Decode: Adventure

Decode: Adventure: Melbourne Day #2

Decode AdventureWARNING: This is going to be a really long post.

The front view of Flinders Street Station
The front view of Flinders Street Station
The famed clocks
The famed clocks

Day Two in Melbourne started with meeting Choo at Flinders’ Street Station, one of the many landmarks in Melbourne City. A place bustling with food stalls and knick-knacks, it’s one of the central train stations connecting the city to the suburbs. We met Choo under the station’s iconic clocks before heading on our way.

Therefore, our first half of the day, also known as “A Guide to Choo’s Hangout Places”, began.

It did not take long for us to go to DeGraves Street, a place that reminded me of a more amped up version of Ann Siang Hill, with more sitting space. Apart from the countless cafes and patisseries lining half the street, we went to browse some of the specialty shops on the other half.

Limited Edition Prints at Signed and Numbered
Limited Edition Prints at Signed and Numbered
Browsing through various prints
Browsing through various prints

Signed and Numbered is a one-of-a-kind shop that only sells prints, posters, and cards of original artwork created by various independent artists (both local and international). Its décor is at the bare minimum, allowing the artwork on sale to really stand out and shine.

I liked how they organized their prints by artists, and had them in different sizes. Therefore, you had prints for almost every size (table top, wall hanging, posters etc…) for almost every pocket book.

Signed and Numbered is located at 7A DeGraves Street, Melbourne 3000 VIC Australia. For more information, click here.

One of my favourite products in the shop.
One of my favourite products in the shop.

From one print and paper product shop, we went across the street to Il Papiro, an artisan paper place selling paper products and accessories imported from Italy. The products are all carefully-crafted and individually-wrapped, and range from gift cards to notebooks.

I liked their stamps and quill-and-ink collections (though they were incredibly high-end). And if anything, it was nice to just go into the shop and appreciate the intricate designs and art created by this family-run business.

Il Papiro's shop front
Il Papiro’s shop front

Il Papiro is located at 5 DeGraves Street, Melbourne 3000 VIC Australia. For more information, click here.

We went to The Little Bookroom and Mag Nation soon after this, both of which are featured in greater detail in my Book Bites post on the Book Trail, before reaching this place known as The Block Arcade.

Located along Collins Street, the beauty of The Block Arcade was shown in their colourful mosaic floors, high domed ceilings and chandeliers, and the long shop windows, fitted with their wood frames. Quaint shops within the arcade completed the entire package.

The front mosaic of The Block Arcade
The front mosaic of The Block Arcade
I love their interior design
I love their interior design
One of the many shops that caught our attention
One of the many shops that caught our attention
Tiny pastry figurines!
Tiny pastry figurines!
Do you spot Doctor Who somewhere?
Do you spot Doctor Who somewhere?

One of the shops that caught our attention was Hopetoun Tea Room, where the colourful pastries and cakes could be nothing more than a dream behind a glass case. During peak hours, a short queue could last about an hour, for a 45-minute tea session. To find out more about Hopetoun Tea Room, click here.

Colourful pastries, tarts, and pies!
Colourful pastries, tarts, and pies!
The scones were gone when we went back later that day
The scones were gone when we went back later that day

Gewurzhaus, just opposite Hopetoun Tea Room, sold spices, salts, and kitchen ware. Apart from the beautiful variety of kitchenware and bento boxes available, what I loved was the great array of spices and salts, held in plastic containers which you could just open and take a nice whiff of. Each spice and salt had a description at the top of their case and the kind of food these spices will go well with. To find out more about Gewurhaus, click here.

Cute bento boxes and salt products
Cute bento boxes and salt products
Spices for sale!
Spices for sale!
Preserves and jams
Preserves and jams

The Block Arcade is located at 282 Collins Street, Melbourne 3000, VIC Australia, for more information, click here.

Wandering the streets once more, we had a nice burger lunch at Grill’d, in Melbourne Central. While lunch was fine and dandy (we liked the burger combinations and the fact that they were raising funds for various charities in Australia), we were quite amused with the pancake stacking record they were trying to break in the main foyer, since that day was International Pancake Day itself.

Breaking a record on International Pancake Day
Breaking a record on International Pancake Day
Lunch at Grill'd!
Lunch at Grill’d!

