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Melbournians. If you think you know Melbourne, then think again.
Many thanks to Media Moguls and Hardie Grant, a few bloggers and myself were invited for an exclusive discovery walk around Melbourne City to launch Hide and Seekfood Melbourne guidebook series. This series showcases (‘Feeling Peckish?’), shopping (‘Treasure Trove’), bars and clubs (‘Night Owl’) and quirky experiences (‘Hit the Streets’).
What I like about Melbourne is its hidden treasure of places waiting to be discovered. You can lost in the laneways. Open a red door and find yourself in a very zen-like Japanese restaurant or walk up a flight of stairs and find yourself in a Witches’ house? So whether you are a tourist or a local, this is a great series to have and works as a great gift idea as well.
I was greeted by Mellie of Tummyrumbles and one of the contributors of Feeling Peckish at the steps of the infamous Flinders Street Station.
And what better way than to start the tour with a super delicious and ultra rich cannoli from T. Cavallaro & Sons! Danny, the other half of Tummyrumbles and one of the contributor of Feeling Peckish) was the custodian of these beautiful and fresh cannoli that he acquired from Hopkins Street in Footscray. I walked past this old skool Italian patisserie so many times but never once walked in. I must make sure that I pop in soon for another delicious and fresh cannoli and an espresso.
In the invite, we were told in the email to bring along or wear a shiny shoe. Bummer…. I had no comfortable shiny shoe and so missed out on a shoe shine by Neil Martin, the shoe shine man. Neil had a great success story to tell. He was once homeless and started shoe shining in different parts of Melbourne CBD. One day, he met a nice man that offered him a job and a space as a shoe shine person on the Paris end of Collins Street. And did you know that he once shined Jerry Lewis‘ shoes?
Neil will shine your shoes for $7 and on Tuesday, it is only $5 for a shine! I am so taking my boots down for a good shine and getting them ready for winter.
Nicholas Building is a place that I walked by so frequently when I used to work in the city but never ever ventured upstairs. So I was so amazed with all the cool and unique shops that we visited. I will have to be back to explore again.
Kimono House (Treasure Trove)
The Kimono House was started by Noami 7 years ago in her 2beedroom house in East Melbourne. Her passion for kimonos and especially the fabric can be seen throughout the shop. Once a year, she will visit Japan and carefully hand pick the fabrics and kimono to bring it back to Melbourne. The shop is filled with handmade crafts, second hand kimonos and of course, fabrics.
The Kimono House also have workshops and a place to learn and experience Japanese cultural activities like the very precise and delicate Japanese tea ceremony or learn how to wear a Kimono. And also check out these slippers. You can learn how to create a pair of these at one of the workshops at Kimono House. Will definitely be back to try out this workshop. This is also a really nice place to find unique gifts or get your friend a workshop gift or something. Loving it
Buttonmania (Treasure Trove)
Buttons everywhere! This place retails buttons for the collector, dressmakers, craft people and even customises buttons. Do you know that Buttonmania even makes buttons for Collette Dinnigan! Cool huh?
I even got to make my very own button on a century old machine. It is my first and I am going to make this into a ring. I am so coming back here to get buttons to revamp and spice up my jackets or shirts.
Thanks to Shellie (Iron Chef Shellie) for allowing me to use this photo that she took of me with the 100 year old machine
Zoologie (Treasure Trove)
We were on a tight schedule so we hurried off Zoologie. Manchester Lane is a stretch of mostly little Australian fashion boutiques. This quaint little shop is opened by husband and wife, George and Bonita. Quote:” We produce collections that aren’t trend led, but rather, go against the grain. Clothes that are defined by quirky detailing, playfully unexpected finishings and a bright and optimistic outlook on life.”
There was a really nice funky looking bag that both Mellie and I were eyeing. Our poor hubbies might just have to fork out some money for our retail therapy soon
All this walking means we need a short coffee break. We all walked towards Melbourne Central and immediately I knew we were going to hit STREAT. I have written about the initiative of STREAT awhile ago. I love what they are doing with the kids. The first class of kids actually graduated last year and some of them are doing really well. Support them if you can. If you are one of those that drop at Melbourne Central train station and pick up a coffee on the way to work, please support STREAT and grab a takeway Fairtrade coffee from them. Every little bit count! Also there is another STREAT cafe on Flinders Street just opposite the Cathedral.
Spellbox – The Witch’s House (Hit the Streets)
A Witch’s House in the middle of Melbourne CBD? We all need a little magic in our lives. Spellbox has been around since 1993. This place specialises, in physic reading, potion chanelling, card reading sessions and is really popular as a corporate activities amongst all the office buildings surrounding the CBD. This place also organises full moon gathering in their rooftop garden that overlooks the city!
Dansk Restuarant (Feeling Peckish)
Being a food blogger, this has to be my favourite part of the tour. Dansk has been on my list of restaurants to go to. I have zero experience with Nordic food so this was a very welcomed experience. Dansk shares part of Denmark House. The whole decor of the place is amazing. Simple, clean cut lines that feels very spacious but natural.
Chef Bente Grysbaek tries making use of the Australian produce and follows the New Nordic methods to re-create Nordic dishes. It is a challenge to find the right and indigenous ingredients required for the dishes.
The taste is very similar to the design. Simple, clean and very natural and keeping as closely to seasonal produce as possible. Our first dish was snapas which is a shot of cold snapps with an olived oil herring. Oh la la… what a way to start a tasting.
Then each person was given 2 different mini smushis or open sandwiches. I was given the prawn salad topped with dill and caviar and roast beef with horseradish topped with fried shallots. The prawn smushis were great. The prawn had the right bounce and the saltiness of the caviar gave this dish the delicate saltiness and love the little burst of sea in my mouth. Simple and yet complex.
Here are the rest of the delicious Smushies. This is pork terrine with house made mustard and beetroot on the left and crumbed fish with remoulade and lemon on the right.
And here is the slow cooked Gippsland lamb culotte with red currants and Waldoff salad in the front and rolled pork belly sausage and black pepper at the back.
This is our last stop and a favourite with many of us. Some of us stayed on and actually made purchases and I was one of them! The products here are not massed produced. This place celebrates and promotes less know designers. The items are all super quirky.
I love this whole table and so wanted to buy everything. **hint hint**
It was getting late and most of us missed the last stop which is Until Never Gallery. It’s in Hosier Lane where it houses pretty awesome graffiti. The exhibitions are usually worth visiting and they showcase contemporary art from both Australian and International artists.
It was a fun and adveturous day out with everyone. There are a few places in the book that I am definitely interested in checking out. For all Melbournians, do you have a favourite hideout in Melbourne? Please share
And don’t forget to check out more photos from the day by clicking on the thumbnails at the top of this post.
Public Announcement – Hide and Seek Book Launch
When: Tuesday 1 March, from 6pm to 9pm
Where: 24 Moons at AC/DC Lane (off Flinders Lane), Melbourne
Price: $20 for all advanced ticket sales before Monday 28th February at 4pm. $30 for ticket sales on the night
What‘s included: A goodie bag containing a free copy of one of the four books (your choice), a complimentary cocktail, finger food and the chance to win prizes straight out of the various Melbourne locations featured in the Hide & Seek books!
How to attend: Please visit www.hideseek.com.au to purchase a ticket.