Melbourne's a city of vast diversity, great culture and ample entertainment on offer. Yet, some laneways are so good you need not venture through more than one street to have a whole night out. Tattersalls Lane is one such example of this.
A view down Tattersalls Lane on a typical summer evening
While to some this may be seen as a junior player in comparison to Shanghai Dumpling & Noodle Restaurant (a.k.a 'Shanghai Dumplings'), just a few doors up (more on them later), no less it is a great place to eat. In the first, one will notice the restaurants sign only half-lit, and alongside this, the menu boards on the front windows cracked and fading. But, while these may be viewed as detractions from Shanghai Noodles - and true a coat of paint might not hurt - so too can a sympathetic interpretation be applied: this is a place that dosen't seek to focus on the aesthetics as much as the food,
The food itself is good. And, with an advertised 300 items on the menu, you'll not feel shortchanged when it comes to options for appertisers. With that many items on offer, recommendations are a tall order, but the Sichuan wonton soup or Szechuan Spicy Pork on Rice to start are both winners. Once you've tried them – and perhaps pondered which of the 298 or so dishes remaining you need try next time – its time for your next destination.
After you've had a entree walk across the street to Gaylord Indian. Obviously, there may be something noticeable about the name - and that has been pointed out by many Melburnians for years - but so too is the cuisine rather memorable. While tucking into a curry and some naan there's a good opportunity to try out some Haywards beer. While it should be cautioned this is a strong beer at 7% so too is it renowned for its sweetness, and held in high regard amongst the Australian-Indian community. Once you have finished your beer and curry wander over to Section 8.
The outdoor Section 8 bar as seen from the entrance
Section 8 (a.k.a The Container Bar) was a Melbourne Pop Up Bar before trend brought them in vogue. While digesting your dinner, grab a seat inside and enjoy the surrounds. While you shall be seated outdoors (under cover) and amongst a bustling CBD laneway, you'll also pick up the intimate nature of the bar in the atmosphere. It is a place to go, have a quiet drink, and give pause to the evening for a moment or two, before moving on to brighter and louder surrounds.
With this, say goodbye to the folks at Section 8, and as you take a left as you walkout – look up! – the bar with the balcony overhanging the lane is your next stop.
Ferdyduke's entrance is 'very Melbourne'. A open hanging door with promo posters and a white small stairway to walk up. That special brand of confident and cool culture Melbourne does so well permeates the atmosphere as you enter.
Once your inside, grab a cocktail – of which Ferdyduke has an array on offer – and make a choice between seating inside amidst the brick and wood décor – or head on out to the balcony. From here you can look out over the laneway, and crucially Section 8. This is handy if a friend or two has been slow in clearing their tab beforehand and is need of a 'hurry up' from on high The great thing about Ferdyduke is like Section 8, there is no rush your evening. Alongside this, there is the view of the lane from above. So, as the sun has begin to set – or if visiting in the winter months as the sky is well and truly dark – take in the view from the balcony, sip your drink, and when the moment is right turn to whomever your with and say: 'its time for pumpkin spiced dumplings'.
Down the stairs you go, out the door to your right and over to Shanghai Dumplings. This restaurant is a Melbourne institution, and a line to get into this rapid-fire restaurant is not uncommon on Friday or Saturday night. This said, the line moves quickly and by this stage of the evening you've hopefully eaten well, drank a drink or two, and perhaps even made some new friends through the night. Indeed, though it was just earlier in the evening, looking down the road to Shanghai Noodles may well feel like 'forever ago' given you've visited three other great places since.
Alongside the pumpkin spiced dumplings, the menu offers BBQ pork buns, and other sweet and sugar cusine that can serve as a desert. Alongside these, tea, Tsingtao been and a good selection of other drinks are on offer should you desire a final one. With this visit and venue you can cap off an evening in which you went to five great Melbourne venues, and yet needed no Car, Train or Tram.