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Diner On Franklin, Melbourne CBD

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MELBOURNE | Diner On Franklin is a small 20 seat Korean restaurant run by husband and wife duo Dominic and Stella Kim that I recently visited for What’s On Melbourne.

Hailing from Suwon, a town known for its galbi, just a short drive from Seoul, Stella moved to Australia in 2005 to study English. Dom was doing his military service in South Korea at the time, and also worked as a chef in the army. When he finished his service, the following year, Dom moved to Melbourne to train as a chef, while Stella studied hospitality management.

After working for a few years at some of Melbourne’s top restaurants, the duo decided to open their own restaurant, Bebu. Unfortunately, construction of the Metro tunnel disrupted their business to the extent that they had to close. About a year later, in 2019, once Dom was able to convince Stella that opening another restaurant was a good idea, they opened Diner on Franklin. And then COVID hit.

Stella and Dom stuck with it, and today, Diner on Franklin has a dedicated customer base of regulars, plus those who manage to find it, housed on an unassuming part of Franklin Street. Stella runs front of house, while Dom cooks everything in the open kitchen. It’s no mean feat, with quite a large selection of Korean favourites on the menu. When you’re seated, you’ll hear the sounds of multiple timers going off at various times, ensuring Dom’s able to stay on top of it all.

The most popular item on the menu is the babsang. It’s a typical Korean meal set, named for the traditional Korean table setting for meals to be enjoyed. There’s your choice of protein, things like fried chicken, soft tofu seafood soup, and bulgogi. Along with this, it’s an assortment of banchan like fried cauliflower with spicy mayo, twigim, tteokkochi, kimchi, and fresh fruit. You also get rice and salad, and a small burnt Basque cheesecake.

Other dishes include things like tteokbokki, bibimbap, and ramyeon. It’s tasty stuff, and I was very impressed by the lightness and vibrancy of it all. To drink, it’s things like Korean sodas, fresh juices, and soju.


Diner On Franklin

1/245 Franklin Street
Melbourne
Victoria 3000
Australia

Telephone: n/a
E-mail: n/a
Website

Open
Tue – Sun: 11:30am to 3:00pm, 5:00pm to 8:00pm

JC Patisserie Boulangerie, Abbotsford

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MELBOURNE | JC Patisserie Boulangerie is an evolution of Patisserie by JC, a project started by owner/baker Jonathan Camilleri during Melbourne’s lockdowns. Jonathan trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris straight out of high school, and has worked in patisseries and bakeries in France, Italy, and London. He was working overseas before the pandemic brought him home.

JC Patisserie Boulangerie is a small space, tucked away in the backstreets of Abbotsford. There’s a a few tables and seats inside, a coffee and pastry counter, with a bench that opens out to the front, and the bakery behind.

On the menu, you’ll find a small selection of Jonathan’s favourite French pastries, plus a few other rotating baked treats. Thing like Madelines, Saint Honoré, Opera, and baked cheesecake. Baguettes are always available, and there’s often savoury options like toasties, brioche rolls, and filled baguettes.

To drink, it’s coffee made using a house blend that’s roasted at Port Melbourne’s Criteria Coffee. Lighter than the type of coffee you usually find being brewed in Paris, the JC blend is a slightly sweet and acidic light roast. It’s made using beans from Burundi, Brazil, and Colombia.


JC Patisserie Boulangerie

17 Henry Street
Abbotsford
Victoria 3067
Australia

Telephone: n/a
E-mail: n/a
Website

Open
Wed – Fri: 8:00am to 2:00pm
Sat – Sun: 9:00am to 1:00pm

Louie., Melbourne CBD

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MELBOURNE | Loiue is a tiny Melbourne CBD laneway café window that I recently popped into for What’s on Melbourne. It’s a take-away affair, with two small tables and a few seats for say, six people maximum, to the side.

The offering is very simple. Fantastic espresso and filter-based coffee, along with a small selection of snacks like scones, muffins, and a couple of toasties.

I could try to come up with more words to fill in the space, but that’s really all there is to it. It’s simple and it works. Louie is a great spot if you need your morning caffeine fix and quick, quality bite. Combined with its buzzing laneway locations, it’s quintessentially Melbourne.


loiue.

