Melbourne is a strange place for a Sydneysider. The two cities are so diametrically opposed it's not funny and the rivalry has been going on since Day One! While Sydney is all beaches, sunshine and acai bowls, Melbourne is full of art, boutique shopping and wine bars. It's the perfect opposite to Sydney!
The Mothership and I flew down for a quick sojourn so she could deliver a talk on colour and architecture at Space Furniture and have three days of exploring! Here's what we did, starting with the lovely hotel we first checked into, the Coppersmith Hotel in South Melbourne. It was gorgeous, with lots of copper detailing which harked back to its former life, rows of champagne and Insta-worthy interiors.
After checking in, it was time to do our first bit of exploring. After getting a boatload of recommendations from friends we had enough cafes and restaurants on our list of places to try to have two lunches every day! First stop though was Melbourne institution (and one you'll probably recognise from frequently-snapped facade), The Kettle Black. We'd only had a very light breakfast before hopping on the plane and it was already past time for lunch so we had a late breakfast-lunch-early dinner hybrid meal! Luckily the menu totally delivers and we were very satisfied with our choices: beans with basil pesto, red peppers, house made tomato sauce on toast, and chilli-scrambled eggs with crab.
That night it was off to see the Mothership do her amazing thing and talk about colour and architecture like the pro she is, then on our first full day in Melbourne we went to the National Gallery of Victoria to see their MoMA exhibit and to say we were excited about this is a definite understatement. It was in a word, unbelievable. So many paintings and pieces of art that I'd only ever seen in books, online or on TV or in films and you get to see them up close and personal! There were works by Warhol, Rothko, Van Gogh, Picasso, Lichtenstein, the list goes on. Unfortunately the exhibit is now over but next time I'm in New York, I know exactly where I'm going to go to get a dose of culture.
On the afternoon of our first full day we switched hotels, moving into the Hotel Windsor, right in the centre of Melbourne's CBD and one of the most majestic old hotels in Australia. It was built in the late 1800's and is gorgeous! I think they thought we were someone else though as we had a huge suite of a room and were greeted with a bottle of champagne and a note that read 'Welcome back!'. I'd never stayed at the Windsor and the last time my parents did was when they were roadtripping in the 1980's! So that was a little funny and unexpected but still lovely. I treated the Mothership to a beautiful high tea where we stuffed ourselves full of tiny little cakes, finger sandwiches, scones and bubbles before venturing out into the cold Melbourne air for more.
We did so much wandering around Melbourne that by the end of the day we'd have to lie down on the gloriously soft beds at the Windsor to rest our feet for a while before heading out again at dinnertime! Making good progress through our list of recommendations, we headed to Higher Ground for dinner and indulged on Brussels sprouts with XO sauce and a fried egg, duck liver parfait with brioche and the cheese plate for dessert.
On our last full day in what ended up being an incredibly sunny Melbourne winter getaway we decided to stop for breakfast at a Melbourne restaurant/cafe that had been recommended by practically everyone we spoke to - The European.
Famous for perfect coffee and European (obviously) fare, it was definitely a winner and probably our favourite place to eat in Melbourne at this point! I chose pancakes for breakfast and they were light and fluffy, absolutely perfect!
We decided to go for a walk and a windowshop down Brunswick Street in Fitzroy, just down the road from the Windsor Hotel. There's always lots of little boutique shops, cafes and vintage stores along there that are always worth a look! Along the way we stopped into the most extra restaurant every, the Fitzroy Social for a spot of lunch and just check out these photos, it is out of this world!
Finally it was time for one more gallery visit, this time to the Ian Potter Gallery at Federation Square to see their exhibition, The Field Revisited - lots of colours and shapes! Then pre-dinner champagne at the Melbourne Supper Club (upstairs from The European), before heading back downstairs to The European for dinner and flying home the next morning.