Sunday, 12 October 2014

A weekend in Melbourne CBD

For someone who lives 25 minutes drive from the Melbourne CBD, and works there everyday, I don't often spend much time just exploring Melbourne.  This weekend, Gareth and I celebrated our 6 month wedding anniversary by staying in the city on Saturday night, and we got to change that a little!

On Saturday morning, I got up at about 7:30am and hit up the Michelle Bridges Project Shape-Up DVD.  It is probably a low to medium intensity interval training workout, which got me moving for the day.

Then Gareth, Angus and I went for a walk around the neighbourhood - we try to get out for a family walk at least once on a weekend.

After cleaning up and packing, we took Angus to the kennel he was staying for the night.  He doesn't get to play with other dogs too often, so I like to think he enjoys partying it up with the other pooches!

After we drove into the city and checked into our hotel, we were starving, so ate a quick lunch at Subway around the corner.  I had the turkey and ham sub on multigrain, with avocado added, and lots of vegies.  I can't remember the last time we had Subway ...

We then caught a tram into the city centre from right out the front of our hotel.  By the way, we were staying at the Royce Hotel on St Kilda Road. 

We really like the hotel!  It was smaller than lots of the others around, but still classy, well maintained and convenient to the city.  We had a bottle of wine and breakfast included in our accommodation package too - woohoo! 

Anyway, we went to a shopping centre that I haven't been to in ages - Melbourne Central.  It's got a huge variety of stores and is on top of one of the main train stations, so it's super easy to get to. 

We indulged in a frozen yoghurt (a current obsession!) from Frozen.  We shared a small tub of half coconut, half hazelnut yoghurt, with cacao nibs, almond flakes, strawberries, mango pieces, and pomegranate seeds as toppings.  YUM!  As you can see, I forgot to take a picture until it was too late :)

I also had a coffee from a place that looked pretty impressive called Plantation.

The coffee was expensive ($5.50 for a large skinny cappuccino!), and to be honest, didn't blow me away.   I had the house brew, although you could pick your own brew, and they also had drip coffee, but I wouldn't pay that much again for that coffee.

After awhile we wandered across the city to the Dymocks bookstore, and spent a bit of time browsing.  It's not often that you go to a real, live bookstore these days!  I found a few books that might find their way onto my Kobo in the near future :)

After that, we made our way up to Mamsita, a Mexican restaurant that I have heard amazing things about!  We had also been given a gift voucher for the restaurant for our wedding from some friends, so it seemed fitting to use tonight (it's on the top floor).

I'll just say upfront that it totally lived up to the hype!  We got there early, because they don't take bookings for 2, and we knew there my be a wait.  We were seated after standing in line for about 25 minutes, which wasn't too bad.

We ate A LOT of food.  We got lots of share plates:
  • One each of Elote callejero 'Streetstyle' chargrilled corn, queso, chipotle mayo & lime
  • Plátanos machos Crispy plantains, cucumber salsa & queso fresco
  • Tostadita de Carnitas Fried tortilla chips topped with pulled pork, pickled cucumber, pineapple, onion & coriander
  • Quesadilla de Chorizo Wheat tortillas filled w/ chorizo, potato & mexican cheese, queso fresco & jalapeño crema
  • Taco de Calabaza Pumpkin fritter, pumpkin slaw, jalapeño & goats cheese crema
  • Taco de Pescado Grilled market fish, red onion salsa lime, achiote & chipotle mayo
  • Taco de Arrachera Grilled flank steak, guacamole, tomatillo salsa & red onion
  • Col en chipotle Sautéed black cabbage, chipotle adobo & fried garlic
  • Frijoles Baked black beans & queso fresco
Everything was fresh, quickly served, and had a great balance of flavours.  My favourites were probably the chargrilled corn (it had a really nice kick to it), and the chorizo quesadilla.

We couldn't decide on desserts, so we ordered three to share.
  • Helado de maiz Sweetcorn icecream, salted caramel, popcorn
  • Flan de chocolate y naranja Chocolate orange flan, almond praline
  • Pudín de arroz y coco Coconut rice pudding, coconut cream, quince & amaranth toffee
I ate most of the rice pudding, Gareth had most of the chocolate flan, and we shared the icecream (which was probably my favourite of the three!).

By the way, sorry for the lack of food pictures - I still don't quite have the hang of photographing everything I eat ... mostly because I just want to jump in and eat it before thinking!  I'll try to do better next time :)

With dinner I had a glass of red wine from Portugal (I think it was similar to a Merlot), and a Cocktail on tap (Tromba blanco, grapefruit, lime, sugar, salt rim on the rocks - it was just ok).  Gareth had a few of the Dos Equis xxx Mexican beers.

Just to be clear, we really don't eat like this very often.  We decided it was a night to celebrate and indulge - no regrets :)  But if you are in Melbourne, you should definitely try this place.

After rolling back to our hotel room, we enjoyed our free bottle of wine (a shiraz cabernet) and watched Edge of Tomorrow with Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt.  We actually really enjoyed it!  The fact that we managed to stay awake for the whole movie definitely speaks wonders!

I think that's enough for this post - it's long enough!  I'll tell you about Sunday in the next one.

What's your favourite cuisine?  How did you enjoy your Saturday night?

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