2 Equitable Place
Melbourne
Victoria 3000
Australia

Telephone: n/a
E-mail: n/a
Website

Open
Mon – Fri: 7:00am to 3:00pm

Sulhwa, Melbourne CBD

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MELBOURNE | Sulhwa is an Asian dessert café that recently opened in Melbourne, which I visited for What’s on Melbourne. Their desserts are made using the best quality ingredients, and draw inspiration from across Asia.

The signature dessert is injeolmi. It’s a Korean dessert made by combining steamed Korean rice cakes with assorted toppings. The most popular flavour is topped with sweetened red beans, house-made mochi, finely shaved ice, and injeolmi powder.

Other desserts include things like shaved ice topped with fresh watermelon balls, rose cream, roasted pistachios, and lychee; and the South East Asian classic, ice kacang.

There’s also a selection of cakes, available for one or as larger cakes. Flavours rotate regularly with the seasons. The cute bear shaped cake, a chocolate shell-covered delight of mandarin jelly, chocolate mousse and biscuit base, is delicious.

Along with desserts, there’s also coffee, and an assortment of Asian-inspired drinks. Think hojicha latte topped with autumn crisp grape, maple cream, and toasted almond; and cups of bingsu topped with fresh fruits.


Sulhwa

378A Little Collins Street
Melbourne
Victoria 3000
Australia

Telephone: n/a
E-mail: n/a
Website

Open
Thu – Tue: 12:00pm to 10:00pm

48 Hours In Ubud: Things To Do

UBUD | For those looking for a health and wellness focused holiday, Ubud is well set up to provide everything one could want. The Balinese city is famed for its peaceful vibe and slow place, traditional Balinese crafts, lush tropical jungles, terraced rice paddies and Hindu temples and shrines.

It’s a great option for those wanting to get away for a while, but also works if you’ve just got a couple of days in which to wind down. During my last visit to Ubud, I was only in town for two nights, and made the most of it. In my ’48 Hours In Ubud: Things To Do’, I’ll give you rundown of things do check out to ensure you make your most of your time in town.

There are other worthwhile things to do just outside of town, but I’ve kept this list focused on things that are all within walking distance from the centre, which will help you make the most of the short time that you have.


Check Out The Royal Palace

Officially named Puri Saren Agung, Ubud Royal Palace is the palace of the Ubud royal family. Originally built in the early 1800s, most of the structures that make up the palace date back to 1917, when the palace was rebuilt after an earthquake. It’s notable for its intricate Balinese carvings, charming garden setting, and water lillies.

Every evening, the palace hosts performances with gamelan percussive orchestras on its outdoor stage.

Eat Indonesian Food

When it comes to food, visitors to Ubud have plenty of options at all price ranges to choose from. The city is full of contemporary eateries incorporating local and traditional herbs, teas, and ingredients into their menus. There’s also lots on offer for those wanting to try Balinese warung favourites like babi guling and nasi goreng.

Check out my Ubud Food Guide: Where To Eat, for a list of some of Ubud’s best places to eat.

Explore The Backstreets

Ubud is a compact place, that’s very walkable. Instead of taking taxis from A to B, move around by foo. Explore the little side streets and winding laneways in between them and you’ll discover street art, local warungs, unassuming temples and shrines, and more.

Go To Ubud Art Market

The Ubud Art Market actually starts the day as a fresh produce market. From 3am until 8am, local farmers sell fresh produce to local cooks and chefs. From 9am, it transforms into the Ubud Art Market. Local artisans showcase their wares. Things like silk scarves, shirts, dresses, statues, kites, handmade bags and baskets, and more.

Hike Campuhan Ridge

Campuhan Ridge walk is an easy, 10km walk that takes you through lush surrounds with sweeping hilltop views. It starts in the heart of town, and before long you feel like you’ve been transported to another world. It’s stunning, relaxing, and a must do.

Immerse Yourself In Art

Ubud is home to several art museum, some which focus on particular styles of art, and other that focus on particular artists. My favourite, the Agung Rai Museum of Art (ARMA) was established in 1996 and is set across multiple buildings. The art ranges from traditional to contemporary, with a focus on Balinese and Indonesian artists.

