Bars & pubs

Bars & pubs, Restaurants

Elasticised trousers and the taste police

Four speeding fines, severe dyspepsia and stained trousers (on the groin, of course).To be honest I’m feeling a bit like a Wim Delvoye artwork. I mean a cloaca machine, not a tattooed pig.Such is the life of someone who agree to become one of the taste police and review 27 pub restaurants and cellar doors in the six weeks up to 13 August.At least I didn’t have to visit over 60 joints, as one of my colleagues did in judging […]

Bars & pubs, Drinks

Green fairies and banana vodka

Contrary to my expectations banana vodka, served in a beautiful cut crystal glass, is very good at Borsch, Vodka & Tears (173 Chapel St, Prahran +61 9530 2694) But what is most special is the absinthe (aka the green fairy) ritual here. The liqueur is poured from an antique receptacle to a glass in which a spoonful of sugar is tipped. Then our waitress sets fire to it. It really is quite spectacular and I am told that, to date, […]

Bars & pubs, Vietnam, Wine

Drink within your means

How much should you pay for wine? Or let’s put it this way: How much more than the cost of food should wine be? In Melbourne the cost of a main course in a restaurant is fast catching up with the cost of wine. If I’m feeling poor I may spend $40 to $50 on a bottle in a restaurant. Feeling rich and I may double the figure. To put this into context in the kinds of restaurants where I’m […]

Bars & pubs, Restaurants

Not the Barri Gòtic

There’s something about those dark back alleys that get to me. My first taste for it was in Europe, the alleyways of ancient Italian towns. The south of France. And who can resist the pull of Barcelona’s Barri Gòtic. And so it is with Melbourne a city that hides laneways off laneways, among jumbled warehouses built when the city was a Gold town. Hosier Lane is probably one of the most interesting, covered with stencil art and filled with various […]

Bars & pubs, Restaurants

Pommy bashing season opens with watery beer

Only four alcoholic drinks can be bought by each person. I didn’t persuade the crowd from toasting the All Blacks despite the raw sewage nectar served up to 50,000 at the Commonwealth Games Rugby 7s at the Telstra Dome. Mistake #1 Buying a burger. I should have picked-up that crust I saw on the street. The food is overpriced and nasty here. Instead wait until a break and pop over to Mecca Bah (55a Newquay Promenade, Docklands +61 3 9642 […]

Bars & pubs

Big night is a winner

Those nasty bain maries have been warming the food all day. I must be stupid, drugged or drunk (or a combination of all three) to order from any. But at 2am in Crown Casino there are few choices. This is the worst sweet and sour pork I have ever eaten. This picture flatters the dish. The pork is dry and chewing clogging not only my arteries but also my cavities. Where else could I go out, trawl a classic car […]

Bars & pubs, Restaurants, Wine

How to scam free drinks. Yeah!

How is it that restaurants keep forgetting to charge me for so many drinks. What is astonishing is how often it happens. I don’t set out to scam free drinks and sometimes I even notice we weren’t charged. When I have noticed I’ve almost always tipped better (Usually at least 10 per cent) than usual. Could this be a scam by wait staff to get better tips? If it were, I’d love to know Try these out and see how […]

Bars & pubs

Friday night: checking the world view, through a beer glass

Friday night and I’m just helping my neighbour, Rob, see the world differently through a few beers. The Dogs Bar (54 Acland St, St Kilda, 3182 +61 3 9534 3075) is my local, a hundred or so yards down my street and left into Acland. It is not just a St Kilda institution but a Melbourne one also being the first proper bar in the City at a time of draconian drinking laws. The best thing about this place in […]

Bars & pubs, Bloody Mary, Drinks

Best Bloody Mary in Melbourne

Think fusion. Melbourne’s bar staff are muddling Asian flavours with traditional ingredients. Welcome to the new wave Bloody Mary. Forget a shaft of celery; a dash of sherry, plenty of lemon juice, and tabasco. Think sake, wasabi, horseradish, baby tomatoes basil and coriander.BLOODY MARY SAN Ginger 272 Brunswick St Fitzroy 3065 (03) 9419 8058 Called the Breakfast Bloody Mary, this one has 45ml of pepper vodka compared to the usual 30. Muddled with Worcestershire Sauce, celery salt, cracked pepper, wasabi, […]