The worst thing about being away from Melbourne during Covid – aside from not seeing my friends and family and y’know, the death and disease – was the fear that all the amazing restaurants I’ve yet to try will have shut down during my involuntary exile. And whilst many restaurants certainly bit the dust, Pentolina was not one of them, and now dining is (more or less) back, it seems just as popular as ever. Pentolina embodies everything I love about dining in Melbourne – its unexpected retro glamour tucked away next to a parking garage, the effortless old-world European comfort it exudes, and of course, the warm welcome and hospitality from each and every one of the staff.
After over a year of being engaged, Chris and I have finally booked our wedding venue! The original plan was to go back down to Melbourne around May to check out, and hopefully book a place, but obviously that couldn’t happen. Thankfully we weren’t planning on getting married until the year after I finish med school, aka 2022, so there was no harm done, and we were still able to get the venue we wanted for when we wanted. And in case anyone is curious, we’re getting married at Glasshaus Inside, aka probably the most beautiful, and most millennial place to get hitched in all of Melbourne.
Remember what I said about being devastated over missing out on many a Melbourne restaurant whilst I was stuck in Sydney due to Covid? Well one of the restaurants that I was most upset about not getting to eat at was Bar Tini, the brainchild of Frank Camorra, aka the father of Spanish food (and tapas in general) in Melbourne. Unfortunately, before I had a chance to get myself to Bar Tini, it had shut down, and that boat has sailed forevermore. But it’s not all bad news; for once it’s not Covid that took down Bar Tini, at least not directly in any case. Being both an amazing chef and a shrewd businessman, Camorra realised that as popular as…
Being back in Melbourne after a whole year of Covid restrictions is no insignificant event. It’s the longest I’ve ever been away from my family or friends, and just thinking about all the restaurants I didn’t get to eat at absolutely breaks my heart. So between spending as much time as I can with my loved ones, I’ve had the difficult job of deciding on where to eat in my short week-and-a-half in Melbourne. Thankfully K had a good idea of what he wanted to eat; having been in strict lockdown for about 3 months, he hasn’t had Japanese food for almost as long, and that’s how we ended up at Ima Project Café for brunch.
I find it a bit hard to get excited over brunch these days. As much as I love the indulgent weekend ritual, it does start feeling a little same-same after a while. And paradoxically, this is actually exacerbated by how infrequently I have time to go out on a Saturday morning. When I do finally get around to it, I tend to expect the world from my brunch, and end up getting quite disappointed if it doesn’t live up to my hopes. Thankfully, I had spotted Oppen a few weeks before I was due to come back to Melbourne for Christmas, and was rather keen to try out their Scandinavian take on brunch.
After a stunning, but incredibly rich dinner at Cheek the night before – followed by a proposal from my now fiancé! – I was in the mood for something a bit more simple and wholesome for breakfast. I had read about Holy Crumpets a little while back, and being a big fan of places that focus on getting just one thing perfect, I was more than happy to forego hotcakes at Higher Ground to give these crumpets a try. Tucked under an awning just around the corner from Melbourne Central, you’re guaranteed to miss this little hole-in-the-wall if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Seating consists of just a couple of benches, and if you’re not paying attention, it’s…