Alex: Well, it’s about 2 months late but finally, I can share my last day in Melbourne!
The past few days were spent doing nothing but eating doughnuts, creme brûlée’s, and so forth, so why make the last day any different!?
We started this beautifully fresh morning with a quick breakfast stop at the famous Hopetoun Tea Rooms. Me and my mum walked past this place at least 4 or 5 times during our time in Melbourne and it always had lines going out the door. We were gobsmacked to find that there was literally no one in sight on this Sunday morning…at 9 am! Prime breakfast time and we had the place all to ourselves!
The decadent display of cakes, flans, tarts, and a mountain of macaroons were calling my name, but I knew I had to control myself, I had my eye on some other seriously good sweets but I’ll get to that later…
I didn’t want anything ridiculously heavy in the morning because I knew how the rest of the day was going to pan out so I decided to order the Freshly Baked Scones accompanied with Hank’s triple berry Jam and double cream $7. The scones were light, crumbly and moist all in one. The double cream was rich in flavour but balanced well with a dollop of the triple berry jam. The only issue was the size of the scones, I’ve seen some seriously large scones and these were minuscule in comparison. I also ordered a regular peppermint tea, boring I know but it did the job!
And now we come to the reason for not picking up any of the seriously delicious looking temptations at the Hopetoun Tea Rooms display, Cupcake Central.
A place that has been on my trusty little food list for quite some time. Originally it was the retro design that drew me in, with a great colour scheme to match, and decked out with a 50’s style green Smeg Fridge, ahhh I was in love.
So, I got a bit excited and decided to get 10 to take back with me to Sydney, plus I needed to bring something back for Bianca because she would have had a whinge, anyway! I got:
-Coffee Creme Brûlée
-Red Velvet: The best!
-Cookies and Cream
-2x Salted Caramel
-Devil’s food Chocolate
-Raspberry White Chocolate
Being Italian, I never really venture to any Italian restaurants unless I’ve heard some truly amazing things, thankfully 400 Gradi was an exception and delivered some amazing pizza! Was it the best I’ve ever had? Probably not, I’ve been to Italy and experienced some truly delicious pizza bases but this was definitely up there.
The restaurant is critically acclaimed for it’s beautiful pizza bases after Chef and Owner, Johnny Di Francesco was awarded the world’s top margherita pizza title at the ‘Campionato Modiale Della Pizza’ (Pizza World Championship) which was held in Parma, Italy this year. He beat more than 600 competitors from over 35 countries which has made this quaint restaurant quite a bustling place, with waits as long as 45 minutes to sit down!
To start we ordered a few servings of the ‘Arancini’ – sicilian rice balls, with peas, bolognese and mozzarella with arrabiata sauce $13. The arancini had a real hearty crunch as you bit into it and a lovely oozy middle. The mozzarella was stringy and as a whole went perfectly with the spice from the arrabiata sauce.
Of course we had to try the famous ‘Margherita Verace’ – with san Marzano tomato, mozzarella di bufala and basil $20.50. The base of the pizza was superb, with the crust being just the slightest bit crunchy making it not too difficult to eat. The actual flavours of the pizza were nice, but nothing I haven’t had before. Other than the base, it was a pretty standard pizza.
The ‘Caserta’ – with san marzano tomato, mozzarella di bufala, levoni prosciutto di parma and rocket, ($24.50) was the highlight of the pizzas. The prosciutto was extremely soft and almost had a melt in your mouth texture and the rocket paired deliciously with the prosciutto.
Nick ordered the ‘Garlic Pizza’ because he’s boring and doesn’t like sauce, or anything for that matter. The flavours were actually really nice in this garlic pizza but the thick pieces of garlic were too strong and had to be taken off the pizza.
And for those that still had room we got a few desserts between us to share, they were:
‘Tortino al cioccolato’ $15 chocolate fondue pudding, vanilla ice cream. They forgot to bring out the vanilla ice cream but that didn’t phase us. It was a deliciously rich chocolate desert, perhaps not something to eat everyday, but nevertheless it’s a must try. As we broke into the crunchy layer at the top it was like a thick chocolate swimming pool. Who could say know to that?
Next was ‘Pannacotta al miele’ $13 honey pannacotta with sticky vincotto, chic honeycomb crumb. An array of textures that went well with the perfectly cooked panna cotta. If I had to nit pick the only thing issue was that I thought that the honey flavour was too overpowering.
And now! The winner of the day, ‘Calzone alla Nutella’ $16 hot nutella in a pizza pocket pastry. We were all mesmerised as the calzone was placed in front of us. As we cut into the Calzone the hot runny Nutella oozed out and filled the air with a subtle smell of greatness! It was a shame that It had to be shared between all of us, because I most likely could’ve eaten it all to myself.
A fantastic restaurant that exudes italian culture. Don’t let the lines scare you away, because you’ll regret it!
So it’s safe to say that the 3 days that I spent in Melbourne were fantastic. Melbourne has an abundance of cafe’s and restaurants that I have yet to try so it’s a good thing my brother moved down there, because I now have a reason to go often!
Until next time!