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My Melbourne holiday menu #1

Marvellous Melbourne

Marvellous Melbourne

My new readers may not be aware that I’m a Melbourne girl transplanted to Brisbane 30 months ago. It took a while to settle, put down roots and regard Brisbane as home, but now I’ve leapt that hurdle I’ve succumbed to Melbourne’s siren call to immerse myself in the vibrant food culture so sadly lacking in Brisbane.

After putting the family Easter obligations behind us, first stop was the Yarra Valley, famed for it’s wineries and scenery. Decades ago we called this region home. That was at a time when there were just a few super premium boutique producers and no cellar doors to visit, when it was sleepy and rural.

The Yarra Ranges provide a misty backdrop to the lush green landscape of the valley, now punctuated with sleek architect designed multi million dollar winery developments sporting upmarket restaurants run by hatted chefs.

Duck with Nectarines

Duck with Nectarines

Our choice for lunch was Oakridge Winery, a sentimental favourite. We were neighbours before the winery’s relocation and entry into the tourist market. The amply decorated restaurant at Oakridge uses local ingredients and has a minimal waste ethos. We were well rewarded with delectable dishes each which contained a surprise element that was to be blunt, repurposed waste. The dessert menu featured a dish using potato skins made into a crisp and delicious sweet and crunchy wafer. Believe when it say it added an amazing textural element to the dish.

A tasting flight of three Oakridge Pinot Noirs was the perfect complement to lunch and our table on the deck overlooking the vineyard was perfect. Even the weather was perfect. We couldn’t have asked for a better start to our holiday.

Mediterranean Wholesalers

Mediterranean Wholesalers

The next day I began hunting and gathering. Having endured the 1800 kilometres by road, the reward for me is the opportunity to stock up with hard to find ingredients at home. Our first stop was Mediterranean Wholesalers for Spanish and Italian rices, dried porcini mushrooms and the indulgence of unique Italian confectionary and grappa. Then we called at the Victoria Market, ate borek for lunch and hunted down a bulk quantity of much loved Mount Zero kalamata olives.

Yum Cha Aftermath

Yum Cha Aftermath

Yum Cha in Brisbane is a major disappointment to me so on Day 3 we made a beeline to our favourite lunch spot in Melbourne, Red Emperor in Southbank. Freshly made dim sum with lively and individual flavour are served from trolleys circulating the busy restaurant. There’s an amazing array, both steamed and fried. We loved the rice paper prawns, steamed pork ribs with black beans, sweet pork buns, prawn and ginger how gee, tofu stuffed with prawns, fried octopus tentacles and shanghai style soup dumplings. I wish I had the capacity to try one of everything on offer, but a serve of steamed sticky rice wrapped in a lotus leaf is for me a must so I reluctantly shake my head as the trolley passes.

Local cafes have drawn us in along the way too. The lure of good coffee is strong and while I’ve resisted ordering pastries and cakes I’ve sampled my fair share. Thankfully my companions are not so strong.

I still have 10 days more of eating to look forward to…..

 

 

About ladyredspecs

I live in sunny Brisbane, Australia. My love of good food drives me as a cook, a reader, a traveller, an artist and but mostly as an eater. I cooked professionally for many years but have no formal training. Simply guided by a love of eating good food, respect for ingredients and an abhorrence of artificial additives, I cook instinctively applying the technical know how acquired by experience. I hope you enjoy what I share Sandra AKA ladyredspecs

21 comments on “My Melbourne holiday menu #1

  1. Francesca
    April 10, 2018

    Catching up with things. I read this while at the beach and then forgot to say how much I enjoyed reading about your Melbourne sojourn. A trip to the Medit- always good, Oakridge Estate, a favourite of mine too, and a good yum cha by the river- Melbourne heaven.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lisa @ cheergerm
    April 9, 2018

    Having done that drive years ago, I hear you on the distance. What a lovely Melbourne foodie sojourn Mrs R. I especially loved your Yarra Valley moment description. Enjoy every moment and every bite.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. fergie51
    April 6, 2018

    Glad the decent weather has been on for you Sandra. We should have organised few Vic IMK’rs to hit Mediteranean Wholesalers, that would have been fun! Sing out if you head towards Gippsland 🙂

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 7, 2018

      Busy with school hols and grandkids this visit, already another under discussion though, just for us grown ups. Maybe we could plan something then

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Michelle
    April 6, 2018

    Ah, so Thomas Wolfe was wrong: You CAN go home again!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 6, 2018

      I had to look up Thomas Wolfe, I’m much more familar with English literature than American, but yes, he got that one wrong. We visited Melbourne’s Immigration Museum with our grandkids yesterday. They thought it was mean that in the mid 20th century migrants who had an assisted passage had to stay 2 years. I understand totally….

      Like

  5. Ardys
    April 6, 2018

    Thank you for the eating itinerary, I think we will look in on Red Emperor next week while in Melbourne. But first…Movida Next Door…mmmmmmm

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jan
    April 6, 2018

    Ohhh – fabulous!

    Like

  7. The Victoria Market was one of my favorite stops when we visited Melbourne. What an amazing place! I don’t think there is anything like it in the US.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 6, 2018

      There are a few other markets just like it in Melbourne, not quite as big but just as wonderful. I think it’s a must see for all visitor. We’ll visit again next week before we leave

      Liked by 1 person

  8. chef mimi
    April 5, 2018

    Oh how fantastic! Think of me!!!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 6, 2018

      Definitely changes your view being a tourist. It’s not surprising it’s the world’s most liveable city

      Like

  9. Mackay Sherry
    April 5, 2018

    Ooh yes. I love Melbourne’s wonderful food culture. It’s not as vibrant here in Brisbane and tends to be very spread out so harder to find. Sounds like you are having a marvellous time. Lucky! Cheers S x

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 6, 2018

      Thanks Sherry we’re having a ball and loving the cooler weather too. We won’t leave it so long next time

      Like

  10. Gather and Graze
    April 5, 2018

    How fabulous Sandra! I’m salivating just reading descriptions of all that you’ve eaten so far on this fabulous foodie holiday. Enjoy the next 10 days to come! xx

    Like

  11. katechiconi
    April 5, 2018

    I agree that the north is sadly lacking the huge and vibrant choice available in Melbourne. I always make a point of going to the Queen Vic Market on the sadly few occasions when I’m there; I used to do my Saturday morning shopping there and I feel the lack here. Ordering online doesn’t do the trick when you can’t inspect, taste and smell things…

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 6, 2018

      I often felt I’ve been unkind to Queensland, that my memory must be distorted but this visited has reinforced the reality. Oh well, Melbourne’s is only a short flight away

      Liked by 1 person

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