When I first visited Melbourne I decided that on my second visit I would stay in St Kilda, the beach resort twenty minutes away by tram from the Central Business District.
True to his word as ever, Malcolm the genius Co-op travel-agent found me a minimalist suite at the Medina Executive Hotel, St Kilda [http://www.medina.com.au/medina-executive-st-kilda/hotel], one of a chain of apartment hotels – the sort which provides a kitchen capable of roast Sunday dinner, and a patio big enough to host a dozen people.
All of which was ironic because I arrived there with only my laptop and the clothes I stood up in after Air New Zealand left my luggage in Nelson.
The beauty of St Kilda, even away from the beach, is that you can eat, drink and do most things al fresco. On my first night I had chicken risotto on the street outside the hotel, and every morning I had breakfast – eggs Benedict and or a big fry-up, with flat white coffee – at 2 Doors Down [http://www.2doorsdown.com.au], and the only time I ate lunch in the apartment I had a salami sandwich from the baker Daniel Chirico [http://bakerdchirico.com.au (website half-baked, so see the reviews http://www.yourrestaurants.com.au/guide/?action=venue&venue_url=baker_d_chirico and http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/71/760129/restaurant/Melbourne/Baker-D-Chirico-St-Kilda)].
There is, of course, much more to eat in St Kilda: my earlier explorations are described at Exploring Australia 10: St Kilda.
But the real deal in St Kilda is one or both of the cake shops on Acland Street, Le Bon Continental Cake Shop [http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/71/1485350/restaurant/Melbourne/Le-Bon-Continental-Cake-Shop-St-Kilda] and Monarch Cakes “exquisite since 1934” http://www.monarchcakes.com.au/index.htm.
The only way to decide between them is to try both.