With flights to Melbourne down around the hundred dollar mark these days from a variety of different airlines, it's the perfect time to pop down for a gastronomic weekend. Of course a big part of the foodie fun in Melbourne is exploring the little lane ways that are littered with tasty places to eat.
To find Il Solito Posto you'll be looking down one such alley, for a restaurant tucked below street level. Inside you'll find a dimly lit, rustic space, perfect for whiling away a few hours. Warm yourself from the inside with wine and steaming bowls of Spaghetti ($28), with a few Dunalley Bay Oysters ($3.50/each) or a simple but generous Salad of Porchetta and Apple ($15.50). The elasticity of the toothsome spaghetti enriched with seafood in a simple tomato sauce, set off nicely by a Te Kairanga Pinot Noir ($52) made for a satisfying start to our Melbourne adventure.
Il Solito Posto
Basement Level, 113 Collins Street (entry on George Parade), Melbourne
Ph: (03) 9654 4466
With the weather quite chilly I favoured indoor pursuits, popping into the Greater Union Cinema on nearby Russell Street for a quick flick. The Hollywood Complex is a fascinating look at the would-be child stars who migrate (somewhat like geese) to Hollywood for pilot season. It's fascinating in a watching-a-train-wreck type of way.
Stepping out from a slightly too-chilly cinema into a full-scale Melbourne winter's night, all I could think of was an intimate little cocktail bar. Luckily just around the corner are not one but two cocktail bars worth visiting... luckily they're siblings!
Hairy Little Sista is the place to sink into a comfy brown couch, sip on a cocktail to warm the cockles and bite down on some sharing style dishes like the Montadito ($12.50) toasty with flavoursome morcilla.
Hairy Little Sista
230 Little Collins Street, Melbourne
Ph: (03) 9639 7778
A few doors up, the older sibling Hairy Canary is less atmospheric inside, but the cocktail list holds some real gems. It's hard to pass up a cocktail called Skipping After The Moustached Green Fairy especially when it features the multilevel palate punch of absinthe, lemon peel, coffee beans and jalapenos! There may have been a Gingerbread cocktail somewhere in there too...
212 Little Collins Street, Melbourne
Ph: (03) 9654 2471