HOT: Good Cycles Mobile Bike Mechanics, corner of Village Street and Fishplate Lane, Docklands

Good Cycles Melbourne Bike Mechanics

We recently moved house and along with it all our bicycles – a kids balance bike, single speed, ladies step-through, fold up and cargo bike (if that sounds like a lot I got rid of another three before we moved!). So I thought now was an opportune time to get our fleet of bikes serviced.

Instead of hauling the lot of them to our local bike shop, and being without our mode of transport for days, I called Good Cycles.

Good Cycles are mobile bike mechanics whose workshop is based out of Docklands. They ride around the CBD and inner city with their 30+ kg Yuba impressively laden with tools, parts and accessories, servicing bikes in people’s offices, universities and at your home.

Good Cycles Melbourne Bike Mechanics

Good Cycles Melbourne Bike Mechanics

That means you don’t need to be without your bike on your commute and your errands and don’t have to spend your lunch hour or weekends getting your bike fixed. How often do you put off getting your bike serviced because it’s too much hassle? (Guilty as charged).

Good Cycles Melbourne Bike Mechanics

Good Cycles rode their cargo bike over to my house and set up in their mobile workshop in my backyard. For almost three hours Mike the mechanic checked, greased, aligned and pumped our bikes, giving them the kind of attention that they hadn’t received in a long time. A standard service costs $77 or you can upgrade to higher levels of service for $120 and $170. Their prices are commensurate with the prices for most local bike shops and they offer discounts for group bookings too.

Good Cycles Melbourne Bike Mechanics

Not only is getting your bike serviced by Good Cycles more convenient than taking your bike to a bike shop, the business is also a social enterprise. They teach people in need, such as long term unemployed and homeless, to be bike mechanics (an in-demand job). They work with Melbourne City Mission, job agencies, and the Youth Support and Advocacy to recruit trainees into the program then during the 18 month program, participants are employed as trainees, completing on-and-off the job training in Certificate III in Bicycles and teamed with qualified bike mechanics. The traineeship includes accredited training, employment, personal support and assistance with transition into the open labour market with an option to complete an apprenticeship if they opportunity arises.

Good Cycles also run workshops and classes in bike maintenance and help local governments and community organisations deliver bicycle-based programs. All the profits from the business go back to supporting, training and engaging the people they help.

So with Good Cycles you can get your bike serviced, save time and support a good cause. Win-win for everyone!





HOT: Finders Keepers, Shed 4, Victoria Harbour, North Wharf Road, Docklands

I thought it was amusing that the Finders Keepers markets were actually quite hard to find in the nether regions of Docklands. Once you did draw up to Shed 4 after a bit of searching, there were lots of treasures to be found at the  handmade, crafty, designer market.

Out of the 120+ stallholders in the huge warehouse space, here were my highlights from the pick of clothing, stationery, jewellery, home furnishings and toys:

Beautiful letterpress stationery from Bespoke Letterpress.

Innovative leather and silk accessories from okt-ober dee.

This tea towel from Able and Game made in giggle! In fact, lots of their cute cards made me giggle, including a series twinning cute illustrations with puns on Melbourne train stations – You can ring my BELL, You are my SUNSHINE, I’ve got my heart SEDDON you. Guffaw.

Chalkboard placemats from Sand, F, beautifully presented in a muslin bag with a sweet sachet of (dustless) chalk included. I bought a set of six to liven up my dining table, but I also thought they’d be great for keeping score during boardgames, as signage and of course for kids to play with.  They also had packets of chalkboard stickers, perfect for labelling jars and tins.

Cutesy-tootsie handmade leather shoes from All About Heidi.

Last but not least, blog favorites and previous HOT Chat interviewees Make Me Iconic and The Rabbit and the Duck.

The next Melbourne markets will be held in the same location in October – see you there!

HOT: Yum Cha Dragon, Shop 14, 427 Docklands Drive, Waterfront City, Docklands

Sigh. The eternal conundrum of Docklands.

