While I’m on holiday, I’m taking the opportunity to clear out the posts sitting in my draft folder. This is a scheduled post – I’ll be back soon.
Sometimes I get a bit worried about restaurants with a good view. You know the kind I’m talking about: they boast gorgeous views, but serve mediocre food.
When my in-laws Annette and Terry were visiting earlier this year, they booked us a farewell lunch at The Strand in Williamstown, based on a recommendation from one of their friends. The restaurant covers two floors and we were seated on the bottom floor – I’m not sure if they regularly open the top floor or if it’s only a function room. Downstairs at least it’s fairly informal – wooden chairs, bare wooden tables, blackboards on the walls showing specials, and small vases with flowers on each table.
Ever since our first visit to Akachochin in South Wharf, I’ve been dying to go back. The only thing that prevented a second visit was my rather sad attempts at austerity (which hasn’t been going so well but let’s not dwell on it). But the perfect opportunity came up for a revisit the other weekend when Celeste was in town for a conference. Along with Haz and Gazman, we all headed down to South Wharf for a long overdue catch up with Celeste.
It was a long time coming, but I finally made it to Chin Chin.
If you’re Melbournian and you don’t know about Chin Chin, I must politely ask if you’ve been under a rock for the past year. Chin Chin serves mostly Southern Thai cuisine (with other Asian influences thrown in) in a Flinders Lane location. The fitout is great – large windows, brick walls, decorated with graphics utilising elements from Chinese propaganda posters and Japanese cartoons, and tables hold bottles of hot sauce plus paper placemats that double as the menu. Very groovy.
As Chin Chin don’t take bookings. if you want to visit on a Friday/Saturday night (or probably any night, to be honest…) it could mean 1-2 hours wait. You know waiting isn’t my thing, so along with Alastair, Thanh and Thanh’s friend, we rocked up at 11.10am on a Sunday, arriving just as the restaurant opened.
We pondered the menu, and eventually ordered several dishes between the four of us. Truthfully: we ordered a bit too much. But the menu at Chin Chin is quite long and everything sounded so good.
Tired of going to lunch at wineries? Yeah, me too. Wineries are so last year – the latest destination dining is in a garden.
Okay, that is not true. But we did eat lunch in a garden recently when Annette and Terry, Alastair’s mum and step-dad, arrived the other week for a visit. They arrived during the week when we had the beautiful autumn weather: coldish mornings, but lovely warm days, blue skies and wonderful sunsets. Having flown in from the UK, Annette and Terry were particularly happy to see the sunshine, and it was perfect weather for lunch at Fork to Fork. Fork to Fork is located in Heronswood, a garden that is the home of The Diggers Club.
Well now it’s April, and the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival seems like a distant memory. And thank *goodness* for that, because the few weeks of MFWF really stretched my eating pants. Metaphorically of course – those who know me personally know that I don’t wear trousers (because I’m mostly in dresses, in case you think I’m doing some weird Donald Duck thing and going bottomless). But back to MFWF – today I want to share the last express lunch I went to during the festival: Matteo’s.
That Saturday I became a third wheel and joined Hazzie and Gazman for lunch as Alastair was away that weekend. We were all early for lunch because we had been advised when booking that we only had the table for 1 hr 15 mins. This must’ve put the fear in us – we were all so early that I had enough time to join Haz and Gazman in their car for a quick instagram session before going into the restaurant (we are all addicts and we are not ashamed).
Disclosure: Alastair and I dined courtesy of The Commoner.
My last visit to The Commoner in Fitzroy was a disgracefully long time ago. It was back in 2009 for a food bloggers’ meet up where the Commoner generously let us use their courtyard and their wood fired oven. How kind is that? Ever since then I’d been meaning to head back for a meal but you know the story – life gets in the way and time passes. So when I received an invite to come in and check out the menu, I was keen as mustard.
The decision to have an express lunch at No35 was the most annoying process ever. It started off innocently with an email from Thanh asking which restaurants we wanted to dine at during the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival (MFWF). After several, several, SEVERAL emails back and forth, we finally settled on a few dates, one of which was the Labour Day public holiday. But could we decide on a restaurant on that day? Nope. It was worse than herding cats. For a group who like to eat and who are normally very decisive about where we want to go – we were hopeless. It got to the point where we were all a bit exasperated and it looked like we wouldn’t be eating anywhere.
Wouldn’t it be good to be able to tap into a collective memory? Then you would always have access to important details, and it wouldn’t be a problem if your mind was crowded with useless things like the lyrics to “Deep deep trouble” even though you haven’t heard that song for 15 years. (Oh, is that just me? And yes, I do know the words. I can totally bust it out at any time. HELP I CAN’T FORGET IT.)
Fortunately, I have friends who help me remember things. When I eat out I sometimes can’t recall all the details and will message whoever I ate with: “Hey, do you remember what was in that dish?”
After our lunch at Embrasse, Thanh and I had the following conversation.
“What was the fish again?”
“Ummmm. I can’t remember.”
“It was silver something, wasn’t it?”
“Oh! It was silver dory!”
Food bloggers hive mind win. With our memories combined, we are… one normal person!
At the risk of sounding like a 90 year old – the modern world constantly impresses and delights me. Even though I grew up with so many technologies that we now take for granted, when I think about them they still amaze me. For example: GPS. We all know what GPS is, since it’s now an everyday thing, but have you ever thought about what’s involved in making it work? It’s a space-based global navigation satellite system – hello, SATELLITES in fricking SPACE. That tell you exactly where you are. If that’s not amazing, I don’t know what is.
However, even with all the wonders of technology, it’s not exactly foolproof. Case in point: last year we used the GPS to direct us to Loam in Portarlington. It sent us down a dirt road and then said, “You have arrived at our destination.”
Except… we were still in the middle of nowhere. We were definitely not at Loam.
Did we have the right address? Were we even in the right suburb? Where on earth were we?! (Well, the GPS told us, but could we trust the GPS?) We kept driving down the road, and then lo and behold: LOAM. We had arrived! (Mostly thanks to the GPS.)
I love a lunch deal. So when I heard that Vue de Monde was doing a $60 1 hour express lunch that ended in November, I hurriedly booked in a lunch date with I-Hua and Maz.
Maz and I cleverly scheduled a day off work, while I-Hua snuck out for a long lunch. We weren’t aware of exactly how long a lunch it was going to be. One hour stretched into two hours… which extended to three hours. (Sorry, I-Hua’s company!)
We were a bit early for our table, so we were directed up to the Lui Bar via the snazzy nightclub style elevator. At the Lui Bar, we spread out on their couches, admired the view, and decided that: nope, 1pm was definitely not too early for a negroni. Not too early at all.