The stretch of High Street (that's Southside's High Street fyi, we've already got you covered Northside) from Prahran to Armadale is not just a nice stroll past topiaried bushes, ghostly churches and Victorian terrace apartments we can't afford due to a raging negroni habit. With a seriously stellar coffee and breakfast scene, cream of the crop fashion plus so many new places moving in it's the polished, more accomplished, quietly spoken sister to nearby Chapel Street. High Street's got the fresh air and dog spotting you just can't find in a big box mall and a couple of secret laneways, rooftops and arcades borrowed from its CBD counterpart too.
Here's our pick of the bunch.
High Street is probably as famous for its cafes as its wedding stores. Currently battling it out for the most 'grammable cafe title are Le Petit Prince and Fourth Chapter. The incumbent offers lattes in all the colours of the rainbow and spritely matcha sprinkled tasting boards, while the latter newcomer has 'Golden Gaytime' waffles, sexed-up smoothie bowls and bookable picnics to take away to the idyllic Victoria Gardens next door. Non-carnivores should head to Street Talk Espresso, their 'Vegan Fox' plate leaves smashed avo for dead and the sweet-toothed among us appreciate their challah French toast sprinkled with Tim Tam dust.
When we're feeling fancy High Society, with its black-on-white courtyard and work-of-art plating, attracts our attention - and Melbourne's fashion editors at large - on sunny Sunday mornings. Alternatively the strip's new "brunchery royale" Middletown (named after a certain duchess) looks like a regal parlour dishing up coffee-spiked waffles with truffled icecream (truffles for breakfast? NBD).
For feel good food we're heading to either From On High for fat stacks of pikelets with a side of low waste philosophy or Walk Don't Run (tucked away in High Street's own version of Diagon Alley, the hidden Morey St) for their all-organic veggie and vegan-friendly menu. It's a toss-up between newbies Ezy Pzy and Moby 3143 in the style stakes. Ezy's all clashing, poppy patterns making for the perfect backdrop as we munch on superfood-packed goodies, while Moby's We Are Huntly interiors have already attracted the attentions of Vogue (we're too distracted by their Southern Fried Chicken Sub and duking it out for primo position on their rooftop).
Rounding out our top ten is Club Social Prahran. We follow the lead of the neon fried egg adorning their wall and stuff ourselves with bacon and egg sarnies pimped up with pickles and relish. Shout out also to Forest Green: if they ever have doughnuts in the window grab one whether laden with lemon curd, fat with crème brûlée and a cracking caramel coating or sandwiched with chocolate ganache your mouth will be happy.
Speaking of doughnuts, the famous pastries of the precocious teen behind Bistro Morgan have just arrived on High. Expect lines for peanut butter jelly doughnuts garnished with popcorn or lolly and Froot Loop topped 'nuts injected with yet more sugar. Still on the sweet side, we hit up The Cupcake Queens for classic, freshly baked cupcakes inspired by Oreo cookies or smothered in chocolate and sprinkles. Then there's the necessary trip to Il Migliore to pick up Euro-style treats like figs dipped in chocolate, adulting-appropriate mueslis and classic biccies to make your gran envious, all wrapped in gleaming packing.
For dinner it's off to Small Print Pizza Bar for frosty beers on tap and a slice of sustainable sourdough crust topped with roo meatballs or perhaps Liu-Ji for fried rainbow(!) dumplings. New Mexi eatery Queen of the South has got us covered with excellent Tommy's margaritas and tiny tostadas sprinkled with cactus and queso (keep 'em coming). Keeping up the tropical holiday vibe is nearby Bickle offering up all things Jamaican and jerked, plus rum.
When we're in the mood for something a bit spesh, you'll find us taking up a spot at the bar at Amaru (by an ex-Vue de Monde-r). What better vantage point to spy on the chefs as they do their degustation thing? For an easy dinner, Naked Chicks Nude Food is a modern take on the old chicken shop serving up only free range, organic chooks alongside salads and fermented drinks and sides. Yes, you can still get chips with that. And don't forget high tea at Mossgreen. Sometimes we just need tiny cream cheese stuffed sandwiches in our lives to make it all better. French Champagne helps too.
