A well-qualified, full time freelance writer in food & lifestyle, I believe in living life to the full. I combine a long food history (including owning an award-winning restaurant) with a passion for inspiring, powerful writing. Feel free to contact.
Published December 31st 2009
If you've not been to Sydney Road in Brunswick lately, you simply must. It's a unique part of Melbourne that captures multiculturalism at its very best. Home to a huge range of nationalities and their fabulous cultures and cuisines, Sydney Road is a sensory adventure into the exotic.
The strip is a bustling mecca filled with exciting culinary temptations from around the globe – and it's very affordable. With both traditional and upmarket shopping options, it's a sort of east-meets-west affair, but with a definite lean towards the east.
Think heady Middle Eastern spices, nuts, legumes and seeds, and bakeries offering fresh-baked rounds of soft Lebanese flat-bread or spicy 'pizzas' covered with zataar, which is a blend of sesame seeds, herbs, spices and lemon zest.
Many of the bars, cafes and restaurants encourage a communal eating experience through pick-and-nibble, share-style dishes, followed by hearty mains of tender, succulent lamb kofte and doner kebab. Yum!
For a good healthy dose of the Mediterranean, a lengthy stop at Mediterranean Wholesalers is essential. Grab a trolley – you'll need it. (You might also need your credit card.) Before you know it, your trolley will be laden with Italian biscuits and sweets (it also has its own in-store café), prosciuttos and salamis, excellent cheeses, and packets of pasta (good egg-based ones in an endless array of shapes and sizes). You might pick up some Limoncello or Lambrusco, and maybe a crate or two of mineral water or, one of my absolute favourites, Chinotto.
Read a review on Mediterranean Wholesales by one of Melbourne's most renowned food reviewers, John Lethlean,
Aside from the food (is there anything else?), there's plenty of excellent shopping to be had, from the very basics, like clothes, manchester and white goods, all the way up to bouncy, flouncy bridal wear.
Sydney Road is easy to get to, whether by car or public transport. Be aware that the road – between parked cars, trams, and pedestrians with no fear for their life – can be a bit hectic, and pretty much reflects the bustling, down-to-earth nature of this fantastic strip.