Malaysian Food Blog, Travel, Diving & More

Tag / melbourne

Lygon Street in Melbourne, also known as Little Italy, is littered with quite a number of gelati shops. Between Queensberry and Grattan, there are some five such outlets. However, there is only one award winning gelati shop out of the five: Il Dolce Freddo.

Il Dolce Freddo gelati at Logan Street, Melbourne
Yummy gelati, with wide variety of flavors

It is also the only gelati shop Mellissa (and everyone else that I know of) swears by in Melbourne. We made it a point that I must try out this place during my trip, so went there I did, with Mellissa and Zehan (hello single and available guys out there please go and buaya her ok)

Freddo Gelati at Lygon
check out the their famous durian flavored gelato!

Freddo offers quite a variety of gelati flavors, but the one absolute must-try flavor would  be Durian. Yes, good ol’ spiky stinky durian flavored gelato. There are other interesting flavors such as Pandan, various types of berries, rocher (with Ferraro Rocher), mango, lychee, passion fruit, and the more conventional chocolate, green tea, and coconut. Over 20 flavors in all.

KY, Melllissa, and Zehan at Freddo
KY, Mell, and Zehan

I ordered a cup with a scoop of Durian and Pandan flavored gelato for $4.80 (prices range from $4.80 to $7.80). It was lovely, the durian gelato actually made a very fair representation of the fruit, sticky, flavorful, and taste exactly like what you’d expect from the king of fruit. The pandan gelato too was quite lovely, sweet and fragrant.

The weather was quite lovely that day, if not just a little too cold. Then again, the temperature did keep our gelati in good shape and not turn into puddle of colored sweetened milky syrup so it was all good.

map to freddo at lygon street, melbourne

Can’t wait till I go there again this winter. 😀

Il Dolce Feddo
116 Lygon St,
Carlton, VIC 3053,


GPS: -37.80424, 144.966488
Tel: 03-9639 3344

Before I go to Melbourne, I received quite a few suggestions on restaurants and eateries that should visit from friends and blog readers alike. Among all the suggestions, the one place that I was pestered to visit over and over again by Jessica was MART 130.

“You must go to MART 130, they serve the best breakfast!”
“If you don’t go there, I will kill you!”
“Take a taxi, take tram, take whatever, just get yourself there!”

MART130 with Zehan and Mellissa
MART 130, Zehan & Mell

So on the 2nd to the last day at Melbourne, Mell, Zehan, and I took the 96 St. Kilda tram to MART 130 after stopping by the city early to buy the tickets for Wicked the musical (which was very awesome and worth every penny of the $85 ticket.)

MART 130 is actually a reverse anagram of TRAM 130, which is only apt because the restaurant is converted from an old tram stop. Which also means that getting there is a short 20 minute ride and you don’t actually have to walk more than a few stops after getting off the tram.

KY and Mellissa at MART130, Melbourne
flat white & latte, ham hock and cannellini beans

The restaurant is busy but relaxing, old but clean, and simple but sophisticated. Furniture consists of well maintained old wooden chairs and tables, with most diners seated at the semi alfresco area on the side not facing the track. Whole side of the wall is made up of transparent plastic that can be reeled up when the weather cooperates.

Mell ordered a glass of flat white and while I asked for latte (apparently they are basically the same except that flat whites have a slightly higher caffeine content.). The coffee arrived in a very aesthetically pleasing form that is well in line with the great taste. Now why can’t our local baristas do that too?

MART130 at Melbourne
Zehan with her french toast, Mell’s scrambled egg and Portobello mushroom

After much deliberation, we ordered 3 breakfast from different category in order to have a bit of variety. I asked for the Ham Hock and Cannellini Beans since there’s pork in the ham, of course. Mell ordered Scrambled Eggs and Portobello Mushroom, while it’s the French Toast with Orange Syrup for Zehan.

The ham hock and Cannellini beans ($15.9) came with organic sourdough toast with crumbled goat’s cheese, I’m normally not a very big bean person, but this was very tasty and wholesome. The sourdough toast fresh and very delicious too.

