Known for their effortless, contemporary take on women’s fashion, the creative team behind Melbourne’s LIFEwithBIRD label also have some great suggestions for wining and dining in the Victorian capital. Nicholas Van Messner reveals where he and Bridget McCall like to relax when they’re not designing their coveted line – or looking after their newborn daughter.
Best café: Mixed Business
There’s a place out in Clifton Hill called Mixed Business, which I really love for breakfast and coffee. What I like about it is that it’s unpretentious and set in an old shop. It’s simple and not too “done”. You just rock up and enjoy it. Their eggs are really good and they do all their own preserves – you get spicy pickles with your eggs. It’s an open kitchen and it’s nice and fresh.
Best bar: Siglo
I absolutely love Siglo, which has a little cigar bar in it. It’s really cool – there are mismatched couches made of worn-in leather. Then, in summer, the rooftop is just amazing. The mixologists are unbelievable, the bartenders, the wine list… everything.Personally,I love anything sour so I would recommend ordering a whisky sour or amaretto sour.
Coda is great. Adam D’Sylva is the chef there and he’s amazing. Cutler & Co. is really good, too. A week before our daughter was born, [Bridget and I] went back to all of our favourite restaurants, including Tipo 00 – an Italian place in the city that has just opened. There’s nice food and the industrial fit-out is cool. Melbourne has endless options; we’re spoilt for choice. It’s sometimes hard to make a decision!
I love bookstores. My two favourites are the Metropolis Bookshop in Curtin House and the Avenue Bookstore in Albert Park. Otherwise, I don’t shop that much. I don’t really have time, to be honest. My wife and I have a tradition that every anniversary we have to give each other a really cool book.
Don’t leave Melbourne without…
Immersing yourself in Flinders Lane, Swanston and Exhibition streets and that whole CBD area. Galleries, restaurants and all the little laneways and shops are in one place. To me, it’s the special part of Melbourne. It’s what Melbourne is. You can just get lost for ages and it’s so different from winter to summer.