My name is Melissa Brauer, but some people just know me as Gastronomel, as I’ve been a food blogger for a few years now. I live in Melbourne and I am passionate about supporting our vibrant and ever-changing food scene. I love Social Media. I love people, I love things that look good and I love food. I run my own business called Squawk Media which essentially is my dream job, because I get to combine all the things I love, and in the process help businesses create and manage their presence online and in real life. No two days are ever the same, and I love that too.

I got hooked on Social Media back in 2007. I’ve been taking photos forever. Right now I use a Canon 6D, and I also love using my iPhone to take pictures on the go (checkout my Instagram feed to see what I mean).

A LA MODE SYDNEY invited me to share one of my passions with you – Food. So today, I’m going to take you on a tour of some of my favourite places to dine in Melbourne.  I’ve chosen places that reflect the different sides to Melbourne; our strong Greek culture, a hidden yet sophisticated city gem, an old favourite with a long history, a shack on the beach, and a few other special treats in between. You could call it a #foodie’s big day out. So grab a fork and let’s go!

Photo credit: Melissa Brauer

Top Paddock
658 Church St Richmond

This lovely spot, on Church St in Richmond, which won best new café in the recent Age Good Café Awards, makes a perfect start to any day. With a beautiful fit out utilizing recycled materials, ample seating inside and out, and a fresh, innovative menu full of local produce, you’ll find something new to love each time. On our last visit there were poached plums and mascarpone for breakfast and soft shell crab rolls for lunch. The 5 Senses coffee is always fabulous and the cakes and muffins are great if you need to grab something quick and tasty on the go.

Photo credit: Melissa Brauer

The Stables of Como
Lechlade St, South Yarra

Set in amongst the gardens of historic Como House in South Yarra, The Stables from renowned Melbourne café identity Jason Jones, is a gorgeous space, filled with fresh flowers, white tables and a wall of tempting freshly-baked cakes, meringues and handmade chocolates. The menu boasts a delicious array of choices for breakfast, as well as options for lunch and afternoon tea, the coffee is Allpress (love) and they even organise hampers to take into the gardens where you can play a spot of croquet. It’s quite simply a little patch of heaven.

Photo credit: Melissa Brauer

2 Exhibition St, Melbourne

This newcomer from George Calombaris sits where the Press Club used to be, and is serving up casual Greek food for lunch and dinner in a bustling yet welcoming environment. The menu is full of crowd-pleasers, with exceptional dips, tasty share plates like saganaki with pistachios, smoked sardines and grilled eggplant, a wood-fired grill, and a contemporary take on souvlaki, with options of beef brisket, soft shell crab and duck. For dessert, the Bombe Alaska is hard to beat, especially when they set it alight at your table. If you have time, try the 10 dish sharing menu for $69 – guaranteed to satisfy, and put you in a food coma.

Photo credit: Melissa Brauer

30 Jacka Boulevard, St Kilda

One of the best views in Melbourne – rain, hail or shine, is of Port Philip Bay from the Stokehouse, located on the famous St Kilda beach. With their charcoal and wood oven, the kitchen turns out some great smoke-roasted meats. For more delicate flavours try the pea and spinach risotto, roasted pumpkin and ricotta gnocchi with sage and hazelnut burnt butter. The desserts include the ridiculously tempting chocolate, peanut butter and jelly icecream sandwich, and the banoffie pie. You can easily while away a sunny afternoon on the outdoor terrace, watching the world go by with crisp white wine or a cheeky cocktail as the day turns to night, and enjoy the spectacular sunset from one of the comfy deck chairs. This place is a Melbourne icon.

Photo credit: Melissa Brauer

Little Hunter
195 Little Collins St, Melbourne

Little Hunter is the quintessential Melbourne restaurant – an unassuming door, small sign, hidden down a double flight of industrial stairs, opening up into a sleek, modern, sophisticated space that is chock full on a Saturday night until way past 11pm. Owned by Pete Evans, it eschews a nose-to-tail philosophy which sees some interesting menu items including pig’s head (not literally, it’s served as a type of delicious croquette), and juicy, flavoursome beef flank. Every dish is a winner, from the chicken liver parfait, to the roast chicken, right through to the chocolate soufflé with prunes. Professional yet quirky in a good way, the service is solid and the pull-apart herb bread with chicken skin butter (read that again. Chicken.Skin.Butter) is so good it needs it own website. Genius.

Photo credit: Little Hunter –

Café Di Stasio
31 Fitzroy St, St Kilda

A Melbourne stalwart for over 25 years, Italian restaurant Café Di Stasio is my special occasion go-to. With crisp white tablecloths, and perfectly polite Italian waiters, it is intimate and elegant, and the food is unfailingly exquisite (my first lunch here was over 15 years ago and their risotto is still one of the best I have ever had, creamy, bitey and delicious). It’s not a fussy menu, just a collection of regional favourites, done beautifully, including the very special eye fillet served drizzled with balsamic vinegar. With a gorgeous bar next to the restaurant, you can always stop in for a glass of Prosecco and a quick bar snack. My favourite is the crunchy yet gooey melanzane (eggplant) fritte with aioli.

Photo credit: Café Di Stasio –



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