Enjoy the hidden Flavours of Melbourne with Jonette George's guide »

Explore the amazing laneways and rooftops of Melbourne

By Laura McKinnon
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Flavours of Melbourne by Jonette George

Flavours of Melbourne by Jonette George


Flavours of Melbourne is an elaborate exposé of the Melbourne food scene. It gives readers an overview of different gastronomically based venues throughout the laneways and rooftops of Melbourne CBD. It does this through providing photography of a high standard to immerse you in the sights of the city and its food venues.

It is a big, bulky book – but what it lacks in portability it makes up for in presentation and style. It is a perfect coffee table book, particularly for those who have a residence close to the city. Flavours of Melbourne provides quick access to quality information about not only restaurants of Melbourne, but also about Melbourne itself.

It traces the early history of Melbourne, from indigenous history through to Hoddle’s layout of the city grid. The book even has a historical timeline. It also gives Melbourne’s laneway and street art stories and provides a map of the city. In fact the main contents page is organised based on laneways and works well in regard to locating a place to eat within a Melbourne CBD sub-region.

A particularly appealing section of Flavours of Melbourne is STREAT. This is the story of a social enterprise created to help out the homeless by empowering them through providing long-term careers in the hospitality industry. STREAT runs street cafes in Melbourne with the aim of making profit, but in an ethical, delicious and sustainable manner. An interesting read!

This book succeeds in giving an overview of the bars and restaurants found within Melbourne’s laneways and rooftops. However, do not mistake it for a book that pits one restaurant up against another or that critiques pros and cons. It strictly adheres to a regime of general information, often quite detailed, but observational in nature and to the point. It is also as much visual as it is text based which adds significantly to its ability to capture the unique feel of the Melbourne CBD during serving times.

Flavours of Melbourne also contains signature recipes from venues featured. This is a nice gesture and adds a little more to the variety on offer. However do not expect a whole cookbook – there are only a few dishes listed under each category of entrees, mains and desserts.

Overall, Flavours of Melbourne has lots of appeal and makes for an interesting and worthwhile read if you intend to eat within Melbourne Central. It reads like a historical record of one particular moment in Melbourne’s food and restaurant culture.


Flavours of Melbourne written by Jonette George and designed by Daniele Wilton is published in Australia by Smudge Books (Melbourne, 2012; hc, 390 pp) RRP A$70. It is available for purchase at www.smudgepub.com.au



  • Melbourne Surrounds (VIC)
  • Melbourne (VIC)

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