A beauty editor searches for the soul of modern Melbourne

City guide: Melbourne, Australia

Amelia manages the beauty section at Harper's BAZAAR Singapore, and has a soft spot for fashion and travel. She thinks she spends way too much time shopping online, scouting out the best travel deals and dreaming about new places to visit. Her fiance is from Melbourne, so she's an almost-local.

What kind of traveler are you

I'm a laid-back planner. I say this because I'm always the one booking air tickets, hotels and tours if needed. Before I travel, I have the chicest hot spots (brunch places, hidden laneways and must-go shops) typed out on my phone and I'll make it a point to map out my days and visit them. However, I also like to be spontaneous so I'll leave pockets of time to new adventures and to accommodate anything else that may pop up.

We hear that you spend a lot of time in Melbourne. We want to know all about the city!

Where do you go for brunch in Melbourne?

The answer is really everywhere. There are countless hipster brunch spots with swoon-worthy brunch food. Some favourites would be
Top Paddock in Richmond, for an open, spacious and bright ambience that is oh so Australian, Tall Timber in Prahran, for a modern barnhouse feel,
The Kettle Black in South Melbourne, feels like a more grown up, elegant option, and in Brunswick, Pope Joan, for unpretentious, good food and drinks.

Some new ones that have just opened up are Operation 25 and New York-inspired, Bowery to Williamsburg.

Earl grey & rose doughnut from Shortstop Coffee & Donuts

What about good vegetarian? What are some of your recommendations?

Yes! Vegie Bar for gluten-free and raw food options as well, Trippy Taco is Mexican AND vegetarian - just awesome, and Lentil as Anything, a not-for-profit, pay as you wish, vegetarian chain.

What about your favourite Japanese food in Melbourne?

I was on a ramen rampage once and after trying a whole string of ramen places, discovered Fukuryu ramen in the city - the best one so far because of its noodle texture and rich broth! If you're after hipster ramen, Shop Ramen at Smith Street whips up a bastardised (but delicious) ramen for westerners. They do a mean pork belly bun too.

Are there any good dessert places in Melbourne?

Beatrix is a tiny cake shop in North Melbourne that I love - there are about three tables indoors and maybe another three outdoors - and it does the best cakes in the whole of Melbourne. Their cakes have a lovely, light texture to them. I love them all but special mention goes to their coconut and raspberry ripple cake.

Shortstop Coffee & Donuts in the city. Beautiful space and mouthwatering doughnuts in all kinds of unique flavours that sell out by 4pm on most days.

For gelato, Spring Street Grocer and Gelato Messina on Smith Street do it best. If you're a pistachio gelato fan like me, these two places have it down pat. Pidapipo on Lygon Street is the latest one for gelato - I haven't been myself but have heard raving reviews!

Yo-chi for frozen yoghurt. It's a do-it-yourself and weigh-to-pay concept that just works. Yo-chi has a wide range of flavours and an even more extensive range of toppings. Get the lychee balls; they burst with flavour in your mouth and go with anything and everything.

And of course we have to ask - what are your favourite cocktail bars in Melbourne?

The Everleigh in Fitzroy is an intimate speakeasy, Tonka Bar in the CBD, for Indian-inspired cocktails (and restaurant menu), Go Go Bar in Flinders Lane for cocktails with bursts of Thai flavours, and the rooftop bar at Bomba. I also love Cumulus Up, a fantastic wine bar on Flinders Lane.

And from the self-professed shopper herself - some Melbourne shopping recommendations

Skip the foreign brands and go straight to Australian labels like Sass & Bide, Zimmermann, Country Road, Scanlan Theodore, Flannel, Alpha 60, Ryder, Bul, Gorman, General Pants, and last but not least, Lucy Folk for cute and quirky jewellery inspired by food.

For the home, check out Country Road Home for reliably-Australian wares, Jardan Furniture for designed and made-in-Melbourne pieces, West Elm (an American brand), and Norsu Interiors for unique, Scandinavian-style furniture.

For beauty - The Lab Organics is stocked with the best organic beauty brands (both premium and cult), and Aesop, of course.

Markets: Camberwell markets, South Melbourne markets.


Follow more of Amelia's wanderings around Melbourne's neighbourhoods.

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Need a place to stay? Book your Melbourne apartment on Roomorama.com.