Review: Melbourne food safaris through Fitzroy share the delicious secrets of this urban jungle

In Melbourne’s hip inner-city enclave of Fitzroy the well-to-do latte set rubs shoulders with vintage op-shoppers against a backdrop of gritty street art and Stalin-esque high rise council estates. Join this food safari in and around Brunswick Street to track down some of the precinct's most innovative eateries. Review: Vanessa O’Hanlon

Melbourne food safaris

Melbourne food safaris through Fitzroy: Sir Charles

4.5 stars

Melbourne food safaris through Fitzroy with Foodi

These Melbourne food safaris through inner-city Fitzroy will take you on a culinary journey of discovery. Enjoy engaging street art and sample the best cheese, wine and tapas anywhere in Melbourne. You’ll visit a number of different eateries and venues – all offering something completely different. The itinerary often changes, so treat this review as a taste of what you can expect. Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

Brunswick Street in Melbourne – many try but few manage to learn all her secrets.

Her soul is bohemian; her body is a mix of historic architecture, new builds and bizarre shop signs; her heart is cutting edge and vintage fashion, fabulous food and top coffee.

Located in the edgy Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy – just a ten minute tram ride from the CBD – you can walk up and down Brunswick Street all day and not even scratch the surface. The strip and nearby streets are filled with trendy eateries, grungy bars, on trend cafes and a diverse arts scene.

With all this in mind, I recently decided to call in the experts and join one of the Melbourne food safaris with Foodi, which offers seven different food and drink guided walks around the city. We’re off on their Fitzroy Food Night Safari (well, more of an afternoon really, with a 3pm departure).

Our meeting place is on Johnston Street and my blue suede shoes are ready to hit the dance floor. An old parking lot has been transformed into Ronnie Z and the Fabulous JuiceThe jukebox lives in a blue 1960s Valiant and the juice is served from an old caravan.

Our guide Christina has four venues in mind for today’s safari. The first – an afternoon coffee hit. After all, this once working-class suburb turned hipster-haven is now the place to be for ethically grown, cold-drip espresso – and there’s no better place to try it than Sir Charles. Once home to Beans & Bagels, that Fitzroy institution has been transformed into this modern spacious café, with high ceilings and an Asian-inspired menu. Christina tells us the café was named after the New South Wales Governor, Charles Augustus FitzRoy, from whom the suburb also acquired its name.

Melbourne food safaris

Melbourne food safaris through Fitzroy. Image: Bigstock

The art of a filtered coffee is all about the time it takes to brew. Our barista explains the origins of the Ethiopian beans – from family owned farms around the Dumerso coffee mill; processed naturally to maximize cup sweetness.

You can tell by the look on Christina’s face how excited she is to take us to the next venue – and we find the unassuming Grub Food Van down a nearby side street. The front is a 1965 Airstream caravan bought on eBay from Iowa. Walk a little further and you’ll find a shabby-chic retreat filled with an exotic greenhouse, a collection of snow globes, a ping-pong table and talking books in the bathroom. The group bonding continues over a charcuterie board. I’m left wondering how I am going to fit in another course!

Melbourne food safaris

Melbourne food safaris through Fitzroy: Grub Food Van. Image: Vanessa O’Hanlon

Before long it’s time to make our way on to the final amazing culinary destination on these Melbourne food safaris of Fitzroy. And while Foodi does change its featured venues from time to time, I’ve decided to maintain some mystery and keep this last one secret – just in case it’s on your itinerary. You’ll absolutely love it.

As we head out into the early evening air at the end of the tour, there’s a new groove on Brunswick Street. Gone are the shoppers and cafe grazers, replaced by savvy diners and those ready for another night out in one of Melbourne’s hippest urban jungles.

Vanessa travelled as a guest of Foodi

Additional images: Bigstock


Vanessa O'Hanlon

About the writer

Vanessa O’Hanlon is an Australian television news presenter with the Nine Network and an avid traveller. Her travels began with a flight to Egypt, a visit to the pyramids and a camel ride and instantly she knew there was no turning back. Since then Vanessa’s backpack has seen a thing or two, from discovering relatively untouched Bhutan to bracing the cold winds on the peaks of Mt Kilimanjaro. Her travel tales span nearly 50 countries. Combining a love of writing, photography and exploring the unknown, Vanessa is pleased to share her adventures with The Big Bus tour and travel guide readers.

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