The Neka Art Museum Ubud is also excellent, featuring over 300 Balinese works. The Blanco Renaissance Museum, overlooking scenic Campuhan, is hosed in the former home and studio of Philippine-born Spanish painter, Don Antonio Blanco, It showcases that Blanco’s unique style of painting.

See The Monkey Forest

The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is the most popular tourist attraction in Ubud for good reason. It’s a large park and wildlife sanctuary in the centre of town, that’s home to 1,260 Balinese long-tailed macaque monkeys. There’s no fences or barriers, and it’s great to relax, walk around, and watch the monkey go about their day.

See The Rice Paddies

Ubud is famed for its rice paddies/terraces. They range from small paddies in the backstreets of town, to spectacular mountainside terraces. All kinds have a different vibe and are worth taking a walk through.

Tegallang rice terrace is the most famous, photo-perfect one to visit. Closer to the centre of town, you’ll find the less ‘beautiful’, but arguably more captivating, Kajeng Rice Field.

Try Indonesian Tea & Coffee

Indonesia is one of the largest producers of coffee in the world. Luwak coffee is the famed coffee that’s harvested from the droppings of the luwak, who eat coffee cherries but don’t digest the seed. It’s worth a try, but be sure you’re getting the real deal, from an ethical source.

Luwak aside, what I’m actually talking about is the other high quality coffee that you can find in Ubud, showcasing the wide variety of beans and diverse growing regions of Bali. Visit Old Friends Coffee, where owner Made Sipil grows, roasts, and brews the beans himself.

Visit A Temple

Ubud is famed for its thousands of temples, and there’s no way you can visit without stumbling across one. They range from the popular, large, and intricate, to the low-key, small, and hidden.

Tirta Empul dates back to the 10th century, and is a National Heritage Cultural Site. The temple’s freshwater ponds and fountains are of particular note here. Gunung Kawi, which features numerous ancient shrine reliefs carved into the face of a rock cliff, is another temple worth visiting. 6km east of the centre of town, you’ll find Goa Gajah, or “Elephant Cave”. As the name suggests, this 11th century temple has been carved inside a cave.

The Motley Hotel, Richmond

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MELBOURNE | The Motley Hotel is a boutique, five star hotel that recently opened in Richmond. The hotel pays homage to Mary Parker, a seamstress and costume-designer who called the site home in the 1850. Behind the two story heritage façade lies a modern eight story building, which blends the site’s heritage with contemporary flair. Custom artworks from local artists can be found throughout the hotel.

Location

The hotel is in a prime location for those who have tickets to an event the MCG, Rod Laver Arena and Olympic Parks. All of those venues are a short walk, or a few tram stops away from the front of the hotel. On the way, you’ll pass a number of boutique retailers, and dining options. One street away, you’ve got the restaurants and bars of Swan Street, while a street back the other way, you’ve got the Vietnamese eats, and funky bars of Victoria street.

Rooms

The Motley Hotel contains 80 rooms, ranging from the small Motley King rooms, to the spacious Motley Suite. For something particularly unique, check out the hotel’s ‘Heritage Rooms’. Each one is different, with its own eclectic, unique theme.

Mary’s Room pays homage to Mary Parker’s artistry through a modern take on monochrome threads, while the the Textured Room is a vibrant burst of colours, inspired by the world of fashion. The Tiger Room, which I stayed in, features jungle-themed wallpaper and kitsch Camilla bed linen.

Each room features a wall-mounted flat screen TV with Chromecast to stream your own content. There’s a complimentary minibar in each room, a coffee machine with Code Black Coffee pods and an assortment of Teadrop teabags. The heating and air-conditioning is easily controlled using a wall-mounted touchscreen. A bedside iPad is the hub from which guests can contact reception, request amenities like hair dryers and irons, room service, and the like.

There’s robes and slippers, plenty of coat hangers, and space for your luggage. The bathroom is compact, with brass fixtures and a dual standard/rain shower. They’re fully stocked with Mr Smith bath products and amenity kits.

