We’re closing out our recent video series in partnership with Visit Victoria with an obvious – yet perhaps, surprising inclusion – Melbourne!
As you probably know, I’m a Melbourne girl through and through, and my love of our beautiful, creative city is well documented. But it really was such a joy to explore our fair city through someone else’s lens! I spent the day with food writer, TV presenter and judge of MasterChef Australia (!) Melissa Leong, who led me all over town, sharing some of her absolute favourite spots in the CBD. What a treat!
Mel is a star, in every sense. She has an aura about her that you can’t help but get swept up in! Her passion for Melbourne’s food scene and culture is infectious, and she’s a fierce advocate for the local hospitality industry, especially during what has been a very challenging time.
I thought I knew Melbourne so well already, but there’s nothing like re-discovering a familiar place, with fresh eyes. So, please join me, for A Perfect Day in Melbourne, with Melissa Leong.
If there’s ONE cultural institution that is a must-see in Melbourne, arguably, it’s the NGV.
Mel and I spent the morning on level 2 of the St Kilda Road gallery, in the NGV Salon, where more than 140 paintings from the 1800s and early 1900s cover the walls from floor to ceiling, salon-style! The space has such an incredible atmosphere, with its epic scale and regal grandeur. Head up the escalators to level two, and turn right to be transported to Europe – without ever having to leave town! While you’re there discover the Australian-first exhibition, Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto, from December 5, showcasing the impressive breadth of one of the most influential designers of the twentieth century.
It’s also worth remembering NGV’s second site, The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Fed Square, which showcases some of the best Australian art from across the country. They’re showing a truly astounding exhibition by Yorta Yorta/Wamba Wamba/Mutti Mutti/Boonwurrung artist Maree Clarkem called Ancestral Memories, and it’s on until February 6, 2022. (Revisit our story on this incredible show here).
NGV Salon, Level 2
National Gallery of Victoria
St Kilda Road, Melbourne
Tipo 00 is THE restaurant for lovers of authentic Italian cuisine in Melbourne. This intimate, unassuming little restaurant on Little Bourke Street is a firm favourite with those in the know – for good reason. This place is all about good old fashioned Italian hospitality, excellent fuss-free service, a buzzing atmosphere, and of course, impeccable food.
According to Mel, Tipo 00 make the best bowl of pasta in the CBD. You can’t argue with that!
361 Little Bourke Street
Beyond her passions for food and culture, Mel is – let’s face it – a fashion icon in the making! So where does one of the most stylish woman on Australian TV shop when she’s in town? Emporium Melbourne!
With its focus on local labels, Emporium Melbourne is a one-stop-shop for so many Australian designers, all under one roof. Mel’s top picks here include Aje when she’s on the hunt for a glam evening look, and Bassike for stylish everyday basics.
287 Lonsdale Street
When we first started working with Mel on her itinerary for this Perfect Day in Melbourne, Bar Lourinhã was a non-negotiable inclusion! This much loved local institution has been around for 15 years and counting, serving up a menu of Mediterranean inspired tapas and excellent wine in an intimate bar setting with so much character. It’s been Mel’s go-to spot for dinner or drinks for the past decade, and we can see why!
Revered chef Matt McConnell is the executive chef and co-owner of Bar Lourinhã, and it’s no surprise the food is truly sublime. The menu is designed to be shared, with every morsel so perfectly considered, and just the right balance of zesty, savoury flavours.
But really, Bar Lourinhã’s greatest asset, is quite simply, the ‘vibe’. As the sign in the window says, this is a ‘good times’ zone, guaranteed.
37 Little Collins St
There’s never been a better time to explore Melbourne. Stay close, go further and plan your next visit here. Remember, tourism and hospitality businesses have doing it tough lately so, keep in mind, to #travelkind.