Monday, January 24, 2011

Melbourne diary 2011 - day 1

Mr Curious and I had our first TLG-free holiday!  With a roster of family members taking care of TLG in Sydney, we enjoyed a 3-day trip to Melbourne for the Australian Open and some much-needed R&R.

With an early flight to Melbourne, we were glad that the room was ready when we arrived at the hotel.  And what a charming room it was.

Hotel Lindrum is a boutique hotel a stone's throw away from the tennis.  The room we stayed in was elegant and well proportioned.

Sorry for the blurry photo, I only took one in this angle.

It was nice to stay in a small establishment once in a while - a perfect hotel for a short break IMO.

I was pretty hungry by then (I was asleep most of the flight and didn't have breakfast) and the hotel reception recommended Cumulus Inc for a bite to eat.

Photo: The Age

I like the causal-chic vibe of the place.  We sat at the bench.  I ordered the Turkish baked eggs, spiced tomatoes, dukkah and labna ($16).

The dish scored 100% on presentation, a bit less on taste.  I am not the biggest fan of dukkah and it was too overpowering in this dish.  The eggs were cooked perfectly though.

Mr Curious had a toasted sandwich with leg ham, cheddar and tomato relish ($14), it came with slices of avocado and he polished the whole thing off with glee.

The coffee had a slight saltiness to it, which was surprisingly enjoyable.

We spent most of the day walking around the CBD.  I tried on a few things at GPO until Mr C was sick of shopping (picked up a Veronika Maine top for 50% off).  We walked down to Lygon St and had lunch at one of the many Italian restaurants.

A friend of mine mentioned Koko Black when she knew I was going to Melbourne.  I wasn't planning to visit but when I saw it on Lygon street I went in to have a look.

There was a good variety of chocolate available and I bought a small bag of dark chocolate nut and fruit buttons (20g, $7.85).

Here are some close up photos.

The chocolate was smooth and rich but not bitter, and the fruit and nut added sweetness and crunchiness to the mix.  I'm having one as I type - yum :-)

Koko Black has a Valentine's Day competition at the moment - win 1 year of free chocolate (plus a romantic getaway).  I didn't enter but it looked promising.

We slowly strolled back to the hotel, and after a pleasant late-afternoon nap it was time for dinner.  We took Miss Kitty-Cat's advice and paid Red Spice Road a visit.

We sat around the big lantern at the back of the restaurant.  I liked it (and it wasn't as noisy at the long tables at the front) but Mr C thought it was a bit OTT.

We ordered the dinner tasting banquet, which was great value at $55 a head.  The highlight was definitely the pork belly with chilli caramel, black vinegar, cabbage and mint.

The photo was pretty poor, so you have to trust me that the pork belly was super tender and the chilli-sweet-sour flavours hit all the right notes.

The rest of the menu was good too (thumbs up to the lamb ribs), although the two "mains" were a bit disappointing after the pork belly - the green curry was tasty but the snapper was bland, and the slow-cooked beef cheek was a bit too similar to the pork belly and paled in comparison.  Also I think they can tone down the sugar content in a few of the dishes, and I have a sweet tooth!

Talking about sweet tooth, the dessert - passionfruit cream with peanut praline and coconut ice cream - was delicious.

Photo: Lost in Sydney - they have a full review of Red Spice Road

I avoid coconut ice cream usually but this was divine - it was like eating frozen coconut cream (let's not think about the fat content), add crunchy peanut praline and smooth and sweet-and-slightly-tart passionfruit cream and we have a winner!

With full tummies, it was time for us to return to the hotel and rest up for a full day of tennis tomorrow ...


  1. Ah I must see Koko Black :) Great post, looking forward to the actual tennis post.

  2. I hope you are enjoying Melbourne! If you get a chance, you should try Gingerboy for dinner. I'm not a big fan of Red Spice Road, but Gingerboy I love. Or head to Movida for some tapas. For brekkie, head to St Ali in South Melbourne if you can, super yummy and fantastic coffee.

  3. enjoy melby and koko black is fantastic........they have a store in canberra as well. Anurag

  4. Appl3pie - I finally wrote about the tennis!

    Mel - thanks for the recs! We were home by the time I wrote the post, but we hope to visit Melbourne again later this year, so I'll keep them in mind.

    Anurag - I wonder if Koko Black will open a store in Sydney? They can give Haigh's a run for their money.


Thank you for your lovely message <3


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