When one of my interstate girlfriends, Alison, called at the start of the year telling me that her Californian best friend was coming to Australia, and asked if I could organise a Melbourne weekend of fun for them, I thought, “heck, I didn’t spend six months unemployed reading Broadsheet with nothing to show for it”. It then became my mission to plan one blow-your-stockings-off itinerary that showcased the best of Melbourne.
Consequently, my planned tour of Melbourne was so good that it got too-many-to-count impressed nods from colleagues, and convinced a second friend, Bel, to book her flights and sign up to sleep wedged in between two bookshelves in the walkway to my bathroom.
So this is how, last weekend, I ended up having my tiny apartment invaded by three women (or three million as Jude, thy husband, complained), getting up to all sorts of mischief that included exploding dead birds, a run in with police and a magnum of champagne.
Here is my duck off girls weekend itinerary (and what happened). Feel free to steal, plagiarise and claim it as your own!
A cheese and wine flight at Milk the Cow
After picking up the girls from the airport and doing a brief Chap Lap, the only place to kick off a weekend that was a blatant foodie detonation was at cheese bar Milk the Cow, getting our daily dose of dairy via a board of chevre.
Espresso Martinis at The Lui Bar
A brief outfit change and we’re ready to catch the Sandringham train into the city and take the super speedy lift up into the clouds to Melbourne’s highest bar, The Lui Bar. Timed to perfection, we were drinking our Espresso Martinis just as the sun set, painting Melbourne’s sky like Picasso.
Dinner at Supernormal
Who would have thought that you could possibly be hungry after all the afternoon’s cheese? Apparently four Hungry Hippos passing as ladies can. There was a 45-minute wait at Supernormal but we managed to amuse ourselves by reading the wine list cover-to-cover, before eventually being seated for dinner. And by dinner, I mean feast. A feast of sashimi, dumplings, wagyu steak, flounder, beans, greens and the most amazing lobster brioche buns you’ve ever possibly tasted.
Eau de Vie for a nightcap
“Are you taking us to die,” said Miss California, Val, as we weaved our way through the street art-adorned back alleys of Melbourne, taking a detour down the iconic (and non murderous) Hosier Lane, before winding up at the humble and obscure entrance to Eau de Vie.
I’d sent Jude ahead to secure us a table at the dimly-lit speakeasy bar, so we sat straight down and ordered our round of old fashioneds, Moscow Mules and other fancily-named cocktails.
Despite the fact that I had a bar crawl planned that was longer than Kim Kardashian’s hair, with the clock ticking past 1am, if we wanted to get up and eat, drink, rave, repeat again the next day, it was time to acquaint ourselves with our pillows (and deliver Bel to her hobbit sleeping hole). But if you wanted to continue the bar crawl and are D’accord with waking up Sunday morning with alcohol poisoning, also on my list of Melbourne city bars were Madame Brussels, Boilermaker House, Gin Palace, The Croft Institute and Siglo.
Road trip to the Mornington Peninsula
Squeezing four girls into the convertible, Thelma and Louise-style, for a road trip down to the Mornington Peninsula was glamorous in my head. Then, as we’re singing along to Fergie – if you ain’t got no money take your broke ass home – the car in front hits a bird, and dead bird feathers start raining down into the open air convertible. Who wants the roof up?
A three-course lunch at Port Phillip Estate
It’s no secret that I’m a front-row fan of Port Phillip Estate! But with a $38 three-course lunch, the option to wine taste, views across the valley and a self-opening door, who’s not? Especially when you’re able to score a window-side table for four on Valentine’s Day.
A good soak at Peninsula Hot Springs
In between all the eating and drinking, I thought I’d wedge in some romantic spa time, and what better than Peninsula Hot Spring’s series of outdoor thermal mineral pools. We spent several luxurious hours sweating out the night before’s sauvignon, restoring our feet from traipsing the city’s streets in the reflexology walk and cooking like the lobster in my brioche bun in the hillside pools.
A dumpling dinner from Hawker Hall
We arrived home from the Mornington Peninsula, sans dead bird incidents, and rolled into my favourite Chapel Street eatery of the moment, Hawker Hall (that’s after Jude pre-put our names on the two-hour wait list), for another yum-amazing dinner. I’m also going to make the call and say that Hawker Hall’s beef rendang was better than Supernormal’s lobster brioche buns, (so much so, I went back three days later for a second-helping!).
Secret cocktails from Boston Sub’s secret cocktail bar
Another night, another bar crawl. This time down Chapel Street. And you can’t have interstate guests on Chapel Street without pulling the old “I’m still hungry, I feel like an artery-clogging sub from Boston Sub.” Why are you looking at me like I’m crazy? Oh, now I’m walking through a freezer door, you really think I’m crazy. “Gotcha! Who’s up for a lychee and rosewater daiquiri?”
A magnum of champagne at Mr Miyagi
The intention was then to stop across the road at Mr Miyagi’s new lovechild of a cocktail bar, Yuki’s Snack Bar, for ONE cocktail. Somehow we ended up with a magnum of champagne in front of us re-enacting scenes from The Bachelorette using the table’s rose centrepieces. Hey, when #mrmsays you must drink champagne, you drink champagne.
An impromptu fashion show down Chapel Street
With Chapel Street resembling Chernobyl at 1am, we decided to re-enact our own episode of Chapel Street’s Next Top Model, borrowing clothes from the pile dumped out the front of the Salvos. Mid modelling them up and down the road, with passersbys having joined in the competition, the local police pulled a Tyra Banks and forced everyone to leave the model house, returning all of the borrowed clothes on our way out.
Breakfast at Journeyman
It’s only fitting for the 48 hours to finish how they started: with cheese. This time in the form of haloumi, that topped my avocado smash. Sitting with our Anna Wintour sunglasses on in the warehouse-vibey Journeyman café on Chapel Street, we all indulged in a breakfast of some form of green – avocado, kale, zucchini and broccoli – to some how soak up the excesses of what was an incredibly self-indulgent, but ultra-fun ‘girls take Melbourne’ weekend.