She’s the eclectic epicentre of Australia.
A bundle of paradoxes.
A culimination of culture, cool and captivation.
The perfect mix of Yin and Yang.
And last week she stole my heart and intoxicated my soul, played with my palate and excited my senses.
I’d visited Melbourne a few times before, but never had I seen her in this light. Beforehand I’d only been receptive to her Yang – The busyness. The good food. The hustle and the bustle. But this time around I saw a whole different side to her. This city’s generously sprinkled with a whole lot of Yin – The calmer cafe culture. The burgeoning healing and wellness vibe. The warmth and welcoming of her people.
The way her feminine and masculine energy intertwine is rather magical.
So my beautiful peeps, let me share with you the beauty of Melbourne which I discovered
Food is a massive deal for me. It excites me. It makes me incredibly happy. However as someone who has become very particular about what passes my lips, I often don’t enjoy eating out. I feel fussy and there is never really much on a menu that gets me excited. But Melbourne, oh she got me very, very excited.
As the foodie hub of Australia, this city is bursting with vegan friendly cafes and restaurants that are conscious about organic and local produce. That gets one big-ass fist pump from me! My trip quickly turned into a bit of a foodie safari, as I attempted to indulge in as many of these local eats as possible. Here are the deets…
Sprouted toast. Raw hot chocolate. Wintery Apple Crumble. Raw Zucchini Pasta. Just a few of the delights that I partook in at this little spot of foodie paradise.
Don’t worry, it wasn’t all in one sitting. As “luck” would have it, I was staying only a short 30 second stroll away. So for a large part of last week, you could have found me here, just soaking up Combi’s good vibes and sipping pot after pot of Chai.
Note: This place is somewhat of a hub for pretty much the whole of Elwood and draws a whole lot of other Melbournians out to this beautiful beachside village. So given Combi’s small space, I suggest if you’re going to make the journey, keep your crew pretty intimate or go it alone.
For next time: Raw Caramel Slice.
I’d heard a whole lotta wonderful about this place. It’s an Instagram sensation. So of course, dinner here was a non-negotiable. Not used to having a whole lot of choice when dining out, I found myself extremely overwhelmed by Yong’s menu. Macrobiotic. Vegan. Organic. Raw. It had all the bases covered. There was so much goodness to choose from! And when the food showed up (very, very, very quickly after finally making the tough order decision)….it was freaking unbelievable!
Dining with someone who hadn’t really delved into the world of organic plant based, whole food livin’ before, I was stoked to hear that the food had floored her too. The meal was simply a series of “oooooh’s” & “mmmmmm’s”. So good it rendered us speechless.
In fact, the next night I went a out of my way ( a $30 cab fare!) just to indulge my tastebuds here again. If Yong’s could somehow express post their Quinoa Fritters, Thai Green Curry and White Chocolate and Raspberry Cheesecake to my place every single night, I’d be one happy lady!
Although inconspicuously tucked away behind a main street, Monk draws a crowd. And it doesn’t take long to realise why. With unbelievably large portioned, great tasting food and a bevy of bearded waitstaff, I was in heaven.
This place is “cooly conscious”, with real, sustainable, clean food served by a whole lot of hipsters. Yes. Yes. Yes.
For the few nights I was staying in Southbank, I wasn’t too excited for the food. As the more touristy part of the city, I didn’t expect their to be too much on offer within walking distance. So when I came across this quirky little vego-friendly place only a 5 minute stroll from my apartment I was fist pumping!
No mock meats or hippy vibe here. It’s restaurant dining, with real ingredients and a whole lot of flavour.
The thing I love about the “vego/vegan” culture in Melbourne is everyone seems to be on board. They’ve moved way past the times of bain marie’s and lentils. This city’s got it sorted and the Vegie Bar is testament to that.
This place boasts an extensive cruelty-free menu plus offers a whole heap of raw meals and treats too! And once again there’s no hippy vibe. Vegie Bar is for the masses, managing to lure in a full-house (and it’s one big-ass place) with their restaurant/ bar atmosphere the night I dined in.
Ethical. Eclectic. Homely. Blue Buddha Cafe is just…the cutest!
Their breakfast/ brunch menu may be small but by god it is good! They’ve got mushroom bacon, which tastes…LIKE REAL BACON! And they rock a fridge full of delicious looking raw treats! With the rise of raw food becoming “cool”, some places can get a little pretentious. Blue Buddha Cafe is far from this. They’re not here to serve the masses or to be on trend. They’re here to serve ethical, cruelty-free food infused with a whole lot of passion and love.
DO / DISCOVER
I’m constantly looking for ways to expand my yoga practice. And although Hip Hop yoga is far from my usual meditative style, I’d seen/ heard too much about this place and their signature swagger. So I trammed it out to South Yarra and found this beautiful studio. From the reception desk to the bathroom sink… Yoga 213 exudes style and cool.
And the practice was no different. Yoga flow to hip-hop beats.
Although getting my Vinyasa on to Biggie Smalls was very, very fun, personally I couldn’t cultivate any sense of deep connection in this environment. And this is the reason I do yoga – to connection. However, if you’re not into the “spirituality” side of yoga (which in my opinion is actually the core practice) and are just after a bit of fun fitness, Yoga 213 is for you.
I’m a big explorer. I just love to walk and see what happens. Sometimes I have a destiantion. Other times I’ll just go with the flow.
The amazing thing about exploring a new place is how present you become. Everything is fresh. Everything warrants your complete and utter attention. Every step become a moving meditation.
Note: Choose suitable exploration shoes. My blisters are still subsiding.
Other Blissful highlights
The best thing about interstate travel? Meeting up with strangers you’ve met on the internet.
No. I didn’t partake in a Tinder style date. Instead I spent one potently power-packed brunch with Emily from Bliss Co and Lucy from Something to Move. Although I’d met Lucy before, we had both only connected with Em online. Nonetheless, after introductions were out of the way, it seemed each of us forgot about our physiological need to breathe. A whole lot of time spent behind a screen makes for one chatty meet-up.
The power of the freaking internet, hey?
What I believe to be the alternate hub of Melbourne, Fitzroy was overflowing with a few of my favourite things – Good food. Good vibes. Big beards.
Coming from the “Sunshine State” I was a little nervous to venture on down to Meblourne, known for it’s unpredictable and bleary weather. So when I experienced nothing but sunshine and pretty balmy days (for a Melbourne winter at least), I was pretty freaking stoked!
Bollywood inspired cab rides.
When your cabbie mentions his good enough for Bollywood, and you convince him to sing for you. You know its been a good ride! Then when he boasts that you can find him on the Facebook page Sexy Punjabi’s, you wouldn’t care if the fare was doubled. Money can’t buy that kinda experience.
Run ins with Magda Szubanski
I casually shared a booth with this amazingly lovely woman at Combi one morning. We (very briefly) chatted about my lack of acknowledge re: current affairs. She laughed. And on leaving, wished me a good day. Star struck!
Sharon, you’re a legend.
Just like her food, Melbourne is moorish.
A few mouthfuls (days) wasn’t enough. She’s got me begging for more.
So I’d love to hear what your favourite haunts are so I can add them to my list for next time.
And to all you Melbournians, you are lucky, lucky people!