We recently got the rare opportunity to offload our bundle of joy and ditch work to act like humans again, albeit briefly. A hotel was booked, our daughter dropped off, and the freeway to Melbourne was navigated. Our first stop was the South Melbourne Market for a dim sim. The South Melbourne Market dim sim shop is an institution that opened in 1949 and is inspiring some businesses around Ballarat to buy in their dim sims. They are best enjoyed in the market atmosphere though, with a band playing on the street, sitting in the sun shine (if you are as lucky as we were), and watching people pass by. More information about the South Melbourne Market can be found here.
After some more shopping and checking into our hotel we caught a tram up Bourke Street and made our way to Blok M Express for a second lunch/snack. This small Indonesian fast food place is in Little Bourke Street near Hardware Lane and does cheap and tasty feeds. We got satays and the fried chicken and rice (can't remember the name of it to save me) to share. The chicken comes out looking like spicy Asian KFC smeared with chilli jam but not as greasy and is much tastier, while the satays are amazing. A more in depth review with photos can be found at the blog eatandbemerryfortomorrowwedie(t).
Later, as the sun dipped past the horizon, we ventured out for dinner. This is a novelty for us these days as we normally have a small child in tow and we did not want to waste this opportunity on a mediocre experience. We decided a wood fired pizza and some pasta would hit the spot but were unprepared so headed by default to Lygon Street in Carlton. We found what we were looking for not on the main strip but just off on Pelham Street at Michelinos Trattoria. The wood fired oven faces the street and emits a welcoming glow and tempting aromas. We ordered bruschetta to start, and Amatricana pasta and pizza to share for mains. All three were just how you imagine rustic Italian food to be, with the pasta sauce and pizza base providing simple but delicious highlights. The staff are fantastically Italian and are all so welcoming and friendly that you feel like you are with family.
We headed back into the city to the Young and Jackson Hotel to enjoy a cider poured from one of the many they have on tap at their rooftop cider bar. If you like an alcoholic, carbonated glass of apple juice as we do, this is the place to go. They have eight ciders on tap and 25 varieties in the fridge to enjoy on the Astroturf bordered by a faux-picket fence. Although a little cheesy and claustrophobic with high walls obstructing the city views one would expect from a rooftop bar, the cider is great and worth the stairs up.
The next day we visited the Queen Victoria Market where we spent more money. A trip to the market is incomplete without standing in line for the American Doughnut Kitchen, which is actually a bus decked out solely to produce deep fried, jam filled, sugar coated, and amazingly addictive doughnuts. Market Lane Cafe accessed from the market or Victoria Street does a $3 cappuccino that is great by itself or better with a doughnut or two. We escaped with our mid-morning snack to the car and headed back to Ballarat a little bit heavier, but it was so worth it.
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The Swallow's Nest Patisserie
The Swallow's Nest Patisserie is a family owned and operated business with a wealth
of experience in the hospitality industry. Situated in the historic precinct of Lydiard Street North,
The Swallow's Nest has gained a ..
16 Lydiard Street North - Ballarat
(03) 5340 0203 |