Published on 6 February 2020
My defining food moment in Melbourne was my first meal at Cumulus Inc. Back when it first opened, I was utterly immersed in this simple and sophisticated venue. The staff, the food, the room all spoke to a distinct and cosmopolitan city. I still love it.
I know I’m in Melbourne when I hear that singing ding ding ding of the trams. Their song breaks the monotony of the city noise, like a goddamn Tibetan singing bowl, planting me in the present. I’m also paranoid that my death may be set to that soundtrack; I’m as alert as a cat in a dog park when walking Melbourne’s streets.
The best new thing I’ve found is the people here. There is a genuine care and presence and kindness to folk in Melbourne. The sense of community reaches through every aspect of life here, and those bonds have created a resilience to the cynicism that seems to pervade our wider culture. I fucking love it.
When I want to push the boat out on a meal, I try to book dinner at Attica. Alas, my time is yet to come. But I’m coming for ya, Shewry!
There’s no better value in Melbourne than Shanghai Street dumplings. Everything is good, except for the line to get in. We order too much, and try to stick it all in our mouths before our stomachs work out what’s happening.
And when I want to dazzle friends from out of town, I like to take them to a footy match. I don’t care who’s playing (I’m told I have to choose a team and that my Rabbitohs footy shorts will just confuse people), the energy is electric and truly a peak Melbourne experience. Add a pie with sauce and a beer and life is pretty good.
In the mornings you’ll find me with a hangover, or still working on one. This city creates some dizzying headaches and world-class nausea.
My Melbourne local is Bar Americano. Cos it’s the best fucking bar in the world. Matt Bax is a singular human. His thoughtful and precise commitment to quality and setting the bar higher and higher is astounding. And the drinks are some of the best.
If I could change one thing about eating and drinking here it would be more bars serving good natural wine. Poorly farmed vino is a real problem across the country, so the more people commuting to supporting the grape farmers and winemakers who are changing to sustainable and organic practices is so important. Not just in Melbourne, but across the country.
But the one thing I hope never changes in Melbourne is the weather. I like the four-seasons-in-a-day thing, although my commitment to wearing football shorts in winter gets tested. The upside is when that sun shines, like in London, it brings people into the streets and parks and footpaths and each other. Glorious.
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