After working up a thirst with so much eating we certainly need a drink. Lona makes quick work of it with jugs of Sangria and Pimm's underneath a pink neon glow. Otter's Promise has got what we need when what we need is beer. The store is now offering crafty brews and the bar side of things opens in earnest next year.
Armadale Cellars goes beyond the traditional bottle-o with blind Champagne tastings, whisky masterclasses and a luxe wine selection. For yet more wine, there's a Malbec and rosé-fuelled happy hour, live music and Spanish pintxos at Remy Next Door. Or simply hold out for Bouzy, a new so Frenchy, so chic wine bar by Jason Jones set to open in the Kings Arcade soon.
To call new health and wellbeing studio Sum of Us a gym would do the space a disservice. We want to move in, never mind the Prahranites doing pilates, yoga and meditation all around us. Here the instructors wear Jaggad, the interiors are swoon-worthy and the cafe downstairs serves up protein balls and chia parfait to go with our skinny lattes. Similarly, Happy Melon also makes us sweat for good reason. They add extra bounce to pilates with jump boards, they are happy to go slow with yoga and we're so in for their lying down meditation classes.
Post-workout, it's revive time. We're taking our pick of verdant juices and smoothies from Pressed, Green Cup or Beyond Organic Wholefoods. Afterwards we should probably soothe our stretched-out muscles by letting the time float away in one of the isolation pods at Gravity Floatation or sitting back while taking Missy Lui up on one of her non-toxic, organic mani or pedi. We're definitely also stopping by High Street's sleek Mecca outpost and Aesop for things to make our outsides match our insides.
When it comes to kitting out our pads, Ivy Muse is our very first stop. They have fab planters, lush greenery and mysterious ways on obtaining a green thumb to share. Join us in our chlorophyll addiction, won't you? Vintage poster offerings from Letitia Morris and Vintage Posters make our walls better. They're sure to have those Bally, Chanel and Campari paste ups we've been covering forever. For the colour bugs Fenton & Fenton, Safari Living, Classic with a Twist, Market Import and The Industrial Revolution have your rainbow room injections at the ready. Think a zoo-full of inflatables, fiesta-worthy crockery, neon park benches and life-sized animal sculptures. If your interior goals are more subdued, check out Luke for modern era furniture design, the Scandi style of Home Concepts (they can custom make your perfect piece) or House of Orange for earthy meets minimalist Dutch designs.
Of course High Street's got retail therapy in abundance. Wardrobe-wise, Zimmermann has just arrived with white-washed archways housing their biggest selection in the nation to date. They join a stalwart Australian designer contingency including our faves Dion Lee, Thurley, Camilla & Marc, Aje and Gorman and Swedish interlopers Acne. Plus there's rising stars like Mister Zimi for vibrant vacation style, the thoughtfully designed búl and Assembly Label, Ryder putting us in an everyday festival frame of mind and Pilot Athletic for sporty sweats. And, we ask, who among us (of the female persuasion at least) can go past a permanent Scanlan and Theodore sale store? We are weak.
Accessories-wise we're heading to Bared Footwear for comfy loafers or Lou Lou for shoes that look like the love child of Lady Gaga and Rihanna. There's Fiorina for talismanic jewellery and charms and one point seven four for drool-worthy sunnies to inflict pain upon our bank balance. To keep our coffee tables looking photo-shoot ready and to impress our dates with our bookshelf prowess we look to Peter Arnold Antiquarian Booksellers or Douglas Stewart Fine Books (might need a spare 200 grand for something really special here). Our music collections will be very happy indeed after leaving Licorice Pie Records with a tasty batch of obscure, rare and sometimes downright odd vinyl releases.
Image credit: Griffin Simm | Small Print Pizza Bar