Category

Melbourne

Category

SkyHigh, Mount Dandenong – Yarra Valley diaries, part 6

SkyHigh on Mount Dandenong is a must-visit tourist destinations in the Dandenong Ranges. The main attraction is the view – which is pretty spectacular, as you can see above – although views don’t pay the bills and that responsibility falls to the restaurant and function centre. The picturesque grounds at SkyHigh include a maze – which has its own cafe – and various attractions and “events” to keep the whole family entertained. It was a bit of a trek from the Yarra Valley, nearly an hour’s drive, although it would have been easier if our GPS hadn’t sent us down a nerve-wracking one-lane windy road. Panic attack over, it was time for lunch. You first realise that this is a tourist destination when you’re charged $5 just to enter the car park. I had looked at the lunch menu online, and thought it was a little…pedestrian…which sounds really snobby, but I didn’t go to the Yarra Valley to eat food that I…

The General Food Store breakfast – Yarra Valley diaries, part 5

Back to breakfast for part 5 of our pre-Easter Yarra Valley trip – this time we head to The General Food Store, an unassuming little cafe in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it group of shops in Emerald, a small town 44km south-east of Melbourne in the Dandenong Ranges. It’s a great example of the kind of place you can find if you do your research. As the blurb on their website will tell you, The General Food Store has been open since 2011 and is the creation of chef Paul Douglas and his graphic designer wife Belinda, and features a menu that uses seasonal ingredients, mainly sourced from Victorian food regions. Starting with coffee, of course, from Melbourne roaster Coffee Supreme. This was very nice indeed, and a good start to the day. My cappuccino came with lots of chocolate (unlike some places I could mention). They have a new menu every month – here’s the April one. As…

Meletos Café & Napoleone Brewers – Yarra Valley diaries, part 4

It wasn’t just all breakfasts & chocolate during our recent trip to the Yarra Valley – we went out for lunch too! There are many great places to eat in the area, so I would suggest doing some research beforehand if you’re planning to visit – the first place on my long list was Meletos, a regional café and gourmet pizzeria. Meletos is located within a very picturesque property known as Stones of the Yarra Valley, and shares its premises with Napoleone Brewers, a family-owned microbrewery that produces hand-crafted ales and cider. Meletos also has a 23-room boutique guesthouse, the Farmhouse, which features some of the best views in the Valley. The cafe is a beautiful open space, with views straight into the kitchen and the sizeable pizza oven. The philosophy of Meletos and its head chef Neil Cunningham is to be inspired by local produce – you can see the full menu here, which is separated into six sections – smaller, salumi, bigger,…

Healesville Harvest breakfast – Yarra Valley diaries, part 2

Our week in the Yarra Valley began with an hour-long drive from Melbourne airport to the town of Healesville to pick up some basic groceries (and the last two pies from the bakery) before heading to our home for the week, Gracedale. Healesville is located 60km north-east of Melbourne, and has a population of around 10,000. It’s one of the main tourist destinations in the Yarra Valley, and as you can see, it’s a lovely place – there’s even an amazing view behind the local Coles (which is open until midnight every day – take note, Perth!) We had a light dinner in our accommodation on the first night, followed by a good night’s sleep – three hour time difference aside – and headed to Healesville Harvest for our first Yarra Valley breakfast. Healesville Harvest is open from 8am seven days a week for breakfast & lunch, specialising in dishes that feature local & seasonal produce. It’s a friendly place…

Qantas Business Class breakfast – Yarra Valley diaries, part 1

Late last year, Renay and I decided to take a trip to see my favourite musician David Gray in concert at the Palais Theatre in Melbourne on Easter Sunday, and added a few days leave to make the most of the extra-long weekend. Of course great food was at the top of our agenda, although being in need of some rest we agreed to escape the bustle of Melbourne city and spend a week in the Yarra Valley before heading to St Kilda for the final two days. A few days before leaving we received an email offer from Qantas to “bid” on a business class upgrade with cash and Frequent Flyer points, which we were lucky enough to win. We flew out early on the Monday before Easter, and headed excitedly to the Qantas Club Lounge only to find it overflowing with FIFO workers! After a long wait for coffee, the only hot breakfast we could find was toast-it-yourself ham & cheese sandwiches so we decided to wait for the plane. Qantas business…

Morning tea at the Chadstone Lindt Cafe, Melbourne

During our recent honeymoon in Melbourne, Renay wanted to take a trip to the Chadstone shopping centre (some 30 minutes out of the CBD) to do some serious shopping. I wasn’t particularly keen, until I learned that there was a Lindt Chocolate Cafe in the centre – I’m not really a big fan of Lindt, but I figured that there was bound to be something nice on offer… The Chadstone shopping centre is very impressive indeed, the kind of place you feel very under-dressed if you’re not covered in designer labels. Definitely no thongs. Shopping done, it’s down to the important business… The Lindt cafe is very nicely presented, and as you would expect it’s wall-to-wall chocolate. The cafe is a pleasant place to eat, and there is additional seating outside the cafe in the middle of the mall. Quite predictably, I ordered what was promised to be “by far the…