I'm a wine professional, living in Bangkok and travelling frequently throughout South East Asia. I'm a huge fan of Laos and Cambodia and off the beaten track travel. Feel free to contact me at: www.facebook.com/mil.elephants
I was a little taken aback to see that King and Godfree on Lygon Street was closed, but a little reassured that it was just for renovations. This started me thinking about places I would really miss if they weren't around anymore. So here are my top must have Melbourne food venues.
1. Pellegrini: How can you not love this simple and welcoming cafe cum restaurant with a very much abbreviated menu and what can only be described as ageing decor. I doubt very much that's it's changed in 30 years. The highlight for me is sitting in the kitchen eating strudel and sipping on coffee late at night on my way home from somewhere. There are usually only 5 or 6 items on the menu, but you can guarantee that the dishes will be hearty and filling. On a hot day their watermelon granita really hits the spot. Unsurprisingly they don't have a website. Pelligrini, 66 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000. (03) 9662 1885. 8am-11pm.
2. The Melbourne Waiters Club: Another Gem with history in spades. From shootouts to drug deals, it used to be the place that waiters would congregate after work to gossip about the restaurant trade and graze on the ever changing menu. I have one go to dish here, if it's on the menu the Osso Bucco is perfection. The decor is cafeteria simple, but the food is simple great value. The menu is a bit more extensive than Pellegrini but of similarly wholesome and hearty food. So old school, again the Waiters Club has no website but you can find it at 20 Meyers Place, Melbourne VIC 3000. (03) 9650 1508. 12–3pm, 6–11pm.
3. The European: This is a place where you can throw all your cares away and order an ultra expensive bottle of wine, but you don't have to. Open from morning till late at night, the European is a little taste of luxury. The wine list is as the name suggests, all European and a little pricey, but you are getting great quality. The menu is rustic and creative and features rabbit, ox and duck dishes. It's a great place for late a late night dinner. www.theeuropean.com.au/index.html 161 Spring Street, Melbourne, 3000. (03) 9654 0811.Kitchen open:7.00am/7.30am-12.00am.
4. The Town Hall Pub: By day a rather dingy looking pub with awesome food, by night a rock venue worthy of some of Melbourne's best acts. Errol Street in North Melbourne is perhaps not on many peoples radar for Melbourne's hidden gems, but the Townie as it's known is just about my favourite pub. Live bands play, normally on a tiny stage in the back on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and some Sunday afternoons. Great simple (but great quality) pub food, great rock music. www.townhallhotelnorthmelbourne.com.au/index.html 33 Errol St, North Melbourne VIC 3051. (03) 9328 1983. 4pm–1am.
5. Bratwurst shop: The Vic Markets Bratwurst Shop is my final Melbourne Classic. A visit to the market can't be complete without a heavily laden Brat. My choice is the spicy version with cheese, curry ketchup, onions and sauerkraut. It a fist full for sure and you're highly likely to end up wearing a lot of it, but that's half the fun. If you have a sweet tooth the Jam Donut van around the back with surely satisfy. Queen Victoria Market Food Court, (03) 9328 2076
The Bratwurst shop at Vic Markets is the only one I've been to (sooooo good - have you been to the one at Prahran Market? Perfect for a hangover!) but I definitely need to hit up the others you've listed!