I read a good quote I like to live by: 'life is too short for a bad meal'. And it's important to remember that a 'good' meal doesn't have to be expensive or fancy; some of my best meals were $2 migoreng with friends at 2AM, a steaming bowl of chicken soup on a freezing, rainy night after you've been walking for the entire day, a 'failed' burger cooked by your brother from scratch.
However, I think if you're eating out when travelling, it's always worth the extra few minutes it might take to quickly look up Zomato or some food blogs to try and find out what's the best place in the area. Other people's recommendations may not always turn out to be the best (see this for the funniest thing I've read all week). But at least your chances of finding awesome food are slightly higher. Of course, if you're standing right outside a shop that smells wonderful but isn't recommended, you should also take a chance every once in awhile.
This is just going to be a quick 'n dirty honest rundown of the things I ate while in Victoria, for your future reference~
- Brick Lane (ordered: breakfast waffle with poached eggs): Good but not mind-blowing. Pretty big portions, was comfortable sharing with my mum
- Kyo Tea House (ordered: hojicha and matcha soft cream): best matcha ice cream I've had in awhile - you can actually taste the tea! - and the roasted tea flavour of the hojicha hit the spot. Definite recommendation
- 8-bit (ordered: loaded fries): Sometimes you just need to say goodbye to your arteries. Went inside for the cute interior design, sitting at the counter is good for people watching and D&Ms
- The Kettle Black (ordered: coconut set chia with citrus, blood orange and raspberry sorbet): I liked the flavours of the coconut set chia, ice-cream made it feel more 'dessert-like' than a brunch food. Got a bit too rich/sweet after awhile, would recommend sharing it with a friend and getting something savoury. More expensive than other Melbourne brunch places but lovely ambience to the cafe (very Scandinavian) and I love the look of terrace house between two modern buildings - you're paying extra for the experience.
- Hawker Chan (ordered: soya sauce chicken noodle): Is the Michelin star worth it? Well...it was disappointing because I could TASTE the potential of the dish (chicken was SUPER tender and sauce was great) but everything was lukewarm, the restaurant looked understaffed (to be fair, it was about 9:45PM and there was still a long line of people) and the lights in the kitchen cut off for awhile right after we got our order. Not worth the line unless you're getting takeaway and you can go home and heat it yourself.
- Pidapipó (ordered: mojito - don't do it): Best ice-cream in Melbourne apparently and I liked the spoonfuls I got of mango and watermelon (!! usually I detest watermelon flavoured anything except actual watermelon). Do not get the mojito ice cream unless you want INTENSE sweetness and sourness of lime to PUNCH YOU IN THE FACE, ROB YOU OF YOUR POSSESSIONS AND LEAVE YOU BLEEDING IN THE STREET (also shhh, I think Messina/Hakiki is better)
- Two Buoys (recommend: Moroccan chicken flatbread, son in law egg, soft shell crab slider): Huge menu range, somewhat expensive but the flatbread toppings are very generous and the flavours are great. Tapas are tiny and expensive but...well, they're tapas.
- The Deck Bar and Bistro (recommend: salt and pepper squid): The squid is heavenly and the place does fries and deep-fried food really well. Solid food - not envelope-pushing but very good for a suddenly cold afternoon.
- Red Hill Epicurean (recommend: lamb shank, pizza): This is a splurge but it's the rustic farmhouse eatery of your dreams so it's truly worth it. The entire lunch complex is build into an old farmhouse, warm wood accents, ~rustic~ modern decor and just. Every food blogger's aesthetic dream. The cafe next door for breakfast also looks amazing.