Every time I visit the area I think to myself that on paper, it should work. There are restaurants, shops, markets, free events, lots of space for people to rest, stroll and ride their bikes, public transport access, heaps of parking, pleasant water and city views and close proximity to the CBD.

Yet it just hasn’t captured the interest or imagination of Melburnians. Maybe it’s because we like feeling part of the underground, finding little hidey-holes and enjoying things that are not necessarily easily accessible. And Docklands is just so clean and shiny, coolly organised and straight-angled…

Now what about our visit to Yum Cha Dragon? On the plus side, it features exactly all the pleasantries that make Docklands nice. The restaurant is light and airy and the huge open windows let in the breeze from the water. It is easily accessible by car or public transport. The food is also pretty good (I’ll get onto that later) although definitely not in the calibre of my favourite yum cha restaurant, Shark Fin House.

On the down side, it’s in Docklands. Which means that despite winning the national award for Australia’s favourite yum cha in the I Love Food awards 2010, it was completely empty between 11-12 on a Sunday, traditionally the prime time for yum cha diners. RM and I felt uncomfortable being the only people there and conducted most of our conversation sotto voce. There were no trolleys due to the lack of diners so we ordered our dimsum from the (English only) a la carte menu. At least we know it was made fresh to order.

The har gow ($6.50) were plump prawns prettily pleated into a sticky and translucent, albeit a little too thick, wrapper. The choi gao (prawn and vegetable dumpling) ($7.50) contained no trace of the advertised vegetables and in fact I would just call them har gow in another shape. The siu mai ($6.50) was a well-packed cylinder of pork mince, not too dense and lifted with a dab of chilli sauce. Out of the steamed dumplings I think the har gow(s) were the most successful.

I very much enjoyed the light fluffiness of the BBQ pork buns ($7.50) and it was commendable to see that they didn’t resort to fluorescent red food colouring for the filling, though I would have preferred more meat and less runny gravy inside the bun. They did a passable rendition of glutinous rice wrapped in lotus leaves ($7.50) though I’m pretty sure they used pork mince instead of the promised chicken.

The only real misstep was the oven-baked chicken pies ($5.50). I love the sweet shortcrust pastry that is used in these sorts of pies and the chef’s deft touch was evident in the crumbly, melt-in-the-mouth butter pastry. However, the whole pie itself I’d describe as a sort of like chicken whoopee pie. The filling was a bland paste of what I think was a whole heap of cornflour and water with some desultory speckles of meat. RM, normally a big fan of chicken pies, left half of it on his plate.

Within the conundrum of Docklands is the smaller conundrum of Yum Cha Dragon. I debated whether to rate it HOT or NOT and in the end have fallen on the positive side of the fence. Basically, I recommend trying it out if you are already in the area, but I hesitate to urge you to make a special trip to the Docklands just to have yum cha there.

Yum Cha Dragon on Urbanspoon

HOT Spots Winter 2010

P1050628v1Once again the City of Melbourne have produced a free pocket-sized booklet full of lots of ideas to inspire you to get out of the house and enjoy winter in Melbourne. This is a post to bookmark!

I sat down with a cup of tea and flicked through the booklet, which you can pick up at many inner city shops, cafes and bars, as well as the Melbourne Visitors Centre, NGV and ACMI. It covers new places and old classics split up into five geographical sections, some of which have been reviewed on the blog before and some of which I’ve earmarked for a visit. Here are my highlights:


The Wheeler Centre. The new heart for Melbourne’s literary culture, the Wheeler Centre holds frequent author’s talks, some of them free. I’m going to hear Ayaan Hirsi Ali speak on Thursday 29 July.

Melbourne International Film Festival. I look forward to MIFF every year – for three weeks I get to hibernate in the city’s cinemas and feast on great films. Last year I managed to get to fifteen of them!

Previously blogged Izakaya Den, Tessuti Fabrics and Movida Aqui get a mention and I’m aiming to hit pizza specialists Barbagallo, new bar 24 Moons and hot new Mexican eatery Mamasita (again, with better lighting).


