I followed the lead up to Red Sparrow Pizza's opening on Instagram and I was delighted to get to visit twice whilst I was in Melbourne. It's no secret that I'm a huge pizza fan (the fact that I don't have a pizza tattoo yet is ridiculous. Get it together Jojo!) and this place looked more than a little promising. Proper Italian style bases and multiple vegan cheese options along with a killer specials menu, what more could you want right? Well this place exceeded my expectations, the pizzas were seriously the best I've ever eaten - they had that combo of the perfect thin crust with plentiful tomato sauce and super fun toppings. We ordered from the specials board and I chose a pear and walnut pizza with aubergines and a balsamic glaze while Nick went for the Halal Snack Pack pizza.
For those of you who aren't Australian you may have never heard of a Halal Snack Pack (or HSP), I certainly hadn't. It's basically kebab style meat on chips with barbecue, chilli, and garlic sauces to top it all off. I'd have had to mess with it too much to make it a-ok for my allergies so I didn't try it but Nick gave it two thumbs up. I mean it's a pizza topped with chips, thinly sliced seitan, and a whole bunch of delicious sauces so of course he did!
My pizza was perfection, thinly sliced crunchy pears are one of my favourite pizza toppings and I love rocket on a pizza but what really made this was the amount of cheese! So good! When we visited the second time (because how could you eat pizza that good once and never go back?) I tried the Hawaiian minus the boozy glaze because I'm boring like that and Nick ordered a classic, the Pepperoni. These were both excellent and we both agreed that we'd order them again. The toppings were evenly spread out, there was plentiful tomato sauce, and the cheese was just right.
Just when I thought that Red Sparrow couldn't get any better Shelley told us that she'd saved us a slice of her Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Pie. Whaaaat? Too much! I was pretty excited about this, I mean peanut butter and chocolate? Yes please! Despite my excitement and high hopes this slice of pie still wowed me.
It was creamy and delicious and although I don't usually love whipped toppings it was seriously excellent and reminded me of the rad whip that Isa Chandra Moskowitz uses at Modern Love - high praise indeed! Red Sparrow is a must-visit for sure so make sure to fit it into your Melbourne plans.
Mister Nice Guy's is another spot that exceeded my high expectations, I started following them on Instagram years ago and had marvelled at their delicious looking creations for a long time. Thankfully Mister Nice Guys is a place where everything tastes as good as it looks and hot damn does everything look amazing.
We didn't have a lot of time which was a shame as I could have whiled away a few hours there eating, reading, and trying some of the drinks on the menu but alas we only had a short time so we had to eat and run. After spending far to long gazing at the options I chose the Popcorn Mudslide Cupcake and the Chocolate Babka for me and Nick to share.
These were both off the charts ridiculous! I'm a very fussy cupcake eater and often find them too dry, too stuck to the wrapper, too bland, etc, etc, but this one? This one was freaking spectacular. It was flavourful and gooey and the popcorn topping was so fun and so tasty. I didn't think that it could get better than this but then I tried the babka and almost died of deliciousness. Is that a thing that can happen?! This is an off the charts delicious pastry that's light on the cinnamon and heavy on the chocolate. It's better than Smith & Deli's croissants, better than the matcha babka I ate at By Chloe in NYC, better than basically anything I've ever made and without wanting to brag I'm an excellent baker. I hope that I get to eat this again but just in case I don't make it back there and you do please go there eat one and send me a picture so that I can live vicariously through you!
Because Nick was extra hungry he also grabbed a Pretzel Dog which looked amazing but definitely had some chilli going on so I didn't get to try a bite. He claimed that it was excellent though and after that amazing cupcake and perfect babka I'm inclined to believe him.
Mister Nice Guys is located a little further North West than anywhere else we'd planned to visit so we headed here before visiting the Phillip Island penguins when we had a car. I'd say that it's definitely worth the trip on public transport if you have the time and your best bet would be to go from the centre of the city rather than from the Fitzroy / Collingwood area because you'll have to change trams there anyway.
Lastly my other fave' Melbourne spot is Dangerzone Tattoo where the gorgeous and talented Shell Valentine works. I doodled this tattoo idea in a notebook years ago and wrote Shell's name next to it knowing that nobody else would do it justice and I'm so glad that I waited for our paths to cross.
Shell specialises in cute, colourful, fun, tattoos and I have so much love for her kawaii foods, kitsch designs, and feminist body art. She's also the nicest person, I had so much fun hanging out with her chatting about vegan eats, travel, and tattoos. My ice cream is totally healed now and it doesn't need a single touch up, it's super bright, and I just adore everything about it. I'm already scheming ways to get back to Melbourne before we leave the Southern Hemisphere so that I can get a little something else to add to my collection.