Almost ten years ago, when C and I visited Melbourne for the first time, we fell in love with the Queen Victoria Market (QVM). We would have breakfast there as often as possible, and our favourite meals were the bratwursts from the Bratwurst Shop & Co, and the donuts from the American Doughnut Kitchen van. To balance things out, we would also buy some fresh fruits from the market, and I loved how fresh and cheap everything was. Strawberries cost AUD2-3 a punnet!
This time round, because C is busy working, I’ve only gone to QVM twice with Noah. The first was for the Parklands Animal Farm experience, and the second was just to EAT. I met up with my ex-colleague, A, who’s currently studying in Melbourne, and we ended up not eating the bratwursts or donuts, but the mouthwatering fried chicken instead. I’ve never heard of eating chicken ribs before this, but they were meatier and juicier than I expected them to be. The honey soy wings reminded me of the Chomp Chomp BBQ chicken wings!
Look at the delicious chicken!
Check out the queue! Should have gotten the donuts as well. They’re now $1.10 each, up by 10 cents, but still waaaaaayyyy cheaper than the Krispy Kremes I’ve been stuffing my face with.
There’s also quite a good selection of organic produce on sale at QVM, something which I didn’t notice ten years ago, probably because I didn’t cook at all on that trip. I don’t normally buy organic produce, and since everything was so fresh at the market, I skipped the organic selection this time round too.
The organic produce section
I did the touristy thing and bought a tee for Noah at QVM, though it wasn’t one of those ‘Someone who loves me very much went to Melbourne and all I got was this t-shirt’ ones. I wanted to get him a tee from all the places he’s visited, but erm, we didn’t buy him one from our Hong Kong trip. Oops. Maybe we can go back again for all the yummy food? Anyway, I also chanced upon a stall selling wooden toys, and got suckered into buying him two toys as well. In my defense, they weren’t THAT expensive, and I got a $1 discount for buying two toys instead of one.
Playing with his new toys
To be honest, I had never even heard of the South Melbourne Market until A told me about it. It was nearer to our apartment, so we took a slow walk there on Sunday morning, instead of going to QVM. What a great recommendation! It was a lot less touristy, and we had a good time walking around the market.
Plenty of pastries available
Super expensive papaya
Trying orange juice for the very first time
A also knows how much we love to eat, and very kindly told us where to find the good food. We had some really yummy (expensive) donuts from Clement, which also supposedly sells excellent coffee. The hot chocolate we shared that day was only average, so if you’re a coffee drinker, I think you’d probably be better off with a cup of their coffee instead.
The donuts that day (Rose custard with raspberry, Cherry custard with peanut butter, and Salted Caramel)
Lunch was at Simply Spanish, because we couldn’t say no to the delicious-smelling paella that was being cooked outside the restaurant. There were other options, of course, but we would have had to wait 40 minutes for other types of paella, so we ordered the basic one that was cooking in the giant pan, and it was amazingly good. The rice was very flavourful, and the only thing that I didn’t like about it was that there were too many peas in the dish, because, erm, I don’t eat peas.
Mouth-watering paella being cooked
Waiting for our food
A also told us to try the desserts at Chez Dre, but we were so full from the paella that we didn’t even think of checking the place out. Good thing I was able to visit it with A one afternoon, because it was a really lovely place. I ordered the pappardelle with mushrooms and broccolini, while A had the duck sandwich. We both enjoyed our meal tremendously, and it helped that the weather was good enough for us to sit outdoors, without feeling too warm or too cold. (The weather in Melbourne fluctuates quite significantly.) All the desserts looked so good, but I exercised great self-control, and shared a strawberry shortcake with A.
The dessert counter
Macarons are really popular in Melbourne
Layers of sheer goodness
Do note that Chez Dre isn’t part of the South Melbourne market, so if you’re keen to try it out, look for the huge Chef’s Hat shop opposite the market. You’ll see the Chez Dre sign, along a little lane opposite the shop. Don’t be put off by the big bins along that lane. Just turn into the lane, keep walking, and you’ll see the cafe there. You can enter via the outdoor seating area, which is around the block, but that entrance is also quite well-hidden, so it might be easier to enter via the lane.
Look for this Chez Dre sign
I was particularly amused by what was written on the whiteboard in the Chez Dre kitchen
Both markets are definitely worth a visit, especially if you’re in Melbourne for the very first time. However, do take note of their opening days and timings, as they are closed on different days. I would recommend heading there on an empty stomach, so that you can try all the goodies at both markets! 😉
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