Everyone knows the West is the underdog of the Melbourne league (thanks to last year’s AFL season, this metaphor isn’t as good as it could be), and slap-bang in the heart of it is lil’ ol’ Flem, one of Melbourne’s best-hidden secrets.
You may recognise it as the host of one of the nation’s biggest sporting events—the Melbourne Cup—or perhaps the home of the nation’s best Laksa (Laksa King). Regardless, we’ve unearthed some absolute pearler things to eat/drink/shop/do/bet on in Flemington.
If it’s brunch you want, then it’s Mama Bear you need. This Racecourse Road brunch oasis is home to some of the best brunch classics on the Melbourne food scene. Treat your tastebuds to their smashed avo and marinated feta on seed & sprout toast with wild roquette, tomato salsa and quinoa, or the sweet corn fritters with avocado cream, heirloom tomatoes, carrot and zucchini ribbons, fresh rocket and poached eggs, with a TWO DOLLAR side of salmon or bacon. You’ll also be excited to know that nothing on the menu costs more than a twenny.
Sticking with the theme of ridiculously good value for money, Flemington’s Saint Lucent’s cafe has a menu with literally nothing over $18, this includes their baked eggs with kale, mushrooms, eggs, tomato sugo and goats cheese on toast and the salmon and potato rosti with avocado, beetroot relish and poached eggs. Plus if you’ve already had brunch at Mama Bear, you can get something a little more lunchy, like their Jamaican chicken burger with rum pineapple and chipotle sour cream or the pulled pork sandwich with green apple tzatziki, balsamic dressed baby leaves and a fried egg. The venue itself is very ~Melbourne~ and even includes a lush little courtyard if the weather rise above twelve degrees anytime in the next six months.
This little burger bar is the phreshest kid on the block, and though their wall-mounted slogan of ‘burgers so good you’d put your house on’ may suggest they have tickets on themselves, the taste of their racehorse themed burgs suggests they simply just know the truth when they see it. Sink your teeth into the ‘Makybe Diva’ with southern fried chicken fillet, American cheddar, cabbage slaw, chipotle aioli and smokey barbecue sauce, or nine or ten mac & cheese katsu (deep fried mac & cheese, guys, deep fried mac & cheese).
When we said this was the best laksa in Australia, we weren’t laying a massive porker on you—it is literally the best spicy noodle soup in the whole country. For $10.80, you can be treated to the best value-for-money meal of your life (in chicken, vegetarian, seafood and king prawn varieties) and for an extra $4.50, you can grab a bag (as in bag of potatoes size) of prawn crackers for the ride home.
Wolf + Hound
Some people like their Bloody Mary with celery, and some people like their Bloody Mary with doggos, nay, surrounded by hoards of other people’s puppers. So for all of your day dranking doggo needs, head to Wolf + Hound’s little hideaway near Newmarket Station where you can relax with a quiet scotch on the rocks and a small Schnauzer on your heels. They also have a large range of quality coffees and scrummy eats if your body can’t handle getting sloshed before noon like it used to.
The Quiet Man
If you like a bit of tradish in your dish and some hops in your pot, then Flemington’s resident traditional Irish pub, The Quiet Man, should be your first stop this Saturday night. Not only can you get your Guinness and Magners cider fix at the bar, you can also catch all the latest Gaelic sports on the screen, and even some live Irish trad music on the d-floor. Should you check this Irish watering hole out this weekend? To be sure, to be sure.
On Thursday and Friday nights this little gem is jam-packed with happy patrons wetting their whistles on quality wines, affordable (!!) cocktails, local brews and the odd straight spirit. Luckily they also have an evening menu popping with tapas, pizza, pasta and delish desserts so you can line your stomach accordingly.
Flemington Farmers Market
Every Sunday, between 9am and 1pm, Mount Alexander College hosts Flemington’s weekly Farmers’ Market and the local produce on offer doesn’t disappoint. Head on over this Sunday and you’ll discover fresh veggies, eggs, homemade pasta, meat, honey, fruit and nuts, pastries, and dairy goods, just to name a few (ok, nine). There’s also ready-to-eat goodies which means you can eat on the spot and you don’t have to lug anything home! Bonza!
Flemington Racecourse Craft Market
This lil’ market is every scrapbooker’s, jewellery collector’s, clothes wearer’s, food eater’s and kitchen decorator’s paradise. Packed with everything arty and crafty, sparkly and kitcheny, yummy and scrummy (ok, yes, that’s enough), there’s just heaps to do/see/buy/eat one Sunday a month at the Flemington Racecourse. Unfortunately, the craft market season doesn’t kick off until August 27 this year, so you’ll have to slum it with hot pies and fresh Ciabatta loaves at the Farmers’ Market until then.
Escape Room Melbourne
It’s all good and well to travel into Flemington, but getting out of it’s a whole other bag of cats as the entire suburb of Flemington is, in fact, the biggest existing escape room in the entire univ—not really, but Escape Room Melbourne does have a base there and it promises to be every bit as claustrophobic as the name suggests. This live puzzle game gives you 70 minutes to unravel the mystery within the room by working together with your co-abductees to collect clues, solve riddles and escape its confines or else you have to hand over the keys to your car and your first born child. Rough, but them’s the breaks.
Though the craft market may not be kicking off until August, there’s still plenty to do at the Flemington Racecourse to keep you busy over the scrapbooking off-season. This includes the Colour Run Night Melbourne, the Phar Lap Club Children’s Party, Sofitel’s Girls’ Day Out, and a host of assorted race days throughout the year where you can throw your house deposit at a chestnut thoroughbred and walk away with the equivalent wealth of a millennial living in Melbourne.
After a guide for a different neighbourhood? Check them all out here.
Image credit: Straight Six