Monday, July 30, 2012

A WEEKEND IN MELBOURNE: THE AFTER-PARTY

Once our maxi taxi arrived, the "kids" unanimously decided to keep the party going at Brunswick Street, a popular destination for both day and night in Melbourne. It's a place that's full of soul - cafe's, restaurants, bars and great vintage and alternative shopping. We spent most of the night at a truly exciting and naughty little place called Naked for Satan. As soon as I arrived, I jumped up and down with glee - what a cool place this was! Funky, sexy art adorns the walls and menus and there's a huge selection of infused vodkas and pintxos - tapas on toothpicks.  
See those big pots up there? They're each full of different flavours of vodka. Heaven! After um-ing and ah-ing, I settled on a strawberry vodka with a mixer of lemonade before joining the rest of the crew and posing with the nudes:
A few very game members of the crew knocked back shots of Centerba, a liquer that's approximately 70% alcohol...
Sophie's face says it all:
We haven't had a picture of all of us siblings together in many years, so we took a bundle that night. Which do you think is the best?
As the bar started to quieten, we knew we had two options: go home or go dancing. We chose the latter, and found the perfect place to get our groove on. La Sangria is the kind of place that actually encourages its patrons to dance on the bar. With a mix of pop hits and international favourites such as That's Amore, Volare and even The Chicken Dance, nobody can resist the dance floor or the bar:

The part I loved most about La Sangria, apart from the brilliant, fun energy, was the fact that the place was so damn old style! The night was run by two old guys: one manned the bar, the other took care of the CD player (yes, that's right - no DJ or mp3's here). It felt as relaxed and unpretentious as the best house party with your closest friends and we really didn't want to leave!
But alas, the music stopped and my feet began to hurt so we hailed a cab and headed for the comfort of our hotel room. Great food, drinks, family, friends and loved ones made this a night that's going to stay in my memory for a very long time to come...

A WEEKEND IN MELBOURNE: THE CELEBRATION

As you know, the reason for our venture to Melbourne was to celebrate my sister's engagement. Meet the happy couple. That's Dan on the left and my sister, Rachel, beside him.


I'd also like to introduce you to the rest of my wonderful family. Sophie is my sister's best friend (and basically family), to her right are my fantastic parents, Peter and Rachel:


This is my youngest brother, Alex, his beautiful boyfriend Harry, and me:

























Joshua is my second youngest brother - that's him on the left:

His girlfriend, Reggie, couldn't make it to the celebration. Ingeniously, he brings her to the party via phone snap:



























And finally, my eldest brother Jonathan and his lovely fiancee, Veronica:


Also in attendance were Dan's family. This is his older brother, Lawrence and his fiancee, Marissa:




...And his parents and uncle and aunt. Dan's mum and dad are the couple in the front of the photo:


























We had a wonderful night at The Point, a truly gastronomic restaurant overlooking the lake at Albert Park. They're best known for their steak, which greeted us upon arrival:




Before I introduce you to the famous steak, let me tease you with the entrees. From top to bottom: Southern Blue Fin tuna, pickled beets, quail egg, white anchovy and black miso; Hare Royale, chestnuts, poached pear and black cabbage; and, lastly, Hervey Bay scallops, ox tail and white gazpacho. Delicious!



 

For the main, most of us chose this mouthwatering creation: 250g Hopkins River eye fillet, aged for 120+ days and served with jus and the best gratin EVER:


























Suitably full and a little tipsy, it was time for mine and James' happy snap as we waited for a taxi to take us to the after party. Stay tuned for more...

A WEEKEND IN MELBOURNE: THE DESTINATION

After arriving in Melbourne and catching up with my siblings for most of the day, we checked in to our hotel. The InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto is located on Collins Street - one of Australia's finest streets - and is walking distance from the city's best shopping, culinary institutions and nightspots...



By the time we'd settled in, however, the only thing on our minds was sleep and food. It was cold outside and this big bed was beckoning...


Pyjamas on, bedding turned down, I placed the call to room service and we filled our tummies with these goodies before calling it a night:



The next day, we had presents and a few last minute beauty items to buy so we made a dash to Chadstone (THE. BEST. SHOPPING. MALL. EVER.) I didn't bring my camera there, but I'm sure most Australians are aware that it's a major must-see shopping destination. If shopping's your thing and you're visiting Melbourne, you simply must go there!

We dashed back to the hotel so we could unload our purchases and catch up with my siblings for a quick stroll into town. Within minutes of leaving our hotel, we found ourselves smack-bang in the middle of the city. There's so much to take in visually - the architecture is just one thing that'll take your breath away.


This lady took in the sights by way of horse and carriage. These carriages are all over the city - you won't miss them:

We decided to brave the rain and take on Melbourne by foot. Key on the agenda was sourcing a coffee in one of Melbourne's famous little laneways.




We happened upon Sensory Lab, a place that wasn't there when I lived in the Garden State. It's nestled in Little Collins Street, at the back of David Jones. I was obsessed with the decor, lively atmosphere and the trendy baristas and waitstaff. You can order inside if you plan on sitting down, but for those of us who wanted to pick up a coffee and keep on strolling, you pop around to the window outside and let the guys know what you're after:








Suitably caffeinated, it was back to the hotel and time to kit up for the night ahead...