Chocolate & Spice

chocolate, spice and the other pleasures in life

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Our weekends in Melbourne

The contents of my many emails to friends and family (and vice versa) these last couple of months have invariably ranged around the topic of "What are you up to this weekend?". Friends and family have written to me about attending cake-making classes, fun dinner dates, weekend getaways and visiting some of the new eateries that have sprung up in town during my absence. In turn, I tell them about the latest bit of Melbourne A and I have explored, a short synopsis of a weekend to Melbourne's regions, the parties or exhibitions we've attended or the latest restaurant visited.

Of course, not every weekend will be chockfull of special events and activities; some will instead feature nothing more than lounging around and catching up on reading, having convivial conversations over a lunch table with friends or a simple lunch/dinner date with A at a nearby eatery. Here's a selection of the "simple weekends" we've had in Melbourne these past few months….

Lunches with friends & colleagues

Colleagues from the Melbourne & New York offices

Checking out Campari at Port Melbourne with A's colleagues from the Melbourne and New York offices one lazy Sunday afternoon and visiting Station Pier nearby after lunch.


An impromptu Saturday afternoon lunch at Tusk with Michelle and Jackson, who have been very hospitable to us during our stay. Michelle has been a source of great comfort seeing that I don't have any other girlfriends here and have been missing girltalk and commiseration over coffee sorely these past few months.

Beachcombing at Brighton beach

View of the CBD from Brighton

It was too windy that day but we managed to walk a short section of the beach path linking the beachside suburbs of Albert Park, Middle Park, Brighton and so on.

In and around the Botanic Gardens

Footprints of an Aboriginal chieftain and his grandchild in the RBG

Early one Sunday morning, we went for a Walk on the Wildside with our guide, David Plant and saw the different animal varieties, including many different birds, which have made the Royal Botanic Gardens their home. We didn't spot the large eagle (reputedly the height of a small child) but did see many of the garden's other denizens such as possums, swans, moor hens, birds and the lot.

Other than such activities (Walk on the Wildside being my third guided walk in the RBG), A and I spend a lot of time in the RBG just lounging in the sunshine and catching up on the news in the Age. I just have to say this about the Age, it is simply one of the best newspapers I've read – the Saturday edition weighing in at close to 1kg (just like the weekend edition of the New York Times), it comes chockfull of insightful articles on politics and the arts, and enough international news to keep me happily reading for the next couple of days.

Not having a garden with this apartment in Melbourne means that we have been treating the RBG as pretty much "ours" and have been enjoying the greenery there as often as we possibly can. We're not the only ones… these women were there for a hen party and of course, many couples choose to come to the RBG for their wedding photos. Quite a few others organize family picnics in its extensive grounds, while some others engage in a game of lawnbowling. While it sounds like every Melburnian finds their way to the RBG every weekend, the grounds are extensive enough for every one of us to find our own piece of garden.

Having yum cha lunch in a funky tea house

One Saturday, we decided to see what the fuss about the Oriental Tea House was all about. For a traditional tea house funked up and given a modern (read Westernised) twist, the food proves to be pretty good, with a good selection of new-age dim sums and our traditional favourites (like chicken feet, char siew pastries and egg tart). Of course, the bill when it arrives, similarly mirrors the funked up image!

Catching a street show while out walking!

One of many street performers around Melbourne, we caught this guy working the crowds while strolling the Sunday market at the Arts Centre.

Places to visit:


Station Pier
2 Waterfront Place, Port Melbourne
Tel: (03) 9676 9230

Oriental Tea House

455 Chapel Street, South Yarra
Tel: (03) 9824 0128
For yum cha bookings, please call (03) 9826 1068

Tusk Cafe Bar

133 Chapel Street, Windsor
Tel: (03) 9529 1198

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