I've just finished traipsing up the length of the eastern seaboard and have a few snippets for you.
Too early for the famed Meyjitte Boughenout effort at Q1 (yet-to-be-completed tallest residential building in the galaxy). But, a fairly decent yum cha (by GC standards) can be had at Mandarin Court in Mermaid Beach. I heard a rumour that there is a very groovy cafe in an old 50s beachhouse (apparently there are 50s costumes for diners to dress up in if desired), but alas I couldn't find it before I left. Next time.
Degustation challenge - Byron Bay
Thought I'd challenge Byron's best to see if they could make my guts explode. Came close!
1. If you believe the awards in the window, Fins on the waterfront at the Beach Hotel (co-owned by Strop and Delvene Delaney I'm unreliably informed) would be the front-runner. I've been to Fins a number of times, but usually only for post-cheap meal dessert or wine and cheese. Service on this occasion was sadly not up to usual standards. Dishes were plonked down politely in front of us, but with no explanation as to what it was we were eating. Given that I'd made my mind up to be utterly 'degusting' before I arrived, I hadn't memorised the menu. It was a bit like eating blind. Food was good, but the experience was overall a bit of a let down.
2. Take two was at Dish. Ah Dish. I love Dish. I think I could live at Dish. They have the BEST cocktails - try an affotini (espresso martini) or the martini with apple liqueur and cardamom-infused vodka. Yes please! And while you're in the mood to be a boozy lounge lizard, Dish has lovely raised cushioned platforms for you to loll about on. Magic. Anyway - the degustation: This was where I came closest to a Mr Creosote moment. Just a wafer-thin waffle and I would have been guts galore! Food was ace, service was brilliant, my only complaint would be that there was perhaps too much food (fish dishes were spectacular, duck was divine, and the lamb shoulder was wonderful, so I'm not sure which dish I'd scrap - bugger it, have 'em all!).
3. While in Byron we also ate at Olivo. I loved it, but the bloke thought it was a bit of a yawn. Check it out for yourself. Highlight ... as an appetiser, oven-warmed olives were served with our pre-dinner drinks. Very classy.
Next stop - Sydney
All I can say about Sydney is: I love Macleay St Bistro. And if that waiter smiled at me like that one more time I just might have disgraced myself.
I have fond memories of Canberra. This trip soon took care of that. Ate at some groovy-looking place in a groovy-looking laneway (Cafe Essen? Something like that). The food looked good (pasta with roast vegetables), but was overly oily and the pasta was stuck together. Couldn't find a decent bar to save myself. Spent three days in our nation's capital feeling completely shitty! The bloody Lakeside Hotel did nothing to improve my mood.
Had the yummiest prawn and lobster ravioli at the Terminus Hotel in Richmond. It was a surprise to me too! My buddy had lamb shanks that easily rivalled those available at Teef (sorry Jim). When in Melbourne I like to dine in shabby style at Supper Inn, preferably at around 1:00am. Kitchen usually closes around 2:30 in the morning, by which time the place is bursting with staff from other Chinese restaurants around Little Bourke St. Gotta be good with clientele like that. I recommend the live pipis and the pigeon (served with the head on). Then, if you're in the mood for a bit of a boogie, check out Transport. It's a three-story venue across the road from Flinders St Station (part of the Fed Square complex). Outrageously tacky 80s disco on the ground floor had me drunkenly serenading the security staff (while somehow avoiding being thrown out). On the top floor is a gorgeous (and incongruous) jazz lounge. Loved it. Another excellent post-Supper Inn bevvie can be found at the Supper Club near Treasury. You'll need someone in the know to take you there (the entry is marked only by a plain wooden door, no sign). And for memories of affotinis, Double Happiness serves a delightful Espresso Martini. Had a lovely lunch at The Deanery, and will eagerly head back there for dinner next time I'm in town.
Back to the apple isle and spent a couple of nights at Hatherley House in Launceston. I only have two words to describe the gorgeousness of Hatherley House .... honour bar!
Thanks for your patience while I was away. And thanks to Ninje for sticking up for my appalling taste and utter lack of credentials. Silly me, I thought having tastebuds was credential enough.
p.s. Due to recent spamming to the HRB comments section, there is now an extra step in adding comments to this site. You're clever bunnies, you'll figure it out.