Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Gobbler's trip to Melbourne

Our Gobbler had a fleeting trip to Melbourne on Monday/Tuesday this week, and sent me the following interesting account of his experiences. Remind me to scratch Cookie off my 'to go to' list, but add Bar Lourinha!

"Went for drinks at the Greenhouse by Joost at Fed square. Joost is a floral sculptor & design guru that has come up with a fully recycled venue that will operate for three months only. It serves food & beverage & is completely decked out with re-claimed & recycled materials. It even has a feature wall of strawberry plants! It was amazing but very quiet on this night.

Then off to check out MoVida, we wanted a drink only but they were very busy & were only taking diners. I was sure you could just go for a bevvy?

Then we checked out the Council House 2, the latest happening spot which was again very quiet, it was Mon night after all!

Then it was dinner at Bar Lourinha, an Iberian themed bar restaurant that has been in all the magazines in the last few months. Excellent service & splendid food. It is all small dishes served on plates or in little casserole dishes, straight from the oven.

We had they signature dish of carpaccio kingfish, delish. Pippies & pork, fabbo, an extremely strongly flavoured salted cod dish-yummy. Next was a tartare of wagyu beef-not bad, chorizo & tomato omelette-loved this, some blood sausage with white bean-outstanding. This last dish competed closely for the dish of the night with an intensely flavoured & refreshing salad of cabbage & soft herbs-doesn’t sound much but packed a flavour wallop that was hard to believe-absolutely magic! Service was warm, friendly, knowledgeable & efficient. It was a welcome relief to see staff that really dig what they are doing & where they are doing it.

We bevved on Spanish beers & a chilled Spanish rose. Finished with coffee, cream Catalana & sweet sherry-fabulous end to a memorable meal. Total cost for the three of us, $209. I thought excellent value.

On to Myers Place bar for more beers & to reminisce. Here we experienced that cool, aloof & disinterested attitude that passes for service these days. An example: after ordering three beers from the stonily silent barman who didn’t acknowledge my order but simply started pouring the beer & rung the amount into the till. The cost, $22 is displayed on the reverse side of the till so I the customer can see it but he doesn’t actually ask me for the money, he just stares at me. Getting annoyed I just stare back.

He then blurts out, ‘Twennietwo!” clearly annoyed.

I say sweetly, ‘Twenty two dollars please’, before placing my money on the counter. During our stay here we all, during our shouts, have to: interrupt him from reading, walk around into his line of sight to get his attention & motion with our hands the internationally recognised sign of ‘I need a drink’. Did I mention that we and another party of five were the sole customers in the entire bar!

We then decided to go to Cookie for yet more bevvies & this is where it gets weird. Cookie is an impressively fitted out cavernous space intelligently broken up with interesting nooks & crannies in which to park. There are 6 Juliet balconies where smokers can choke on a gasper & others can breathe in the air from Swanston St below.

Two very drunk guys had vacated their balcony & we asked if they had finished & they said yes but curiously told us that ‘they worked here?’ Why we needed to know this we were all unsure.

Ten minutes into sitting down, another couple forced their way onto the balcony, smashing my knees in the process, which was already cramped with us three.

We asked them politely to seek another balcony in which to smoke & we were told it was their ‘right’ to smoke out here? After firmly but nicely reiterating that five is too much they harrumphed off, we thought this would be the end. Wrong.

My friend had gone to the loo & the two original pissed guys crashed the balcony with another woman in tow. One of them sat down in my friends chair at the cramped table with me & my other mate, who was open mouthed at their rudeness, & they preceded to light up & loudly gasbag. My friend arrived back & asked if he could have his seat back & was met with a torrid mantra of it ‘being their right to smoke out here’. I tried to reason with them & say surely it was just plain inconsiderate to come out here & take over as if we had no rights to the small space ourselves. Again the mantra was hurled at us.

Eventually they finished their ciggys & left abusing us as they went. A minute later, two no-neck security gorillas aggressively tell us to ‘get out’. We were all incredulous! We asked why & the more aggressive one just repeated for us to get out.

We were completely shocked. I have never been treated like this anywhere & it spoiled what was until then a great night.

To re-group & re-focus we hightailed it to the Europeans amazing roof top bar behind Her Majesty’s Theatre in Spring St. Here amongst the neon backlit city skyline we supped bevvies & went over what had just happened & what a world of difference the welcome had been at the European compared to Cookie, even at this time of morning.

We then moved downstairs as the bar closed & continued in the leathery recesses of the bars clubby interior.

Finally a taxi home to the twittering of birdies waking up for the day. A great & memorable night. The next day it was a late lunch at Julio in nth Fitzroy where we ate some lovely fresh salads, excellent hangover food but again the service was cool, aloof & disinterested, what is it with so many of these Melb places?

The opposite was true with the warm welcome we got at Nth Fiztroys The Greengrocer. What a fabulous place & what a lesson in welcoming service they could give many of the places we did visit."

Links

http://www.barlourinha.com.au/

http://www.cookie.net.au/ bad experience here!

http://www.theeuropean.com.au/

http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/info.cfm?top=171&pg=1933 this is for the Council house, a new City of Melb gree building project, it has a cafe attached but I couldn't find the links to it

http://www.greenhousebyjoost.com/

http://www.thegreengrocer.com.au/cafe.html

http://www.melbournepubs.com/v/477/ this is a reveiw of Julio by Matt Preston
Posted on by Rita
4 comments

4 comments:

sir grumpy said...

Gobbler's Melb experience echoes that of me and the missus in Adelaide.
Most did not give a fuck. Try to talk to the staff at many places, not all, and they look at you as if you have two heads (oops, we do...but).
We're on holiday, we'd pipe up. Nothing. Not even a oh, yeah where from?
The asian eateries were the nicest. Like, hello, how are you, how can I help, what can I get you, would you like a drink, water, etc.
Having a beer at a Henley Beach bar was shit awful. Everyone had a face that looked like they had a lemon squeezed on it.
The best places were the small towns an hour or so out of the city, in any direction (well, not west, that'd be kanagroo island or the sea).
And it was a small fortune for a pint of tired-looking slops.
Aaaaaarrghhhhh.

Kris said...

It sounds like my trip to Paris!

Christina said...

Sounds the complete opposite of mine and Phils trip in May.
We were totally blown away by how friendly and helpful every one was.
Maybe we went to the right places.
Nearly went to Cookies, glad we didn't now.
Wanted to go to BarLourhina but we just ran out of days.
Can't wait to go back and catch up on all we missed out on.

Fitzroyalty said...

Your description of the poor service and the attitude of the dumb young with their ridiculous sense of entitlement and lack of awareness of others is spot on. I'm glad you liked Julio - it's one of my favourites!