Right off the bat, we need to issue a disclaimer: this article will not help you decide which suburbs are the best for buying an investment property, or which ones will continue to perform well commercially over the next five years. It’s based purely on our love of café culture, boozing into the small hours, going on arty adventures and generally having a good time.
So if you want to talk median house prices, you’re in the wrong place - but if you want to find out which suburbs have started bursting at the seams with awesomeness over the past few months, we’ve got you covered.
It’s hard to know where to begin. There’s Harper & Blohm - a stockist of every type of cheese imaginable which hosts regular wine and cheese masterclasses. There’s the Essendon Cyclery which will fit you with a spiffy ride to suit your needs. There’s 400 Gradi, a wood-fired pizza paradise with the same award-winning chef from the original venue in Brunswick East. And last but not least, there’s Johnny Pump, where you can get indecently oversized freakshakes.
Don’t underestimate Ascot Vale – home to the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds, it’s a ‘burb on the grow. There’s the cute-as-a-button organic and vegan-friendly bakery called Crumbs, and the KX Pilates and KX Barre studios, which are significantly less crowded than their city-based counterparts. Arcadia Gastronomique is another winner - a low-lit restaurant with a mainly Spanish menu that includes such delicacies as black pudding and squid-ink paella. And then there’s Provata, an urban larder where you can stock up on Smoke & Fire flavoured peanut butter and Lune croissants. Yum.
Good things have been coming out of Glen Iris for a while now. It’s no secret that we love Golden Child, which fuses Italian and Chinese flavours to create some of the most inventive brunch and lunch dishes in town. Not to mention Platform Espresso, which whisks up truffled scrambled eggs and chilled quinoa porridge - but there’s also art awaiting your appreciation at Ten Cubed, an innovative gallery which tends to exhibit ‘controversial’ works. Then for dinner, fresh Vietnamese street food from the Nem N’ Nem food truck which regularly trundles into Yarraville Gardens.
Since Stray Neighbour opened last August (it’s the fancy new bar and restaurant that merges pub grub and fine dining), it feels like Preston is coming up more and more in conversation. And why shouldn’t it? It has the Raccoon Club, a sophisticated craft bar with an emphasis on local brews, and Disco Beans, a Japanese-style eatery with delicious breakfasts, lunches and dinners. Plus it has the weekly Preston market where you can stock up on salami, donuts, halloumi and flowers. Sold.
Once a sleepy ‘burb populated by uni students and the ultra rich, Hawthorn’s become a bit edgier over the last little while. There’s Beer DeLuxe, a craft beer bar with tasting paddles and quality burgers, and the city’s fourth installment of Fonda Mexican, the geometric-patterned taco empire with fuchsia-bright cocktails. There’s Milkman Espresso for a retro brekkie where your dog is welcome, and there’s Room 680, a ‘sanctuary of dance’ smackbang in the middle of Hawthorn, where you can grind away the night with your eyes closed.
Want more up and coming 'hoods in Melbourne? If you haven't been to Moonee Valley, here are ten of their hidden gems.
Image credit: Fonda Facebook