Royal Croquet Club is a pop up food, entertainment, sporting and lifestyle festival open for just 2 weeks until Sunday 1 February. I reckon it’s the hottest place to hang out this summer.
Picking up where the Night Noodle Market left off, the area by the Yarra River at Birrarung Marr features some of Melbourne’s favourite restaurants – along with a full size croquet pitch. I was invited along for a tasting.
Food-wise you’ll find the Broadsheet Summer BBQ featuring D.O.C, Mr Claws, Meatmother, Miss Chu, St Ali and Gelato Messina. So much choice, so little stomach room….so if you don’t mind eating dessert first then my tip is to head straight to one of the Desserts in a Can by Gelato Messina ($9)! You’ll skip the queues and have enough room to enjoy the highlight of my meal.
What is the Gelato Messina International Soup Kitchen? Basically the famous gelateria has devised some ingenious dessert concoctions all served up in a fake Campbells soup can – very Andy Warhol. I tried the Zuppa Duppa, with hazelnut gelato, wild strawberry preserve, pistachio crunch and amaretti biscotti – creamy, crunchy and oh so decadent and the kind of ice cream innovation that Gelato Messina is known for. Other flavours include ‘Black Forest Bisque’, ‘Faux Pho’ and ‘American Chow Down’.
Back to the savouries each restaurant has a small selection of menu items, all hovering around the $10-$15 mark. You’ll probably eat two or three items so expect to pay around $40 for food.
If you like your meat then grab Meatmother’s ‘Burnt Ends’ – slippery cubes of slow cooked pork belly with jalapeno slaw and Mother BBQ sauce ($12).
Lobster lovers must try Mr Claws lobster rolls filled with chunky lobster flesh in a soft buttery bun ($12). You can choose your lobster dressing from classic mayo base, chunky miso wasabi to spicy sriracha.
The croquet action is pretty laid back. Basically just pick up a free mallet and off you go!
Royal Croquet Club is a really fun, relaxed place for eating, drinking and badly played ball sports – a great place for post-work get-together, a date or to hang out with friends. I’m hoping to visit the Royal Croquet Club at least three more times before it closes so that I can try each of the Gelato Messina’s International Soup Kitchen flavours!
From tonight Friday 23 January Royal Croquet Club will be celebrating the Australia Day long weekend with a Truck-A-Palooza festival with nine food trucks in attendance from 5pm and a special headline guest performing at sunset each night. Don’t miss it!
Melbourne, welcome to your heat wave.
Cool down with my Top 10 best ice cream and gelato in Melbourne, a difficult (but delicious) list to compile. In no particular order:
I used to live around the corner from Gelato Messina and god do I miss it. When it’s busy it’s like a nightclub, but the ice cream there is worth the wait. Their ice cream cakes are unbelievable – we’ve had them several times for special occasions and they always elicit oohs and ahs.
Watch your ice cream being made as the custard is frozen using clouds of liquid nitrogen, resulting in a very smooth and light consistency. They serve up a rotation of bizarre flavours weekly.
A favourite with Albert Park locals and an ice cream store worth travelling for – just look at all the prizes on the wall.
Classic Italian gelateria with clean, fresh flavours and a lovely view of Parliament House.
Argentinian ice cream store with a selection of unique South American and Asian flavours (the owner is Asian).
The soft serve machine at Candied Bakery smashes out some unique flavours every week, often coinciding with whatever festive occasion is happening at the time.
The best Asian flavours of gelato I’ve had in Melbourne. Their pandan is to die for and if you like durian ice cream, this is the place to get it.
My new favourite gelateria, mainly for their creamy and clean-tasting hazelnut hidden inside the stainless steel Italian-built pozzetti fridge. According to this article you can always judge the quality of a gelateria by their hazelnut gelato, which is gram for gram the most expensive gelato to produce.
A trip to Prahran Market always ends with a taster of Fritz Gelato’s organic ice cream.
Forget the choc tops at the Westgarth Cinema and save your appetite for a post-movie cone at Il Melograno instead.
Where are your favourite place for ice cream and gelato in Melbourne?
Happy Australia Day ! Here’s a list of what’s happening around town to celebrate our national day. They are mostly free. (Try this lamington jaffle from Bad Frankie bar while you’re at it!)
NORTH / NORTH-EAST
SOUTH / SOUTH-EAST / BAYSIDE
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