There’s free Wi-Fi in all rooms (and throughout the hotel), and multiple Australian standard power outlets. Several of the outlets feature dual USB-A and USB-C plus too, which is great for charging your devices.

Amenities

Like many boutique hotels, there’s not much in the way of additional amenities offered by the hotel. The focus is on the rooms, and the food and drink offering. There is a lounge next to the hotel lobby, featuring comfortable couches and a variety of ways to pass the time and relax. Think board games, trivia cards, and books.

For those with a car, there’s no parking on-site, however paid public parking nearby and street parking are available to guests.

Eat & Drink

There’s two options for food and drink at the Motley Hotel – ground floor restaurant, Ms. Parker, and rooftop bar, Threads.

Threads is an intimate space, with high Perspex helping to shield it from the weather. I was up there on quite a cold winter’s night, and combined with the terrace heating, felt quite comfortable. On the menu it’s a selection of house cocktails, wine, and local beer, and small snacks. If you’re staying at the hotel on Thursday, the two-for-one cocktail offer that’s available from 5pm to 10pm is great value.

Downstairs, you’ll find Ms. Parker. It’s a café/restaurant that’s designed to be able to stand on its own as a spot worth eating at, even if you’re not staying at the hotel. At night, it’s menu of refined pub and bistro-style dishes like duck liver pate, wagyu beef burger, kingfish ceviche, and pan roasted barramundi. Great takes on the classics that hit the spot. For drinks, it’s house cocktails, local beer on tap, and a keenly priced international wine selection.

For breakfast, it’s a compact selection of Melbourne breakfast favourites. Think shakshuka; mushrooms and poached eggs on sourdough; and house granola with coconut yoghurt and fresh fruit. There’s also fresh pastries from local Richmond’s Cobb Lane Bakery, Code Black coffee, and Emma & Tom’s juices.


The Motley Hotel

205 Bridge Road
Richmond
Victoria 3121
Australia

Telephone: (03) 9046 2300
E-mail: [email protected]
Website

Morris House, Melbourne CBD

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MELBOURNE | Morris House is the newest venue from Australian Venue Co. (“AVC”), and sees the historic 1924 Morris House, which was previously home to the European Bier Café, restored to make most of the building’s historic features. I was invited in to check out the new space.

Spread across four levels, Morris House is a big venue, with a capacity of 550 people. You’ll find an NYC-inspired comedy club in the basement, restaurant on the ground floor, pub above that, and a rooftop bar on the top. Each zone has a different feel about it – downstairs is the place for a slow meal, the pub is the place to grab a booth and watch some sports, while upstairs is where you go if you’re looking for live DJs and a more boisterous experience.

The menu differs depending on which level you’re on, but it’s broadly Aussie pub favourites and NYC-inspired bistro dishes. Think chicken parmigiana; mushroom and truffle risotto; spanner crab spaghetti; burgers, and steaks. It’s the sort of thing that’s AVC’s bread and butter. Solid takes on crowd pleasing dishes with twists here and there. Dietaries are well catered for, with plenty of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.

For drinks, it’s a similarly diverse and crowd pleasing selection on offer. House cocktails with a focus on agave spirits, local and international wines, and craft brews from the likes of Balter and Brooklyn Brewing on tap. There’s also several non-alc options for those looking to skip the booze.

This is a place that’s going to be popular with the post-work crowd and those looking for a rooftop drink and dance. It’s also a great choice if you’re looking for a pre or post-game feed. The Melbourne Sports and Entertainment Precinct is a short 20 minute walk away.


Morris House

120 Exhibition Street
Melbourne
Victoria 3000
Australia

Telephone: (03) 8563 0080
E-mail: [email protected]
Website

Open
Sun – Thu: 11:30am to 11:00pm
Fri – Sat: 1:30pm to 1:00am

A Guide To Footscray’s Diverse Food, Bars, And Street Art

MELBOURNE | Footscray is one of those suburbs that I love going to for its diverse food, bars, and street art. Every time I visit, I’m captivated by melting pot of cultures who have called this suburb home over the years, and the interaction between old and new. As I leave, I always say to myself “I really need to get to Footscray more often”.

