Not many can say their backyard consists of 19 acres of luxuriant greenery, century old avenue trees and Edwardian-style gardens. Central Park’s residents, who live directly opposite an iconic park of the same name, can claim all of this and more. Amenities are found in every pocket of the sublime expanse, including a playground, a bocce court and a scenic running track. Victoria’s oldest conservatory also resides here, a heritage-listed haven where moments of pure tranquillity are to be had time and again. Whether you’re basking in the summer sun, admiring the red and yellow hues of autumn, relishing the crisp, wintery air or immersing yourself in spring’s fertility – Central Park is a backyard unsurpassed.
Be immersed in the whimsical world of soft pastels, unique textures and all things Scandinavia. In 2011, Nat Wheeler and Kristy Sadlier met at mother’s group, where they bonded over a mutual adoration of Nordic design. At the time, however, they noticed Australia was lacking in products of this kind. From here, Norsu was conceived, first conquering the online world with huge success before opening a retail store on Wattletree Road.
In this calming, aesthetically divine store you’ll find a carefully curated collection of interiors, homewares and furniture – all distinctly Scandi, though with a bit more of a colour pop. Norsu’s artwork is their speciality, an extensive range of charming, one-of-a-kind prints adorning the walls. In store, you’ll also be able to procure a variety of other bits and pieces, children’s toys and beauty products included. And, just when Norsu couldn’t be any more delightful, they use materials that are all sustainably and ethically sourced.
On Wattletree Road, an unassuming shopfront tells of a wine store, restaurant and bar inside. And on this, it delivers. Step through Riserva’s narrow doorway to a venue that could only be described as a refined slice of Europe. A ‘Melbourne’ interpretation of something you’d discover up a laneway in Rome, the interior space is sophisticated and uncomplicated – terrazzo tiles, exposed brick and lots of black.
Since Riserva’s birth in 2017, owners Frank Ciorciari and Gian Chiaravalle have been replenishing the souls of Malvern’s locals with a copious collection of European wines (100 by the bottle, 15 by the glass) and an ever changing, pan-European menu (Italian, French and Spanish included). Picture a delectable charcuterie board, followed by crab risotto and a glass of ‘Gran Reserva’ from Rioja, Spain. Oh, and Sicilian cannoli with ricotta for dessert. Suited to intimate dinner dates, vivacious group soirées and lively lunches alike, Riserva lives up to its name as one of Melbourne’s best new institutions.
When Perry and Effy Kapaklis opened Saint Lawrence Real Food, they were driven by a desire to satisfy a ‘community in need of a good feed’. Since 2012, they’ve achieved this and then some. First and foremost, the food they serve adheres to prerequisites of ‘real’ and ‘good’. This means preservative free, nourishing and genuinely homemade. Deliciousness goes without saying when the creators have 20 years culinary experience, previously owning an award-winning cafe.
Saint Lawrence’s ethos centres on convenience, providing an assortment of pre-packaged meals surpassing all others of their kind. Gourmet salads, soups, casseroles, pastas and curries are among these, all made with the utmost love and authenticity. Everyday provisions can also be purchased here, alongside deli essentials and decadent treats. Their homemade condiments are a definite highlight, the chilli jam keeping locals hungry for more. They also offer an immaculate catering service for when a rendezvous of your own comes a-calling.
Opposite Central Park, Our Kitchen Table makes it all too easy to pretend your artisanal coffee is being sipped, and your eggs devoured, in a quaint eatery somewhere in New York City. Make believe aside, the Burke Road cafe and bakery is as homely as its name suggests. Rustic wooden barrels serve as glass stands, fresh flowers ornament the tables year round, and quirky titbits – like the hanging assemblage of teacups – are aplenty. In line with this cosy atmosphere, it’s almost as if the items on the menu were designed specifically to warm the cockles of your heart. Exhibiting the likes of winter porridge, Merguez sausage burgers and Greek chicken soup, the selection is a wholesome and hearty one. For those on the dash after a brisk walk around the park, OKT also serves an array of baked goods, ready-made meals and grocery necessities. Acquire a fluffy scone, some fresh bread, or a cupcake and be on your way.