Recently Aron & I enjoyed 4 days in Melbourne. Whereas I am a Sydney girl through and through, I have family in Melbourne, as has Aron, so we both share a deep affection and attraction for this vibrant city (see I can play nice).
We arrived late in the week and as planned caught up with our like minded foodie mates, Teri & Paul, at the Flower Drum for a late-week dinner. The four of us share a love of food, wine and travel which ensures our time together is always memorable, even if far too infrequent. The restaurant is one of three, 3 hatted restaurants in metropolitan Melbourne (The Age Good Food Guide 2015) and the innovative Cantonese cuisine did not disappoint, and as expected, the service was very good.
We enjoyed a lot of family time this trip, which after all is the reason for our Melbourne sojourns. We very happily stayed with our wonderful Melbourne family at ‘Hotel Terriaca’, where hospitality and generosity is on tap and where we always find ourselves talking and laughing with our friends well into the wee hours over too many wines (Sammy and me) & bourbons (Rob and Aron). Two of Aron’s three children joined us for dinner on the Saturday night for which Sammy made delicious beef and vegetarian burgers. Aron and I contributed the desert which we purchased from the South Melbourne Markets…which I will come back to. We also had a delicious breakfast (Bacon & Egg Breakfast Tart) made by my talented & very funny sister (Sissy-Poo) with whom I share many similar interests and obviously a parent or two.
Sissy and I have a healthy Sydney/Melbourne rivalry going on….for example, on a recent day off she spent a few hours in the sun on St Kilda ‘beach’ and posted a photo of said ‘beach’ on Facebook. My comment of, ‘you call that a beach’, attracted the expected barbed response from my dear sister, although being called a ‘beach racist Sydney-sider’ seems a bit harsh, (no?).
But, beaches aside, and let’s face it …seriously…metropolitan Melbourne can’t hold a sea shell to Sydney on this front (or Perth or Brisbane for that matter); there is one area (at least) which Melbourne absolutely wins hands down over Sydney. Melbourne’s metropolitan ‘permanent’ fresh produce markets are fantastic and we poor Sydney foodies are jealous – or at least I am. Yes we have produce markets and growers markets, but these run only on certain days of week (EQ Village Markets – Wednesday & Saturday), or days of the month (Good Living Growers Market – first Saturday of the month 7am – 11am, Northside Produce Markets – third Saturday of the month 8am – noon) and are not as complained about ‘permanent’. For me to get to one of these I have to abandon my much loved Saturday routine of a walk, an early exercise session followed by leisurely breakfast and get out of the house early…after a week of super ‘earlies’ that doesn’t resonate as satisfactory week-end behaviour. Of course we have the wonderful Sydney Fish Markets, but compared to the likes of South Melbourne Market (SMM), there really is no comparison (in my view). SMM does not only offer a variety on butchers, fish mongers, poultry shops, delicatessens, speciality spice shops, patisseries, fresh fruit & veg outlets, bakeries, florists as well as many other specialty shops, AND restaurants/food outlets, it is also flanked by cafes, an excellent cook’s warehouse and more.
In the hope that I had simply missed what Sydney had to offer in this vital area (too emotional?), I dragged Aron out to Paddy’s Market @ Flemington last Saturday. I will leave it by saying that it was so not the experience I was looking/hoping for and we didn’t stay very long…sigh! … the state of the general environment and the smell as we entered the section near the fish mongers was enough to make us head for the nearest exit.
Come on Sydney……surely we can do better……we need to lift our game and get serious about some permanent good fresh food markets…maybe even a few!!…where one can arrive at any time Saturday or Sunday, or any other day of the week for that matter, and satisfy a need for fabulous fresh produce and products…who can I work with on this…anyone?
P.S: But we do have the best beaches………………. 🙂