Have you seen “Romy & Michelle's High School Reunion”? At their 10-year school reunion the two stars (Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow) pretend to be high-flying execs in order to impress their schoolyard nemeses. Like me, Romy and Michelle suffered high school in the 80s. Also like me, Romy and Michelle had to put up with the popular girls ... in my case, girls I wanted to push into the beaker cabinet in the science room, girls who referred to themselves as "The A Crowd" (wankers).
Anyway, on a road trip to the reunion, Romy and Michelle walk into a diner in their smart suits and ask the waitress if they have a "Business Woman's Special ... because we're business women". (They claim to have invented Post-It Notes, but that’s a whole 'nother pack of giggles).
So, when my girlie friends and I hop out for a rapid-fire one-hour lunch mid-week, I often find myself giggling, tempted to ask for the "Business Woman's Special". But being so restrained (and classy) I don't. But here are my recent efforts at Business Ladies' Lunches:
Knopwoods - food's been back on at Knoppy's for a while now (hurrah). The menu has recently changed and gone are the chilli mussels (boo hoo) to be replaced with nachos, chicken laksa, and a monster beef burger. I had the laksa the other day (very cheap, something like $7 or $9 - excuse my memory). It was presented in a small noodle bowl with a large layer of garnishes on top (bean spouts, fried onion, chopped egg, coriander, etc). The problem was that I found myself having to eat a layer of mulch before I could get to the laksa. This resulted in the laksa tasting bland cos all the yummy garnishes were gone. The laksa needs to be in a bigger bowl (not a bigger serve by any means, great value for the price) so that I can at least get my spoon into it and appreciate all the flavours as they were intended.
Blue Skies - Bet you never thought you'd see the day, but I had lunch at Blue Skies. And liked it, what's more. First day of winter, and I sat in the warm sunshine blissing out. Off came my coat, then my scarf. It was warm. First day of winter my arse! Lunch was pretty good. I'm not convinced that blue cheese and sugar snap peas are an ideal taste combination, and I'm not sure that it's kind to overwhelm succulent and sweet chunks of lobster with blue cheese sauce either. But you know what? It kinda worked. Maybe it was the sunshine, maybe it was just so ace to sit looking out over the water, sun streaming down on my cheeks. The dish was an entrée (around $17 – it was lobster after all) and very filling. But I tell you what; the two behutches who plonked themselves at the next table and complained about how hot it was sure shattered my spell. Whinge, whinge, bloody whinge!
Telegraph Hotel - The old Brooke St Bar goes by the more sophisticated moniker of The Telegraph Hotel these days. They've put some comfy couches into the dining section. I've eaten here three times. About six months or so ago I had a calamari salad that was abysmal (sorry, but the calamari was like rubber bands). A couple of weeks ago our table was served a cold lasagne and a cold soup (which were promptly nuked in the microwave when pointed out, but by then the mystique was gone), and then the other day I shared nachos that left me feeling the other side of well. The Tele is great for a Friday night bevvie (if you can wade past the hordes of lawyers and Hydro employees), but until proved otherwise, this is off my Business Ladies Lunch list.
Fish Frenzy - Have eaten here thrice. Twice having the smoked salmon salad (delicious) and once having the "seafood" chowder (if they'd called it fish soup with carrot and celery they would have been more on the money). Fish Frenzy's salads are definitely a goer. I'm not a huge fan of deep fried stuff, but their chips are great. Prices aren't bad and a good wine list.
Verdict: I would say that Knoppy's is the best value (and what a good venue for a winter lunch in front of that fantastic fire). But please, bring back the mussels; I'm having withdrawal symptoms!