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The Hellenic Museum's Guide to a Winter's Day in Melbourne

Melbourne is bringing the brrrrr! But it doesn't have to mean being stuck inside. Pop on some layers and join us for a day of coffee, culture and cocktails with a Hellenic twist.

(Pssst! Read to the end for a discount at one of Melbourne's hottest cocktail bars.)

First things first – coffee, obviously.

It wouldn't be a day in Melbourne without an excellent coffee – with the double benefit of a caffeine kick and something warm to keep your fingers defrosted. Coffee lovers are spoiled for choice in the city, but here are a few of our top picks for a morning pit stop.

Patricia Coffee Brewers, 493–495 Lt Bourke Street A trendy, compact laneway spot with outstanding coffee and small sweet treats. Important to note, it's standing room only, so best for those on the go.

Image: Concrete Playground / Roseanne Tiziani

Axil Coffee Roasters, 565 Bourke Street A leafy, contemporary interior and a classic Melbourne brunch-to-lunch menu with excellent coffee, roasted by Axil.

Our preferred option for a sit-down brunch experience.

Image: Broadsheet / Jake Roden

Schmucks Bagels, Guests Lane (off Lt Bourke) At Schmucks the bagels come first and the coffee second, which says a lot about the bagels, because the coffee's great. A low maintenance but delicious option for a seated or takeaway bite.

Image: Broadsheet / Jake Roden

LB2 Specialty Coffee,

2 Gallaghers Place The quintessential Melbourne laneway café. A warm, dimly lit, intimate space tucked down an unassuming lane, with limited bar seats, next level brew and a curated pastry selection.

Image: Broadsheet / Olivia Blackburn

Next on the menu – a dose of culture.

The geographically astute reader may have noticed that all our café suggestions are not far from William Street, with good reason – our next stop is a short walk or tram ride to the north end of William. Hello, it's us!

Cross the road from Flagstaff Station and you'll find two jam-packed storeys of Hellenic history, from the ancient to the contemporary. Ideal for an after brunch stroll, the Museum is open daily 10am–4pm, excluding public holidays. You can explore our current exhibitions or join us for a special event.

Hellenic Hot Tip! First time visitor? Our suggested way to experience the Museum for the first time is with a guided tour, where you'll experience all the highlights and gain expert insight into our exhibitions. Tours take place on the first Saturday of each month. Spaces limited, pre-booking recommended.

Spot of lunch?

Taking in 8,000 years of Greco-Roman history is hungry work. When you're done with your Museum visit, it's likely time for a bite. Our top tip? Continue the walk up William Street, until you reach the beloved Queen Victoria Market.

Make a beeline for the Dairy Produce Hall, home of cheese, antipasto and charcuterie as far as the eye can see. Our go to vendor, unsurprisingly, is the Hellenic Deli. Here you'll find all the essentials – gourmet dips, marinated olives, pickled octopus, Greek specialties & more.

Don't forget some cheese from one of the many (many, many...) cheese vendors, a crusty baguette from Andrew's and a bottle of something delicious from Swords. Their friendly staff can even suggest a pairing for your nibbles of choice.

Then, weather depending (because we're in Melbourne, #FourSeasonsInOneDay) it's time to head back down William Street to the verdant Flagstaff Gardens and tuck into your market spoils. BYO picnic blanket. (If the weather is not on your side, we suggest seeking shelter in the QVM food court instead.)

A rooftop cocktail with a twist

We're coming to the close of our day. Once lunch has digested, make your way to the city's Greek Quarter where it's time for show stopping dusk views and a one-of-a-kind cocktail list.

Meet Fable – you might remember them from our Hellenic Arts Fest Mixology Workshop earlier this year! The team at Fable have created a gorgeous and unique Mediterranean rooftop bar, with a couple of important distinctions.

It's winter friendly

You might think a rooftop bar is off the cards this time of year, especially when it's perched on the lofty 13th level of Lonsdale Street's Greek Community Building. But one of Fable's biggest draw cards is its ingenious indoor-outdoor design – the glass frontage can unfold for a breezy rooftop bar in summer, or be closed for a cosy, sheltered spot in the cooler months while still keeping its incredible skyline views.

It's rich with Mediterranean storytelling

This bar lives up to its name. From start to finish the cocktail menu is rich with Mediterranean influence, history and mythology – head mixologist Alessandro Nardini has crafted a menu with a story in every single drink. Naturally we're biased and love the drinks with Greek myth stories, but Italian, Spanish and French influences also feature prominently on the menu.

A star-studded team

Liquid storyteller Alessandro is not the only star on Fable's team. The bar is owned and designed by prolific Melbourne hospitality personality Gehan Rajapakse (Sofitel, Hyde Bar, Rah Bar, Club 23, Crown Casino) while the menu has been devised by Executive Chef Alex Xinis (Melbourne Press Club, Hellenic Republic) to include Mediterranean influence and cocktail-complementary flavours throughout.

Hellenic Hot Tip! Fable have just released their new Winter Menu. These are our top suggestions to trial from the new food & beverage menus during your next visit.

Favourite cocktail

Calling all lovers of literature – A Beautiful Terrible Thing is a cocktail inspired by one of Oscar Wilde's famous quotes: "I can resist everything except temptation." In this case, the temptation is deliciously warming Glenlivet with lemon oleo and orgeat, aged for 3–4 weeks in small barrels that are seasoned with Malbec wine. Favourite mocktail

Non-drinkers and designated drivers no longer have to settle for plain old soft drinks. The Sancho Panza is a refreshing non-alcoholic option, in two senses – it's packed with zesty citrus and watermelon flavours, and its aquafaba foam makes it feel like an indulgent cocktail experience all on its own. Favourite dishes

You may still be digesting your deli goods, but if you can squeeze it in, Fable's food and beverage menus complement each other beautifully so we highly recommend a couple of share plates with your drinks. Our picks include fried calamari with ouzo-lemon mayonnaise for a smaller bite, and for something heartier, you can't go past the eight-hour slow cooked lamb shoulder marinated with lavender honey and served with black olives & parsnip.


A special offer for our readers

Our friends at Fable have very generously offered a Winter Discount! Visit Fable on Wednesdays, Thursdays or Sundays until 31 August 2022, and mention this article to receive 10% off all food & drinks.


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