD28.50), and Thailand's quintessential Sticky Rice (AUD14.50) topped with a slice of Nyonyan tapioca cake. Attention is the name of the game here, with all their garnishes and herbs hand-picked daily to ensure top-notch quality. Prices are quite steep and the queue's madness (count yourself lucky if you get a table within 2 hours), but the food and upbeat vibe's more than worth it.

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They're pretty hard to find, and if you do you'd probably see the tiny communal fully packed with a snaking line for takeaways. With just 2 tables for dine-ins, Brown Bagels has earned themselves a steady, loyal CBD crowd with their handrolled bagels and Korean-inspired bagelwiches. The menu's short and sweet, with simple creations that complement the star of the show, their bagels. I really liked The Spicy Chicken (AUD9.90), Korean Beef (AUD9.90), and Salami (AUD9.90). Their Strawberry Nutella Hazelnut (AUD7.50) is fantastic for those who fancy something a little sweet.

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Spending all my time eating (and eating) cause what else is there to do in small 🌞🌞 Singapore?

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