Saturday, January 19, 2013

Discovery XXV-XXVI

Our first discovery for the new year was the Sicilian restaurant in Swan Street Richmond. There is nothing wrong with the Sicilian as such - the food is perfectly fine, but the place lacked that je ne sais quoi quality. It was very quiet, which is only to be expected for an early meal (we started at 6.30), but it was still very quiet by the time we left. Yes it was Tuesday; yes it was early in the new year; but even so.

So after some discussion about what to do next we repaired to the All Nations in nearby Lennox Street for a quiet ale. It is still a mystery to me why I've never been here before. Although this favourite of the Footy Almanac crew has been on my radar for years I'd somehow never made the short trip across Richmond to discover it. But now my life has changed. There is no going back. Except to the All Nations.

All Nations
All Nations

And so it came to pass that the following week's discovery was arranged to celebrate T-bone Tuesday at the All Nations. Unfortunately one of our number was unable to join us due to a rehearsal commitment, but the remaining three discoverers converged on the beer garden by foot (from Melbourne Park by way of Yarra Park and the back streets of East Melbourne and North Richmond, in my case) and by tram.

The tram traveller had already secured a prime position in the beer garden by the time I arrived, somewhat hot, thirsty and breathless. Mr 30 appeared shortly afterwards. My expectations of a vegetarian meal on T-bone Tuesday were not great so I was pleasantly surprised to see a few nice looking vegetarian options on the menu. I opted for goats cheese fritters served with a garnish of vegetables including green beans, beetroot and asparagus - and chips of course. The others chose T-bones with wedges, veggies and pepper sauce.

One of the lovely things about this pub is that once you're settled in the beer garden, you are served by a charming Irish waiter and you don't have to get up to go to the bar and get yourself a drink, unless the waiter forgets your order. Well yes that did happen, but whatever. Mr 30 just poured some of his pint into my glass to tide me over and all was well.

The meals are so reasonably priced and the service and surroundings are so delightful that you could not possibly find fault with this place. My only reservation is that it looks as though every discovery from now on will be T-bone Tuesday at the All Nations.

In the immortal words of Toby Keith, I love this bar.


Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Discovery XXIV

Discovery XXIV proved to be our last for the year, with Christmas and New Year usurping the final two Tuesdays of the month.

The Carringbush Hotel in Abbotsford was the destination of choice. I arrived hot and thirsty after a little bit of circling to find a parking spot. Driving to discovery is not my usual or preferred mode of travel, but seemed easier than chancing a possible connection between the tram and the 246 bus.

The hotel was cool and welcoming and I found two discoverers already seated in the quiet bistro area, which is nicely appointed with white tablecloths. A trip to the bar to check out the drink offerings was also rewarding, as among all the Collingwood paraphernalia was a photograph of Gary Ablett senior taking one of his fabulous marks. I already loved this place.

An attentive waiter attended to the table service and I was soon tucking into a pint of Fat Yak. Mr 30 arrived soon afterwards.

The menu is fairly small but has some more interesting food than the usual pub fare. Although there is a parma on the menu, it is disguised with an obscure title.

Our choices were the fish of the day (gummy shark); Madras beef curry; grilled ocean trout with tahini; and semolina gnocchi. This is the gnocchi. The semolina cakes were very soft and delicate, draped with a lovely pile of slivered asparagus, witloof and other greens. The richness of the gnocchi was nicely balanced with all the green stuff.

Semolina gnocchi
Semolina gnocchi
The other dishes were also nicely presented. This is the curry.

Madras beef curry
Madras beef curry
And the ocean trout.

Ocean trout
Ocean trout
The serving was so efficient and the food so delicious that soon we were ready to leave, after a final trip to the bar to pay tribute to Gary Ablett. The boys set off on foot as we drove home through the quiet back streets of Abbotsford, past the famous brewery, then over the river and through the cutting into the city of Boroondara.

I wonder what Discovery 2013 will bring?