Flavourhood Tours – Sydney Road Food Tour Melbourne

Flavourhood tours is a comprehensive, fun and incredibly fulfilling (pun intended) day out exploring a prime example of Melbourne’s bustling inner city suburbia with plenty to offer in sensory delights offering you tasty and knowledgeable experiences whether you are from out of town or opening your eyes to being a tourist in your own city.

Whether you’re from Austria, Adelaide or Abbotsford, for a wonderful insight into the best of Melbourne’s melting pot of sights, sounds and tastes, for something extremely authentic and unique, look beyond the CBD to Melbourne’s longest continuous shopping strip, Sydney Road. I used to think the peak of Sydney Road’s excitement was merely the offering of hip live music venues and alternative bars that would appear randomly between the plethora of discount $2 shops, kebab stops, glitzy wedding dress stores, fruit markets and Franco Cozzo, but Flavourhood Tours provided me with an unforgettable experience that opened my eyes to discover that there is So. Much. More.

The grand antipasto spread specially prepared and served for our tour group at Meditteranean Wholesalers

The grand antipasto spread specially prepared and served for our tour group at Meditteranean Wholesalers

Come prepared with comfy shoes and an empty stomach and the delightful Raffaela takes care of the rest. I met Raffaela and the rest of my tour group at Coburg library greeted by a goodie bag including information and coupons which were of great value to look back on and remember all the places I had visited after the tour ended. The tour commenced with a short walk to Zaatar Bakery where we were greeted with a grand feast featuring a classic Lebanese breakfast spread. Whilst joyfully munching away, one of the owners, Jeff provided us with some background information on the history of Zaatar, where the food was sourced (their imported Lebanese olives are a must try!) as well as how food is made and prepared on site. This generous and insightful start to the day serves as a great example of what to expect throughout the four hour long tour as you are guided through the local area with six main stops in addition to many interesting points of interest along the way.

Classic Lebanese breakfast spread at Zaatar Bakery

Classic Lebanese breakfast spread at Zaatar Bakery

As part of the tour I went on, some of our stops included Vasili’s Garden and café where local celebrity gardener and star of the channel 31 and channel 7 tv show ‘Vasili’s Garden’, Vasili himself served us Turkish coffee and Greek sweets whilst walking us through his garden and plant store and took the time to answer everyone’s gardening questions with personalized advice.

Vasili providing his ever valuable gardennng advice at Vasili’s Garden and café

Vasili providing his ever valuable gardening advice at Vasili’s Garden and café

I liked that there was absolutely never pressure or even expectation to purchase goods along the tour at any of the stops. The tour was all inclusive and all aspects of the tour were well thought out and taken care of, from a breakfast feast to an abundance of delicious bites and snacks along the way to myki fares and take home goodies, all provided for. We ate the best falafel I have ever eaten, (now I understand why it is known as best falafel in Melbourne) tried an exotic Columbian herbal tea as well as a selection of Italian and Columbian sweets, sampled wines and a grand assortment of Mediterranean cold cut meats in addition to finishing off the day with a ‘Brunswick blessing’ and a Brunswick brew relaxing in the sun, content as can be in our food coma states.

Owner of Half Moon Cafe Nabil Hassan talking us through his famous falafel

Owner of Half Moon Cafe Nabil Hassan talking us through his famous falafel

Dulce de leche scrolls and Yerba Mate at Neruda's Brunswick

Dulce de leche scrolls and Yerba Mate at Neruda’s Brunswick

Not to mention for those who may not be as extensively excited by culinary delights as me, the tour goes beyond food and covers many fascinating and treasured points of interests along the way. Not only did we receive some valuable information on where to buy the cheapest and comfiest custom pair of jeans in Melbourne to where you can purchase hand-made customised shoes to the story behind the original Australian Ugg boots brand, the history of Sydney Road as well as some Sydney Road movie location trivia.

Shelves brimming with Italian sweets at Trivelli Cakes

Shelves brimming with Italian sweets at Trivelli Cakes

Flavourhood tours provides an in-depth and well thought out tour that covers an extensive collection of local treasures that leaves you feeling extremely full and extremely inspired. You leave the end of the tour feeling like a true local, equipped with a memorable collection of places to return to and familiar faces at each store to stop by and speak to again.

Flavourhood tours hosts 4 hour small group tours on Saturdays throughout the year.

Price: $99 inclusive of breakfast and generous tastings and bites at 6 locations throughout the tour, take home samples and myki fares for travelling on the duration of the tour.

Book online at www.flavourhoodtours.com.au

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Melbourne Dining Review – Rumi, Brunswick East

If I told you I went to a Middle Eastern restaurant on Lygon Street Brunswick, my guess is that your first question would be ‘which one?’ There are quite a few of Middle Eastern restaurants along Lygon Street Brunswick, but in my opinion, what makes Rumi a stand out was the sophisticated, clean and modern set up, attentive service and wonderfully rich yet homely meals, (also there were no belly dancers or sequinned draped fabrics in sight).

From the eye-catching signage highlighting the restaurant’s name “Rumi’ to the sleek, modern interior of this restaurant, Rumi was impressive, and I am happy to say this feeling remained for the rest of my visit on a Wednesday night. I could not fault the attentive service from our waiter Rose, she was very knowledgeable about the dishes, asked if we had any dietary requirements or intolerences and made very helpful recommendations on how the chefs would alter the dishes to work around this. She was friendly and accommodating, she provided good recommendations on which dishes and wines to order and frequently came over to ensure we were looked after and our water cups were kept full! She was fantastic.

We ordered Sigara, cigar shaped pastries filled with three cheeses (haloumi, feta and kasseri), these were very creamy, rich and salty encased in a crisp and light pastry.

Sigara-at-Rumi

Sigara at Rumi

The meatballs were a little more fatty than ideal but were covered in a delicious, rich tomato based sauce. The chicken kebab was a little dry and bland, however once again helped by the spices and nuts added.

Chicken Kebabs and Meatballs at Rumi

Chicken Kebabs and Meatballs at Rumi

The fried cauliflower was  sweet and tastefully seasoned with spices and nuts. The spiced lamb shoulder was the standout, don’t let the dark, charred appearance fool you, one stroke of a fork reveals incredibly soft and tender, fall-of-the-bone deliciousness!

Fried Cauliflower and Spiced Lamb Shoulder at Rumi

Fried Cauliflower and Spiced Lamb Shoulder at Rumi

The pricing was reasonable but I found the larger meals (like the lamb shoulder) of much greater value and good pricing in comparison to the prices charged for the smaller dishes (like the sigara) which were a little pricey for the small servings. We ended the night with a serving of Turkish Delight which was very nice also, the rosewater flavour was not too overpowering and they were not overly sweet to the point of being sickening.

Turkish-Delight-at-Rumi

A wonderful dining experience overall, where an outstanding variety of dishes on offer, impeccable service and a lovely atmosphere make Rumi the Middle Eastern restaurant in Lygon Street, Brunswick with the most flair.

Rumi on Urbanspoon

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