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Cheapie Lunch (Under $15)

Ichiban Boshi

Ichiban Boshi and I go way back. I first heard of the now-iconic ramen chain over 10 years ago, when I had just started reading food blogs, and the thought of writing my own was years from even crossing my mind. I had never had proper ramen at the time, but that didn’t stop me from being completely enamoured with the idea of noodles in deliciously porky soup (in fact, I think this may be where my ramen obsession started).  And I almost, almost got to eat at Ichiban Boshi too, when I went to the Gold Coast with my family in 2008. Unfortunately that didn’t pan out, and it took another 10 years and an interstate move before the…

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Pidapipo CBD

I had promised my sister a pasta-and-gelato date for the next time I came back down to Melbourne, and despite minor shenanigans in the form of a last-minute search for a restaurant that was actually open, the first part of the operation was carried off without a hitch. After wandering around for a couple hours, digesting the ridiculous amounts of carbs we ingested, we hit up Pidapipo for our gelato fix. I had first come across Pidapipo a couple years ago, when they only had their flagship Carlton store. The deliciousness of their gelato, the hazelnut flavour especially, absolutely blew my mind. Unfortunately Carlton is just out of the way enough for me to not be able to frequent it…

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Ippudo

One great thing about Japan is that over there, Restaurant Chain is not a dirty term. With their dedication to quality, even the most pedestrian chains serve up food that would be right at home in a casual restaurant in Australia. Take Ippudo for example; despite having 69 branches in 12 countries, it is still very much known for serving up an excellent bowl of noodles that’s comparable to any ramen-ya. Ippudo may be located in a Westfield shopping complex, but the fit-out is rather swank. The dim interior with dramatic down-lighting, and eye-catching bar, makes it feel more like a high-end hotel restaurant than a casual eatery.

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Dodee Paidang Melbourne

I had high hopes for Dodee Paidang. I wish I could say that it’s because I know Melbourne has finally upped its Thai food game, but unfortunately that isn’t the case. Dodee Paidang actually originates from Sydney, where the Thai food is top notch. Having been to one of the branches there, I can vouch for the quality and authenticity of Dodee. Whilst this isn’t quite as good as Melbourne having its very own good born and bred Thai restaurant, the prospect of not having to leave good Thai food when I eventually move back to Melbourne is pretty exciting.

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Daniel’s Donuts

I’ve never been a big fan of donuts (though I do like them – I’m not crazy), but the hype around Daniel’s Donuts has been so big over the last year that I had to go and check it out. Everyone from mum’s co-workers to Chris’ co-workers has been banging on about how they’re the best donuts they’ve ever had, and combined with the fact that my sister was dying to visit, and that it’s actually near-ish to home, prompted a drive down to Springvale one afternoon while I was in Melbourne.

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Fergbaker

I may not have gotten to have as much Fergburger as I would have liked to whilst I was in Queenstown, but you know what I did have a lot of? Fergbaker, the bakery (go figure) that marked the first expansion of the Ferg empire, a whole 10 years after the original Fergburger opened in 2001. Fergbaker may, on appearances, be your typical bakery, but you’ll realise that it is so much better than that after you walk in and have a look around. Aside from your typical array of loaves and sweets, there’s also a tantalising array of sweet and savoury pastries, as well as gourmet sandwiches, and an entire menu of country-styled pies. I was like a child…

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