Extend your visit to this month’s International Financial Reporting Standards Conference by a day or two and take advantage of the pleasures of Melbourne in springtime.
On the last Friday in November, senior finance executives from the Asia-Oceanic region will descend on the Park Hyatt Melbourne for the International Financial Reporting Standards Conference (IFRS 2011).
You may be attending as it’s one of the most important and topical conferences on the circuit right now. It’s a good time to consolidate key business connections, to renew relationships with old colleagues and then, when all is said and done, take a day to yourself in a city that promises experiences that are sophisticated, offbeat, elegant and cutting edge take your pick.
So it’s not really an indulgence let’s say it’s more of a strategic move.
Here are some ideas for additions to the itinerary that you might want to consider.
Thursday, 24 November
Business lunch with key contact
Melbourne has a fine portfolio of restaurants pitched at discerning business diners who savour their surroundings as much as they do the servings on their plates. If you have an alliance to pursue or a relationship to foster, one of these three establishments is the place for you.
Hare & Grace
525 Collins Street, Melbourne
+61 3 9629 6755
Taxi from the Park Hyatt: about five minutes
Sitting at the foot of the Rialto Building, Hare & Grace offers a vibrant mix of tradition and modernity. Play it safe with veal schnitzel at the bar menu or sample braised beef with sour apple in the dining room. Licensed. Mains A$36-A$38. Michael Harden
Middle Park Hotel
102 Canterbury Road, Middle Park
+61 3 9690 1958
Taxi from the Park Hyatt: 10 to 15 minutes
There’s an undeniable blokeyness to the Middle Park Hotel, dripping as it is with sporting paraphernalia, but the lengthy menu of big-flavoured food offers a little something for everyone, whether it’s a caramelised shallot tart with a warm goat’s cheese salad or a 500g wood-barbecued rib eye steak. Licensed. Mains A$16-A$68 Michael Harden
495 Collins Street, Melbourne
+61 3 9614 7688
Taxi from the Park Hyatt: about five minutes
This is Guy Grossi’s legal precinct outpost, and a valentine to his family’s northern Italian roots. The well-filled menu includes faves such as bacala mantecato (creamed salted cod) or risi e bisi (risotto, pancetta, peas). Licensed. Mains A$16-A$36 Michael Harden
Friday, 25 November
The conference officially closes at 5pm and the suit-and-tie formalities were dealt with at yesterday’s pre-conference drinks. So as the sun sets on a day of good work, it’s time for some informal networking with old and hopefully new faces. Melbourne is known for its hole-in-the-wall bars and you’ll find some of the best just around the corner from the conference.
Melbourne Supper Club
First floor 161 Spring Street, Melbourne
+61 3 9654 6300
Just up from the Park Hyatt and with an ageless view across to Parliament House, the Supper Club is all wood panelling, leather armchairs and comfortable worldly charm. The extensive wine list is legendary and fills literally dozens of pages: you can choose to accept the challenge, or just lean on the knowledgeable bar staff for some direction. Julia Richardson
37 Little Collins Street, Melbourne
+61 3 9663 7890
The bar food is reason alone to drop by this buzzy little joint, nestled into busy Little Collins Street. Pull up a stool and graze on Iberian morsels such as house-made free-range chorizo and cider, spiced almonds and cured yellow fin tuna banderillas while sampling wines from Italy, Spain and Portugal by the bottle or the glass. Julia Richardson
27-29 Tattersall’s Lane, Melbourne (just off Little Bourke Street)
This makeshift bar pieced together with parts of discarded pallets and plywood, all housed in a shipping container in a vacant lot in Chinatown has become an iconic member of the Melbourne bar scene. If you’re with old friends and feel like kicking back with some icy cold beers or a few quirky cocktails in surrounds that look a lot like you’ve stumbled on the drinking venues of your student days, this is the place. Julia Richardson
Saturday 26 November
A day to yourself
If you have a young family at home, by all means hop on the first plane back. But if not what’s the hurry? Melbourne isn’t a holidaymaker’s destination. Far from it. It is a town of delights that can be sampled one day at a time, when the opportunity presents. Book that flight for tomorrow instead of today and dip into some of Melbourne’s quintessentially delightful distractions.
Melbourne’s thriving art scene is evident as much in laneways, vacant shopfronts and pocket-sized studios as it is in many of the more established galleries. To see the best of it, turn to some of the genuinely insightful tours run by local devotees. There are several to choose from including Art Aficionado (http://artaficionadotours.com/melbourne-art -tour-news.html), Walk to Art (www.walktoart.com.au) and Melbourne Street Art Tours (www.melbournestreettours.com). Julia Richardson
Tour the CBD streets and laneways and uncover Melbourne’s sartorial secrets. If you’re determined to take something home to wear to work on Monday, don’t miss the section of Little Collins Street below Exhibition Street. There you’ll find the likes of sophisticated Arthur Galan AG (www.agclothing.com), edgy Calibre (www.calibre.com.au) and Declic (www.declic.com.au) with its Parisian flair. Don’t forget long-term tenants Sarti Tailors (www.sarti.com.au), who only recently moved around the corner into La Trobe Street. Julia Richardson
Getting out of town
Get a feel for the Great Ocean Road with a day trip to Lorne. The 140km journey is likely to take just under two hours, but for most of the second half you’ll be agog at the spectacular scenery and besotted by a succession of seaside towns. Spend a few hours with the locals, drinking lattes or snacking on fish and chips, before the equally delightful drive home. Is this the time to splurge on the car hire, renting something as stylish as a Lotus Exige or a Porsche 911 for the day? If you’re both curious and game, get in touch with Melbourne’s Sports Car Rentals (www.sportscarrentalsaustralia.com.au, phone 1300 747 785). Julia Richardson