Melbourne consistently tops international liveability rankings and is often considered the cooler, edgier and artier sibling to shiny, scenic Sydney. It’s at the forefront of fashion and state-of-the-art design, from exceptional restaurants and cafes influenced by the richly multicultural heritage of the city to elegant, contemporary accommodation (see the Langham).
No-nonsense, minimal chic is on display in its fitness centres, with warehouses utilised for spin classes (see Art of Cycling) and bouldering (Northside Boulders). Thanks to trams, trains, and lots of cycling lanes, it’s easy to get around and with the magnificent Yarra River and an abundance of beautiful gardens at its centre, it’s ideal for outdoor exercise.
Typically for Melbourne, you’ll have to go into a couple of laneways and arcades to locate this culinary gem. Open on weekdays only, the focus of the Italian Deli-esque lunch spot is salads and sandwiches for the discerning, health-conscious CBD worker set. The meat and vegetarian salads on offer in Nick Jamieson and Brian Narciso’s menu are inspired and constantly rotating, but share in common fresh and local ingredients. Expect roasted enoki mushroom, cauliflower, ribboned zucchini, healthy grains, and New York, bodega-style sandwiches like the Reuben. Available for take-away or dine-in with a small extra charge.
To put it mildly, the humble Australian food court has long been a challenging space for vegans. Not any more. Located in the surprisingly pleasant Emporium food court, Supercharger is an oasis of nutritious, filling, 100% vegan food. Choose from the nutritionist designed, ready-to-go meals or, if you’re feeling more creative, build your own. Pick two bases (mashed roots, quinoa, rice, spinach) and sufficient sides (tofu in broth, braised mushrooms, eggplant dhal, seasonal greens, and fermented vegetables) to sate your hunger before heading back into the throng of shoppers and city workers.
Looking for a paleo option in Richmond? This intimate and stylish cafe, with an industrial fit-out, is located in a restored heritage studio and open seven days a week for hunter-gatherer twists on familiar breakfast standards, like chilli eggs on paleo toast. Executive chef Brett Tait’s “I’m a Fun-Ghi” (geddit?) dish is a standout: an omelette with three types of wild mushrooms, thyme, balsamic reduction and white truffle oil. You can also construct your own eggs and side combos if you’re feeling choosy. Drinks-wise, you’ll find kombucha, soy chai, coconut water and cold-pressed Supergreens.
Laneway Greens go for a reliable and honest consideration of nutritional values, seasonal conditions and classic recipes. They're all about top shelf ingredients, intelligently paired, thoughtfully dressed. The result is the feeling that the owners have picked, peeled and tasted the recipes many times over and found winners that marry taste-bud friendly with bodily well-being. Takeaway is available, but you’ll be tempted to dine-in and enjoy the minimal, head-turning fit-out.