We found food in Melbourne expensive, so we ate simply while we were there. For two meals, Lyn did do some last-minute research online and brought us to:
1) Sally's Kitchen at Exhibition St
The restaurant was quiet and we did not have to wait long for our food. We ordered seafood linguine ($20), gnocchi ($20) and meatballs ($12). Considering the restaurant's good reviews on Trip Advisor, I thought the linguine and gnocchi were average. The seafood in the linguine tasted very fresh though. J enjoyed his meatballs and finished them in no time.
2) East End Den at Little Bourke St
This was a pub which did not have high chairs but we managed to seat little An on a booth seat. The place seemed more for the working crowd, but we enjoyed the food a lot. Our orders were sirloin ($32) and beef sliders ($16). The medium sirloin was very tender while the patty in the slider was juicy. I could have eaten plenty more, but as we were sharing, I had to hold back.
The service was very good and the waiter came to check on us a number of times. It was my best meal in Melbourne this trip.
One other food venue we chanced upon with good food was Chinotto at Federation Square. We just wanted a quick meal, so we wandered into the first cafe we saw.
3) Chinotto at Federation Square
Our food choices were smoked salmon salad, meatball linguine and chicken and mushroom risotto. The salad went down so quickly that I did not manage to get a picture of it. The ingredients were fresh and the dressing was tasty.
The risotto and linguine were very delicious too. Usually, Lyn is quite critical of tomato-based pasta as he cooks it well himself, but he conceded this time that the linguine tasted better than his.
For this meal, we were in a hurry so it was just as well that the food suited our palates and we were able to stomach every bit of food very quickly.
4) Nitro Lab
This is an ice cream parlour. I thought its set-up was interesting and was lured to try out what it offered.
The servers were dressed in lab coats and ingredients were housed in test tubes and other containers found in science labs. Everyone looked serious as they worked and I thought it was a creative concept.
I tried the Rocher flavoured gelato for $7. Its taste was nothing to shout about, but J and I had fun sharing it while walking back to our apartment.
5) Night Market at Queen Victoria Market (available only during some parts of the year)
There were so many food choices that we did not know where to start. Finally, we went for the shortest queues, which of course was a guarantee that the food would be so-so. I did enjoy the chicken on skewers (Photo credit: Pamela) this visit.
We stayed at Mantra on Russell and were satisfied with the stay. The apartment was big and spacious. I thought I booked a one-bedroom apartment (for S$229 a night), so was surprised to find two bedrooms.
The kitchen was well-equipped. There was even a dish washer.
The living and dining areas were large and for some meals, we packed food and ate at the apartment.
J was pleased with the bath tub and Lyn liked the body lotion.
There was also an indoor pool with a hot jacuzzi which was relaxing. Mantra on Russell is also conveniently located, so we were pleased with our stay indeed.