As it happens, I’m not the only Melburnian who shares this sentiment. A few months ago, I took a couple of friends, relatively new to Melbourne, on a one day tour of what I consider to be Footscray’s highlights. I posted stories on Instagram throughout the day, and was inundated by locals eagerly following my day. Most either hadn’t been to Footscray before, or hadn’t been in a long time.

“You need to make a guide!” I was told many a time, and you know what, they were right. Whenever I travel overseas I made these sorts of guides, yet I rarely take the time to make them for the city in which I live, that I know more than any other. It’s about time that changed, and what better way to kick things off than with a guide to Footscray’s diverse food, bars, and street art.

In this Footscray food, bar, and street art guide, I’ll tell you about the places that I took my friends to that day, plus some other favourites that are still doing their thing. If you’re a local looking to explore a suburb you haven’t been to for a while, if at all, or a visitor looking to get a literal and figurative taste of a suburb that’s glanced over by most guides, this guide is for you. Enjoy.


The day starts with cannoli at T. Cavallaro & Sons. The Cavallaro family have been making Italian pastries from the same Footscray pasticceria since 1956. Their Sicilian-style cannoli, made using the same family recipe that’s been used since day one, are considered by many to be the best in Melbourne.

After enjoying your cannoli, head across the road to the Footscray Market. Operating for over 40 years, the market is at the heart of the community, reflecting the waves of immigrants who have made this suburb home. Originally a European focused market, today the market has a predominantly Asian flavour to it. If you’re looking for some of the best fresh produce in town, and Asian fruits and vegetables you don’t find in regular supermarkets, Footscray market has what you need. Be sure not to miss the small food court at the back of the market. Huu Thanh sell an assortment of quality Vietnamese eats, while Lutong Pinoy offers home-style Filipino dishes.

Speaking of Vietnamese food, you’ll probably be working up a bit of an appetite now. Across the road from the market, just up from T. Cavallaro & Sons, you’ll find Nhu Lan Bakery. It’s a spot that’s always in the mix when people talk about the best bánh mì in Melbourne, and for good reason. Perfectly textured baguettes are baked fresh on site each day, generously filled with an assortment of quality fillings. For me, it’s the classic banh mi thit every time.

Other great options for Vietnamese food in the suburb are Co Thu Quan, and Cô Thăm Cần Thơ, Dong Ba, and Pho Tam. Don’t sleep on the Vietnamese snacks and desserts being sold by vendors on the street around Footscray Market either.

If Vietnamese really isn’t what you’re craving for lunch, you can head around the corner to 8 Bit on Droop Street. When they opened they were one of the best places in town for an American-style burger, and they’re still as good today. Sticking to the American theme, walk east and you’ll find Up In Smoke, which is a top choice for American style low and slow BBQ and craft beer.

If buying produce is part of what you’re after today, and it’s seafood you’re looking for, you’ll want to D&K Live Seafood. This wholesaler and retailer sell seriously good quality seafood, supplying restaurant and locals in the know. Two rooms are filled with tanks containing all kinds of seafood, which is killed and cleaned for you on the spot. It doesn’t get any fresher.

Now it’s time for gelato. One of my favourite places for gelato in Melbourne is Kariton Sorbites. It was started by chefs John Rivera and Minh Duong during 2020’s lockdowns, and draws upon their respective Filipino and Vietnamese heritage, as well as the wider South East Asian region. The result is brilliant gelato with unique, inspired flavours.

While enjoying your gelato, it’s a great time to take in some of the Footscray’s brilliant street art. Street art can be found all over Footscray. Much of it is created by local artists, and deals with topics faced by locals. Politics, the immigrant experience, the joys of life, and more. My Footscray Street Art Guide will give you the details on exactly where to find the best pieces in the suburb.

Take the long route to Hop Nation Brewing Co while you enjoy your gelato, following the parts of my guide that take you up Nicholson Street, through the Victoria University Campus, and across the rail tracks. It’ll take you into an industrial part of the neighbourhood, and show you a different side of the neighbourhood. It won’t be long before a lot of this is replaced by apartments, as the rapid gentrification of Footscray continues.

