First surprise was the menu. I had been expecting to sit by and watch everyone indulging in Korean barbecue meats while I nibbled on kimchi, but the menu had lots of vegetarian options. But no sooner had we settled in with a Coopers pale for a serious consideration of the offerings, than a message came through from Mr 30. His train had been waiting at Malvern station for 10 minutes and there was no indication of a departure any time in the near future.
The next pleasant surprise was the arrival of the mystery surprise guest, a former neighbour and now local resident, who informed us that there was a train stuck at Carnegie station. So back to the muddy nature strip I went, for the mercy dash to Malvern.
A surprisingly short time later (after once more parking next to the muddy nature strip - you'd think I'd learn) we were back in the warmth of 7&7, where the others were already tucking into an entrée of seafood and pancakes.
An even shorter time later more dishes arrived. I enjoyed my spicy kimchi, tofu and rice while watching in awe as the others demolished mountains of food, culminating in an extravaganza of meat and vegetables cooked in simmering broth at the table.
A train sped through the Grange Road intersection as we passed nearby on Dandenong Road. We could only hope that the Koornang Road level crossing was clear as the train passed through.