Sean Goedecke is a freelance writer trying to visit every cafe in Australia. If you enjoy his articles, it can't hurt to click the 'like' link at the bottom or subscribe.
Published September 11th 2011
Melbourne is, by all accounts, a rainy city. The beaches are only bearable for a few weeks each year and the people tend to bring umbrellas even when it's sunny outside. In the middle of all these cloudy skies and gloomy weather, is it possible to find a glimpse of a more tropical situation? Here's a few suggestions for those hoping to capture the spirit of palm trees and coconuts.
King's Domain Gardens, just across the Yarra River opposite Federation Square, border on the Royal Botanic Gardens and are the largest garden area near the centre of Melbourne. When it's raining, it's hard to evoke a tropical atmosphere, but at any other time the huge palm trees and expansive greenery make it a great place to shake off Melbourne's gloomy weather.
Tropicana Juice/Food Bar
At 213 Elizabeth Street, Tropicana Juice/Food Bar does its best to capture a sunny atmosphere. The entrance is quite literally covered in fruit: mesh bags of oranges hang around the door frame, while bananas and pineapples decorate the walls and the sign that reads 'Tropicana'. There's no Melbourne black here, everything is brightly coloured and vibrant. Hang out inside on a rainy day and let the cheerful attitude of the staff and beautiful décor shake you out of a foul mood.
Tropicana Juice/Food Bar's great strengths are its breakfast menu and juice menu. Widely touted as the greatest hangover cure in Melbourne, their complex and fresh juices are guaranteed to give you a vitamin fix in the morning. The breakfast is delicious as well, with reliable standards like fried eggs and beans next to sweeter options like waffles. The coffee is subpar for Melbourne, unfortunately, but who'd order coffee when such elaborate juices are available? Try the Mango Colada or their mysterious Mystery Special.
For a more lunch and dinner feel, try Trippy Taco on 48 Smith St. It's a very self-consciously Mexican restaurant, with bright orange walls and a general sun-and-sand feel. Try a Corona beer and kick back with a smile on your face. Trippy Taco's dishes are full of strong, varied tastes – just the thing to banish thoughts of the uniformly grey sky outside.
The music is upbeat, tending to classic and yacht rock. It really helps to create the illusion that you're on a holiday, whether you're taking a half-hour break from work or the whole day off. And who says you can't have a half-hour holiday? Not the staff at Trippy Taco, that's for sure.
The sheer number of cafés and restaurants in Melbourne means that there will always be a few that try to create a tropical situation. It's good to have a few of those on standby for when the cold-weather blues hit. Got your own idea for a fun tropical situation in Melbourne? Share it in the comments – we'd love to hear from you.