At Hop Nation, you can enjoy a diverse selection of beers, as well as wines from the brewery’s offshoot wine project Site. The founders of Hop Nation actually started as winemakers before moving into beer, so rest assured the wines here are more than just an afterthought. The beers are some of the best in town, and there’s always interesting one-off brews on tap. In fact, I once did a collaboration beer with them. A New England IPA inspired by, and incorporating ingredients from, the Footscray Market. There’s a whole podcast about it that you can listen to here.

Be sure to pace yourself, as there are a few venues you’ll want to be drinking at after this. Walk over to Lickety Split, a multi-space outdoor bar owned by Jerome Borazio, founder of Melbourne’s original laneway bar, St Jerome’s. While walking there, be sure to take in the view across to Melbourne’s CBD from the bridge that goes over the rail tracks near the intersection of Moreland Street and Bunbury Street.

Upstairs in the building next to it, is another of Jerome’s venues, Back Alley Sally’s. Here and at Lickety Split, you can enjoy quality drinks with a focus on local stuff. If you want a snack, you can order in pizzas from Slice Girls West. Depending on the time of day, check out Harry & Larrys. It’s downstairs in the same building, and is a general store full of great products from local producers.

Head towards Barkly Street and walk west, just past the Footscray Market, and you’ll find a hidden public square, Maddern Square. It’s home to some great street art, and a fun alternative bar, Hail Lilith. It’s a homage to mystical Lilith, with great cocktails, loud music, and excellent vegan snacks. Grab a cocktail here, then continue up to the other side of the square where you’ll find Baby Snakes Bar. It’s a fun bar, with a fantastic, eclectic wine and cocktail list.

Once you’re done at Baby Snakes, pop into Mr West Bar & Bottleshop, where you’ll find one of the best craft beer tap lists in town, as well as a top tier selection of drinks for those who aren’t into beer. The bottleshop is downstairs, and the bar above it.

Note that all of the venues I’ve mentioned have great non-alcoholic and low-alcohol options, so it is possible to check them all out without getting wasted.

Despite your snacking, you’ve probably built up quite the appetite by now. Get back onto Barkly street and head west. You’ve got two great options for Ethiopian food on this street – Ras Dashen and Abesha. I’m a big fan of both and can’t spit the two. For a West African feed, check out newcomer, The African Calabash. If African food isn’t what you’re in the mood for, another gem is Katarina Zrinksi Restaurant. Located inside the Croatian Club, it’s a great place for traditional Croatian dishes.

Close to both Ethiopian restaurants are two bars to check out post-dinner – Littlefoot Bar and Bar Josephine. The former, I like to call the “Twin Peaks” bar, which you’ll probably agree with when you see it. It’s an unpretentious spot with great tunes and quality drinks. Bar Josephine is equally unpretentious, with more of a site down and chat vibe, and a better craft beer selection.

If, after all of this, you’re still up for more, finish your night at Pride of our Footscray. It’s a gay bar that’s open to all, and is a whole lot of fun no matter your orientation. If you like to dance to fun music on a big dance floor with a bunch of people who are all looking to have a good time, Pride of Our Footscray is a great option to end your night on.

48 Hours In Bangkok: Things To Do

BANGKOK | Bangkok is a huge city that almost 15 million people call home. Famed for its rich history, beautiful shrines and temples, and vibrant street food scene, it’s a city that has something for everyone who visits.

There’s diverse architecture, amazing food, museums, galleries, and more. There’s popular tourist spots that are well worth checking out, and lesser known hidden gems, found off the beaten path. Two days is barely enough to scratch the surface of what Bangkok has to offer, but you can fit a lot in if you plan things out.

If time is not on your side and you only have 48 hours or so in town, here’s some suggestions on things to do in Bangkok, that will ensure you have a great experience.


Check Out The City’s Temples

There are over 40,000 temples in Bangkok, and almost all of them can be visited by tourists. Wat Pho and Wat Arun are the most famous two, and they are well worth a visit. Wat Pho is known for its huge golden reclining Buddha statue, while Wat Arun is popular for its þrahng, which offers spectacular views across the Chao Phraya River.

