Federal Coffee Palace

350 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000

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Whilst on the hunt looking for a brunch cafe, we stumbled upon this place after a not-so-quick stop at H&M. Federal Coffee Palace is located under the elegant, grand arches of Melbourne’s GPO.

We sat outside nearby the warmers, whilst being attended to by the friendly staffs. They had an array of choices, which is not too different from other cafes. Their coffee though was perfect! Nothing too fancy, but was an easy fill before the long day ahead.

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Hers: Grilled Vegetable Melt – with romanesco sauce and Tasmanian brie

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His: Belt Burger $12 – Turkish bun with bacon, tomato relish, fired egg and iceberg lettuce

RATE: 2/5

Fonda

31 Flinders Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000

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I can’t get over food in Melbourne, like seriously all we did was eat! We were feeling something more foreign and we came across Fonda  where it was tucked away on the side of the street. You can easily miss it but once you enter it, it’s all bright and spacious.

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Initially we thought it was table service, but you sat down and once you’ve chosen you go to the cashier, when the food is ready they’ll bring it out to you. Lucky for us it wasn’t a full house, there was a birthday celebration and a group lunch, but other than that we were able to have a conversation whilst having a drink.

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Left: Lemon Gracias $14 – A mix of el Jimador Blanco, lemongrass syrup, lemon and coconut water.

Right: Agua Locas $12 – one of the Aguas Frescas and el Jimador Blanco Tequila (liked this one more)

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His: Pacifico $9 – a Mexican sweet pilsner that contained a lemon zest

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Mex-bim-bap Ensalada $16 – A deconstructed salad contained shaved zucchini, sweet potato, guacamole, corn, baby spinach, quinoa, black beans, pickled onion and cabbage. The brown thing, is yummy soyrizo!

RATE: 4/5

Stamford Plaza Melbourne

111 Little Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000

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Booking through Agoda was a first for me, heard through a friend that it was reliable and offered affordable hotel prices. I went through a lengthy process deciding which accommodation to stay at, after a few weeks later I settled for Stamford Plaza.

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What I absolutely loved most about this 5-star hotel, was the quality of service and that it offered the basics of what a 5-star hotel should have. A top level pool and spa that had you looking up towards the sky, next to a fully furnished gym and sauna. Also, how efficient room service was and how checking in and out of the hotel was just effortlessly done.

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The biggest point was that it is very close to the CBD of Melbourne, only a few minutes walk down to the major shopping cites and to the free city-circle tram ride.

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There was a little hitch that I disapproved, where a staff did not kindly demonstrate to us how to use our cards tsk tsk, but overall I wouldn’t mind staying here again when I have a chance to once again explore Melbourne.

RATE: 3/5

Brown Sugar Cafe

25 Block Pl, Melbourne VIC 3000

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It’s those places that you think looks nice but once you step inside and experience it, you feel that regret. The tiny lane that it was in was packed with individuals choosing between this café or that café. My boyfriend settled with this.

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It’s like sitting in a living room, because of all the wooden frames all on the wall as well as how cozy it felt inside. I was surprised at how well the wait staff can move freely about around the tables.

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I’ll start writing about how it went downhill from here. A new staff waiter who was still in his trial period, came to serve us. He was nice and but had lacked the skills to remember, basic rule if you cannot remember repeat what the customers had ordered or write it down.  Another bad sign was that once we had ordered, he had forgotten to take our menu, which indicated to another wait staff that maybe we had not ordered yet. He got my boyfriend’s one right, after about 10 minutes or less his came out.

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His: Soup of the Day: Moroccan Lentils – He said that it was great, had the right amount of spices.

We had to ask another staff where my pancakes were, and we found out that it wasn’t written down. Had to wait all together close to 30 minutes, by then I was furious because a wait staff came out with it but went to another table with it. He took it back to the kitchen and I had to tell him it was mine.

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Mine: Vanilla Pancake $14.50 – the pancake was not as good as I imagined it would be. It was dry in the inside, though the toppings (strawberry compote and maple syrup) did help add sweetness to it.

At the end my boyfriend expressed our frustration, and one of the wait staff was kind enough to not bill the pancake. It really does tarnish one’s experience when things are not done efficiently, I’m sure the place is beautiful on most days but I guess I was unlucky.

RATE: 2/5

A weekend away to Melbourne

Melbourne was a refreshing mini-trip, that I have been longing for whilst juggling work and studying. Being able to spend time elsewhere than Sydney, with the most important person in my life, gave me that rejuvenating hit and gave me an opportunity to catch up with my boyfriend.

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We arrived 3 hours before our flight was due, EJ kept drifting off to sleep, whilst I kept looking around trying to find a hot chocolate to keep me up.

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Sad to say that most of our days in Melbourne was cloudy, though luckily it didn’t pour! So we had a chance to explore, going into lane ways, eating at various cafes and checking out what Melbourne had to offer. I really do wish I had another day to spend there, because just walking down the Yarra River was so breathtaking.

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Got to let y’all know that getting to and from the airport was a cheesecake! You just take a Sky Bus that would cost you about $18 per adult. We were about to take a taxi, but when we found out about this bus and there was a free shuttle service to our hotel, we said hell yeah!

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The useful map that Stamford Hotel provided us

I think I’ve gained some weight from all the foods that we ate, especially trying out their coffees and their hot chocolate. I honestly did not come across an awful hot chocolate, they were all on point.

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The graffitis’ were so impressive that they were gallery-worthy, because of how detailed and meaningful they were. Unfortunately, when we got to Hosier Lane it was blocked off because of construction.

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Oh Melbourne, I will visit you again. I love the free city circle tram, gets you honestly to all the major cites.