Melbourne: Day One

brekkie proper

First breakfast in our Melbourne hotel.  It had to be toast and vegemite didn’t it? Yum.  The toast looks as sleepy as we did.  Sweet.

Dear Mum, Dad, siblings and friends:

I’m afraid that you might have to become used to long-haul travelling as, after my first day in Melbourne, I feel like I have found my spiritual home.  Sometime in the future, I think I might just have to come and live here for a while.

Bonus on that though, folks, is you’ll have an excuse to come and visit too!  Let me tell you, you’ll love it.

Love, Aoife Mc x

After a not at all unpleasant 24 hour journey (with, it has to be said, very decent airplane food on Qantas) from our flat in Dublin to the beautiful Hotel Lindrum on Flinders Street in Melbourne, we had a wonderful first day.

We started off with a visit to the truly inspiring community radio station Triple R, based on Nicholson Street, a short tram ride from the city centre.  We met with the Music Co-ordinator Simon Winkler and one of their presenters Jacinta Parsons, and had a chat about the indie music in Melbourne and how Triple R works.


It was like meeting two old friends.  The way they spoke about their passion for music, promoting independent bands and encouraging the local scene, myself and Niall were delighted to realise that here were two people on the opposite side of the world who were riding the exact same wavelength as ourselves.  Lovely!

It was so cool to see a community radio station that, from the miinute we walked in the door, breathed passion about music and the independent scene.   I want to go to there.  Amazing.

We had a few hours after our Triple R station tour to wander around the streets of Melboure’s city centre.   Something that struck me almost immediately was the incredible mish-mash of architecture: you have lots of modern skyscrapers mixed in with British-influenced grand designs squashed next to almost deep-south US New Orleans type houses.  To me, it’s like this mixture of architecture really reflects the diversity and multi-culturalism of the city itself.

There was a wee nip in the air as it was in fact snowing here in Melbourne a few days ago.  Thankfully the snow stayed away and we were blessed with a beautiful crisp sunny day.  And another bonus of visiting in the winter is…winter sales!!  Poor Niall!

The city centre of Melbourne is in a grid pattern which of course makes it very easy to find your bearings and wander around the shops.  There are a few city centre malls as well which offered a little respite from the chilly wind.  And, yeah, loads of great clothes shops!

duomo proper

We had a lovely quick lunch in a sweet little place called Cafe Duomo which  was in an indoor old-school style mall.  I had foccacia with grilled veal schnitzel with pesto, cheese and a side salad.  Niall had the gnocchi sorrentina and we both had a San Pellingrino Limonata (fancy lemonade to you and me).  Delish.

veal propergnocchi proper

After heading back to Hotel Lindrum laden with bags, we freshened up before our dinner date with Sam from Tourism Victoria.  We had managed to sleep a lot on the plane trips over so we felt that we might just be able to beat the jetlag.  Our night ahead had dinner in Taxi followed by a gig in the Corner Hotel*, and we were determined to make it til the end and indeed, not to fall asleep with our faces in our dinner!

*Interesting fact: A lot of pubs here are known as hotels.  We were a bit confused when pulled up to The Corner Hotel, thinking “surely the novelty of staying in a hotel above a loud rock venue would wear off pretty quick?!”  Sam cleared that issue up for us pretty quick.

Taxi is a Modern Australian and Japanese Fusion Restaurant housed in the astoundingly stunning Federation Square, a short skip from our hotel and bang in the city centre.  Sam explained it had been built ten years ago, not without controversary, as it is so startlingly modern.  I have to say I loved it immediately.  It was quite like the Parc del Forum in Barcelona, and again highlighted to me the great mixture of influences that Melbourne, on first impressions, seems to have.

Federation Square has lots of restaurants but also hosts a number of outdoor events.  Sam explained that when there are big football matches they’re shown on big outdoor screens and folks bring deckchairs to sit out and enjoy the match.

Taxi is the restaurant above the popular bar Transport and boasts fantastic views of the sparkling skyskape.  Melbourne at night glitters with lights and action, with eye stimulus at every angle!

We decided to go for The Dego menu at Taxi.  Degustation is a straight translation from the French term which means to appreciate food slowly and properly, more or less.  I had never heard the term before I started researching restaurants in Australia, however.  In Ireland, and I think the UK, we refer to these type of menus at ‘tasting menus’.  Which is really dull.  It seems that the Australian slang is “The Dego” and indeed a few restaurants offer this option.  Good on ‘em.

Everything  on the menu in Taxi looked really good, so The Dego was a great way for us to get a true taste  (literally!) of what the restaurant was all about.

Here was our meal, which we paired with a scrumptiously sweet and fruity local Victoria Mornington Peninsula Reisling.  Stunning.

dego one proper

Dego Course One: Tuna sushi with caviar

dego two proper

Dego Course Two: Bay Bug Dumplings

dego three proper

Dego Course Three: Curried Atlantic Salmon with Cauliflower

dego four proper

Dego Course Four: Pancetta wrapped chicken topped with foie gras (note the great view of Melbourne in the background!)

dego five proper

Dego Course Five: Poached pear with caramel ice-cream and rice crispies!

After our thoroughly enjoyable meal, we went to The Corner Hotel for Melbourne bands Songs and Beaches, followed by US band Deerhunter.  Check out nialler9 later for more details on that!

We arrived back ‘home’ to Hotel Lindrum at about midnight, having beaten the jetlag, stumbled into bed, full and very happy.  We fell asleep almost instantly, dreaming about our Harley Davidson tour of Melbourne that was taking off at 9am the next morning…*contented sigh*…!

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  1. Pingback: Nialler9 in Melbourne - the pre-music menu | Nialler9 Music Blog | MP3s | Videos | Reviews

  2. I feel the same way about Oz – a second spiritual home – so I’d definitely come and visit, no problem :) Meanwhile, I can, at least, get vegemite here, so I can always have vegemite toast for breakfast if I feel the need!

  3. I second DS’s sentiment! Australia is just fabulous and the food just knocks everything out of the water. I remember standing in the middle of one of the markets with my jaw on the floor because a) I was trying to eat everything and b) I’d never seen anything like it. *starts plotting a swift return*

    Hope the rest of your trip is as fun as your first day :-)

  4. Hi Spud and Jen – I’m in love with Melbourne, it’s just so great. I’m really looking forward to seeing Perth too, and will most certainly be coming back to see what the rest of the country has to offer!

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