It's a simple premise: if you only had 24 hours to dine in a destination of your choice, where would you go and what would you eat? After spending a great deal of time in Melbourne as a visitor and a student, Daryl Foong is happy to highlight just how great this city's vibrant food scene can really be.

Daryl Foong

The general manager at Aqua Walk, the company known for operating the well-known tourist destination Aquaria KLCC, Daryl Foong is a diehard foodie, a quality he shares with his family.

His favourite food destination, Melbourne, Australia, is also a personal favourite due to the fact that he studied there.

"Melbourne has an amazing variety of food. It doesn't matter what cuisine you're after over there it tends to have what you want and it tends to be pretty good," says Foong.

With years worth of experience and a penchant for sniffing out good food, here are his top spots to eat, drink and be merry, even if you only have 24 hours to spare.

Brunch – Naked For Satan

Go past the restaurant's borderline humorous name and you'll find a great eatery in Naked For Satan, according to Foong. 

"The food here is pretty amazing. Here's the thing about breakfast and brunch foods in Melbourne, they're really hearty and the portions tend to be very generous. The food here isn't like your standard breakfast or brunch foods, they introduce a twist from various cuisines to popular breakfast items, making it very interesting and unique" explains Foong.

Not just available for good food, the place has a sky bar when the sun goes down, suited for small bites and cocktails.

Lunch – Mr Tulk

Connected to a must-visit landmark, the Victoria State Library, Mr Tulk is a breakfast and lunch spot named after the library's first chief librarian. Focusing on contemporary cuisine, coffee, like most places in Melbourne, is also a priority here.

"I would always have a cup of coffee and smoked salmon with capers on toast. I'm a creature of habit and I would always go back there and have that," says Foong. 

If you're feeling famished after an afternoon tour of the gorgeous state library, you will be glad to know that good food can be found on the premises.

Afternoon Tea – Trotters Bistro

Located on the far end of Lygon St, Melbourne's Little Italy, pork specialist restaurant Trotters Bistro is surprisingly Foong's go-to tea time place. However, there's a good reason why.

"They do a fantastic sticky date pudding that was just incredible. Whenever you're not living in Australia, you will notice when you're there just how much better food and drinks are when they use dairy products because of how high the quality of dairy is over there," he says.

While the idea of coffee and sticky date pudding does sound enticing, the restaurant has a number of deliciou sounding items on the menu that warrant your attention too.

Dinner – Menya Ramen

Ask any student in Melbourne what they like to eat and there's a good chance they will recommend Menya Ramen's famous gyūtandon (beef tongue rice bowl). This writer and Foong included.

"This place is one of my favourites! I used to go to the one in Melbourne Central and had the gyūtandon and katsudon all the time. Thinking back now, I thought that the food at Menya was tasty because of its affordable price but it's actually genuinely good. Everytime I go back to Melbourne, I go back to Menya," says Foong.

"Cheap and cheerful" as Foong best puts it.

Dinner & Drinks – Golden Monkey

For a nice night out of good food and drinks, Foong suggests going to Golden Monkey

"Golden Monkey is actually a cocktail bar that has won awards for having the best dim sum. I go there for food first and have drinks later. Their xiao long bao is really good!" he proclaims.

The establishment is decked out like an old Shanghainese opium den, employs knowledgeable bartenders, has consistently been called one of the best cocktail bars in Melbourne and will give you an unexpected experience, if that's what you're looking for.


Dinner & Drinks – Melbourne Supper Club

If wine, whisky and cigars are more your deal, Melbourne Supper Club might be your kind of place. 

"While you may immediately think leather arm chairs with an old charm here, for some reason Peking duck rolls are incredibly good here," says Foong. "Because it only opens late at night, people tend to have light bites there even though they do serve full meals".

Oysters, crispy polenta and a variety of savoury and sweet treats made to pair with your choice of spirits or wine is what you'll find here.


Dinner & Drinks – Cookie

Another Melbourne CBD (central business district) institute, Cookie comes highly recommended by Foong.

"The snacks there are fantastic and their drinks are out of this world. They have a really popular rooftop area where they do movie screenings and the food served is Thai," he explains.

Wine, cocktails, pad thai, fish dumplings and a great atmosphere, what's there not to like?

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