More Melbourne Moments

By on 26-03-2012 in Obsessed With, Taste This, Went Here

This weekend in Melbourne was mostly work related, although as always, we managed to squeeze some good food in over some meetings, which made work  just that much more enjoyable!  This weekend we stayed at the Hilton on the park, booked via an Internet ‘mystery’ deal, we have stayed here before when location has not been that important to us, and its OK, overall could do with a bit of an freshen up, but a perfectly nice place to stay.  Its location feels a little isolated as there is nothing much around it, although its an easy walk along Flinders St back into the CBD, or less then 10minutes walk and you’re at Bridge Rd Richmond, its actually relatively central if you plan to spend time in the City, Richmond, St Kilda & South Yarra.  It’s also the perfect location if you’re in Melbourne for a footy game, across the road from the MCG, with all the rooms having a terrific view of the famous stadium, it certainly always seems to impress the boys! Everything else is as you would expect for a Hilton, overpriced food but a decent place to stay.

An early morning view from the bedroom window, the MCG with a cluster of colourful hot air balloons hovering, for as far as I can work out, they were racing as a part of the Hot Air Balloon Festival that ran last week.

Saturday morning we walked to Bridge Rd Richmond for brunch, we headed to Melbourne breakfast institution Richmond Hill, previously part owned by Stephanie Alexander, now with new owners.  We used to visit here regularly, as we loved the ‘fromagerie’ and would always take a selection of cheese back to Sydney with us, but have not gone as much recently due to the change of ownership and an overall slip in quality.  We don’t even go into the Fromagerie anymore, but we decided to head there again, since it was within easy walking distance.

The Fromagerie & general store section from outside.

Richmond Hill stands out with its Parisian style outdoor dining chairs and umbrellas, and the crowds.

We waited around 15minutes for an outdoor table, then took a seat and ordered coffees.  I ordered Avocado, Tomato, Goats Cheese & Chilli on toast, with a side of Prosciutto, and my partner ordered the Breakfast Bruschetta, consisting of Sardines & Olives on a bruschetta base.

The food was tasty, but I am starting to get a little ‘over’ the whole attitude from the staff in places such as these, where you get the distinct feeling you are in the way, and they don’t have time for anyone, it is very similar to the brunch system at Bill’s, where once the maitre d’ does bark orders at you about where to sit, you feel like you are constantly ducking the staff who are flinging food and coffees out at such a rate, and avoiding the eyes of hungry customers who are waiting for you to clear out so they can have your table.  Whilst Richmond Hill has always been somewhat like this, I’m sure it used to be service with a smile once you got past the bossy maitre d’!

After a fairly long day on our feet, we ended the day in South Yarra, so headed straight to Cafe e Cucina at 6:15, fingers crossed that the Saturday night Melbourne dinner crowd would all have bookings after 7:30.  No such luck, but we must have looked absolutely done in, as the waiter cleared some room for us at the bar, and said we could have dinner there as long as we were happy to dine at the bar.  We gratefully accepted, and immediately ordered our standard Zucchini Flowers with crab stuffing entree and two Linguine Di Mare Al Cartoccio for mains.  We also ordered a bottle of white, and it turns out our perch at the bar made for a fun night.  We were often left in our own little world, heads down talking work, but would be pleasantly interrupted with bursts of Italian conversation across the bar as the waiters spoke with each other or requested a Coke to keep them going.  Since we weren’t in anyone’s way we also ordered a dessert, an Affogato and a Tiramisu Tradizionale to share.  Tiramisu is probably close to my favourite dessert, although I tend to only ever order it when I think it will be an authentic Italian version, and since the menu has listed it as ‘Tradizionale” I had to try it.  It was a cake style version, but had all the flavours working perfectly, it was a large portion though, definitely a good sharing size!

Linguine Di Mare Al Cartoccio – Seafood Linguine, cooked in a paper bag