The North Melbourne Market has become a regular event held every two months. So many new options for me here – cheese galore at La Latteria, take home cassoulet at La Parisienne Pates, authentic Indian food at the Classic Curry Co, browsing vintage furniture and bric-a-brac at The Junk Company and having a pub lunch at Hotel Lincoln.


I’m not going to see Mary Poppins the Musical because I saw it recently in London, and it was one of the most magical, fun and joyous theatrical events I’ve ever been to. When Mary Poppins flew into the air the whole crowd spontaneously broke out into cheers! Highly recommended.

And I’m definitely going to try Tsindos, a 30-year old stalwart of Little Greece in Lonsdale Street and I’m told home to great mezethes.


I was excited to hear about Urban Reforestation, a community garden, eco shop and educational centre in the middle of concrete-and-glass Docklands. Their aim is to inspire urban farming for sustainability and food security (they’re currently investigating the possibility of rooftop farms!) through consultation with corporates and for helping individuals with gardening lessons and cooking classes.

I think I’ll combine a visit to Urban Reforestation with a stroll around the Docklands Sunday Market and maybe a late lunch as part of Slow Sundays, where you get a $15 tasting plate with beer or wine between 2-6pm every Sunday from 20 June – 29 August.


I’ve just renewed by NGV membership so I will be heading to NGV’s Winter Masterpieces 2010 European Masters: Stadel Museum 19-20th Century between 19 June – 10 October.

ACMI is hosting a huge Tim Burton exhibition direct from New York’s MOMA from 24 June – 10 October which I’m quite excited about.

State of Design, Victoria’s design festival, is happening between 14-25 July and once again I’ll be immersing myself in all things design for two weeks. As part of the festival Melbourne Open House is on 24-25 July where lots of heritage buildings will be open to the public – a great way to learn some of the stories and history behind the city.

Last but not least, Melbourne Design Market is happening at Federation Square carpark again on Sunday 11 July. This year will be extra special for me because the lovely Kath and Ben from Jellybean Bikes and my new cycling clothing and accessories business CycleStyle will be setting up a cycle-licious stall at the market! Come and say hi.

For details and more winter ideas, check out That’s Melbourne.

HOT: Costco Wholesale, 381 Footscray Rd, Docklands

Costco was nothing like I expected.

What I was expecting was an outsized version of Aldi, full of cheap generic goods imported from random Eastern European countries, rather than name-brand products. I was expecting it to be large, but not the size of a football field. I was expecting an eclectic assortment of items, but not jerry cans of Chupa Chups or a giant 9kg Toblerone.

What can I say? It was fun having my expectations put aside by the Costco experience.

My friend Kimberley is possibly the only person I know who lives alone in an apartment in the inner city yet has a membership to Costco. Most of the clientele I can safely say live in suburbia with a couple of kids and a station wagon/people-mover/ute in tow. So I think it’s slightly bizarre that Kimberley’s become a Costco evangelist. I was convinced to go with her the day after I moved into my new house and was faced with no muesli, toilet paper, laundry powder or butter. I didn’t take much convincing to be honest, because I’ve been a bargain-hunter and bulk-buyer from way back.

You know that everything is going to be big, big, BIG as soon as you grab one of the double-width supermarket trolleys. Being my first trip to Costco, Kimberley patiently wheeled me through almost every aisle in the aircraft hanger as I squealed at the baby grand piano, an outdoor patio and giant apple pies. It was quite mad to be honest – I kept on having to say to myself ‘put that DOWN, Joyce, you do not need a tissue cashmere scarf or that copy of David Thompson’s Thai Food’. It was like an amusement park for bargain shoppers.

After 2 hours, my very successful haul included an Epsom printer, a set of Pyrex dishes and more mundane things like a mop and a large supply of toothpaste, toothbrushes and AAA batteries.  Everything = bargain and a month later I’m still working my way through most of the items. Book me in for another Costco trip in 6 months, Kimberley!

