The Waiting Room…My New Favourite Place

Two days ago I read about The Waiting Room in local Melbourne online rag Broadsheet. This is Neil Perry’s newest addition to his already awarded and lauded collection of restaurants in Sydney and Melbourne – Rockpool and Spice Temple. It opened last night, a lucky and serendipitous (or perhaps it was already in my subconscious) find on our way home.

It is stunning. Although you need to go into the depths of the bar, past the front tables that are seated in the lobby of Crown Towers Complex at Southbank. These spots are ideal for people watching or, in fact, waiting. But do go into the back partitioned spaces or, if you can, claim the end table along the lounged wall.

Be prepared to be dazzled by the strategically places ceiling mirrors and the tiny mosaic of mirrors on the walls … or are they gemstones? You can’t miss the decorative candles adding a glimmer to the mood.

And prepared for the sumptuous cocktail menu – we shared three which I’m ashamed to say I can’t remember the names of but my favourite last night was one with raspberry, rum and ginger beer – it may be called Flocanda but I may be making that up… Another was one with a morbid kind of name with a citrus tinge and also one with pomegranate that was delicious but probably not given a chance to shine given it was the last of a few drinks earlier in the evening.

I can’t wait to get back there and am very much looking forward to trying the bar food menu.

Yes, I think I’ve found my new favourite place…

P.S. Was also lucky enough to see Neil Perry standing in the bar, on watch over his newest edition to the family

 

Check out Rockpool and TWR’s blog here

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Sunday at Middle Brighton Baths and Riva (St Kilda)

The sun was out – a rare showing in the gloomy Melbourne winter – so Khara and I took advantage of the rays (although no warmth came through we were thankful for the sunlight) and headed to Middle Brighton Baths for lunch. It is a fabulous decked restaurant/cafe with a stunning view over the bay and a collection of moored yachts. There was even one swimmer enjoying the emptiness of the baths.

We sat outside on the deck and really enjoyed the hints of spring. We started with a crispy garlic bread then I had the prawn and pork salad (thing crunchy asian vegetables) and Khara had the chicken caesar. We finished it off with a coffee – mine over a scoop of ice cream (affogato) and hers was an iced coffee. The food was nice enough but a little underwhelming. I think I should have chosen the fish and chips or hamburger instead.

Khara is leaving Melbourne this week and heading to Sydney for a couple of weeks before moving to London to live for the two years her Visa allows (or more if she loves it and is sponsored or married!). So the mood was cheery but the undercurrent a sad one.

We moved to Melbourne around the same time and in the past year she has been such a beautiful friend who I’ve become close with and will miss terribly. We have encouraged each other to make the most of Melbourne living, learned Spanish together and explored markets and other Melbourne must-dos. I have her to thank – without her friendship and support I don’t think I would have enjoyed the move her quite as much.

We plan to meet up in Spain next year to practice all the Spanish we’ve learned and will no doubt have forgotten by then!

After our relaxing seaside lunch we decided to walk along the foreshore to our next destination, Riva lounge/bar/restaurant in St Kilda, to meet my colleague and new-found friend Jaselyn for her birthday. It’s a decent 40 minute walk although the iPhone Google Map said over and hour so we must have powered past the strollers, dogs and families on bikes. It’s a lovely walk, one I recommend but I imagine it gets quite busy on a warm day.

We met Jaselyn and friends in the lounge area, slowly taking over the corner of the venue and incidentally making new friends with the people on the neighbouring lounge. It is positioned on the water and overlooks a very pretty view. Drinks were flowing, bowls of wedges were consumed, and there was a lot of laughing and some dancing by the fireplace as well (it IS still winter after all!). A fun evening with some beautiful people – thanks Jase!

Tonight Khara and I will have one last dinner together before she sets off on a new and exciting adventure (and just a little bit scary) at Cafe Tango, one of our old favourites. The theme is ‘not to be sad’ and we’ll be focusing on meeting up in Spain next year. But I am sad to be losing a friend overseas in my own selfish way I wish she wasn’t moving. At the same time I am very excited and happy and nervous for her new journey that lies ahead. Khara, I hope you start a blog…

Hasta luego mi amiga, Khara. Besos x

Cold Melbourne Night Out with Hot Friends!

Last Sunday night I was lucky enough to spend some quality time with my favourite Melbourne boys – Steve and Marcus – and the always lovely Kate. We went to test out Campari House in Hardware Lane, Melbourne, in preparation for Steve’s birthday plans.

Hidden away at the other end of town – I consider anything past Swanston heading toward Southern Cross Station the ‘other end’ – the funky restaurant/bar/lounge is a little hidden and competes with the selection of venues down the opposite end of Hardware Lane. I finally spotted the large sign, little red carpet and roping to welcome patrons and tramped up the many flights of stairs until I finally hit the charming rooftop bar.

The first thing I noticed was the smiling faces of my friends. The second thing were the empty tables and the third the funky wall made from doors. You’ll know what I mean when you see it! The menu was great – cocktails so enticing even I had one and ventured away from my usual vodka, soda, fresh lime.

Pizzas ruled the food menu and a fair selection of small plates was just enough. I had two small plates – salt & pepper calamari and the chipolatas and mushrooms which were both yummy. The boys had pizzas with perfect thin crusts and kate had two servings of balls – arancini and potato frittery ones. The food was delicious and worth the wait (yes, it did take a little while longer than it possible should have but made up for it in their deliciousness).

After that we ventured into the cold night air to Max Brenner for some chocolatey warmth with the bald man (I’m referring to Max…). It never fails to delight! I had a waffle with chocolate sauce, ice cream and sprinkles. My favourite although I could have just done with ice cream and sprinkles.

Love Magic day on Sundays (the day where you eat anything you want, no diets allowed!). And looking forward to going back to Campari House on Friday where we are indoors with a booth at the lounge thanks to the wonderful people at Campari House who are also on Twitter.