Warm up your Wednesdays this winter with delicious food, fantastic music, and maybe even a few scares, at Queen Victoria Market’s Winter Night Market.
Every Wednesday night this winter, Queen Victoria Market will be transformed into a world of delicious food stalls, quirky local retailers, and live music with the always popular Winter Night Market. With roaring fires, roving entertainers, a silent disco, and much more, the Night Market has become a winter favourite with Melburnians and visitors alike.
While a visit to the Queen Vic is always a lively experience, whatever time of day you attend, there’s something really magical about seeing the market come alive with neon lights blazing and the smell of delicious food wafting out late into a cold evening – and thousands of others agree, with the market packed with fellow revellers week after week.
This year’s night market is no exception. With over 30 global street food stalls, the Night Market really is a feast for the senses – all six of them (but I’ll get to the sixth sense a little later). With so many amazing dining choices, I recommend doing a reconnaissance collecting lap of the market before making a decision. Two of my favourite food stalls – and permanent market mainstays – are Simply Spanish and George the Fishmonger.
Simply Spanish are famous for their stunning big pan paellas. The paellas have become something of a legend around the market, and they make a perfect warming dish for a winter’s night. Just because it’s cold in Melbourne, it doesn’t mean we can’t dream of sunning ourselves on the Costa Brava! If you love spices, fresh local mussels, and chorizo, Simply Spanish is a must when you visit the Winter Night Market. Get in early, because the line can get pretty long once those delicious flavours start drifting over hungry market goers!
George the Fishmonger is famous at the Queen Vic Market for its fresh seafood – offering up giant prawns, fresh fish fillets, mussels, oysters, and a plethora of other marine delights – and their food stall at the Winter Night Market is always super popular with their luxe street food. I couldn’t go past their lobster rolls – huge chunks of buttery soft Canadian lobster packed into a brioche bun with fresh lettuce and crisp celery, topped with spicy Japanese mayo and lightly toast with a blow torch – each made fresh to order. But don’t take just my word for it, pop star Katy Perry dropped into the Night Market last week and got herself a waffle cone full of George’s deliciously crunchy prawn popcorn!
The Winter Night Market also hosts 50 specialty and locally-made retail stalls, covering everything you could dream of, from jewellery and candles, to kimonos and vintage threads. Local jewellery faves The Bright Club and Bhunny Designs both have stalls selling their Melbourne made jewellery, while at The Book Nook you can trawl through new and preloved books, records, and more from Victorian based authors and book sellers. And, in true “something for everyone” style, you can drop by Pompous Paws and pick up something for your favourite furry friend!
Now, I did mention that there might also be a few scares to be had at this year’s Winter Night Market, so if you’re feeling brave, read on.
Built on top of Melbourne’s first general cemetery, the Queen Victoria Market is no stranger to things that go bump in the night. Featuring prominently on local ghost tours, and with the remains of between 6,000-9,000 bodies still interred underfoot, what better place in Melbourne to hold a séance?
That’s right, things are about to bump in the Night Market with the return of the super successful immersive theatre performance, Séance. After selling out it’s 2017 Halloween season at Federation Square last year, Séance is back to terrify a new audience. Housed in a pitch-black, 40-foot shipping container, Séance combines the concept of a traditional séance with 3D audio and sensory deprivation.
What actually goes on inside the shipping container during the performance is kept very hush hush, but if the pale faces and nervous giggles of those I saw emerging from the container are anything to go by, Séance provides an intense and very creepy experience. The performance comes with a warning that it is “not suitable for those who are claustrophobic, pregnant, or suffer heart conditions” – and with that sort of disclaimer, you know it’s good!
If you’re ready to make a connection with the other side, Séance tickets can be booked here.
The Winter Night Market runs until every Wednesday night, from 5pm – 10pm, until August 29th.