NOT: Mecca Bah, 55a New Quay Promenade, Docklands

Mecca Bah 55 Newquay Promenade Docklands

There was a time a couple of years ago where restaurants Mecca and Mecca Bah were HOT, HOT, HOT. Then Mecca was sold off and Mecca Bah shifted to Docklands. I think it’s been off the Melbourne foodie radar ever since.

Mecca Bah takes up a prime position in Newquay as the glass-housed restaurant juts out from the boardwalk with water views back to the city. I really don’t have the answer to why Docklands hasn’t really taken off for Melburnians, but every time I visit I think to myself ‘it’s quite pleasant here, by the water – why don’t more people come to enjoy it?’.

On a weeknight Mecca Bah was popular with families, couples and work teams. I suspect it’s because the restaurant provides accessible Middle Eastern/Moroccan food at a reasonable price. N and I were not too hungry, so we shared an entrée of chicken bastilla and a vegetable tagine ($18.50).

Mecca Bah 55 Newquay Promenade Docklands

The bastilla was a quite good – two pillows of flaky puff pastry encasing some gently spiced chicken. The vegetable tagine was nothing special – you can’t really go wrong with flavour-infused sauce soaked up by couscous. My small complaint would be that the huge unchopped chunks of vegetables gave it the dish a sloppy, unrefined look and made it difficult to eat.

We declined to try the desserts. They didn’t have any particularly Middle Eastern/Moroccan choices and the prices (around $14) were curiously out of proportion with the rest of menu. Instead we opted to have two scoops of creamy handmade gelati from Limonetto ($4.20), watching the sun set over the Westgate Bridge.

Limonetto 35 Newquay Promenade Docklands

All in all, Mecca Bah wasn’t a terrible experience, just a bit uninspiring and it did not hit the heights I remember from its heyday. It’s probably one of the better options in the unexciting dining scene in Docklands, but it’s certainly not somewhere I’d be rushing back to visit – no matter what the views.

Mecca Bah on Urbanspoon

Limonetto Gelati on Urbanspoon

HOT: Marvellous March in Melbourne

I’m all for comfort food, opaque tights and scarves (I think it’s a reaction to growing up in sunny Queensland) – yay for Marvellous March!

Marvellous March is also the name of a handy little booklet produced by That’s Melbourne with details of the big events around Melbourne that will make you love autumn. This is a post to bookmark! Thanks to City of Melbourne, here are some highlights and photos:

Moomba Festival 2010
Melbourne’s largest outdoor community festival makes a vibrant return to the heart of the city. From the spectacle of the Moomba Parade to the hilarious Westpac Birdman Rally, from the wonder of the Children’s Garden to awesome live music, Moomba will surprise and delight Melburnians of all ages.  March 5 – 8. Alexandra Gardens & Birrarung Marr.

The 2010 Indian Film Festival – Bollywood And Beyond
All the colour, drama, music and romance of Bollywood comes to Melbourne for eight days.  ‘The Queen of Bollywood’ – multi award-winning actress Rani Mukherjee – will open festivities at Cinema Nova with the launch of her new film, the comedy musical “Dil Bole Hadippa.”   The festival will feature eight premiere screenings and an array of Meet the Maker events where Hindi filmmakers including Rajkumar Hirani (director of the highest grossing Hindi film of all time- 3 Idiots) and Imtiaz Ali (director of box office hits Jab We Met & Love Aaj Kal) will discuss their careers within the world’s biggest film industry. 10-17 March 2010.

Melbourne Food and Wine Festival
One of my favourite Melbourne festivals. The delicious 2010 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival will see the city hosting a long lunch, a food-lover’s fiesta and drool-worthy master classes. Take yourself on a visual treasure hunt with the Feasting Vignettes, presented by the City of Melbourne, grab a sustainable nibble at the Metlink Edible Garden showcasing regional produce and relax with free Barilla Foodie Films. 12 – 23 March 2010.


