What’s Hood: Melbourne CBD
This edition of “What’s Hood” draws you back into the heart of Melbourne, the city centre – also widely known as the CBD. Sorry Flinders Street Station and State Library, although you are one of the top 10 historical landmarks to visit when in Melbourne, it is time for the CBD’s underdogs to steal some of your limelight.
Allow our team’s (amateur and self-declared) tour guides/coffee enthusiasts/foodie Jacklyn and Esreal to introduce you to what they call the “hidden gems of the CBD”. Comment below your go-to spots as well so we could explore or try your favourite!
Please note that our favourites might not be yours but hey, the best time to explore is now before the hustle-bustle returns, right? (Sorry people beyond our 5km radius).
Trust us, we know our coffee. Melbourne, being infamous for its good coffee so much so that even their 7-11 coffee is convenient and pretty decent (Esreal recommends it for morning runs but Jacklyn is not an advocate for this).
Dukes Coffee Roasters: One of the best coffee spots in the city, easy to miss but lookout for the little black coffee cup sign when you turn right from Degraves St and Flinders Lane. Every Saturday, you will find Jacklyn picking up her Dukes fix and being satisfied after her first sip, “The coffee tastes extra good this week!”. Can confirm their coffee tastes good (Es recommends as well) every time.
Brother Baba Budan: Jacklyn’s Sunday go-to. Brewing Seven Seeds coffee, you don’t have to travel all the way to Carlton if you’re a Seven Seeds fan. While Dukes coffee tastes lighter and smoother, BBB’s coffee weighs on a creamier and thicker taste. Equally as good!
Operator25: One of our go-to brunch places that could easily satisfy both your coffee (Code Black and Small Batch) and brunch cravings and they are still open and doing takeaway! Fun fact: did you know that it used to house Melbourne’s first switchboard?
Little Rogue/Calia: A little cheating but their matcha lattes taste delicious if for some reason you’re not craving or into coffee. Try Calia’s iced hojicha latte = 100%.
Other notable mentions: Patricia’s (racing you once it reopens), Sensory Lab, Vacation, Traveller and Everyday Midtown.
Searching for food could be an adventure and definitely a hit-or-miss situation. However, we’ve compiled a quick cheat sheet of where to satisfy your cravings and support your local cafes and restaurants.
During the daytime, head to Lune Croissanterie for their classic almond croissant and Jacklyn’s newly discovered favourite – Cheese & Vegemite escargot – they didn’t go too hard on the vegemite, don’t worry. Another sweet option would be Shortstop Donuts. Their triple matcha or maple walnut and brown butter never fail to impress.
Lunch (or dinner) could be easily sorted with a satisfying boat noodle by Dodee Paidang, hidden in an underground basement between Elizabeth and Lt Collins St – this place will not disappoint.
Chinatown, definitely a go-to if you have no idea what to eat. Tickle your taste buds with Dragon Hot Pot, Chinese wok braised chicken rice (杨明宇黄焖鸡饭), Go Noodle House for their authentic Malaysian style noodles or 2 Peck/Hot Star for an easy fried snack, we highly recommend their crispy chicken cutlet and sweet potato fries!
When the sun decides to come out to play, especially with Summer creepin in slowly, organise a picnic in the beautiful gardens surrounding the CBD. Try Fitzroy Gardens, Royal Botanical Gardens, Carlton Gardens and Flagstaff Gardens (alcohol is allowed here!) – with social distancing in mind, of course.
Bubble tea is the equivalent of Melbournians’ coffee for internationals who reside in the CBD. It’s an everyday staple for some of us and it goes well with everything. Having a bad day? Nothing a cup of bubble tea can’t solve. If you’re looking for something sweet and somewhat dessert related to end your night? This is it.
There’s no shortage when it comes to bubble tea shops in the city just along Swanston St and Bourke St. Instead of heading straight for the regulars like Gong Cha or Chatime, try Machi Machi, a popular brand founded by famous singer and songwriter Jay Chou – who is also a huge fan of bubble tea.
Originated from Melbourne, Top Tea brews quality and customisable fruit teas that is a popular choice for Melbournians – its never-ending line even during lockdown proves its place on the bubble tea tier. If you’ve tried all of the above, you might have not tried Instea yet – a new resident in the CBD garnering attention over its unique bottle that is definitely “Insta-worthy”.
That’s it for now from us! With restrictions *hopefully* easing, we hope you can check out these places soon! Now brb, heading to Brother Baba Budan for our Sunday coffee fix!