As someone who eats in the city every day, An Bui is well-accustomed to scheduling her lunch break for maximum value. An employee at Aesop's store at Emporium, we asked Bui to run us through her recommendation for a thirty minute breather.

12.30pm – Emporium cafe court for a quick bite. It’s close to hand, and there’s a range to rival any city block. Colder weather calls for hearty comfort food, such as Chinta Ria Soul’s creamy seafood laksa or the beef pho at I Love Pho Express.

“For something quick and light I get the rice paper rolls at Pho Nom,” Bui says, “or a green-mango smoothie from Thrive.”

12.41pm – short tram ride up Bourke Street to wander through her favourite shops in the city.

“I love The Paperback Bookshop,” she says. “I really like the idea of independent bookstores and there’s a great selection ... you don’t have to go through too much to find something good.”

Nearby on Russell Place, Bui also recommends stopping in at Pieces of Eight Gallery. Step through the striking circular entrance – home to some of Melbourne’s most inventive window displays – to find a selection of jewellery hand picked by curator and jeweller, Melanie Katsalidis.

12.49pm – Craft Victoria is another design hub on Bui’s itinerary, with a distinct focus on supporting artists across Melbourne, from stoneware sake bottles by potter Andrei Davidoff, to Millie Savage’s mystical rings and necklaces. For Bui, though, the ceramics and earthenware are the drawcard. “I studied interior design at RMIT. I love design, it’s something I’ve always been passionate about.”

12.57pm – By now it’s definitely time to get back to work, with perhaps one last stop on the way. “If I need an afternoon pick-me-up, the raw energy slice from Cafenatics does the trick,” Bui says. “Or a frozen yoghurt kids cone from Yo-Art.”

Chinta Ria Soul
Store 354, Level 3
287 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
chintariasoul.com.au

I Love Pho Express
Level 3, Emporium Food Court
287 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
03 8609 8119
pholove.com.au

Pho Nom
Store 33, Lower Ground
287 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
(03) 8609 8183

Thrive
Emporium Food Court
Level 3, 287 Lonsdale Street
Melbourne
(03) 8609 8106
thr1ve.me

The Paperback Bookshop
60 Bourke Street
Melbourne
(03) 9662 1396
paperbackbooks.com.au

Pieces of Eight Gallery
28 Russell Place
Melbourne
(03) 9663 3641
piecesofeight.com.au

Craft Victoria Shop
31 Flinders Lane
Melbourne
(03) 9650 7775
craft.org.au

Cafenatics
Emporium Food Court
Level 3, 287 Lonsdale St
Melbourne
cafenatics.com.au

Yo-Art
Emporium Food Court
Level 3, 287 Lonsdale St
Melbourne
yo-art.com.au

This article is presented by Emporium. Head here to see everything on offer in the Emporium cafe court.