Trying to get a table on the weekend at this Richmond hot spot can see you queue for the better part of an hour. Stay patient, as Top Paddock is owned by a team with serious foodie pedigree (variously from dining spots Two Birds One Stone and Three Bags Full). Interiors are simple, hues of timber contrasting with white tiles. Natural light comes in through floor-to-ceiling windows, plus there’s a large outdoor area to eat in. An organic menu features brunch options that burst with flavor, from coconut chia pudding dressed with tropical fruit and rose petals to the hangover favourite of chorizo, pickled onions, bacon, green tomatoes and poached eggs served on toast.
Top Paddock, 658 Church St, Richmond, VIC, Australia, +61 3 9429 4332
This Flinders Lane institution, a high-ceilinged Asian dining hall, is a foot-tapping nightmare for the restless (and hungry). Once you’re in though, Chin Chin is loud, cheeky and in your face. Dishes are notoriously hard to pick from a big menu, and once you’ve found your favourite, you’ll struggle to mix it up next time (the ‘Feed Me’ option is great for an adventure into the unknown, with dishes picked by the chef). Caramelised sticky pork, crispy across the outside but rich and tender inside, is one of the signatures, served with a sour herb salad and chilli vinegar. For something high voltage, try your luck on the jungle curry’s blistering heat.
Chin Chin, 125 Flinders Ln, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, +61 3 8663 2000
Even if you’ve never been, chances are you’ve heard of Lune, a pastry shop-turned patisserie phenomenon and home of the cruffin, seductive, flaky pastry baked with dough in the middle. It’s the Melbourne equivalent of New York’s cronut, and Lune Croissanterie’s Kate Reid was the creator. Now moved to new digs in Fitzroy, there’s a slightly simpler ticketing system but such is the demand that without dedication, you run the risk of Lune simply selling out. And missing out on a lemon meringue cruffin is just going to ruin your day.
Lune Croissanterie, 119 Rose St, Fitzroy, VIC, Australia, +61 3 9419 2320
Award-winning gelato is perfect in Victoria’s oft-sweltering weather. No wonder Gelato Messina has pulled in the crowds since opening two years ago, mixing delicious ice cream inside a bright, hip hangout spot. An import from Sydney, there are now three across Melbourne; you’ll know you’re nearby when you see people, cone in hand, getting stuck in to vividly colored iced treats. Flavors hit the deepest sweet spots imaginable, and there’s also a fine range of sharper fruit (pear and rhubarb, yoghurt and berry) and sorbets to counterbalance. Create your own combinations; Italian nougat next to tiramisu is a divine match. Or dig into their inventive specials (at the time of writing, a recipe of shortcrust gelato with marshmallows, raspberry purée and chocolate chips named the ‘Wagon Wheel’).
Gelato Messina, 171 Chapel St, Windsor, VIC, Australia, +61 3 9533 7110