As soon as I saw Melbourne in the light for the first time I noticed the vast array of eateries, cafes and restaurants on offer. There is a huge variety of cuisine to choose from but there are definitely a few influences which stand out and dominate the food scene out here. Being in the east men’s there is a large number of east-Asians living, working and studying in Melbourne, which is known to have one of the best universities in the world. Along with their studious nature, they have brought their food. Japanese and Vietnamese restaurants are particularly noticeable, especially within the CBD (central business district), where I would say about 65% of the food available is of Asian influence. The sushi is fantastic but prepared slightly different to the UK. In the UK where you might get 4 or 6 small maki rolls, here they make their large roll and simply chop it in half, so you buy the sushi as more of a ‘wrap’ than bite sized portions. It must work out cheaper to do this however, because it is one of the cheapest street foods you can purchase, costing a mere $2.50, which, comparatively, could be the price of a chocolate bar! It certainly contains more delicious flavour and nutritional value than a chocolate bar, and will undoubtably keep you fuller for longer!
The other most noticeable trend is the coffee shop/espresso bar obsession, in which you can often find fresh, homemade, flavourful sandwiches, pastries, soups and quiches, to name but a few of the delicious edibles on offer. The Mediterranean style salads with burrata,feta, beetroot, plenty of herbs and flavour are also a hit here; a strong healthy eating vibe transcends Melbourne with many gluten free options and a diverse use of fresh produce. The coffee culture in Melbourne is unlike anything I have ever experienced, with the number of specialist coffee providers rapidly growing. Barista’s are a respected breed amongst Melbournians, and to work in some of the specialist espresso bars you have to be armed with years of experience. They are definitely all about the espresso rather than brewed or filtered coffee… Perhaps this is something I could bring to Melbourne in the search for my fantastic money making plan! (In case you were wondering, Melbourne is super expensive!)
Modern Australian/Mediterranean/English fusion and Asian influence foods are certainly apparent on every street with a restaurant or cafe but you are never at a loss of what to choose between in Melbourne. There is a large Italian community in the north of the city and pizza is a popular option amongst bars and restaurants, there are also a wide range of French bistros and Mexican burrito bars, as well as a few novelty chains such as ‘hooked’ the seafood specialist and spudbar… Well I’m sure you can imagine their speciality. Then there are all those in between, meatballs and wine is a delicious and reasonable supper option in the CBD, or if you prefer vegetarian there is a noticeable amount of vegan and vegetarian options, including Veggie bar on Brunswick street which is most definitely on my list of places to try. I think I need to start making a written list rather than a mental one, so I can start to tick places off!
As my venture continues I will update the blog with reviews of all sorts, including coffee of course and hopefully some baking of my own once a kind soul offers me a job and I can get funky with some exciting ingredients!