Tuesday, September 7th, 2010

A Long Weekend in Melbourne

Some photos and lunch from newly opened; DOC Mornington

Grafitti art in renowned; Hosier lane

Architecture at Federation Square and Monday lunch at Movida

More grafitti in Hosier lane

All Images (with the exception of the last) © Katie Quinn Davies.

Last images above on right © Tim Burton @ ACMI

All Images © Tim Burton @ ACMI

Thanks for all the lovely comments and well wishes for my past weekend in Melbourne, it was really great to get away for a few days and chill out. It was surreal being back in the city and it really only felt like we left last week, not six months ago – where does the time go to?!

Albeit pretty chilly compared to what we are now used to in Sydney, I have to admit the ease of Melbourne and it’s laid-back lifestyle really made me miss the place. As a non-Aussie with an outsider’s opinion, it’s a much easier city to navigate than Sydney and the shopping in general is without a doubt, a million times better I find. The new David Jones store is stunning and well stocked, I had a little splurge on a pair of Chloé shoes – a small ‘well done for securing some recent photo jobs to me’ pressie ;) and was delighted to find they had plenty of stock in my size – an occurrence which is rather (frustratingly) infrequent I have found in the Sydney CBD branch and I normally walk away empty-handed. Anyway girlie shoes aside.. we had a really relaxing time down the coast staying with the in-laws. Bob my father-in-law cooked up a superb roast pork on Friday night accompanied by a cracking side of red cabbage – the recipe for which I’m going to have to get my mitts on and post up in here. Saturday we did a bit of credit card damage, and I met up with a good Irish friend of mine for a girly catch-up and some glasses of white at a previously unbeknownst to be me, superb little pasta and wine bar in Howey Place called; Solarino, if you ever find yourself in this restaurant try their antipasto platter, it’s one of the best I have eaten and great value at $22 for the amount and variety they serve up on a wonderfully rustic wooden platter.

Saturday night we went for a fantastic dinner in Comme *see below* and Sunday was spent pottering around the city, enjoying a drink or two in Fed Square before heading into the Tim Burton exhibition at ACMI. This exhibition is one I have fervently wanted to see for months and one of the main reasons we travelled down to Melbourne for the weekend. I am a huge – strike that – gargantuan fan of Tim Burton, his creativity and dark humour delights and bewilders me at the same time. I cannot fathom at times how anyone can be that talented. The exhibition itself is very well put together and contains hundreds of original sketches and models. I’d give my right arm for even just one little, tiny pen and ink sketch. I was disappointed (but not surprised) that they didn’t allow photography in the main exhibition itself but they did have a smaller selection of some of his polariods on display upstairs and they were happy to let people snap a few. I felt like a child in a sweet shop looking at the many Jack Skellington heads on display from The Nightmare before Christmas and I delighted at seeing, first-hand and up-close the intricate and perfectly detailed models of the aliens from Mars Attacks. It was quite surreal peering into their teeny – yet bulging eyes thinking of their “Yak, yak, yak, yak’ voices from the movie :) … My all time Tim Burton piece is without doubt one of his earlier works; Vincent; a short, six minute black and white film about a little boy who thinks he is Vincent Price. If you are into Burton and haven’t seen Vincent, it’s well worth a viewing. The highlight for me of the exhibition was seeing the little models from Vincent – a real ‘pinch myself’ moment after years and years of pure adoration for his stop motion animation work. All in all a fabulous exhibition and well worth a visit if you are in Melbourne before Oct 10 when it wraps up.

One of the main finds on this quick trip down south was a new deli which has opened in Mornington close to my in-laws house and a town I spend a lot of time in when I’m down that direction. It’s a recent opening by the same owner of the city’s Carlton Espresso and DOC Carlton – Tony Nicolini. DOC Mornington is a ‘‘concept store’’ — Nicolini’s words — showcasing first-class Italian and local produce. I’m a lover of delis, it’s a really stunning shop (with café/restaurant attached beside) and I found myself hesitant to leave even after 30 minutes in the place bewildered at their incredible choice in cured meats, Italian products, breath-taking fresh veggie selection and cheeses – all of which have samples to taste on display – a great idea and sadly a rarity in a lot of delis, I found it resulted in me buying many more cheeses than I originally had planned to do. I left with a full bag of locally produced cheese including a fabulously nutty, walnut Pecorino variety and a superb aged, bitey vintage cheddar. I also purchased some wonderful spicy cured Sopprezzate sausages all of which we devoured with some beers, the cheese and fresh crusty bread on Sunday evening.

All in all a fabulous weekend away and one I hope to do again very soon. But until then, back to the grindstone work-wise and a few more recipes for the blog which I will post up in the coming days.

