Chadstone Shopping Centre
One of the largest shopping centres in the country--and, indeed, the southern hemisphere as a whole--is located just down the road. Chadstone sort of sits on the border of the middle class and upper middle class areas of the south eastern suburbs, so it caters nicely for people who have lots of money to spend on nice food. It's the closest source for expensive products such as Ortiz anchovies, tins of foie gras pate and truffle-infused olive oil.
The centre's BreadTop store. BreadTop is one of the Chinese bakeries I was talking about earlier. This one typically stocks a decent range of western-style pastries such as lemon curd tarts and macarons, but also has all the standard BreadTop stuff, including the sausage buns.
I snapped this place not so much because I care for it but because in recent years Cupcake Bakery and a few other, similar chains have opened up stores all over Melbourne. I'm not entirely sure what the appeal is as I don't think their cupcakes are anything special, but hey, if you're ever in Melbourne and jonesing for cupcakes, you know it's not that hard to get a fix.
A place in one of the food courts that serves freshly-made dumplings, in addition to a wider selection of other Chinese dishes.
Le Vin, a store that sells liqueurs. Take in an empty bottle (or buy a fancy one there) and you can get however much chocoalte port/macademia liqueur/etc you want. They also sell a small selection of imported beers and spirits (Pyrat rum, etc).
Jasper's, my go-to coffee shop. In addition to selling coffees and cakes and such, they sell a very large variety of beans and coffee-making devices--many of which are hard to find in bricks-and-mortar stores in Australia.
Jones the Grocer, a cafe/'gourmet' deli that sells cheeses, olives, cured meats, pastas and various tinned/jarred/canned goods.
You can have a very nice lunch here: just ask for a platter that includes, say, two or three kinds of cheese, some white anchovies, some olives and maybe a couple kinds of cured meat. Sadly, neither of the two Jones stores I've visited sell wine, so you can enjoy those wonderful cured products with a glass of water or maybe some expensive imported lemonade.
They also sell some cakes.
A 'special combination' of, among other things, porcini mushrooms, parmesan cheese, black olives and balsamic vinegar.
Merchandise for truffle fans.
T2, part of a chain that specialises in expensive tea and tea-related goods (tea pots, tea cups, tea strainers, etc). They've been around for a few years and, I think, have helped make tea cool again in a city that's all about coffee, coffee, coffee.
The cheese room at Simon Johnson. Simon Johnson is a chain--costlier and, I think, older than Jones the Grocer--that specialises in 'gourmet' products. It doesn't have a cafe or restaurant. In addition to a wide selection of cheeses, the cheese room (and, too, the refrigerated section in the main part of the store) contain products such as expensive anchovies, tins of foie gras pate, handmade salami (which is surprisingly reasonably priced, even compared with the mass-produced stuff you buy at the supermarket-in fact, dollar for dollar, it can be cheaper
) and, particularly around Christmastime, hams and cured meats.
The fridge in the main part of the store. Here's where you'll find the salami and, say, jars of imported feta and whatnot.
The interior of the store. It's not very large, as you can see. In addition to the afore-mentioned products, you can buy biscuits, chocolates (Valrhona, etc), oils, vinegars, sauces and other condiments, preserves, pastas and other dried goods and a small selection of kitchenware.Carlton
Carlton is a suburb very close to the city. It's famous for two things: Lygon Street (along and off which you will find many Italian restaurants) and the gangland killings of the 90s and early 00s.
Donati's is a well-regarded Italian butcher that's been doing business in Carlton for a very long time.
The French shop. In addition to some cafe-type stuff you can eat in store, you can take home a nice selection of French sausages, deli goods (including big, expensive slabs of foie gras--we're not talking about a dainty little can here) and cooked products (such as lentils, duck confit or, when the weather is right, cassoulet).
Gewurzhaus, a specialist herb and spice dealer. It's a nice shop--very attractive inside--and quite expensive, but like Oasis it's your first port of call if you're looking for anything that's hard, if not impossible, to find in a bricks and mortar store anywhere else in Melbourne: See: file powder, anatto seeds and a range of dried chillies greater than the local Indian stores' choice of 'dried birds eye', 'dried Kashmiri' and 'dried long' chillies.
An independent bottle shop across the road (this is the Lygon Street Keith_W mentioned earlier, by the way--I just decided not to bother with the cheap and nasty tourist trap restaurants). I ducked in here to buy a bottle of sherry for Sunday night's tapas dinner, as I figured it was about time my dad had sherry that wasn't the $5/jug Australian kind (which, sadly, is the only 'sherry' you'll find at 90% of our bottle shops, and accounts for most of the 'sherry' shelf at even Dan Murphy's).
King's, a 'gourmet' store that's pretty much on the same block as these other places. They sell, obviously, a decent range of cheese and booze, but also cured meats and terrines (made just around the corner, actually, at a place that also supplies the Queen Victoria Market's French deli). And, too, they have all the flavoured vinegars, infused oils and expensive salts you associate with this kind of shop. I stumbled across what I suspect is a new expression of Henry of Harcourt's excellent cider and couldn't resist.La Luna
Located just a few blocks away on Rathdowne Street (which, I think, tends to have better quality restaurants than this end of Lygon Street) is La Luna. La Luna, the child chef Adrian Richardson, is all about meat. Richardson cures pork products of various kinds and ages grass-fed beef on site. I like La Luna. I mean, why wouldn't I love a place that introduced me to lardo and then, on the same night, offered me an off-the-menu special of orecchiette with horse shank ragu?
Today's menu. In addition to these offerings, there were also some specials: a hamburger, Sydney rock oysters, brass grouper and a rabbit pot roast.
Negroni. For the second time this week I taught someone how to make a cocktail--same situation in that they'd heard the name but weren't sure of ingredients. Nice touch was that when I said 'slice of orange', they automatically (and I don't know if this was the only orange they had floating around or a logical choice) put in a slice of blood orange, which worked well.
Cured meats and various pickles. The head cheese was just okay but everything else was very nice.
The steak and kidney pie. I was told it was very nice.
The rabbit. One of the best rabbit dishes I've had in a restaurant--up there, easily, with Marque's rabbit w/ cashews, wakame and nutmeg (my all time and possibly forever favourite) and Lake House's rabbit, sausage and lentil salad.The haul
An assortment of things from my trips to Chadstone and Carlton. Yet more Henry of Harcourt [King's], a bottle of sherry [the bottle shop], birds eye chilli-stuffed olives (as in take some cured olives, pit them and stuff them with whole birds eye chillies) [Jones], two kinds of Ortiz anchovies [Simon Johnson--I only wanted the normal ones, but the white ones were half price due to an Australia Day sale and nothing, of course, stirs my sense of national pride more than Spanish anchovies, discount slabs of foie gras and marked down tins of caviar] and duck confit [French shop].
Edited by ChrisTaylor, 26 January 2012 - 10:50 PM.