I'm a freelance writer and artist living in Melbourne. I enjoy exploring new places and sharing them with you. Join me on my next adventure! Heart my articles, leave a comment, and subscribe! You can catch up with me at www.CodenameSIC.com.
Published February 4th 2016
A Diverse and Fresh Culinary Experience
Mail Exchange Hotel
Did you know there is one place where you can eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and everything in between? That is right, not only have I found the perfect venue for your dining, drinking and celebratory needs, but this venue is heritage listed and has a very interesting history.
The Mail Exchange Hotel is an amazing site to visit. It is housed on the lower ground level of the Mail Exchange building on the corner of Bourke and Spencer Streets. Not only has this building been meticulously restored, it has been majestically renovated to showcase the rich history of this once simplistic two story Georgian home and gardens erected by one, Robert Hoddle.
For those who know their history, the Hoddle Grid was named after the first Surveyor General of Victoria, Robert Hoddle. Mr. Hoddle is credited with the physical layout of Melbourne's inner streets. At the turn of the century, construction on the Mail Exchange Building began and four years later it was completed.
Australia's first Commonwealth Government architect, John Smith Murdoch, is responsible for the design of the Mail Exchange Building, as well as, the design for the Old Parliament House. With the updates, it was hoped to modernize the postal system and bring it into the 20th Century. Since its doors opened to the public, the Mail Exchange Building has been known as the Chief Parcels Office, the Parcels Post Building, the Postal Workshops and the general Post Office.
Mail Exchange Hotel bar staff are waiting to greet you with a smile!
Eventually, the building took on the name of Melbourne Mail Centre and later the Mail Exchange. You can still see the signage on this historic structure today. The Post Master General's Department utilized this space for a time, as did Australia Post before the building was acquired by the Figgins Shoe empire, which used it as their Headquarters.
Historic book shelves
When Figgins Shoe relocated, the building underwent a series of progressive and noteworthy, internal and external upgrades giving us the new Mail Exchange Hotel with a "200 seat bistro, stunning central bar, atrium with internal courtyard, informal lounge areas and free Wi Fi."
When I spoke with, Nici, the manager at the Mail Exchange Hotel, we discussed the versatility of the venue which is ideal for corporate meetings, lunches or dinners, in addition to casual gatherings with friends and colleagues. Nici noted the "beautifully designed bistro with its subdued lighting, handcrafted tables, luxurious leather chairs and heritage features" which is brilliantly displayed for your viewing pleasure whilst you decide on your meal from the pub-style menu.
The Bistro is "cleverly designed using subtle screens, a metallic beaded curtain and a private function room" which can be opened up to "accommodate 200 people or separated to provide intimate spaces for smaller groups and private dining." Nici also mentioned that "the Bistro's private room is available exclusively for any occasion and is the perfect setting for a cocktail styled event or a sit down dining experience." With its convenient location across the street from Southern Cross Station, in addition to, housing several tram stops a short distance away in Melbourne's CBD, you can enjoy yourself and still arrive home safely.
The Mail Exchange Hotel is a well rounded establishment. Not only do they offer a convenient coffee on the go in the mornings, but they can accommodate your big appetite too with their Big Breakfast, served between 7am and 11:30am every day of the week. Curious about the Big Breakfast? I can tell you it has bacon, tomato, sausage, baked beans, mushrooms and is served with eggs that are cooked to your liking on thick toast with tea or coffee, all for just $15.
Craving pizza? The Mail Exchange Hotel has you covered! Pizza is on the menu every Monday. Maybe you like Trivia? Stop by the Mail Exchange Hotel and get your trivia on! You can play the Game-show quiz and guess what? "It's Free to play, no pens, no paper—Just Fun" every Tuesday Night! Missed out on Monday's pizza bonanza? Don't worry! The Mail Exchange Hotel has that covered with their "amazing pizzas for just $10 when you play" on trivia on any Tuesday! By the middle of the week, you may be longing for a cocktail? Swing by the Mail Exchange Hotel and you can have yourself a $10 Cocktail any Wednesday!
The Atrium with the metal tree art
It does not matter if you want a snack, hearty or elegant meal or simply satisfy your sweet tooth. You can find what you are looking for here. Maybe you just want to kick back and relax while sipping on a beer or cocktail while watching the game. The Mail Exchange Hotel is the place to be. The elegant and very stylish décor complements the historical heritage surrounding you at every turn and you just cannot go wrong with the food on their menu. There is something there to please everyone.
These burgers are yummy!
The Mail Exchange Hotel uses fresh, seasonal and locally sourced produce whenever possible so whatever you order, you know the food will always taste scrumptious. Katie, a repeat customer, said she "really enjoy[s] the salads at Mail Exchange Hotel because they always taste so fresh." While I had to agree with Ron, a long time customer, that "the Nachos cannot be beat, especially with an ice cold [adult beverage]."
These nachos will fill you up!
I would like take a moment to highlight the amazing support the Mail Exchange Hotel gives to the Victorian College for the Deaf. They generously sponsor several industrious students from the college every year so that they can fulfill their dreams of becoming future chefs. The Mail Exchange Hotel's sponsorship goes behind simple funding though, as they also hire and train those inspiring chefs, giving them the opportunity to gain the much needed experience and confidence they will need to pursue their dreams. I applaud their amazing efforts and hope you do to the next time you stop by for a meal.
An array of desserts
The Mail Exchange Hotel is definitely a worthwhile experience. Bask in the history of Melbourne while you enjoy a relaxing meal or cocktail. Though I would love to be truly selfish and keep The Mail Exchange Hotel all to myself, I would feel remiss if I did not share the wonders of their amazing pub-style dishes with you. This is one place that is too good to stay tucked away for long. Visit them today for a truly great meal, snack or beverage before they become the hottest place in town and with food this good they will be soon enough!