We’re all familiar with Melbourne’s infamous, graffiti-covered, hole-in-the-wall laneway system over the eastern side of town, but, to be honest, they’re kind of a yawn. We wanted to get our laneway on somewhere fresh, and have been on the hunt for an inner-city shopping destination that delivers the laneway vibe with some top-notch shopping finds to boot.
Enter Melbourne’s QV: a veritable one-stop shop for just about anything your consumerist little heart could desire.
We were already familiar with QV building as a big, beautiful home to some very convenient retailers (and our first stop for a lunch hour shopping dash when we need the essentials). But, if you go for an explore and mosey along the laneways that lead into the center of QV, you’ll be tickled pink at the selection of smaller shops and boutiques that are tucked away to the sides and around the corner, not to mention the epic food offering at the Urban Market.
Here are some of our favourite QV discoveries. Shopaholics, you’re welcome.
#1 Super Chic French Fashion
The squeals of delight were real when I stumbled across one of my favourite international labels, A.P.C. I didn’t realise the French fashion house had a store in Australia—turns out that there’s just one and it’s in Albert Coates Lane, as part of QV. Head here for structured cuts, beautiful materials, leather goods you’d happily die for, and more than a touch of Paris.
#2 The Best Hot Chocolate in Town
I go weak at the knees for a top-notch hot chocolate. I’m not talking a powder, searing water and a splash of milk kinda job. Oh no, uh uh. Basically I’m after a heart attack in a cup. Max Brenner is Melbourne’s king of chocolaty drinks, so I pop into the QV Max Brenner, perched on the corner of QV square and Albert Coates Lane, to enjoy the view and get my self one helleva milk-mustache.
#3. The Most Instagrammable Florist
There’s something magical about a florist that really knows what they’re doing. Flower Temple sits pretty on Artemis Lane and has something for every occasion… or non-occasion, as I discovered. We challenge you to check it out without grabbing some gorgeous bunch or small terrarium for your digs or desk.
#4 The Bathroom Must-Have
Confession time: I have a weakness for renovation shows. If there’s one thing that my endless hours of couch dwelling research taught me, it’s that bathrooms don’t look complete until you’ve got Aesop products in the shower or by the basin. I guess the added bonus to this is that Aesop’s range is the bee’s knee’s and I’m 100% addicted. Another aside to the actual, you know, products, is the store fit out. Each Aesop store is different and each is as beautifully designed as the last, so it’s definitely not a case of ‘seen one, seen ‘em all’. The QV Store on Albert Coates Lane is no exception.
#5 Fresh, South East Asian Flavors
There are numerous excellent food options within QV, but Red Spice QV would have to be up there at the top of the pile. You can expect to find an impressive selection of small bites, mains and share plates—think pork belly, cured salmon and fluffy, soft buns. Red Spice QV can be found in the corner of QV square, on the Artemis Lane side.
#6 Three Of Our Favourite Ingredients
Meat Fish Wine is a gorgeous wine bar and kitchen on Artemis Lane. Dishing up clean-flavoured local produce, we can’t go past the duck liver parfait, the beetroot cured salmon, and the poached pear with garam masala and textures of rhubarb. The cozy wood interior and classy fit out make Meat Fish Wine a great date spot.
#7 Finger Lickin’ Food-On-The-Go
Bing Boy is exactly what the doctor ordered when you’re in a bit of a rush and need something that you can tackle on the go. Bing Boys dishes up Asian streets eats, focusing, as the name may suggest, on bings. For those outta the loop (me, before I dropped by) a bing is a thin wheat omelette wrap with egg, green onions, coriander, sesame seeds and crispy wonton pieces, made hot and fresh with a delicious variety of fillings. You’ll find Bing Boys just around the corner of the escalators that lead to your larger convenience options.
#8 Epic Sweet Treats
Is any meal (or shopping trip, or life adventure) really complete without ice cream? I think we both know the answer to that. It doesn’t get much better than an unfettered selection of Movenpick ice creams. Fronting onto QV Square, it’s in prime position for you to swing past and treat yo’self. Maple pecan is my pick every time.
#9 Local Labels
If every clothing label had the same philosophy as Vanishing Elephant we’d all be happy, … and much better dressed. The small team lives by the tag line ‘Honest clothing for everyone, everyday.’ You’ll find a slightly androgynous collection of clothing in simple colours and excellent fabrics. It’s the sort of place where you splurge on an item, knowing that you’ll have it for a reeeallly long time and will get a tonne of wear out of it. Pop in for the perfect browse—you’ll find Vanishing Elephant midway up Albert Coates Lane.
Editor's note: This article is proudly sponsored by QV Melbourne and endorsed by The Urban List. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who make The Urban List possible. Click here for more information on our editorial policy.