It was a rough sleep last night. I think a combination of trying to work out how to use the thermostat (and thus inconsistent temperature), sleeping in a smaller bed than we are used to and being extremely full may have contributed to the poor sleep. We were determined that this would not hinder our day though and we set out to get some breakfast.
Our Airbnb had a board which the host pinned business cards from his favourite places to and one of those cards was from a French patisserie called Agathe. They have a full store which is outside the CBD but also a little pop-up store which was conveniently located in a little arcade across the road from our Airbnb. Since our time in Europe we have certainly been converted to a pastry and a coffee for breakfast as opposed to a more traditional Australian affair. We asked what was on offer and were told the most popular item was the Pandan Croissant so we ordered one to share and then went to a very popular coffee shop located a block in the other direction called Dukes Coffee Roasters. It is a very sleek coffee shop. We ordered our coffees and took them back with our croissant to our Airbnb to enjoy our breakfast.
Pandan is an interesting flavour. It is certainly not common in Bathurst and this is the first time either of us have tried it. Pandan is a plant that is grown in southeast Asia. The lady who took our order at Agathe described it as very sweet, vanilla-ish herbal flavour. The croissant was absolutely delicious. The sweetness of the pandan combined with the flaky and buttery croissant was delightful. This was a real win for breakfast. The coffee was also exceptional and you can see why it was so popular.
After this we had planned to head down to the Queen Victoria Markets which are an absolute staple of Melbourne. The markets are the largest open air markets in the Southern hemisphere. We came here on our last trip to Melbourne in 2017. This market basically has everything that any other market would have. Fresh produce, seafood, trinkets, meats, cheeses, clothing – everything.
There were some food items that we wanted to try here and was the reason we were here today. First off we started with a German Bratwurst from Bratwurst Shop & Co. They sell traditional German sausages here but serve them in hotdog form with gourmet toppings and sauces. We ordered a mild traditional bratwurst which is beef and pork sausage combined with a barbecue sauce, mustard and sauerkraut on top.
The roll was so crusty and soft at the same time, the sausage was exceptional and the sauces and sauerkraut tied it all together. This was a wonderful start to our food experience at QVM. Right next door to the Bratwurst shop is the food that everybody comes to the markets to get. It is a traditional Turkish borek. A borek is a middle Eastern pastry made of thin, flaky dough and filled with different meats and cheeses. We decided to go for the Spinach and Feta borek.
The borek is cooked fresh on the spot for a great price of $3. It also tasted absolutely delicious. It was fresh, hot, tasty and had a wonderful flaky texture without being too soft. A real treat and certainly worth the visit to the markets alone. It was still mid-morning and we had already eaten quite a bit of food, but we had some more to come. We went to Market Lane Coffee which is a highly touted coffee shop which is iconic to Melbourne to grab ourselves a coffee. The coffee was absolutely delicious, it was a creamy and rich blend that went down so smoothly. We enjoyed it so much that we decided to buy some coffee beans so that we can make delicious Market Lane Coffee every day. We didn’t just drink the coffee by itself though. We grabbed the coffee and went up to the American Doughnut Kitchen which is yet another staple of the QVM. We grabbed a bag of hot jam donuts and sat on a nearby bench to eat them with our coffee. They were fantastic. They were still really hot with sweet strawberry jam inside of the warm and fluffy dough covered in sugar on the outside. Absolutely delicious. The Market Lane Coffee and the American kitchen doughnuts are a match made in heaven.
By this time we were very full but also very happy with all the food we had eaten. It was a successful morning. We shipped back to the Airbnb to rest our bellies. It was not long after this that it was lunch time and it was time to head out again. We ventured down to Flinders Lane to get some ramen. We both love ramen and have been craving some for the longest time especially because there is nowhere good to get ramen anywhere in Bathurst. The restaurant was Shujinko Ramen. There are a lot of these around Melbourne. We both ordered a bowl of classic Shujinko Ramen which is pork ramen with a tonkotsu base. Of course we also had to have it with a Japanese lemonade Ramune alongside it.
This was good ramen. It was very garlicky and a bit difficult to stomach as we had already eaten too much today. The noodles were delicious as were all the ingredients but it certainly gave us a bit of a stomach ache. It was not the best ramen we have ever had, but not bad either. Not a huge amount to say about it. On the way back to the Airbnb where we knew we would be spending the next 3-4 hours in a food coma. We grabbed a bubble tea from a place called King Tea on Elizabeth Street. We got a pearl milk tea to share as they didn’t have any brown sugar tea left. We love bubble tea which is usually cold, icy and delicious. The tea here was not great. It was serviceable, but very much like the ramen, very little to talk about.
After our 3-4 hours of food coma we emerged ready for the night’s festivities. Firstly we were heading out for a dinner that we had pre-arranged quite a long time before heading to Melbourne. We were eating at a pizza place called SPQR. We ate here last time we were in Melbourne and back then it was excellent. We were heading to a show tonight and knew that the restaurant was near the theatre so we thought we would hit it up again. SPQR is in a laneway towards the top of the Melbourne CBD. We still weren’t as hungry as we usually are when we have dinner but we were determined to make the most of it. We sat down and the restaurant is still in a nice cosy location in a laneway. We decided that we would do a share order. We went with a classic garlic bread for the entree.
The garlic bread was pretty similar to any other garlic bread. Always a solid option. Ronnie doesn’t love garlic bread, so Aimee ate most of this. For the mains we ordered two dishes. We firstly chose a mushroom and white truffle gnocchi
The gnocchi was really good. The actual gnocchi was cooked well and the flavours were light but really tasty. We are both big fans of mushroom and pasta so it went down a treat. The second was the classic margherita pizza. If you read any of our Italy blogs you will have seen that we are firm believers in simple but quality pizza. The value and quality of any pizza place can be best judged by how good its Margherita pizza is. SPQR certainly delivered on this. It was just as we remembered it. Excellent woodfired dough, delicious rich tomato sauce, little bits of fresh basil with beautiful fresh buffalo mozzarella on top. Exquisite!
We decided to skip dessert tonight as we were again, pretty damn full. Tonight was the main event though. One of the main reasons we were here in Melbourne was to come to the theatre. This would actually be the 20th professional musical theatre production that we have seen. Tonight we were seeing the Moulin Rouge.
Spectacular, spectacular! We were both very much looking forward to this as we are both big fans of the movie. When you first walk in there and see the set, wow. It is amazing. They have the giant elephant, the windmill and dancers around the stage doing slow and sultry dances on poles and in cages as you walked in. The sets, the costumes, the choreography and the energy of the show was absolutely incredible. It was excellently produced and was an absolute wonder for the eyes. The performers were also pretty good. It was a bit hit and miss with their singing and the chemistry between the leads was non-existent which was disappointing. One major thing to note was that they changed the music from the movie to the musical and have more modern songs throughout which we believe were at the detriment of the show. The songs were worse and had far less impact. The audience reaction to the songs was also weird. Every time a new song would start and the audience recognised it, there was laughter, but it wasn’t funny! It is a jukebox musical – this is how they work! This was intentional and it certainly cheapened the show and weakened the story.
It was still an incredibly fun and entertaining show that needed a different tone. For us, there is no better way to spend a night than at the theatre. It is a passion of ours and we intend to see as many professional theatrical productions as we can.
Ronnie & Aimee