To work up some appetite, we did a bit of walking through Melbourne at night. This is Chinatown Melbourne by night.
After a little backtracking we finally found Croft Alley.
It's a glorious graffiti filled alley way which is home (at the very end) to The Croft Instiitute.
It's worth a peek for the theming along... think high-school science lab, with test-tubes, beakers but suprisingly understated looking cocktails like this Pear Cider Crumble ($17). It features Zubrowka vodka, apple liqueur and egg white floated over Rekorderlig Pear Cider and cinnamon and was quite drinkable.
No visit would be complete without a gander at the Department of Female Hygiene upstairs.
The Croft Institute
21 Croft Alley, Melbourne
Ph: (03) 9671 4399
After a bit more walking off the day's meals on picturesque but chilly streets, we were at our dinner destination, Melbourne's current it-restaurant, Chin Chin.
Amongst the rich and beautiful people, we were treated to peppy, friendly service even in a totally full space. Despite not having reservations (they don't take them) and arriving after eight, we were lucky enough on a Saturday night to walk straight into a table.
The first dish we tried was the Chin Chin Pork 'Roll-Ups' ($18/4 pieces) of red braised suckling pig with pancakes, 'slaw and sour herbs, and it impressed. Now that's what I mean by modern Asian cusiine!
We also tried the Steamed Spanner Crab and Chicken Salad with Green Tomato, Chilli and Coconut Dressing ($23) which was pleasant and more-ish. It goes down nicely with some Ginger Punch ($28/2 people) of ginger syrup, Australian pepperberry gin, cucumber, fresh lime, orange bitters and ginger beer.
Dish of the night however was easily this bowl of Massaman Curry of Coconut Braised Hopkins River Beef Brisket with Pink Fir Apple Potatoes and Crispy Shallots ($19) with Chin Chin's Roti Bread ($6). The roti blew my mind - it took me straight back to the summer I spent in Malaysia as a seven year old, and was obviously the best roti I've eaten since then!
125 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Ph: (03) 8663 2000
The next morning there was just time to fit in a quick breakfast before we had to head back to Sydney. I knew exactly where I needed to go, having cased Breizoz French Crêperie when I was on Gertrude Street the day before.
For me the Egg, Goat's Cheese and Mushroom ($13) went down rather nicely. The menu suggested that instead of coffee, we should take our crepes with cider. Who were we to argue? We chose Duck & Bull Scrumpy ($9.50) which worked together well.
This is The Brick ($16.50) - a double galette with egg, ham, cheese, mushroom and tomato.
Breizoz French Crêperie
49 Brunswick St reet, Fitzroy
Ph: (03) 9415 7588
And that was the last tasty bite of my mid-winter Melbourne sojourn!