Along Lygon Street, Carlton, Melbourne

The different cultural sectors of Melbourne have been a source of delight.

Lygon Street is the Italian enclave, where, it has been said, all tensions were eased when Italy beat Australia in the World Cup and the gelato shops all handed out free scoops to celebrate.

The D.O.C. Gastronomia Italiana group includes an espresso bar, a delicatessen, and two mozarella & pizza bars.

We loved the authentic Italian provision shop look and feel of the delicatessen where a man was cutting up fresh spinach pasta under hanging legs of ham, and two older man came in, giving greetings and orders in rapid Italian, with many hand gestures:
D.O.C. Gastronomia Italiana delicatessen, Lygon Street, Carlton

D.O.C. Delicatessen, Lygon Street, Carlton

Next door at D.O.C. Espresso (326 Lygon Street), we settled down for warmth and a meal:

D.O.C. Gastronomia Italiana, Lygon Street, Carlton
D.O.C. Gastronomia Italiana, Lygon Street, Carlton
D.O.C. Gastronomia Italiana, Lygon Street, Carlton
D.O.C. Gastronomia Italiana, Lygon Street, Carlton
D.O.C. Gastronomia Italiana, Lygon Street, Carlton
D.O.C. Gastronomia Italiana, Lygon Street, CarltonBoth the spaghetti pomodoro and black rice salad(?) were excellent. The milk coffee was dark-tasting, as per Italian standards.

A few shops away, was a spice house with the German name, Gewürzhaus (342 Lygon Street, Carlton):
Gewürzhaus, 342 Lygon Street, Carlton
Gewürzhaus, 342 Lygon Street, Carlton
All the spices I’d ever seen in recipes and despaired of obtaining! Salts of various kinds including a black lava salt! And pink salt bowls!

And then, just across the intersection, Pidapipó (299 Lygon Street, Carlton), an amazing gelateria:

Pidapipó, 299 Lygon Street, Carlton, Melbourne

Pidapipó, 299 Lygon Street, Carlton, Melbourne Pidapipó, 299 Lygon Street, Carlton, Melbourne

Seriously, nutella from a tap? Bring it on!

Pidapipó, 299 Lygon Street, Carlton, Melbourne Pidapipó, 299 Lygon Street, Carlton, Melbourne

Affogato with vanilla ice-cream? Yes please.Pidapipó, 299 Lygon Street, Carlton, Melbourne

Chewy pistachio ice-cream in a fresh cone, topped with Honeyfingers honeycomb. Yum. The honey was fragrant and the comb, not too waxy:

Pidapipó, 299 Lygon Street, Carlton, Melbourne Pidapipó, 299 Lygon Street, Carlton, Melbourne

A little further one, a real-life bookshop! We enjoyed browsing at Readings (309 Lygon Street) before taking a tram down, past Donnini’s enticing fresh pasta shop,

Donnini's fresh pasta shop, Lygon Street
Donnini's fresh pasta shop, Lygon Street

to the long Lygon stretch to Rumi Restaurant (facebook, 116 Lygon Street):

Rumi Restaurant, 116 Lygon Street, Brunswick East
Rumi Restaurant, 116 Lygon Street, Brunswick East
Our waiter was originally from Canada, in Melbourne to train in rowing. He brought hot water on this tray, in these little pots.

Rumi Restaurant, 116 Lygon Street, Brunswick East

Rumi Restaurant, 116 Lygon Street, Brunswick East - Jerusalem artichokes with feta, fish cooked in vine leaf, slow-cooked lamb
Rumi Restaurant, 116 Lygon Street, Brunswick East
Despite the waiter’s best efforts, we can’t say we enjoyed this meal very much after waiting more than 40 minutes for the food. There was no variation in taste in each dish and the fish tasted distinctly fishy. The unspoken grump was that we might have spent far less for greater satisfaction at a pizza joint instead.

Some Nibbles and Meals in Melbourne

After hanging out at Rose Street Market for a bit, we headed over to Hammer & Tong 412 (facebook, rear 412 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy) Hammer & Tong 412, Rear 412 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne

Hammer & Tong 412, Rear 412 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne

Hammer & Tong 412, Rear 412 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne Hammer & Tong 412, Rear 412 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne

Hammer & Tong 412, Rear 412 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne

Hammer & Tong 412, Rear 412 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne

Hammer & Tong 412, Rear 412 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, MelbourneThere was a slight industrial-scavanged look going on, with old irons holding up the menus in the shopwindow, pepper and salt in lab beakers, and the occasional mis-matched furniture.

We were there for the soft-shell crab dog, with black sesame dog slaw, coriander and sriracha sauce mayo, but could not resist trying the miso corny ice-cream dessert (miso and sweetcorn ice-cream with toasted sesame). The ingredients in both worked very well together. A good little pick-me-up before dinner.

Hammer & Tong 412, Rear 412 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne

Hammer & Tong 412, Rear 412 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne

Hammer & Tong 412, Rear 412 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne - soft-shell crab dog, with black sesame dog slaw, coriander and sriracha sauce mayo

Hammer & Tong 412, Rear 412 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne

Feast of Merit (facebook, 117 Swan Street, Richmond) was in the next suburb. What it had going for it was an even more industrial-distressed look – bare brick walls and rafters and naked hanging bulbs, and a very good conscience – a social enterprise YGAP restaurant.

Feast of Merit, 117 Swan Street, Richmond, Melbourne

Feast of Merit, 117 Swan Street, Richmond, Melbourne Feast of Merit, 117 Swan Street, Richmond, Melbourne

 Feast of Merit, 117 Swan Street, Richmond, Melbourne“What would you recommend?” I’d asked two people who’d been there for a birthday celebration. “Anything’s good! Everything’s good!” they’d replied,”But remember to book, and remember there’s a second seating…”

Feast of Merit, 117 Swan Street, Richmond, Melbourne - ox tongue (grilled ox tongue, res el hanout, sour milk, baby radish)

We decided it was a good time as any to have ox tongue (grilled ox tongue, res el hanout, sour milk, baby radish) to start – delicious tender, flavourful pieces of meat. A good sign.

We continued with the eggplant (roasted eggplant, smoked yogurt, harissa oil, pinenuts, parsley), carrots (heirloom/ common carrots, honeyed tahini, soft egg, dukkah spices), and a beef shank on celeriac mash: Feast of Merit, 117 Swan Street, Richmond, Melbourne - eggplant (roasted eggplant, smoked yogurt, harissa oil, pinenuts, parsley), carrots (heirloom/ common carrots, honeyed tahini, soft egg, dukkah spices), and a beef stewAll absolutely delicious – good flavours and textures. Thus fortified, we headed back out into the windy winter night.

Hot chocolate was on the agenda another cold winter afternoon. One of our party refused to cross Collins Street to the Koko Black salon because of an apparent suicide she’d experienced the day before along that very street (it turned out the man survived). So we ended up at Lindt Chocolate Cafe (271 Collins Street, Melbourne CBD):

Lindt Chocolate Cafe, Collins Street, Melbourne

Lindt Chocolate Cafe, Collins Street, Melbourne - signature drink - chocolate and espresso

Lindt Chocolate Cafe, Collins Street, Melbourne - hot chocolate The hot chocolate was a little too sweet – I’d have preferred more cocoa content, but the signature drink of espresso and chocolate was terrific – a good complex taste.