L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival
The LMFF is a stylish showcase for established and up and coming fashion designers. Check out Sidewalk, a series of free runway presentations bringing Australia’s leading fashion brands on a spectacular inflatable fashion catwalk at Federation Square. 14 – 21 March 2010.

20th Melbourne Queer Film Festival
See the latest, greatest and most creative in queer feature films, documentaries and shorts at the 20th Melbourne Queer Film Festival. A $2,000 cash prize is also up for grabs for the winner of the City of Melbourne Award for Best Australian short film. 17 – 28 March 2010.

Antique3 (Large)

Thai Culture & Food Festival
Discover the wonderful secrets of Thai cooking, enjoy a gentle Thai massage and some traditional music and entertainment, and when you get hungry sample Thai food on the River Terrace at Federation Square – think green curry, fish cakes, pad thai, chicken basil and more. 21 March 2010.

Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show
The Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show is the biggest annual flower and garden show in the southern hemisphere and one of the largest in the world. An impressive 500+ exhibitors will showcase the latest products and services at the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens. 24 – 28 March 2010.

MICF April 24 41

Melbourne International Comedy Festival
It’s the biggest festival Melbourne has to offer and last year just over half a million people laughed at the antics of some of the finest comedy performers in the world. Check out my reviews from last year’s festival. This year I’m  seeing Cardinal Burns and Tim Key. 24 March – 18 April 2010.

2010 FORMULA 1TM Australian Grand Prix
It’s the country’s premier motor sport event that brings together the world’s finest and flashiest cars, glamour, celebrities (including Miss Polonia, for some bizarre reason) and the rush of adrenalin as the world’s most skilful drivers tackle the Albert Park racetrack. 25 – 28 March 2010. 

Lonsdale Street Glendi Festival Festival
Melbourne’s large Greek community takes over the Lonsdale Street precinct to celebrate their history and culture. Sample souvlaki, sweet and sticky loukoumades (Greek donuts) and then burn off those calories in the Zorba ‘til You Drop dancing competition. 27 – 28 March 2010.

Also on in March – run, watch, sail, eat and listen:

Super Sunset Series – Docklands Dash!
Whether you run or walk register for the Super Sunset Series inaugural Docklands Dash. The fun run will wind its way through the  Docklands precinct at twilight on Wednesday 10 March.

Thread Den: The Designers Sessions
Learn how to style and sew in the relaxed sewing lounge and then create your own catwalk collection! You can read my review of the sewing classes at Thread Den here. 12 – 16 March 2010.

Poster affff 2010 V8 (Large)Alliance Francaise French Film Festival
The best of contemporary French film comes to Melbourne, from action, romance, comedy and animation to thrillers, children’s films and documentaries. It’s the largest foreign film festival in Australia and this year is expected to showcase a record number of films. 4 – 21 March 2010.

Herald Sun/CityLink Run for the Kids
Last year 30,000 men, women and children pounded the streets of Melbourne to raise money for the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal. Do your bit for the RCH in 2010 by walking or running across and through Melbourne landmarks such as the Bolte Bridge and Domain Tunnel. 14 March 2010.

Victoria Harbour School Sailing Series
Some of Melbourne’s most promising young sailors will hone their nautical skills as part of this popular sailing series. The eager school teams will crew two-person Pacer dingies during the high-energy, fast-paced racing event – all intent on winning the series and winning the chance to represent Victoria at the Australian Championships later in the year. To enjoy the nautical action head to Victoria Harbour 18 – 21 March 2010.

Melbourne Chamber Orchestra presents Profusion
Directed by William Hennessy and with guest soloist and soprano Sara Macliver, the MCO presents Profusion at the Melbourne Recital Centre at Southbank. The evening will feature classics by Dmitri Shostakovich, Jean Sibelius, Calvin Bowman and Gustav Mahler. 21 March 2010.

World Street Food Festival
To celebrate Melbourne’s love and appreciation of food from across the globe, Queen Victoria Market will host the colourful World Street Food Festival. Expect an array of cuisines from Africa, Asia, Europe, South America and Australia. Watch as the food is cooked in front of you, savour the smells, and treat your tastebuds to something new. 21 March 2010.