MART 130
Mellissa and the friendly owner

The other two sets were, in some ways, even better than what I had since they provide a slightly more varied ingredients. The scrambled eggs ($9.9) were done to perfection, with spinach, mushrooms, and fetta cheese (add $3). You can also have grilled bacon, goat’s cheese, and sausages (add $4)

Zehan’s French toast ($15.9) was pretty interesting, the mixture of orange syrup, with organic brioche and pistachio mascarpone (I didn’t know this is yet another type of cheese) was very delicious, according to the eccentric girl.

map to MART 130
MART 130 is at tram stop number 130 on 96 St. Kilda line

Over all it was a very good breakfast experience and certainly a place I wish to visit again. The prices might seem a little high (for Malaysian standard anyway,) but the ambiance was very good, quality of food excellent (organic & free range), and above all, it tasted great.

The place is opened from 7:30 to 4pm everyday, so you don’t even really have to wake up that early to enjoy their breakfast.

107A Canterbury Road,
Middle Park 3206,
Melbourne, Australia

GPS: -37.850103, 144.965608
Tel: 03-9690 8831

Don Don Japanese Take Away is a little restaurant located at the heart of Melbourne City that serves the cheapest and fastest Japanese food. This place is also a favorite for Mell’s housemate Jun Wei.

The restaurant is the size of a small apartment living room with less than half a dozen tables and at least half a dozen staffs crammed into the kitchen area. Efficiency is what they are best at.

Don Don Japanese Take out at Melbourne
Mellissa at yours truly at Don Don

As I sat down the table at the corner with Kerol while Mell went to order our food, a waitress came by and said to me “You’re KY right? I read your blog, and you’re Kerol.”

That was quite a surprised to me and Kerol, and I should have taken a picture with the waitress but she went missing into the kitchen instead. So if you’re reading this, HELLO and NICE TO MEET YOU. 😀

Don Don Japanese at Swanston Street, Melbourne
Sashi Don (salmon) and Don Don box (beef sukiyaki & chicken teriyaki)

The menu at Don Don is anything but extensive, there are only about half a dozen choices to pick from. We got the Sashi Don and Don Don box for about $8.30 each set. The other selections on the menu include chicken teriyaki, beef sukiyaki, and curry don.

The most amazing thing about Don Don is speed, there is practically zero waiting time. Order the food, pay, and collect. You actually get the whole bento within 2 minutes, faster than most fast food restaurants.

Map to Don Don Japanese at Swanston

The $8.30 salmon set had quite a large portion of salmon sashimi on top of sushi rice, and some other condiments, the fish were actually rather fresh and it tasted pretty good. The Don Don box came with a portion of beef sukiyaki (minus the soup), chicken teriyaki, rice, salad, and a slice of watermelon. A very good value.

While the food at Don Don is not to be compared with the higher end Japanese restaurants, they are cheap, very fast, and offers excellent value. If you’re looking for a quick fulfilling meal at downtown Melbourne, you wouldn’t need to spend more than 25 minutes in total at Don Don.

Don Don Japanese Take Out
321 Swanston St, Melbourne,
VIC 3000, Australia

GPS: -37.810375,144.964004
Tel: 03 9662 3377

Melbourne city is populated with a huge population of Asian, and as many other Western countries, a decent portion of those Asians are Vietnamese for obvious reasons if you’ve ever watched Nam: Tour of Duty (which also has the awesome title song – Paint it Black).

While Victoria Street north of Richmond, some 2km away from Central Business District has the most Vietnamese restaurants, there are quite a number of them right at the city center too, and none can be more famous than Mekong Vietnam at Swanston in CBD. I just had to go there since Mell was raving about it ever since I knew her.

so Bill Clinton had 2 bowls, I had one.

The restaurant is like many typical Asian outfits, with almost no effort spent in interior decoration, just lines of tables and chairs to maximize the number of patrons at any one time.

The one distinction at Mekong are the walls. Instead of low grade artworks, they have photos. Photos of many famous people who dined here, including Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, and even Bill Clinton (the restaurant claims that the President had two bowls of pho)

there’s always free water or tea at restaurants

The menu is typical of many Vietnamese restaurants, with pho (rice noodle soup), cold spring rolls, hot spring rolls, rice, vermicelli, some sides, and drinks. The pho dishes are priced at $8 and $9 (big) while the most expensive vermicelli dishes (those with spring rolls and meat) at $11.50.

pho with beef and plenty of tendon, yums

As usual, I ordered a bowl of Pho with tendon, tripe, and brisket while Mell got the version with raw slice beef. We also had some free hot tea to go with the noodles, I love the fact that almost all restaurants will serve you either tea or water for free around here.

