Venues promoting exclusive coffee culture
Visibly proud, George and Franziska next take us to our next, very unusual stop: The Beanery Coffee House is widely regarded as one of the most exclusive addresses of them all when it comes to coffee. It has committed itself entirely to promoting this mystical beverage and carries a selective range of fabulous coffee. The aroma that greets us behind the inviting glass frontage is intoxicating. George, towing the rest of us in his wake, makes a beeline for the JURA Corner. A quick word with the woman on the counter, a restorative espresso from the Z6, and we’re off again, still on our quest for more espresso.
From the distinctly modern, we take a step back to something more traditional. Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar opened back in 1954. Here, where Melbourne’s very first espresso machine was set to work, time seems to have stood still. The entire bar has been left in its original state, so a visit here is like taking a trip back into the past. Sisto, the owner, still works as a travel guide. He has worked here from the first day, filling the space with his typical, Italian joviality, and has established a cult following equal to that of Pellegrini’s itself.
The Royal Arcade, opened in 1870, is our introduction to the sophisticated art of traditional shopping. You could spend days here and never tire of the endless succession of surprises. We decide to take a break at the Hopetoun Tea Rooms, originally established for the Victorian Ladies’ Work Association, to digest our impressions and treat ourselves to a traditional cup of tea from the – you’ve guessed it – Victorian era.
Culinary heritage and culture
‘In the evenings, people form long queues here in the hope of getting a table at the Chin Chin,’ explains George. The reason being that the hip restaurant, which serves South East Asian specialities, does not take reservations. But now, at lunchtime, Fortune smiles on us. We soon find a table and tuck into a selection of delicious items from the vast choice of freshly made titbits. ‘What would you say is Australia’s best-known export?’ we ask inquisitively. ‘Music,’ answers George. ‘AC/DC!’ adds Franziska, more precisely. Needless to say, the band even has a street named after it here. After lunch, we take a stroll to AC/DC Lane, where George quotes the memorable words spoken by Mayor John Sos at the opening ceremony: ‘As the song says, there is a highway to hell, but this is a laneway to heaven. Let us rock!’