Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Discovery night #4

It was my turn to choose a venue for discovery night 4, so I booked a table for three at Afghan Village, a little restaurant on Burke Road hill, on the Hawthorn side. The advantage of being on this side of Burke Road is that restaurants can be licensed without having to go through the rigmarole of polling local residents, which is the case for those establishments wishing to serve liquor in the dreaded dry zone which starts on the other side of the street.

Picture of light in Afghan Village restaurant
Afghan Village
Mr 30 was already seated at a window table when we arrived. After admiring the beautiful decorations and lighting we settled in to choose our dishes. We opted for one starter and two mains.

Badenjon bourani proved to be a lovely dish of eggplant with a lightly spiced sauce of tomato and yogurt. The meat eaters chose a lamb kebab dish with salad and Afghan nan and I chose cauliflower with rice. The cauliflower was very soft and delicately spiced. The rice was quite lovely, with a long exotic grain.

The servings were quite small so to round off the meal we chose another dish from the starters menu. Ashak - delicate leek pastries dressed in a yogurt and tomato sauce similar to that of the eggplant dish - were the highlight of the meal.

The drinks list is quite small but adequate and you can bring your own wine if you prefer.

I really liked Afghan Village. It qualified as our first true 'discovery' as none of us had been there before, despite its existence in the neighbourhood for over ten years. This is what discovery night is all about. We'll be back.


Friday, July 20, 2012

Discovery night #3

Discovery night 3 was transferred to the city to make it easier to get to St Kilda to catch Orsome Welles at the Espy.

First stop was the Cricketers Bar at the Windsor, which sadly has had a makeover which has not really improved it. Little Creatures is no longer on tap and the lettering on the window has been replaced. Luckily I still have a photo of that beautiful old window.

Cricketers Bar
Cricketers Bar
For discovery dinner we decided to try Cumulus Inc, which does not take bookings. We were advised to return in half an hour when a table would be available. The Atrium Bar at the Sofitel was just over the other side of Flinders Lane so we whiled away a happy half hour with a Pilsner Urquell, a French sparkling in a funny shaped glass and a malt whisky. No trip to the Atrium is complete without the obligatory trip to the bathroom, with its spectacular view over the eastern suburbs of Melbourne.

Back over the road to Cumulus Inc, where we were informed that there was no table available after all, either then or at any foreseeable time in the future. This is one restaurant we will not be bothering to visit again.

Tazio came to the rescue with quick and friendly service, a great beer list (we chose Hawthorn pale) and two fabulous pizzas: potato and blue cheese; and tomato, chilli and prawns.

After a lovely meal we walked up to Bourke Street from Flinders Lane to catch the 96 tram to St Kilda, arriving at the Espy just in time for the spectacular Orsome Welles performance. For once Discovery Night was not just about the food.

Espy band room
Espy band room