The reason I haven’t eaten at many of Melbourne’s newest, hippest restaurants isn’t because I shy away from hype. It’s because of that damned no booking trend. I’m not a no booking person. I like knowing that I can book a table and be seated at a certain time. So lining up for a table just isn’t me.
That’s the reason it’s taken me so long to get to the Duchess of Spotswood. I’ve heard SO many good things about it, but I’ve also heard how busy it is in the weekend. And we all know what busy means – having to wait for a table.
There’s an inner glutton in me. She is mostly tamed and kept deep down inside, but occasionally she rises to the surface. Normally she comes out in the presence of other gluttons ie Ms Kat. However, I discovered the other night that my glutton is only a glutton in training in comparison to Kat.
Kat wanted to go to Chinese Spicy and Barbie Kitchen to eat Sichuan food and “shit on sticks” (my terminology – translation: meat/vegies on skewers). Since it’s my side of town, I was keen and we gathered up Thanh, Kat’s partner Josh, Alastair and Bro for a visit one night last week.
Disclosure: We dined with Thanh, who is friends with the staff at Steer. The Chef put together a tasting menu for us. So – special treatment alert. However, we did pay for our meal.
This post is for all the beef lovers out there.
Steer opened just over a year ago, starting off as a steakhouse with a Brazilian influence. Since then, it has evolved into a New York steakhouse, obviously still with a focus on beef. Just after Christmas, Alastair and I had dinner there with Thanh, Michele, April and her hubby. With all our stomachs stretched from Chrissy, we were ready to eat ourselves some meat!
Disclosure: Alastair and I dined courtesy of Wayside Inn.
Located on a stretch of City Road that doesn’t seem to have much else around it, Wayside Inn was taken over late last year by the team behind Station Hotel. Being a big fan of Station Hotel (see posts here and here) I was pretty keen to check it out. And so when I was invited a bloggers dinner there before Christmas with stickifingers, Claire and Gem, I was a happy gal indeed.
Remember last year when we went to Taste of Melbourne? Alastair and Bro were so enamoured with the KFC (Katherine’s Fried Chicken) served by St Katherine’s, that I knew we would have to schedule a fried chicken dinner there one night.
Well, it took a while but fried chicken dinner finally happened this month, thanks to the organisational efforts of Mazza. A couple of other friends were roped in, and off we went.
Located in Kew, St Katherine’s is a big, busy restaurant seating 140 downstairs. Tables are bare and you grab your own cutlery and napkins from the tomato tin in the middle of each table. The menu has the previously fried chicken, as well as other Middle Eastern style dishes that are meant to be shared. If you don’t want to make a choice, there’s a few set menu options ranging from $45 to $75 per person.
On Tuesday I had dinner with a small group of colleagues to celebrate the end of the year. After the drama of finding an evening that worked for seven people in December – almost an impossibility but I managed to find one date – the next question was where to go. It couldn’t be too expensive (no Vue de Monde), but not too cheap (no $5 dumplings). No one was fussed on the kind of cuisine, but there was a specific request for no restaurants in the Casino.
I spent AGES racking my brain trying to think of somewhere suitable. Why is that there are so many restaurants in Melbourne, and yet it’s so hard to find somewhere to eat?! So when one of my colleagues suggested The Smith, I just went ahead and booked a table. It was a bit of a risk considering none of us had eaten there before, but it saved me hours of thinking time!
Bro and I had been speaking about checking out Gasometer for a while. Located in Collingwood, they’re a pub that serves American style diner food. Bro loves American food, and I’m a food enabler, so ever we found out Gasometer serves chicken and waffles, it has been on our “to visit” list.
It was my birthday on Tuesday (thank you thank you) and I wanted to go somewhere casual and not too pricey. So I figured we may as well cross Gasometer off the list.
Have you heard about the Wellington pop up restaurant? In Melbourne for two weeks only, it’s a little taste of Wellington, New Zealand, in the form of a three course meal. As soon as the tickets were released, I pounced on them and booked a table. Why was I so keen? Well, as long time readers of this blog will know, Alastair, Bro and I all grew up in Wellington. Yes, I am a kiwi (ex-kiwi?) and I still have a soft spot for my old hometown.
Where I grew up, the weather was pretty stable. It was shit, but it was stable. When it rained (and it did often), it rained for days – pelting, horizontal rain. When it was windy (and it almost always was), it was a strong, bitterly cold wind that would turn umbellas inside out in an instant. When it was cold (and yes, it normally was) it would be cold for the whole week.
8 years in Melbourne, and I still think the weather here is insane. Hot sunny days suddenly transform to torrential rain in the space of an hour. One day it’s 30 degrees, the next it’s barely nudging 15. How is one meant to plan for such unsettled weather?? Should I leave the house in sandals, or do I need gumboots? Do I need tights, or will I be sweltering by the end of the day? AAARGH.
Maz, Daz and I caught up recently at Agraba on a Friday night. When I booked a table, I noticed that Agraba had both inside and outside seating. It was a gorgeous day on Friday, and I was tempted to request an outside table. And then I remembered – this is Melbourne.
Lo and behold, by the time I got home from work, the rain had started. Good thing I hadn’t chosen the outside table!
The Melbourne King of Peking duck, Simon Lay, is well known for his ducky antics. He used to be at Old Kingdom, which I never got around to visiting, and late last year he opened up his own restaurant in Box Hill South – Simon’s Peiking Duck Restaurant (extra i on purpose).
Duck isn’t a favourite meat of mine – in fact, I don’t really like it all that much. Peking duck is a different story though, Peking duck I love. But it has to be done right – the pieces should be mostly crispy skin with only a minimal amount of meat. (more…)