Melbourne International Dragon Boat Festival
The annual Melbourne International Dragon Boat Festival is a thrilling, colourful family-friendly event that celebrates everything that is great about this ancient sport. Watch the determined teams of more than 22 people battle it out for line honours on the Yarra River. 21 March 2010.

Opera in the Market
Fresh fruit and forklifts make way for elegant chandeliers and opera at Queen Victoria Market. Opera in the Market event gets underway again this year with appearances by talented artists such as young Soprano Tiffany Speight, and internationally acclaimed Tenor, Rosario La Spina. More than 150 voices and the 65-piece Melbourne Youth Orchestra also feature. 22 and 24 March 2010.

Turkish Pazar image 2

Turkish Pazar Festival
Celebrate everything Turkish at this all day festival that showcases the best in Turkish dance, music, food and drink. Enjoy a traditional Turkish pancake or bread rings covered with crunchy sesame seeds, treat yourself to pretty handmade Turkish jewellery and ceramics and enjoy the distinctive sights and sounds of the many Turkish musicians and artists who support this annual event. 28 March 2010.

For a full list of Marvellous March events, click here.

HOT Spots Summer Edition 2010 and Summer Serve

Hot spots summer edition 2010 city of melbourneIt’s summer. The sun doesn’t go down till 9pm. Everyone is feeling relaxed and refreshed. So why not spend some time discovering, or rediscovering, the great things Melbourne offers in summer?

If browsing through MEL: HOT OR NOT doesn’t provide you with enough inspiration, pick up Hot Spots Summer Edition 2010, a cute booklet produced by the That’s Melbourne (City of Melbourne). It’s chock full of funky shops, cultural events, bars and eating out ideas interspersed with profiles of interesting Melburnians.

The little book covers the CBD, North Melbourne, Carlton, Docklands and Southbank and inside you can find chirpy writeups on previous MEL: HOT OR NOT entries such as Hutong Dumpling, Speakeasy Cinema and Chocolateria San Churro. But as you can see I’ve already tagged many more cool things I want to do and you’ll be seeing reviews of these places and activities on the blog in the coming weeks. I will be busy!Summer Serves city of melburne

That’s Melbourne are also promoting special summer dining offers related to the Australian Open 2010 until 28 February. If you quote ‘Summer Serve‘ at selected restaurants in the CBD and Docklands, you receive two entrees for the price of one. It’s a bit of a strange promotion though because you have order a specific entree (ie not every entree is available as part of the offer) and then you receive two serves of it. So make sure you dine with a like-minded friend!

You can pick up Hot Spots Summer Edition 2010 and the Summer Serve booklet at the Melbourne Visitors Centre at Federation Square, Melbourne Visitors Booth in Bourke Street Mall, Melbourne Town Hall and selected bars, cafes and galleries.

For more information, check out That’s Melbourne.

HOT Alert: Week of 26 October 2009

Can you believe it’s the end of October and they’re erecting the Christmas tree at City Square already? Events this week:

HOT: Dralion, Grand Chapiteau, 453 – 507 Docklands Drive, Docklands

I love the arts, but for some reason I’ve never been gaga for circus (and particularly dislike burlesque). As far as circuses go though, Cirque de Soleil produces some of the best shows and this year they’ve brought their big top to Melbourne for Dralion.

Dralion takes the Chinese circus tradition and mixes it with Western dance, music and acrobatics. As such, you get your usual tiny girl contortionists and boy acrobats flipping and spinning somersaults (although they do it through tiny hoops, which is particularly impressive as they need to be very precise). It is intermingled with a spectacular trampoline act where pairs of acrobats bounce, spin and twist their way up a wall with perfect timing, an extreme juggler, an elegant aerial pas de deux and of course sprinkled with some good old-fashioned clowning around.

Boys and girls, don’t try this at home.