Friday, December 2, 2016

Melbourne | Day 2

The bustling city of Melbourne proved friendlier on day 2 with orientation and recognition of places and landmarks. The free tram zone was great and super handy for visitors like us.

I had planned to visit Hardware Societe for breakfast and had been warned that a 30-45 minute wait was absolutely normal in Melbourne and Sydney, whereas anything longer than a 5 minute wait, or in most places any wait at all is unexpected in Brisbane.

The cafe was super cute! Butterfly-covered walls and whisk lights. I put it on the itinerary simply because everybody I spoke to said good things about it but they didn't specify why or recommend anything specific. I didn't know anything about it being a Parisian-style cafe but it was a really lovely experience because we had the cheeriest waitress and she was so helpful and thoughtful.

Baked eggs with pork sausage - they offer three baked egg dishes to choose from, which I thought was a good way of doing it to cater for different tastes but this wasn't amazing. I thought it could have done with more sauce.

Brioche French toast special with fresh and freeze-dried blueberries, an ingot of caramel parfait and coffee-poached pears. By far my favourite dish at Hardware Societe and possibly my favourite dish of the trip! The toast was done so perfectly- crisp and textured on the crust and soft but not too eggy in the middle and the flavours of the elements were great together.

Cripy skin salmon special with poachies, greens and potato with toast. We got 4 coffees but they definitely weren't a standout. I would recommend visiting Hardware Societe for the food and experience but be prepared to wait for a table and manage your expectations!

We then took the tram to Queen Victoria Markets but weren't very impressed as we weren't afforded a kitchen and time to make the most of fresh produce and deli goods, and the tourist outdoor merch market wasn't very appealing to us already living in Australia with plenty of markets in Brisbane.

From the QV Markets we trekked to the Carlton Gardens and the Royal Exhibition Building to walk through the Gardens and visit the Melbourne Museum. We ended up buying double passes to an IMAX film and the Museum. We watched A Beautiful Planet that day, which was on the biggest cinema screen in Australia (6 or 7 storeys high apparently) and it was a great film raising awareness about climate change with input from NASA and narrated by Jennifer Lawrence, whose voice sounds so familiar and distinct that she feels like a friend. We decided that since the Museum was closing soon we'd go back the following day.

We walked to Brunetti's in Carlton and passed by some pretty streets.

I was so taken by Brunetti's and the incredible variety of baked goods and gelato available! The Carlton shop was so extensive and prettily fitted out. We had the lemon brulee tart, Nutella ricotta cheesecake, white chocolate raspberry opera cake and gelato and my favourites were the white chocolate raspberry cake and the gelato!

We walked to a tram stop and waited for a good 20 mins but there was no tram to be seen. We ended up catching the tourist tram and headed to Little Bourke St for dinner.

A dear friend (hi Clare!) recommended Plus +39 Pizzeria for great pizza bases and squid ink marinara and the moment we were seated the restaurant told us that the squid ink marinara had sold out for the day! It's popular for a reason but the rest of our experience was still enjoyable. We had three pizzas and two pastas and it was a great meal.

After dinner we walked to the Crown Casino to view the fire balls. A friend told us that this was the best weather Melbourne had seen in months and it was such a nice night!

Crown Casino's 12 Days of Christmas music show where each ornament opens when a different carol plays. They had these huge ornaments large enough to fit a person inside and each had an animatronic inside and they lined either side of a huge staircase.

The columns which spew fire on the hour. It was a nice experience on the whole but I don't think the fire balls are an attraction in and of themselves.

That's a wrap on day 2! I'll post about the rest of the trip soon!

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