When you haven’t been to a city in over a year and a half, there’s always so much to see & do that’s new. Between visiting my favorite old haunts and trying to hit as many new places as possible, I filled a whole week super easily and still left wanting more. Which means I’ll be back. Here’s the small selection of new to new-ish businesses I found this time around:
Mörk Chocolate Brewhouse, 150 Errol Street, North Melbourne
Yum! Handcrafted hot chocolate that’s deep and rich and oh so good. Put that together with a charming space and even more delicious chocolate offerings and you’ve got a winner on your hands. Way at the far end of Errol Street in a barely marked brick building, this tiny two table, chocolate-centric cafe is worth a visit. My treat of choice, a specially made Layered Chocolate (AUS $8) — that’s warm orange custard over rich dark hot chocolate (normally made over chilled dark chocolate) that followed a complementary glass of vanilla infused sparkling water to cleanse the palette. Choose from a menu of special hot or cold chocolate concoctions, chocolate baked treats or 3 levels of dark, darker or darkest hot chocolate. So good!
Bassike, 1-3 Rankins Lane, CBD
In true Melbourne fashion, this lovely clothing shop is hidden down a backstreet laneway. With a beachy laid back style mixed with a Scandinavian aesthetic the shop is worth seeking out. Find casual denim and T’s on the ground level then climb the stairs for a peek at the signature line. And as luck should have it, their first Stateside shop has opened in Venice, CA just weeks ago. Lucky me!
Otto & Spike, 324 Victoria Street, Brunswick
Knits, knits, everywhere knits. Hats, scarves, gloves, socks and blankets galore. Tons of colors and patterns, the shop stocks their entire line. Sadly, open just 4 days a week (Thur – Sun), the shop was locked up tight when I happened by. But I guarantee I left a window full of nose and finger prints behind trying to take it all in.
Sardi, 111 Church Street, Hawthorne
A bustling little cafe that’s perfect for the healthy set and those looking for something a little more sinful. On a very cold day, i toed the line down the middle with a selection off the all day breakfast menu — Wild Mushroom Ragout with free range poached eggs (pictured, AUS $17.50). A huge serve that was more than this girl could eat but mighty tasty. Get there early or there may not be any available seats. That’s how bustling this place can be.
Hi Petal, Greater Melbourne
I have mixed feelings about this little business. The concept is great! $35 AUS unique daily posies in a mason jar with a cute little tag and a personal message, delivered anywhere in the Melbourne area. I thought I’d liven up my rented apartment with a Friday selection that turned out to be a celebration of pink roses in support of breast cancer. The website, unfortunately, was not mobile friendly so to place my order I had to contact them via email which led the owner to try to stick me with fees by requesting payment via bank transfer or PayPal payment request. With the prospect of losing the order she agreed to take my credit card as if I had placed the order online. Not quite up to handling the demand of a charity driven day, the delivery was more than 2 hours late, far beyond the 2 hour window I was provided causing me to miss a Creative Mornings talk I had been lucky to score a ticket to. But the flowers made me smile — a unique combination of roses & eucalyptus. So yes, I’d give it another shot. If you’ve got a gift to give, it’s an affordable option to spread some cheer. Available in a prickly cactus version too. Hopefully as a business they will mature some in coming days.
Kettle Black, 50 Albert Rd, South Melbourne
This modern and sunny cafe that serves seriously beautiful all day breakfast is in my mind, the ultimate girls day out spot. But to my surprise the restaurant was filled with men, women, young, old and muti-cultural alike. I guess the word is out. Everybody it seems likes pretty. Just look at the flower, seed & maple cream topped Hot Cake — that was seriously like eating a whole cake and if you can get through more than half, my hat’s off to you. It’s the house specialty and I’m glad my waitress talked me into it. But I am excited to go back next time and try some of the more savory options too. Seriously, everything that passed by on the way out of the kitchen was drool worthy. A note: I didn’t so much enjoy sitting at the counter and suggest a seat at a communal table or better yet, go with friends and share not only a table but multiple selections off the menu.
A-Esque, 555B Chapel Street, South Yarra
Have you ever walked into a store and wanted to buy every single piece on display? I could easily have done that at this Melbourne based leather goods shop. All the bags are hand made in a local workshop of Italian leather. Refined and sophisticated styles that you can easily wear without the bags wearing you. In fact you won’t find any branding on the outside what so ever. Just my style . . . every single one of them. I chose just one this time around but with free international shipping there may be more in my future.
The Standard Store, 159 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy
On my list to get to in Sydney years ago, it never happened. Then last year, they opened a branch in my favorite neighborhood in Melbourne. And it is a fantastic little store! The selection of casual men’s and women’s wear is well curated and well, fun. The staff enthusiastic, personable and well trained on all the merchandise and brands. They even carry Ally Capellino bags (someone i once carried in my shop once upon a time, learn more here). And even better, they have an apartment for rent upstairs through AirBnB. Now you can live the same curated design sense for a night or more. How fun is that?
As you can see, I made the rounds neighborhood-wise. But that’s not all there is to see in these neighborhoods, just those places I took note of this time around. Set out to see these stops and wander around nearby to find all sorts of interesting shops, cafes and more. Myki card (public transport pass) in hand and Melbourne is the most amazing playground. Just have fun!
All images (with exception of hot cake and flowers) courtesy of respective business.