Lygon Street is a street in inner northern Melbourne running through the suburbs of Carlton, Carlton North, Princes Hill and Brunswick East. In this precinct, you can find a mix of Italian restaurants, cafes, bars and traditional shops. No wonder it is called “Little Italy” by the locals, the place where Melbourne’s famous cafe culture was born. I love cafe-hopping, so this precinct was definitely on my itinerary. 😉
From my serviced apartment, it was about a 20-min walk to Melbourne’s Little Italy – turn right into Russell Street from La Trobe Street and just continue walking straight on this street and crossing about 4 traffic lights before reaching the precinct. There will be signboards indicating how far you are from the Lygon Street Precinct as well.
Compared to the city centre, the walk to Lygon Street seemed to be quieter with less tourists / foreigners. Yes I like this feeling, made me feel like I was back in Tasmania! 😛 Shortly after seeing this sign, I could see the street lined with many Italian restaurants and cafes and yes, Brunetti Carlton on 380 Lygon Street!
This is the flagship store of Brunetti in Melbourne, which began trading at its Faraday street location in 1985. The founder, Mr Giorgio Angele began his training in Rome when he was just 10 years old and came to Australia at age 23 as a pastry chef. He was then given an opportunity to migrate to Australia after working for a few years. Brunetti became so popular since it started its first store that it decided to open new branches in Melbourne from April 2005 (Melbourne’s City Square). In September 2011, they ventured overseas and decided to open the first international branch in Tanglin Mall, Singapore. I visited the Tanglin Mall branch before I went for my holiday and was WOW-ed over by its wide selection of pastries. 🙂
The flagship store was HUGE, my above photo collage probably only showed half the size of the store! There was another entrance to the savoury section but I did not take photos. Just trying to decide on what food, drink and/or desserts/ pastries to order was already a time-consuming process because everything, especially the pastries, all looked so good. 😛 Since it was almost lunchtime, I decided to order an all-day breakfast with a cup of mocha first, before I try some desserts. I guess those who know me well enough would know what I had ordered at the counter 😉
Haha ya… I have a soft spot for eggs benedict, so just could not resist ordering the Benedettino (which is poached eggs with ham, A$17.50 = S$20.60)! The Benedettino was quite big with generous portion of ham on toasted bread, deliciously filling. The Mocha (A$3.90=S$4.60) was good too. By the time I finished the food and beverage, I was too full for desserts although they were so tempting! So I gave up the idea and thought to myself I would walk around and buy some later to satisfy my craving (but I did not do that in the end).
I continued to wander along Lygon Street to check out the shops, restaurants and cafes after the sumptuous lunch. Perhaps it was daytime so there wasn’t a lot of buzz, but I did see quite a number of people chilling out in some of the restaurants and cafes. Below are some random street views for your viewing pleasure:
Argyle Square is located off Lygon Street in Carlton. It is supposed to have an “Italian” theme, and features a bronze solar clock surrounded by traditional handcrafted paving made from Porphyry stone from the trento region in Italy. The square is pretty small though looks like a great place to relax by the beautiful purple flowers when you get tired from the walking.
I did have some room for desserts after the wandering-around but decided to explore other cafes. Read from one of the big information boards of Lygon Street that the first gelato cafe opened in the precinct was Casa Del Gelato, so I hunted it down, at 163 Lygon Street. Apparently, it is Australia’s first and longest-standing ice-cream boutique, with all 170 flavours of gelato made daily with fresh fruit and natural ingredients since 1980. But too bad it had a sign at the entrance saying that it was closed on Monday… Arrrghhh… Its website said it is opened daily from noon to midnight, not sure why the sign said “closed on Mondays”, I must have been so “lucky”. 😦
It was a great 2-hour “tour” of Melbourne’s Little Italy and I did not regret walking all the way here to experience its cafe culture. Being close to the University of Melbourne also meant that there were several wallet-friendly restaurants and cafes for the undergraduates. If my stomach had been more “stretchable” I would definitely have tried out more cafes and spend a longer time here! 🙂