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Trip Report A short trip to Melbourne to eat! ( + great car hire & apartment)

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Well we didn't only eat, but we sure did eat.

It was our wedding anniversary so decided to head down for a few days, from Brisbane. I don't usually do T/R's for interstate trips but I thought it might help someone local. We had trouble getting 'cheap' flights even before the Qantas fiasco, so for the first time ever we flew Tiger $89ea each way. Couldn't have been more impressed, maybe we were just lucky but all in all I think it was better than Jetstar (who I chose not to fly with due to two cancelled flights with no notice).

The check in guys were friendly and helpful, even 'upgrading' us to the exit aisle, which was great. Flight left on time, arrival into melbourne is quite amusing, its a fair walk off the plane to their arrivals area, which is basically a tin shed. No complaints.

Taxi ride in, I think we may have been 'ripped' off a bit $64, seemed a bit excessive and I'm sure we've never paid anything like that. Stayed at Mantra on Exhibition, booked through Expedia (cheaper than Mantras site) at $148per night. Great location and a roomy 1 bedroom apartment, with everything you'd need.

I'd picked out a few restaurants I wanted to try, so we pretty much dumped our bags and headed off to Cumulus Inc. ww.cumulusinc.com.au , which was just around the corner in Flinders Lne. We sat at the counter watching the chefs at work and had an amazing lunch.
For the foodies, we ate from the Charcuterie menu.............

Kitchen charcuterie selection
Wagyu bresaola, wood sorrel
Prosciutto di Parma
Hand cut Sicilian salami
Duck terrine, prune & apple
KPaletilla Ibérica de bellota Joselitourobouta prosciutto

After that beautiful plate of food we shared....

Fried soft shell crab & school prawns, shredded cabbage, honey & chardonnay vinegar &
Grilled yabbies, aoili & lemon. All washed down with a lovely bottle of a Chablis we had had in France last year. A perfect start to our anniversary weekend.

In the afternoon we just wandered around, me to Bourke st Mall for some shopping and dh just meandered around town. In the evening our great friends who live in Melbourne joined us for dinner. Again we only had to walk around the corner to Grossi Florentini, we dined in the Cellar Bar area for a casual dinner. www.grossi.com.au/grossi-florentino/the-cellar-bar . We all only had mains as we'd 'nibbled' over drinks in the apartment and we'd bought deserts from the David Jones food hall, to have later.

We ate.
Spaghetti alla Bolognese, with rich meat ragu
Two of us had the special grilled spatchcock with roast Zuchini
& dh had the osso bucco special.
Just yum!!!!

The next day we again did some shopping and then got the #96 tram from Bourke st to St Kilda for our 'actual' anniversary lunch at Donovans www.donovanshouse.com.au which has been our favourite restaurant for many years. This time I think we may have had the best food EVER. The setting is amazing, sitting by a big window looking out over port phillip bay, people watching at its best.

We both started with the Four Tastes starter, which I believe changes often. We had a stuffed mushroom, a scallop in the shell with fried leek and some kind of corn relish, (devine), a slice of wagu beef with a mustard sauce and finally a beetroot salad c/w goats curd. Just perfection.

Mains was for dh, Queensland leader prawns grilled with chilli and oregano. Served with house chips, tossed cos leaves and homemade condiments. (I had his salad) He order a side of Cauliflower gratin with parmesan and breadcrumbs. I ordered the Pan-seared fillet of John Dory with grilled asparagus, burst cherry tomatoes, olives, and olive oil crushed potatoes. All were just amazingly delicious.

Normally we don't have room for desert but we made a special effort and shared Bombe Alaska for two with hazelnut and chocolate ice cream and meringue, WOH!! After that we took our coffee out onto the terrace and there we sat watching the afternoon disappear with contented hearts and very full stomachs. ;-)

Ps. I had bought the owners book a few years ago and emailed them to say how much I enjoyed it. We were given a beautiful plate of Petit Fours with our coffee with their compliments, which was lovely. We did have to take them away with us, just no room left.

So no dinner that night for obvious reasons.

The next day we checked out and went to pick up a hire car. Dh had booked this through drivenow.com.au and had requested a Falcon Xr6 or similar. On arrival at Budget they gave him a Holden Capris, he was very happy. Total cost $76 inc Insurance, which we thought was fantastic. Picked up in the city and dropped off at the airport the next day. Cheaper than the cab ride!!!

We had a couple of hours to kill before driving out to Croydon to visit with dh's aunt. So we headed to Brighton to have brunch at the Pantry www.pantry.com.au. What a beautiful suburb, the restaurant is a casual deli kind of place, we really enjoyed it. We had the Victorian free range roast chicken sandwich (charred sourdough, mustard mayonnaise,
avocado, crispy bacon, dressing of honey, almond, baby carrots, golden sultanas) which was really yum and dh had a daily special, chilli prawn pizza. We also had freshly squeezed juices.

After that we visited dh's aunt and had a lovely catch up. Then drove to Research and spent the night with our friends, planning our next 'joint venture' (adventure!!). Vietnam & Combodia in March next year. So thats it, we dropped the car off at the airport the next morning and flew home.

A lovely few days.

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