The soup was pretty mild at Mekong and the pho used was actually just the normal “kueh teow” type instead of the more traditional Vietnamese noodle that is slightly harder in texture. However, the tendon, tripe, and the meat were all very tender and juicy. The overall taste was actually rather good, especially after asking the server for more basil (as I usually do anywhere outside Vietnam).

we certainly enjoyed our pho

It was actually a very satisfying meal, warm soupy dishes with cold weather always go very well together. $18 for 2 person is also pretty cheap for a meal in the city short of fast food joints.

Mekong is just a block off QV and Melbourne Central

241 Swanston St,
Melbourne VIC 3000

GPS: -37.812157,144.964921
Tel: 03 9663 3288

After lunch at Red Silks in Chinatown, like most people who has nothing better to do, we look for a cup of after meal coffee and a place to chill out. We headed up north a couple blocks to QV (Queen Victoria Building), a rather popular hangout area that houses several restaurants and a couple grocery stalls

max brenners at QV, Melbourne
Max Brenners at QV

Coffee drinking is actually quite a big thing in Australia. The annual coffee business amounts to some $3 billion, that is plenty of coffee for a population of some 21 million people. The market is a lot more mature than KL, with plenty of privately owned businesses and a few international chains.

In Malaysia, you’d go to Starbucks or Old Town, but in Melbourne, the defacto choice is Max Brenners (although you can find Starbucks, and actually even Old Town Kopitiam!), it is just convenient that there is an outlet located right in the middle of QV with a nice outdoor seating area that is sheltered from sun and wind.

milk suckao and milk chocolate at max brenners
milk suckao and cappuccino

The place is almost perpetually full, we actually had to wait for a couple minutes before landing ourselves a table. Since I was basically a tourist and Max Brenners is famous for their chocolates, Mell ordered a Milk Sukao for me, and from their website:

Suckao is the espresso of the chocolate drinks. It is a small, dense, concentrated shot of rich chocolate. The term “Suckao” is made up of two words that describe the utensil and the unique drink it contains: Suck – to draw the dense liquid through the metal tube. Kakao – the Spanish word for cocoa beans from which this rich chocolate drink is made and which determine its quality.

It is basically fresh milk (refillable) warmed by an aroma therapy size candle with chocolate chips on the side to mix. The quality of chocolate was rather high and I really liked it, not bad at all for $6.

latte and milk chocolate at max brenners
latte, KY, milk chocolate

Mell got herself a milk chocolate ($5) that comes in a “HUGMUG”. The cocoa used is originated from Venezuela, creamy and tasty. The hugmug is specially designed for chocolate drinks at Max Brenners, to be used for hugging with both hands, perfect for the rather chilly weather when we were there.

carol, margaret, and mellissa at max brenners
Carol, Margaret, and Mellissa with her hugmug

Carol and Margaret got themselves Cappuccino and Cafe Latte ($3.30 each), and both the drinks were better than the same offered by the likes of Starbucks or Coffeebeans in Malaysia. Part of the reason being that the milk used here is so much fresher and tastier.

We ended up going to Max Brenners a few more times, meeting up friends and sampling different types of drinks along the way (the coconut + lychee drink was awesome, and the magic waffle balls very interesting). It was sort of a meeting point for Mell and her friends there, for obvious reasons. Good drinks, nice environment, affordable prices.

queen elizabeth building, melbourne
Max Brenners is located at the heart of QV

Max Brenners has over a dozen branches in Australia, a couple in New York, Philippines, Israel, and there’s even one in Singapore at Esplanade Mall on Raffles Ave.

Max Brenners
Queen Victoria Building
25-27 Red Cape Lane,
Level 2, QV Square,
210 Lonsdale Street
Melbourne VIC 3000

GPS: -37.810657,144.965587
Tel: +61 3 9663 6000