I just returned from a few delicious days in Victoria. I hadn’t been away since a week on the Hokkaido ski fields in Japan in February (yes yes, it’s a tough life) and I really needed a break. So I checked the diary for a free weekend and booked a mini break to Melbourne town.
I stayed with my Uncle and Aunty who conveniently live a few streets away from trendy Chapel Street and Windsor train station, making it super easy for a tourist like me to get around town. This is the first of a few posts about my tasty long weekend eats.
My first brunch was on Thursday at Borsch, Vodka and Tears. As this Polish cafe was recommended to me by a few different people, on arrival I wasn’t surprised to find all the tables outside taken and a steady stream of folk popping in to pick up take-away coffees.
I ordered the avocado on toast with a side of mushrooms and a crunchy potato blintz. The generous serving saw me through until late afternoon. Shelves behind the counter and atop the window sill host a variety of different coloured and sized vodka bottles. I’m tipping that this is a happening little joint for a few drinks at night. Next time I’m in town I’ll have to drop by to sample some of the vodkas.
Friday brunch was at Orange, my Uncle’s favourite local cafe. I ordered the ricotta and corn fritters (minus the bacon and egg).
Unexpectedly the ‘fritters’ were more like pikelets and didn’t have many corn kernels inside. What made the dish for me was the apple relish generously sandwiched between the fritters. Big heaters out the front make Orange another great place for an after dark drink.
The last brunch I had was on Sunday at Tusk Cafe Bar. My hot chocolate was enormous! I had the mushrooms and spinach on brioche with a tomato paste on the side. The Mexican breakfast with cornbread and jalapeños looked great too.
To Melbourne’s credit, the people are great. Every waiter and retail assistant I encountered were extraordinarily friendly and helpful. Everyone I met was genuinely interested in having a chat and a laugh (which I think in turn makes them better at their job). This is one of the many things I love about Melbourne. The relaxed and friendly atmosphere is infectious.
Unfortunately it’s not always the same in Sydney. Everyone is busy and on the go, with no time for chit-chat. Friendly people are few and far between, particularly in the customer service industry. Even Sydney-siders behind the wheel are impatient, blasting their horns if you don’t jump on the accelerator the very second the traffic light turns green. We could really take a leaf out of Melbourne’s book – they seem to have the welcoming, happy vibe just right.