Beyond the popular temples, be sure to visit a few smaller ones. Many only contain one main room that’s open to the public, and can be easily seen in just a few minutes. I’m particularly fond of Wat Sutthi Wararam. It doubles as a contemporary art gallery, with intricate, colourful murals, presenting Buddhist motifs and tales, in a modern way.

Discover Bangkok’s Street Art

Bangkok has a vibrant street art scene, with local and international artists painting small and larger scale murals all over the city. Several festivals are held throughout the year, and the murals painted as part of these remain for visitors to see.

Local artists to keep an eye out for include Alex Face, Himbad, Bonus, Asin, Dark1, Chun Smith, Pakorn, panda Dew, Mr.Bows, Komkrit, D.o.D, Loboboy, Bongo, Sorimeo, and mxrnies.

You can find their work all over town. Particular areas to explore for street art are:

  • Soi Charoenkrung 30
  • Soi Charoenkrung 28
  • Song Wat Road
  • San Chao Rong Kueak Alley
  • Saphan Taksin BTS Station
  • Pathumwan Sky Walk
  • Khlong Saen Saep
  • Chalermla Park

Eat Street Food

Bangkok is famed for its street food scene. There are entire streets dedicated to street food, and vendors can be found all over town selling delicious things. Most street food vendors specialise in one dish, and each has their own spin on it. People will endlessly debate as to whose version is best, but what’s certain is that you will eat very well in Bangkok.

As a general rule of thumb, when it comes to street food, follow the locals. Many people tell me that they’re wary of eating street food because it ‘might make them sick’. If you stick to the ‘follow the locals’ rule, you won’t have this problem. If a place is busy with locals lining up to enjoy that food that’s being served up, it’s going to be good and safe.

You can find some tips on where to eat street food and other food, in my Bangkok Food Guide. For advice on which dishes you should be looking for, see my post, What To Eat In Thailand.

Explore Chinatown

Bangkok’s Chinatown is one of the largest in the world. Founded in 1782 as the home of the city’s mainly Teochew immigrant Chinese population, Chinatown spans several neighbourhoods. Today, Chinatown continues to be a hub of Chinese culture. It’s also known for its preserved historic shophouses, and for its vibrant food and drink scene.

Explore Charoen Krung Road

Bangkok’s oldest paved road, Charoen Krung Road, has experienced a renaissance in modern years. Creatives and young entrepreneurs have set up shop, attracted to the area’s relatively low rents, historic buildings, and slower pace. It’s an interesting mix of new and old, with traditional shops and trendy modern venues co-existing.

The street and its surrounds are also home to some of Thailand’s most exciting restaurants, like Small Dinner Club, and 100 Mahaset.

Relax With A Thai Massage

Nuad Thai, aka traditional Thai massage, dates back to at least 1384, and has been recognised as part of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. It is still part of Thailand’s medical system due to its perceived healing properties at both emotional and physical levels. One thing’s for sure. After a long day of exploring, there’s nothing quite as relaxing and rejuvenating as a traditional Thai massage.

See The Grand Palace

Dating back to 1785, Bangkok’s Grand Palace is the official residence of the king, and is still used for ceremonial purposes today. It’s actually made up of several structures, and is well worth a visit. If you do plan on visiting, be sure to check the calendar, as the Grand Palace is closed to the public when the king is in residence.

Take A River Taxi

370 kilometre (229 mile) long Chao Phraya River is the lifeblood of Bangkok, winding through the centre of the city. Travelling along it by boat is a great way to see the city from a different point of view. Skip the touristy, overpriced cruises, and instead join the locals and hop onto a river taxi. They only cost around 30 baht a trip, and you can get on and off at convenient spots along the river.

Visit A Market

Bangkok is home to many markets, and no visit to the city is complete without a market visit. Sprawling Chatuchak Weekend Market is the most famous, and is one of the largest open-air markets in the world. Anything you can think of, you can find there.

For food, head across the road to Or Tor Kor Market. Popular with local chefs and cooks, is where you’ll find some of the best quality produce in town. It’s also home to an amazing food court.

If you’re keen on visiting one of Bangkok’s famed floating markets, head out of the centre, where the markets are set up for tourists, and check out Don Wai Floating Market. From the centre of town, you can get a taxi there in around half an hour for 400 baht.