Cheers

Katie :)

Images © Comme

As briefly mentioned above, on Saturday night eight of us went for dinner at Comme in Melbourne CBD. It’s a restaurant I had heard much about in my four+ years living in Melbourne and regretfully having never managed to make a trip there to date, I was delighted when I found out they had room to fit us in. It’s a beautiful setting, the bar is maybe just a tad high in the ‘pretentious’ stake for my liking, but on walking into the dining room, one is met with a really warm and inviting atmosphere and the waitress assigned to our table was super efficient and very friendly. For starters I chose the; Cream of parsley soup, crumbed goat’s cheese, garlic croutons & crayfish vinaigrette (out of this world good and it pained me not to me able to finish it all as it was a large serve and pretty filling when going the whole 3 courses), followed by the Angus sirloin which I must confess was a bad choice on both mine and my friend; Ali’s part, it really was quite tough and chewy and not to either of our tastes. Luckily my husband – being your atypical meat-eating Aussie blue-blooded male, will happily chomp down any piece of steak put in front of him, so at his insistence we swopped plates half way though meaning I got to finish off the Cassoulet of duck, Lyonnaise sausage, ham hock, confit pork belly & garlic crumbs which he had ordered and I can confess I am now a Cassoulet convert, having never eaten it before – it was incredibly flavoursome and more-ish, the beans in it were incredible and perfectly cooked.. I hope next time I am in Comme, they still have it on the menu as I think I’d order it for starter and main… I’m not a massive dessert eater, generally heading straight for the cheese platter, but on spying Valrhona chocolate cake, banana, milk chocolate ice cream at the top of the dessert menu, it was a no brainer, and it went above and beyond it’s expectations.

The menu is varied and overall we all raved afterwards about our dining experience with everyone agreeing it was an 8 out of 10 scoring only being let down by the poor steak dish.

12 Responses to “A Long Weekend in Melbourne”

  1. Jane
    September 7, 2010 at 6:25 am

    Your Melbourne post is brilliant Katie. Annabelle, our editor, and I had lunch at Comme one day when we were in Melbourne. Not expecting anything inparticular, we were so impressed with the meal – so much so, we lingered way too long and as a consequence missed our plane home. It really was the type of meal you wish would never end and I can’t wait to get back there.

  2. September 7, 2010 at 7:47 am

    I have been thinking about seeing the Tim Burton exhibit. Reading about your visit has only made me more determined to do so.
    I love his work. Not sure which film I like best. Though Beetlejuice is pretty high up there.

  3. September 7, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    What a wonderful weekend, loved reading your post & review. Do love a good duck cassoulet so I would have gone for that too.
    Beautiful photos.

  4. September 7, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Sounds like a fabulous weekend!! I missed going to Movida in Melbourne…

  5. September 7, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    All that crusty bread and cheese sounds soooo delicious! My aunt and uncle used to live in Melbourne so I have visited and it is a pretty cool place (I am from the states), Australia is awesome. Oh and I LOVE Tim Burton too! Is that the exhibit that was at the MOMA? I wanted to see it quite badly so I am definitely jealous.

  6. September 7, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    Lovely post about Melbourne, Katie. I sure hope I can visit some day myself!

  7. September 7, 2010 at 11:58 pm

    Jane – it’s a good restaurant isn’t it? I was unsure going in as I wondered would it be a bit ‘up itself and pretentious’ as I had heard good and bad reports over the years, but I was really happy with the choice to go there. I had originally tried to book Maze – the Gordon Ramsay restaurant @ Crown 3 weeks earlier but the booking manager totally stuffed me around, taking over a week to reply to my reservation request, then telling me because we had a group over 7, we’d have to go into a private dining-room (designed for 12) and spend at least $1500…, plus we had to pick one of three set menus for us all!? I just wanted a nice meal, with friends, with good food and wine (which we were happy to pay whatever for) but not be put under such OTT constraints. When I went back saying the numbers had dropped to 7 (not 8 as I actually written in my above posting), I was told there was no room left in the main dining-room… I was fuming, esp. as I had picked this particular restaurant out weeks ago.
    It’s a real shame as it’s tarnished my opinion of the level of customer service in Maze.

    Buccaneers and Ball Gowns – yes, it’s the exhibition which was on at MOMA. I’m sure it’ll be traveling somewhere after Melbourne where you might, fingers crossed, get a chance to see it.

  8. September 8, 2010 at 2:50 am

    Katie
    A great post highlighting many of the great places in Melbourne. Melbourne really has something for everyone!

  9. September 9, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    Your food photos make food look even more delicious! A super duper lovely blog x

  10. September 11, 2010 at 7:57 pm

    What an awesome weekend!! I love Melbourne… I swear I would move there in a second if I could!!

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  12. September 13, 2011 at 6:11 am

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