(Note: restaurant and bar links will take you to the original reviews posted on this blog)
It is always difficult when friends and acquaintances travel to Melbourne to catch up with me. It requires me to actually pick great and fun places to eat and drink at. Knowing there are so many, it is always a challenge. This weekend I was intending to impress more than usual so I decided to take my own advice as written in this blog before, and the results were very interesting.
In Sydney you would never be able to secure a table at a decent restaurant at 11:00 PM on a Friday night but there is no problem with that in Melbourne. I rang up The European and they were happy to oblige. After ordering wine, stake tartare and fois gras with stinky black truffles, the sommelier came over to apologise as he was under the impression the bottle of wine was damaged. Upon further inspection, it did have a very faint disappointing smell however he was happy to take it away and replace it with another bottle. Not only I was impressed by the professionalism but appreciated the gesture. Given we would have just drank the bottle, it was refreshing to see service go out of their way and not wait to be called out on a potential issue. My guest enjoyed the fois gras and truffles and was frothing at the mouth in anticipation as he read my previous blog post whilst experiencing the delay getting to Melbourne thanks to Qantas.
After a great late dinner, we left The European and made our way to Manchuria. We were looking forward to early morning Zombies and at $30/each, the bar was happy to deliver them to our table. The bar, considering the time was relaxed and there was a good vibe. Unlike anywhere you would find in Sydney at that time, or really many other places in Melbourne, it was good knowing that we could retreat to Manchuria, have a great time and also enjoy some table service along with potent drinks.
On Saturday, the weekend of debauchery continued and I found myself at The Hairy Canary for lunch. Sharing Jamon Serrano pizza and washing it down with Cricketers Arms Beer seemed appropriate. The service was much more attentive and friendly when compared to my last visit which was refreshing.
Bar Americano was next on the list. Although only two cocktails were had, with one being the aptly named "Americano" was as classic as the service. Bar Americano once again proved why it is my favourite boozer that I have discovered since writing this blog and constantly not only impresses but exudes the personality of Melbourne.
Contrasting Bar Americano to the next destination, The Rooftop Bar is pretty easy especially when you are transitioning from classic cocktails in a very small room with drinking pints out of plastic glasses outside but it was worth it. As usual, it was a relaxed experience and I was grateful to see the Saturday afternoon drinkers not taking anything too seriously.
Gin Palace was the next stop and multiple Winston Churchill Martini's were consumed. It is so easy to get sucked into the lounges and chatter away whilst the very efficient table service takes care of you. By the time we left, we were both in great moods and in able to solve the big problems in the world.
Finally Der Raum was frequented. My message remains consistent that Der Raum in my opinion is the best bar in Australia and time and time again, they repeat a process of providing superior drinks and service in a lively and fun atmosphere. When I want to impress visitors, this place is always on my list and continues to evolve from strength to strength. I am just pleased that they put up with my antics especially knowing that I was not in the most sober state, but they have fun with it always ensuring that the guests are safe also.
The activities for Sunday will be addressed in the next blog post so this is the first part of a two part diatribe.
e-mail: epicureanofsouthbank (at) gmail (dot) com