It a rare treat to have a day in the city these days so I really enjoyed a shopping expedition with Sylvia this week. I don’t find Melbourne city the best place for eating out but was so impressed with my lunch in Dymocks bookstore café that I had to whip out my camera to take a photo for the blog.
We are beginning to read books to Sylvia regularly so I was browsing in Dymocks. I remember visiting Sydney as a teenager with my family and marvelling at Dymocks Bookstore there. Now we have Dymocks franchises in Melbourne. While it is not a local business, I like to patronise it because it is Australian-owned (and you can find out more on the history page of the Dymocks website).
I hadn’t planned to eat there but Sylvia was restless and I needed to sit down. It was a pleasant space with The Hungry Caterpillar decorations. I looked at the cakes and I wanted all of them. Large fruity muffins, cute decorated cupcakes, sweet chunky slices. I chose a piece of hedgehog. It was soft and chocolately. It was so good that I realised I was really hungry and needed something savoury. This seemed a good place to eat.
I chose a vegetarian rissole. They looked interesting with nuts and seeds coating the outside. Inside was a curried vegie mash that would have been a bit boring without the coating. What really got my interest was the accompanying salads. When a menu says the dish is served by salad I am used to some pretty but insubstantial leaves and maybe a wedge of tomato. But here I was served an orange flavoured grated beetroot, a grated carrot and coriander salad, a couscous, tomato and chickpea salad, and a splendid green bean and carrot salad that was cooked to a perfect crispness. I will go back there just on the strength of the excellent salads. If a humble bookstore café can serve decent salads, fancier cafes have no excuses – I just wish they could see how good it can be.
The staff were also lovely and the service was prompt. I had Sylvia in her pram and, without a fuss, they made room for it so it wasn’t in anyone’s way. I enjoyed eavesdropping on conversations about book trade gossip. (I was sad to overhear that apparently McGills Bookstore on Elizabeth Street is closing.) And Sylvia had a lovely time charming the ladies-who-lunch with her beautiful smile.
With a full and satisfied stomach, we had a lovely afternoon shopping. I had overdue gifts to buy but couldn’t resist some clothes for Sylvia and you can see some of the gorgeous fabrics in the photo. I also took a photo of a new mural that took my fancy in the Melbourne Central Shopping Centre. Public art, good food and rows of books are among the good things in life!
Dymocks Bookstore Cafe
Lower Ground Floor
234 Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9663 0900