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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…

Breakfast & Lunch at Conservatory, Melbourne

It seems compulsory these days for every hotel to have a buffet restaurant, the one where you go for a massive breakfast just because you can, or lunch / dinner when you can’t decide what you want to eat. Crown Perth has the Atrium, which offers a large selection and is probably the best buffet in town. Crown in Melbourne is big enough to have several such restaurants, and the king of them is Conservatory. It’s a very impressive looking restaurant, and as you would expect it’s not a cheap place to dine although the price varies considerably depending when you want to eat. Breakfast is by far the cheapest, at $39.50 per head for the full buffet seven days a week. Weekday lunch is $55 per head, although until August 1st it’s only $45 per head including a glass of wine & coffee – a good offer that we took advantage of. Saturday…

High Coffee at Market Lane Bar, InterContinental Melbourne

The InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto is Melbourne’s newest 5-star hotel, and I stayed there at least once a month when travelling for business back in 2009. It’s actually two buildings joined together by a huge glass atrium – you can read about its history here if you’re interested. The Market Lane Bar is located near the hotel lobby, and serves food & drink seven days a week from 2pm. We stumbled across the InterContinental’s “High Coffee” while looking for some special things to do while on our honeymoon in Melbourne – it really appealed to both of us and were expecting this to be one of the highlights of our trip. You can see the full details of what we signed up for here. The InterContinental is a beautiful building and a very nice place to stay – it is 5-star, after all – although it can feel a little prison-like…

A quick lunch at Merrywell Restaurant & Bar, Melbourne

Many readers will be familiar with the Merrywell at Crown Perth, however the one in Melbourne’s Crown Towers is a little different. Split into two levels, the bottom level is a burger bar with a fairly limited menu, whereas the top level serves more “main” size meals such as pasta, steak, ribs & seafood – you can see the full menus here. Renay and I stayed at Crown Towers on our recent honeymoon in Melbourne, and couldn’t go past a quick burger for our first lunch… We entered the burger bar at the same time as around 100 conference delegates were ordering their lunches, and were lucky enough to grab a couple of comfy chairs under the stairs while they were queueing. We had walked past the previous evening and noticed that the bar can get very busy. The bar and restaurant are open seven days a week until well after all of…

The Hardware Société, Melbourne – Best Breakfast Ever?

When seeking recommendations on where to go for breakfast in Melbourne, one name appeared consistently at the top of many lists – The Hardware Société. I’d read stories about people waiting for up to two hours to get a table, so we weren’t sure whether we’d actually get in but decided to give it a go, and braved the cold early on Sunday morning to arrive right at the opening time of 8:30. A stream of people were already heading in but we arrived just in time, and even managed to get a spot inside! We were shown to a communal table, which wasn’t something we’d normally do but in this case we were  just thankful to get a seat. And then it started to get really busy… The coffee was excellent, as you’d expect – the little doughnut on the side was an unexpected delight. The menu was simply amazing with so much to choose from, from sweet concoctions to eggs…

Adriano Zumbo Pâtissier, Melbourne

One of the first things on the “to do” list during our recent honeymoon in Melbourne was to visit a top patisserie, and we decided on Adriano Zumbo’s outlet in South Yarra, which was a relatively quick tram ride from our hotel (Crown Towers). Zumbo is located half way down a rather plain looking street, surrounded by roadworks and construction – I thought we were in the wrong place until we reached the front door! It’s next door to Two Birds One Stone, a very busy and popular cafe. There’s an amazing display of sweet and savoury treats on offer – all very reasonably priced, too. The Zonuts seemed very popular. The patisserie is open from 7am to 7pm every day, and there are a few tables if you’re quick – we went first thing in the morning so decided to start with coffee and something savoury. The coffee was very good indeed. Even better was the quiche…