Showing posts from March, 2013

Queen Victoria Markets, Melbourne

The Vic markets have been in operation since 1878.   There are covered halls, open air stalls and old fashioned market alleys. Fast food and more can also be found in the series of shops adjacent to the markets proper.  It forms a unique suburban shopping town in its own right, although it is easily walkable to the site after alighting from one of the complimentary City Circle trams on the northern side of Melbourne CBD.

Open every day, except for Wednesdays, the stallholders are there mostly from 6am to 2pm, although there is a later start on lazy Sunday mornings from 9am.   The Dairy Hall is a particular attraction although I recommend walking around with an open mind and you never know what delights and surprises you may find in store.  For us on a March afternoon, we found delicious figs, touristy souvenirs like the trams and even the Sydney Harbour ferry plus a whole host of nutty produce at better prices than in Sydney.

There are the expected encounters with clothes, jewellery,…

York Lane Cafe, Wynyard - Sydney CBD

I first came upon York Lane as part of an exercise in a trial building fire drill. The literal lane was clean, quiet and unassuming, providing a break between high rises near the Sydney's Harbour Bridge and slotted neatly between York and Clarence Streets. I noticed Made In Italy along this lane then, with a counter facing the roadway and egg tray cubes making do as tables for lunchers. Tucked away slightly a few metres up north along York Lane is this cafe with an apparently simple entrance but with a much more colourful interior inside.

When you walk in, you cannot help but noticing the mirrors at the furthest end of the joint.  The square shaped tables are necessarily small and low, with stools offered for customers. The decor does set the tone, with a colourful mural on one wall and the bar on the other. There was a portable electric fan sitting inauspiciously during a sultry warm afternoon on the day of visit. I was told of the hanging bicycle before hand - and there it was …

Melbourne Revisited


National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne


Straits of Malacca - Melbourne CBD

Please note that this restaurant has since closed from time of writing of this blog post.

With a wall mural literally a photographic snapshot of a Malacca heritage institution and a location in busy Swanston Street, I reckoned this must be a mecca for university students form Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore.  It lies within the radius of the university precinct, also overlapping with tourist walkabouts and office workers looking for quick and easy snacks or meals.  It provides low sitting tables and easy, unassuming food presumably inspired by the cultural, trade and migration confluence that is, and was, Malacca.  Malacca, which once had an empire in South-east Asia and controlled the trade and shipping routes between East and West, has now been recognised as a UNESCO heritage site.

But that is just history.   The reality is that the Straits of Malacca restaurant offers their version of street food and strikingly simple lunch combination menus, with a food dish of your choice and …

Ippudo - Sydney CBD

I was given a choice of three possibilities for lunch, but we were already on level 5 of Westfield at Sydney's Pitt Street Mall, so for convenience I proposed heading towards the Ippudo, or the One-Wind Hall. This business started in Fukuoka in southern Japan, from which once I boarded a flight to Seoul, after thoroughly enjoying a few days going around the small but lovely island  of Kyushu. It's ramen, ramen, ramen from this chain which has established their evolving and continuing good name even before it reached Australia. So I did have a certain level of curiosity as we stepped in, got seats at a shared canteen styled table and was immediately attended by active staff.

The menu was simple enough to quickly realise they used the base portion for a start and then you as customer have the options to add the extra stuff, usually at AUD 2 for each layer added. More people flooded the relatively large hall of more than three shop fronts after we had been seated.  Curiously, ev…

Clarence Street, Sydney CBD, NSW

Clarence is an inner street of Sydney's Wynyard precinct bordering the iconic Harbour Bridge, primary business and banking district, Town Hall area shopping and the Circular Quay walks.  It is lined with wholesome and solid buildings with heritage architecture and parallels the main thoroughfare of George Street.  Often used by office workers and shoppers, tourists are mainly oblivious to this part of Sydney town, unless they venture form the obvious.  Clarence provides a different atmosphere when compared with the clutter of Chinatown in CBD south, the cool abandon of Hyde Park or the shopping frenzy around the Putt Street Mall.  It had its origins from another era, another place, that of the hat and necktie fraternity before and after the Pacific War, that close to the big end of town in  banking, business and evening elegance.   Above, a photo taken of the front of the Clarence Street Cyclery.

The sights and sounds of Clarence can be mainly in daytime. As the shadows of high r…