Visit Some Museums

There are countless museums in Bangkok, dealing with all sorts of topics. National Museum Bangkok, established in 1874, is the largest and best known. It contains a vast collection of artefacts that take visitors through Thailand’s history from Neolithic times through to the modern era.

Those interested in contemporary art should visit Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA BANGKOK). Established in 2012, it’s one of Asia’s largest contemporary art museums, with an impressive collection of Thai and international art exhibited over five levels.

Walk Along Khao San Road

Ever since the 1980s, Khao San Road has been the place where backpackers from around the world have congregated. These days the street is very touristy, but it still attracts backpackers from all walks of life, from across the world. Being touristy doesn’t mean that it’s still not a fascinating place. Take a walk through the area, grab a drink, and watch life unfold all around you.

Wander Through A Red Light District

There are four main red light districts in Bangkok: Soi Cowboy, Nana Plaza, Patpong, and Soi Twilight. I’m not here to debate all that there is to debate about Thailand’s sex industry and the morality of sex tourism. What I am here to tell you is that walking through one of these red light districts and observing all that’s going on around you, is an insightful experience.

Sucrée Dessert & Wine Bar, Essendon

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MELBOURNE | Sucrée Dessert & Wine Bar is a Essendon venue specialising in desserts, with a breakfast menu during the day, that traditions into a snack and grazing menu at night. I was recently invited in by owner/chef Elisha Kesici to check it out.

Elisha grew up wanting to become a chef, inspired by meals enjoyed at family gatherings, her grandmother’s Turkish cooking, and a love of sweets. Elisha worked under Christy Tania and Om Nom Dessert Bar while studying her Certificate IV in Patisserie at William Angliss. After graduating, she got a job working for Darren Purchase and Burch & Purchase Sweet Studio, followed by a pastry chef role at Vue De Monde.

Following a stint at Marnong Estate, Elisha decided it was time to take the plunge and open her own dessert shop. Sucrée, which opened earlier this year, is the result of that decision.

It’s a casual space, inside an old restaurant that Elisha and her family renovated themselves. Look to the shelf next to the kitchen, and you’ll see a tribute to Elisha’s brother Korey, who was tragically killed just as Elisha was about to open Sucrée. In the kitchen, you’ll find Elisha and her team whipping up an assortment of seasonal desserts, inspired by her creativity, and the creativity of her staff. You’ll also find Elisha’s family helping out from time-to-time.

The menu reflects Elisha’s experience in fine dining, as well as her Turkish heritage. ‘Apple To My Eye’ is a must-try twist on an apple pie. A white chocolate shell formed like a green apple, filled with brown butter mousse, apple compote, apple gel, served with cinnamon wafers. If you’re a Cherry Ripe fan like me, try the ‘Cherry On Top’. It’s a rich mix of coconut ice-cream, chocolate brownie, and cherry mousse, inspired by the chocolate bar, and the cravings for cherries that Elisha’s mum had while pregnant with her.

For Turkish treat, you can’t go past the the classic dessert, kunefe. A light and texturally complex mix of kadayif pastry and mozzarella, topped with pistachios, and dondurma (Turkish mastic ice-cream). It goes great with a cup of Turkish coffee.

On the non-dessert front, there’s a selection classic Melbourne brunch favourites, plus a few Turkish dishes on the menu during the day. The sucuk (Turkish sausage) and eggs, served with sourdough, are a must order. Also be sure to try my favourite, the menemen. It’s a traditional baked Turkish dish of eggs, tomato, green peppers, and spices, served with sourdough.

At night, it’s the dessert menu, with a selection of meze, flatbreads, and grazing platters. To drink, it’s coffee and tea, along with wine and cocktails, and other alcoholic and non-alcoholic options.


Sucrée Dessert & Wine Bar

20 Leake Street
Essendon
Victoria 3040
Australia

Telephone: 0493 553 148
E-mail: [email protected]
Website

Open
Tue: 8:00am to 2:30pm
Wed: 8:00am to 9:00pm
Thu – Sat: 8:00am to 11:00pm
Sun: 8:00am to 4:00pm