High Street Armadale is known for its shops, but it’s also home to some of Melbourne’s favourite cafes, wine bars, takeaway sandwich shops and everything in between. Just ask Ilana Moses, the woman behind luxury fashion boutique Grace, located in the heart of the strip.
Moses, a lawyer-turned-retailer, first opened Grace 16 years ago. She wanted to bring top fashion labels – such as Alexander Wang and Proenza Schouler “and these incredible brands that weren’t represented here” – from Paris, New York, London and Milan to the “Melbourne girl who loves fashion”. In addition to Brighton, Grace has a store in Armadale surrounded by not just exceptional boutiques, but topnotch eateries and bars.
“We're very spoilt for choice,” says Moses. “If you're coming to High Street, you can make a really beautiful day out of it. Start with breakfast in one place, spend hours shopping, get a coffee to keep you going and then stop for lunch. It’s nice having the best of everything in the one spot.”
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Here’s where she loves to eat and drink over a day on High Street.
After checking her emails at Grace, self-confessed coffee addict Moses starts her day with a cuppa nearby. Her go-to, which she describes as a “little haven on High Street”, is spa and cafe Willow Urban Retreat. Located just five minutes’ walk from the store and pouring hot Market Lane coffee, it’s a great takeaway option. When she has time, she loves to sit in for a nourishing plate of sauteed mushrooms with greens or a sushi bowl .
Tartine, a homey takeaway shop that’s been on High Street for more than 30 years, is also in the coffee rotation for the Grace team. For a quick meeting or a leisurely team brunch, Moses sits outside at Bruno & Co.
When she’s craving a pastry with her coffee, she’ll beeline for Ned’s Bake. The vast bakery cafe is known for its artisan breads, filled doughnuts and viennoiserie, but Moses says it’s worth visiting for the soups alone.
When lunchtime rolls around, three-storey cafe Moby is another favourite of the Grace team – especially in summer, when sitting outside on the rooftop is a treat. Moses loves that its menu is “not too indulgent [or] unhealthy”, featuring a variety of salads and comforting Ottolenghi-inspired Middle Eastern plates. On weekends she visits with her family, ordering herself a breakfast salad packed with quinoa and haloumi, and gooey tuna melts for the kids.
On most workdays, Moses eats behind her desk, which is why newcomer Rubens is high on her list. The owner – a long-time friend – makes lunchtime salad boxes filled with delicious roast carrots and deli meats, as well as fresh sandwiches (one Grace team member “lives for” the tuna salad sandwich). Moses often stops in to pick up dinner here, too; she says it’s “convenient [for] times when you don't know what you're feeding your family or yourself that night”.
When she’s cooking meat at home, she heads to “very French and sophisticated” butcher Victor Churchill for high quality cuts. And when she wants to treat herself to an indulgent dinner out, she books a table inside and orders the Black Market Flank MS 5+ steak with fries. If you’re not a big meat lover, Moses says the fish and mash are delicious too.
For after-work drinks, Moses’s top pick is cosy neighbourhood bar Albert’s Wine Bar, tucked away at the back of Kings Arcade. It’s got a stellar wine list, but she can’t go past the Vodka Martini. On the snacks front, there’s fancy cheese and charcuterie plates; a typical order is the burrata with fennel and dukkah, the beef tartare with horseradish cream and crostini or, when it’s on the menu, the kingfish crudo.
Though Albert’s has indoor seating, Moses reckons the best place to snag a table is on the wide footpath out the front. “It’s always got a great vibe going on,” she says. “It’s full of lots of local people.”
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with High Street Armadale Business Association and City of Stonnington.