Three months ago, Adam, Nicole, and I set off on a 2-month road trip around the southern coast of Australia. Until now, I’ve only been able to share about the 2-week trip to Tasmania and the trials and tribulations of living out of a van for two months. Now, I’m ready to pick up where I left off and share about the meals I enjoyed and the beautiful places I saw in Victoria, South Australia, and Western Australia. But mostly I’m just going to talk about food. No surprise, right?
Since I have already written about the well-traveled Great Ocean Road, I think I should simply cover Victoria by doing what I like best — talk about the good eats I had from Melbourne to the border of Victoria and South Australia.
Yummy finds in Melbourne
After Tasmania, we returned to Melbourne via the Spirit of Tasmania Ferry and spent a few days exploring some of the city’s suburbs. As Adam had once lived in Melbourne, he introduced us to a couple of his favorite places. One of them would become my favorite cafe in all of Australia.
Three Bags Full
60 Nicholson St, Abbotsford
I cannot say one bad thing about this cafe. I’m no food critic/reviewer, but in my humble new-foodie opinion, this place does everything right. From the decor, to the staff, to the food and coffee, everything works together in a magical way. Other than Adriano Zumbo, this is the only restaurant/cafe/bakery that I will write about in its own post, so be on the lookout for more Three Bags Full love!
The roadtrip trio was grocery store bound for a quick, inexpensive dinner when we stumbled upon this great Turkish eatery in Coburg. Patrons filled every table and chair, both inside and out, and folks waiting for their take away orders queued patiently inside. We had to join the crowd.
The staff was relatively large for a business of its size, but it had to be — kebabs, platters, Turkish bread, and dips exchanged hands every few seconds. Although we had to wait ages for our orders (it was so good the first time we ate there again on the return trip to Sydney), the food was well worth it. The lamb is cooked beautifully and is full of flavor. With my take away order, I received enough bread to serve two people, and I used my portion to sop up every bit of of delicious hummus and baba ganoush (by the way, who knew there were so many ways to spell both of those words?!).
Multiple locations in the city
Savory dishes are nice, but sweet is where it’s at for me! While strolling through Carlton, Adam directed us to Brunetti, where a visual feast of gorgeous pastries, cakes, and bite-size morsels awaited us. Narrowing down the the options to a reasonable order was difficult, but in the end Adam and I shared a few treats while Nicole ordered her own.
Great Ocean Road
International and domestic travelers alike drive the Great Ocean Road in search of beautiful scenery and unique natural formations. Restaurant and cafe owners capitalize on this by setting up shop and waiting for tourist dollars to pour in. But which places are good and which ones are duds, just there to make a quick buck?
Thankfully Adam and I discovered Lorne’s The Bottle of Milk.
The quality of the patty was average (a little dry but flavorful), the brie was nice, and the real winner was the bread. Being sensitive to gluten, I have to limit my intake, but this was one bun I had to eat every last bite of of. Wow.
And in a tight competition for the best fries I had in Oz, their hot chips with house mayo are next to impossible to beat. I am a healthy girl at heart, but I could have eaten several orders of these chips + mayo!
Otway Harvest Trail
Before the road trip, I had never heard of the Otway Harvest Trail. It runs nearly parallel to some of the Great Ocean Road, only slightly inland. In an effort to boost tourism, a map of local breweries, wineries, cafes, and foodie stops was developed, and may I just say, I was more excited about hitting the Trail than the Road. Unfortunately, we were traveling through mid-week, so only a few of the many stops were open.
Gentle Annie Berry Gardens grows pesticide free fruits and runs a cafe featuring some of their produce. As it was mid-week, there was little traffic on the Trail, and the three of us had the place to ourselves. We had a great chat with one of the owners about food, travel, and life. While Nicole tried a chocolate-based dessert, Adam and I shared a slice of the rhubarb sour cream cake.
Following our mid-morning we dessert, we found lunch (and more dessert) at the Ridge Cafe.
Ridge Cafe’s chef and owner welcomed us warmly, and we joined a couple of locals who dine in nearly every day! The display case was full of tempting quiches, frittatas, and savory pies — and of course, sweets. How was I supposed to choose amongst the homemade cakes, muffins, cookies, and tarts?! I don’t know how I selected only one, but I eventually chose the fig and frangipane cake. It was my first experience with frangipane, and I hope there are many, many more to come.
Next on the road trip…
If I liked Victoria, I loved South Australia and Western Australia. Of course I’ll tell you all about the food I enjoyed, but I’ll actually highlight some beautiful beaches and coastlines too!
Til then, procrastinate from work or distract yourself from that person making funny noises beside you on the bus or train by watching a few videos from the road trip.
Featured image via Creative Commons.