The newest market in Melbourne launched to well-behaved crowds of rugged up south side stunners with designer dogs and toddlers in tow. It was a veritable Best in Show as every dog breed in Victoria paraded along side their owners through Alma Park as their humans calmly sought out the best food truck amongst many.
A few weeks back I brought you the Survival Guide to the Night Market but the difference with the Hank Marvin Market is night and day. Being set amongst the gum trees and grassy parkland instantly gives this market a more relaxed feel. Held every Saturday from 9am to 3pm, it is a market designed for locals to stroll down with the family and enjoy a range of delicious treats from the healthy to the alcoholic.
More exposed to the elements than it’s nocturnal cousin, HMM has it’s advantages and despite being adjacent to Dandenong Road, it is set back far enough that you really do feel a world away. Should a rain shower pass by there is a covered pop up mess hall complete with fairy lights that is very inviting. Otherwise brave Melbourne’s weather gods and take up one of the many central outdoor low-rise wooden box like table and chairs.
As the resident DJ drifts out some happy tunes, stroll the circuit of food trucks and stall holders to get your bearings. You will know some purveyors from the Night Market such as Those Girls with their hot apple cider and U Fuculari Sicilian BBQ. The longest line award went to Snag Society, worth the wait if you are a fan of tubular meats. The second longest line was for coffee, no surprise there. There was no ATM line because there is no ATM, so bring cash people.
Nuoc Mama had been extremely popular selling out of most things by 1pm but the Baron was able to get his hands on their chicken wings after our entrée of some equally popular Ant’s Dumplings. We got the beef combo dumplings and were very happy with the quality and price. The price point overall at HMM seemed more friendly than the night market with most dishes around the $10 mark. Bravo HMM.
For my main I went the vego route and hit up Overdosa for a traditional potato dosa for $10. It was hot, delicious, well textured and filling. Other vego fare included The Little Mushroom Company, Shtetl bagels and the Pizza Wagon. To wash down your food there are many options, fresh squeezed juice, Extramile kombucha or if you need a little pep in your step there’s mulled wine, beer and more wine.
Dessert is very well catered for, so well in fact we hit 3 quality stalls. First, Cobb Lane in fear that they might sell out. We snapped up two delicious donuts, $5 each, the Baron chose orange salted caramel and I went for the quince and gingerbread. I regret nothing.
We then cruised along to Sallycakes and made off we a buttery pecan slice; another big tick and a bargain at $3. We finished our Tour de Dessert with a salted caramel crème brulee topped with popcorn, of course, from The Brûlée Cart ($8). The chocolate alcoholic option was sold out, no surprise really, there were plenty of pram pushin’ yummy mummies around who would have snaffled them early. Well played ladies, well played.
After your DIY 5 course food truck degustation you can waddle over with the kids to the blackboards and let them go nuts or better yet get them onto the basketball court and shoot some hoops. If you brought the pooch, and lets face it almost everyone did, now would be a great time to stroll through the park. Before you go though there are goodies to take home from Nordic vegan bread to completely non-vegan Uncle’s Small goods and crafty handmade goodies for charity.
If you can leave the car at home, it would be wise, as this neck of the woods gets pretty busy around lunchtime. It would behoove the local church and school to open and charge parking for the day. Until that happens perhaps park a few blocks away and work up a hunger. Trust me, you’ll need it so that you can eat all of the things.
So if you like a outdoor market where pooches are welcome and there's room to push a pram, HMM will be for you. Or if you prefer the hustle and bustle of the city the Winter Night Market is still open on Wednesday nights until the end of August. Whichever market you choose, great food awaits.
Hank Marvin Market
Alma Park East - 204 Dandenong Road, St Kilda East
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