* Pope Joan [77-79 Nicholson Street, Brunswick East]
Go for: that brunch you don't deserve every day because it is too good
Expect: travelling a fair bit out of the city to be rewarded with breakfast heaven. The dishes are so beautifully prepared and plated and are definitely well-portioned too, to make sure you'll roll out the door completely happy - think smoked salmon, parsnip croquettes, red slaw and slow cooked egg (all in one dish, that is). If you seriously can't stand eggs for breakfast they have a range of sandwiches and cakes and other sweet dishes that looked fantastic as well. To me it was probably the most impressive breakfast/brunch ever, and the girls on the floor make sure you're looked after too!
* Hanoi Hannah [180 High Street, Prahran]
Go for: Viet street food, Prahran style
Expect: authentic Vietnamese (REAL spring rolls! Grilled beef in betel leaves! Veeeeery loooovely pho!) and fun spinoffs of some favourites in a very cute, Melbourian setting - rustic and funky and cosy, without forgetting that trademark Viet painting on the wall and the chilli sauce and cutlery holder on the table. Get the coconut lychee slushie too - oh em gee so refreshing! It kinda felt like I was eating at home again, only to walk around the corner back onto Chapel Street. Jackpot.
* The Woods Of Windsor [108 Chapel Street, Windsor]
Go for: hunting lodge meets anything elegant
Expect: a venue hard to describe but suitable for anyone that's after anything good really: a casual drink, a proper sit-down dinner, something before or after the main meal... Similar to Porteno in Sydney, it's one of those venues that you know you can come in for all sorts of occasions and have an amazing time, while things are still done properly and formally. The big shelf along one wall stocks a whisky-focused bar, as well as books, taxidermies, and all sorts of other beautiful things to look at. Comes with a matching "forresty" and "autumny" menu - had drinks and dessert and actually can't wait to be back to try more.
* Cumulus Inc. [45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne]
Go for: the good stuff, all day long
Expect: the sleek, clean-cut Melbourian type of venue with bangin' food - serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. I've been back every time I went to Melbs so that must say a lot, doesn't it? Exciting flavours and ingredients are prepared in a very honest style of cooking, and most of the menu is to share but can be cut down into single portions - well that's pretty much my kinda style of eating. Went back last to have breakfast and just couldn't get over their bloody tasty blood sausage and smoked tomato in the English breakfast. Don't miss the canelés at the little pastry and takeaway section on your way out!
* Portello Rosso [15 Warburton Lane, Melbourne]
Go for: Tapas that are, uhm, pretty crazy?
Expect: a menu the size of which you'd probably underestimate, and feeling like Julia Roberts in "Eat Pray Love" when she was eating up in Italy - I just felt so alive working my way through the dishes. I honestly don't remember everything we had - I'm sure you can order anything and you'll be perfectly fine. I guess you'll have fun at any tapas restaurant if the food is good, but as I've said that Eat-Pray-Love feeling hit me so hard that all I can say is just go already. The team was so so nice too I felt so bad not finishing my dinner (because I was so stuffed!).