“Melbourne is very much a city for the urban explorer, much of what the city has to offer to visitors is hidden. It’s not that the folks here want to keep the good stuff for themselves, but what it means is that the evolution of the city around a structured grid pattern has allowed the lanes running off the main roads to offer a more economical means for creative entrepreneurs to base their business in the thick of it and flourish with the help from the local government.”
-Wallpaper* City Guide: Melbourne
As such is the case of Centre Place. This busy laneway and arcade located right in Melbourne’s CBD area and runs between Flinders Lane and Collins Street is home to small vibrant cafes & bars as well as some of the city’s finest example of stencil street art and graffiti.
It wasn’t hard finding our morning caffeine fix here, but choosing a place to do so was. In the end, we finally settled on Issus Cafe & Bar. As the cafe was a great place to people-watch, we chose a table closest to the alley and chow down on another-great-Melbourne-breakfast. Ivan ordered his usual Issus Big Breakfast (AUD14.90), French Brekkie (AUD13.90) for McCutie while Lis settled for a plate of Issus Eggs (AUD14.90) which was poached eggs on a bed of spinach served on English muffins and drizzled with Hollandaise sauce. Now if you really want a real pick-me-up, order anything with Hollandaise sauce here. It was perfectly sour, guarantee to make you bright eye instantly. My order was precisely just that, Egg Spanish (AUD14.90), pretty much the same as Lis’ order with the addition of Chorizo sausages and roasted tomatoes. I’m not sure if this is the best makan place on the block, but it was yumz. Plus it helps that the waiter was cute too!
ISSUS CAFE & BAR
#8-10 Centre Place
Tel: +613 9663 8844
A great place off the usual shopping haunts is a visit to the Camberwell Sunday Market. Established since 1976, this flea market is organised by the Rotary Club as a mean to raise money for different charities. The market is popular for the treasure and bargain hunters searching for vintage clothing, furniture, and books as well as more quirky items. You never know what you’ll find there and with a bit of luck digging you might uncover a hidden gem. Haggling is also part of the fun here.
It was pretty overwhelming in the beginning as we didn’t know where to start, or for that matter what we were actually looking for. It’s easy to spend the whole morning wandering through the markets. Time flies and our stomachs started to growl. Thankfully, hidden among the many knickknacks is a mobile caravan like food stall selling fresh Jam-filled Donuts (AUD2.00 for 6pcs). This hot light snacks were gorgeous. Nothing of the Krispy Kreme sort, just plain old traditional cinnamon sugar coated ones with a nice explosion of raspberry jam in the middle. Good stuff.
CAMBERWELL SUNDAY MARKET
Operates in the carpark outside Target on the western side of Station Street.
Trading hours: Every Sunday (except for the Sunday prior to Christmas) from 7am – 12noon.
And if there’s just one place which you’ll need to go out of the way for, make it this one. Stokers Coffee & Pancake Lounge in Ivanhoe is 15 minutes away from the city centre by car, is a great place for a long, leisurely meal of pancakes. It’s decked out and lit like a country tavern. But modern at the same time. You know what I mean? Fans of Wallpaper* would definitely love this place. The pancakes served here are pretty much of the crepes sort. As these delicious hotcakes are made by just one uncle behind the stove, be prepared to wait at least 20 minutes for your order. So, make sure you bring along good company. At the end of the night you’ll leave feeling like you’ve gotten to know your eating companions very well.
As to whether this place is worth waiting for, the answer would be a resounding “Yes!“. They’ve got a wide variety of pancakes on the menu, from the traditional maple syrup and butter combo to hearty cheese and chicken filled. Best to go with the traditional and although your coffee may have gone cold from the wait, the piping hot, buttery pancake goes down like a treat. I chose the Rum Banana Pancake and had it with ice-cream (the other option is cream) – a cold, milky vanilla works wonders soothing the throat when you’re trying to swallow hot banana and maple syrup. Averagely a pancake cost between AUD8.00 – AUD13.00.
Besides the food, everything else here is also done the old-fashioned way (the bill is even written up by hand) and the wood fireplace in the middle of the room was the perfect winter warmer. Definitely a must visit if you ever make it to Melbourne.
STOKERS COFFEE & PANCAKE LOUNGE
#1033 Heidelberg Rd.
Tel: +613 9497 4488
Anyway folks, we’ve come to the end of my Melbourne vacation series. Phew, I’ve never posted so many times in a single week before. I’m so proud of myself and feels like rewarding myself with a holiday now after all the hard work.
I also wanna give a shout out to all three of my travel company who’s made the trip a memorable one. Of course we did so much more than what was highlighted here. But, no matter what we were doing, it’s all love and laughter. That’s what a holiday is all about. And I want to thank y’all for that. *Group Hug*
BTW: Was woken up by a the terrible news of Farah Fawcett and Michael Jackson’s death this morning. Such memories they bring especially the latter albeit his wackiness. Can’t imagine my younger days without his music.
BTW2: To all that’s running in the KL Marathon 2009 this weekend! Have a great weekend everybody.