Happy 6 Months!
Happy 6 Months!
In an ideal world, I’d be saying that to my loving partner. In reality- I’m saying it to myself and my new BFF, Melbourne.
It’s crazy to think six months ago today I drove 9 hours from my home of 26 years, Sydney to embark on a new adventure in Melbourne.
Initially playing it month by month, it wasn’t long before the city of amazing coffee and graffiti-filled streets lured me here on a more permanent basis.
If you asked any of my past lovers, they would all tell you how big I am on celebrating anniversaries, so it seemed only fitting that I take myself out on a day of adventures.
The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant is one of those things Melbournities have seen drive through the city their entire lives but have never got around to checking it out.
As a (relative) newbie, I thought I’d take my friend Zoe for a lunch about town.
We met the rest of the diners on the corner of Normanby Road and Clarendon Street, South Melbourne. As suspected, we were the youngest there by about 15 years but the excitement from the tourists and cute little old couples was infectious.
We hopped onboard and were both surprised at how spacious the restaurant was. I’m a sucker for anything themed so I was all doe-eyed about the scarlet velvet booths, beautiful brass fittings which cast a cosy glow and classical background music.
The air-con and bathroom were also two welcomed modern amenities Zoe and I had concerns about before boarding but we needn’t have worried.
We were offered a complimentary glass of bubbles to kick things off while we drooled over the menu. For an all-inclusive price of $85 p/p (lunch menu, 4 courses including all beverages) - we were super impressed at the offerings (see below!)
A smooth blend of chickpea and tahini with a hint of mint, served with crisp lavosh
Roasted Red Capsicum Dip
Fresh roasted capsicum blended with Australian cream cheese and tapenade, served with golden baked water crackers
Tender confit duck terrine wrapped in prosciutto, accompanied by a wild berry relish and cornichons
Smoked Salmon & Avocado
Smoked Tasmanian salmon and avocado mousse, dressed with baby capers, red onion and tomato salsa
Grilled Chicken Breast
Marinated in herbs on a bed of sautéed spinach served with seasonal vegetables and a rich reduction
Victorian Farmed Eye Fillet of Beef
Paired with a rosemary and thyme scallop potato, fresh seasonal vegetables, onion marmalade and red wine jus
CHEESE TASTING PLATE
Chef’s Selection of Local Cheese
Matched with a quince paste, golden crisp water crackers, and a spiced fruit loaf
The food was delicious and of much higher quality than you’d expect from such a ‘touristy’ venue.
Highlight of the whole lunch however had to be the chef who made frequent trips back down to the dining cart, personally checking in with everybody and singing up a storm- sometimes opera, other times feel-good classics such as 'Amore’. We may or may not have joined in by the end of the meal (after a few wines!)
It was hard not to leave the tramcar with a huge smile on your face (and an extremely full belly!) Definitely recommend it as a cute date night (maybe not a first date as nobody wants spilt red wine on them as the tramcar lurches forward) or the perfect present for the parents (perhaps alongside tickets to a theatre show). Was also really lovely to get a bit of a scenic tour around Melbourne CBD, all the way down to beautiful St Kilda - from the comfort of a cushy booth.
Another favourite thing about my new home-town, Melbourne (apart from the food and bars) are the little hidden boutique hotels.
Although not exactly 'hidden’, the Art Series Hotel Group have just opened their 4th hotel in Melbourne- The Larwill Studio.
Situated on Flemington Rd- just a hop, skip and a jump away from the Melbourne CBD, Melbourne Zoo and Flemington Racetrack- The Larwill Studio is dedicated to the very loveable Australian artist David Larwill.
As with all of the Art Series hotels, it draws inspiration from the individual artist’s artwork with bright playful Larwill works complementing it’s contemporary design and breathtaking views of green parklands and the city.
You feel about 80% cooler just from checking into an Art Series hotel and the Larwill is no different.
I often fight the urge to smuggle out the furnishings- be it the “Put Your Heart In It” quote pillowcase or the quirky bedside table lamps…the Larwill looks like something you’d pin on your Pinterest board labeled “Beautiful Homes I’ll Never Own”.
Unfortunately, I’m so early at checking the Larwill out that the restaurant hasn't opened yet- however there is a cute cafe down in the lobby and fully stocked bar fridge and snack basket (complete with Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, ON CALL!)
As I type this, the sun is setting over the parklands and I’m snuggled up on my king size bed with burnt orange geo-metric blanket, drinking a wine and pampering myself with a million different beauty products as I swan around my room in the fluffy white robe.
Melbourne- you’re alright. I might just hang around.