But with a quick lunch, a great walk through the Victoria State Library (featured in my Book Trails post in detail, again. LOL.), the Tiger and I both got a Golden Gaytime each (awesome vanilla and caramel ice cream wrapped in crunchy caramel biscuit bits!) as we made our way to a place that was recommended by our friend, Ashel – Wunderkammer.

Located a while away from the usual shopping areas, Wunderkammer is a shop which décor and location compliments what it sells incredibly well. We found this shop of curiosities placed in something like a basement of a building, displaying items like animal skulls, antique statues, and space rocks to the curious and the collectors who happen to be walking past.

The hanging shop sign...
The hanging shop sign…
...and the knick knacks on display
…and the knick knacks on display

Upon entering the shop, it seemed like we just entered a space that came out of Night Vale, or Ashel’s “The World in Deeper Inspection”. Apart from what was put on display, there were many other bits and bobs that you could only imagine to be on sale – different ships in odd-shaped bottles, a perpetual sand pattern maker that could hypnotize you, various rock formations and semi-precious stones unearthed from different parts of the world, and countless mobile puzzles to tease your brain. The skeletons and insect collections here could be enough to warrant a visit from The Brain Scoop channel itself.

Ship in a bottle!
Ship in a bottle!
Artisan inks and stationery
Artisan inks and stationery
Local souvenirs
Local souvenirs
Insects on display
Insects on display
Going deeper into the shop
Going deeper into the shop
The Shop front sign
The Shop front sign

Wunderkammer is located at 439 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne 3000 VIC Australia. For more information, click here.

Fast forward to the evening! Since whatever we did in the middle of the day was mostly souvenir shopping and obtaining a copy of Takenoko from an analog game shop opposite our hotel. (They’re called Mind Games, check them out here!!)

Where we got Takenoko
Where we got Takenoko
Ahhhh!!! *screams*
Ahhhh!!! *screams*

That evening, we caught an evening with a good friend of mine since primary school, Sarah-Mae. Since the time she moved to Melbourne in 2001, it took me a good 13 years before it was actually my turn to head to Melbourne for a visit, so she was pretty overjoyed.

Together with other friends Shaz and Ann, we went to Hardware Lane, which was quaint, but possibly the only lane in Melbourne where there are active touts (according to the ladies). Narrowing down our food choices, we settled on steak (partially because we have been asked to go eat Australian steak since our arrival).

Entering this place called “Grill. Steak. Seafood.”, we were already presented with a 20% discount, written to us by the friendly waiter who was trying to get us in. As we caught up, we wasted no time in appreciating the wonders that were the steaks presented in front of us.

My Fillet Medallions with a side of mushroom sauce
My Fillet Medallions with a side of mushroom sauce
The Tiger's 400gm, Aged, Bone-in Ribeye with Mushroom Sauce and Wedges
The Tiger’s 400gm, Aged, Bone-in Ribeye with Mushroom Sauce and Wedges

I would always appreciate a steak that was cooked well to the customer’s preference. For me, that was a medium well. My steak medallion was served atop a side salad with a chunky tomato vinaigrette and a generous dish of creamy mushroom sauce to go with the meat. I loved the tenderness and juicy flavours of the meat against the smooth, creaminess of the sauce. Topping it off with a sharp, but fresh salad was a great way to enjoy the meal as a whole.

The Tiger (true to his name this time, LOL!) got a 400gm bone-in Ribeye, served with a side of wedges. While he was worried that he was not going to be able to finish it, he ended up proving himself wrong by actually polishing the entire plate clean.

Grill. Steak. Seafood. at Hardware Lane
Grill. Steak. Seafood. at Hardware Lane

All in all, it was a great place to have a good meal and chat, if you did not mind the relatively medium to high end prices. The staff were incredibly helpful and we had a good time.

Grill. Steak. Seafood. is located at 66 Hardware Lane, Melbourne 3000 VIC Australia. For more information, click here.

And that’s Day #2 in Melbourne in as much as I could condense! In truth, we went walking to quite a lot of other places, like Mind Games, and the National Gallery of Victoria (Ian Potter Gallery), though we did not visit as in-depth as we wanted. Nonetheless, Day #2 was an incredibly fun day as we caught up with friends and ate like crazy.

So, only another two and a half days to go before our Adelaide-Melbourne adventure posts come to an end!

P/S – You can follow all our Adelaide and Melbourne travel posts with the tag “adelaide-melbourne adventure 2014”.Blanket Fortress Logo

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