The Cosmopolitan, Trentham

Trolling in Trentham

The exception proves the rule, actually I’m not sure what this means but given that it is not Thursday but we are eating in a pub, and yes we are talking, but no we are not walking it would seem like an apt saying.

Thelma and I have taken a road trip, not to the Grand Canyon, although that features in the story but to Trentham, to the Cosmopolitan Hotel to be precise for a leisurely Sunday lunch. Why? Well, Thelma and I have a tradition of escaping from the city for a long weekend of talking and forking and not much else every Melbourne Cup. Last year it was the wineries of McLaren Vale, this year was to be Coonawarra but as often happens, life gets in the way; well actually it was Sharon’s 60th birthday in Las Vegas, to be precise. Thelma, after some soul searching and consultation, and not one to miss “An Occasion”, is off to “Vegas Baby” on the very weekend we are to be amongst vineyards of the Terra Rossa. So, anyhow we decided to take ourselves to Sunday Lunch in the country as a bon voyages and commiseration.
Where to go? A couple of months the Age had an article on country pubs to visit (The Age, Epicure May 22 2012, pg 4) and Thelma and I, always ones for an outing and an advisory list, decided we would work our way through the suggestions, including the follow up ones from the readers (The Age, Epicure May 29 2012, pg 8). So it was off to Trentham for lunch at the Cosmopolitan. Trentham is, a small, shady town, it is always cool there not full of undesirable types, (I don’t think), about an hour’s drive up the Calder.The Cosmopolitan is a burnt out shell, having been the victim of a fire several years ago but the ‘pub, bar and meals ’ is running out of the renovated stables, with the meals being supplied by the kitchen on wheels to the side. I have so say that the kitchen is an example of Aussie spirit as they are plying their wares from a mobile kitchen, have to wonder how they will cope in summer, although this is Trentham and I doubt that true heat will be an issue. The cottage style garden separates the pub from the stables and being Spring was showing the promise of things to come , so we chose to sit on the terrace overlooking the garden to enjoy its ambiance, which was greatly enhanced when the waiter turned on the gas heater, have I mentioned that Trentham is somewhat chilly.

When we arrived a woman was chatting to the waiter, she was apparently a bridesmaid from the last nights wedding, she had come to reclaim the bride’s veil and by the look of her “a good time had been had by all”.
What we ate: for starters after discussion with the waiter, we tried the local tasting plate ($28). The waiter explained that the plate consisted of 3 x 60ml glasses of local wine (1 white & 2 red) and several, locally sourced morsels. We decided that this sounded like a good starting point so we would share. What we got, yes 3 generous tastes of wine and the tasting plate consisted of 1 spring roll, fresh ingredients but lacking a dipping sauce, a morsel (squash ball size) of stuffed chicken breast from the main menu and a taste of the braised neck on a spoonful of rice, also from the main menu. Do you get the sense that we were somewhat disappointed and a little miffed – for future reference, perhaps the suggestion that this wasn’t really a sharing plate or perhaps order two, but having said that, I would have been most upset to pay $56 for two serves of these morsel plates!

Given the limited menu, totally understandable given the limited kitchen, and the fact that we had tried two of the for mains on offer in the tasting plate what to have next? Thelma opted for the stuffed chicken breast with asparagus and potato($30). Me, I went for the bar menu and the pumpkin gnocchi with a fresh tomato sauce ($20), Ok but the serve was an entre size and I thought $20 for commercial gnocchi with a tomatoe sauce was a bit rich, and not the sauce.

What we drank, on the strong recommendation of the waiter, and having tasted it as part of our starter, we had a glass each of the Harcourt Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 and it was delicious. Would have happily had more but at $9.50 a glass and as one of us was driving, not a good idea.

Having had starter and main, and being dissatisfied with both, now what? We were expecting to enjoy a leisurely lunch and as this was our aim, we were disappointed; when you start costing the meal, critiquing the quality and realising that this was not value for money, you know you won’t be back.
We decided to have a troll around the shops, including one set up as an artists collective, where all the money goes to the artist, an idea that we “fellow travellers” wish to support. Sorry, would have liked to support further by putting web link here but can’t find it – if you are in Trentham, it is the shop in the main street, across the road from the pub. The wife man running it was due to have a baby the day we were there, this could be a further clue, just look for a newish pram and tired parents.

Deciding we needed cheering and comfort food we went to Redbeard for coffee and cake. Redbeard is very strong and proud in its principles, they use natural yeast, organic ingredients, are carbon neutral, artisan and the 19th century Scottish oven is fired using plantation hardwood. Naturally there’ s a sign on the coffee machine says” No decaf or skinny milk as we believe in whole foods. Redbeard, with its observation window into the bakery, has the sense of a community hub, with, we assume locals happily reading newspapers and seemingly owning the space, notice board for the community as well as “What’s hot @ Redbeard” where they tempt you to bread making classes. ”. I had rhubarb tea cake, with the compulsory dusting of icing sugar (which is pointless and should be banned) and Thelma had a conker, truffle like ball with glace fruit and coated in coconut, coffees ok but a little tepid, or were we just feeling jaded?

In all and as always, Thelma and I had an enjoyable outing even though it wasn’t the leisurely and luxurious lunch we were hoping for. Now Thelma has winged her way to Vegas, including the compulsory visit to the Grand Canyon, and I am plotting our next country pub outing.


Jam and Cream

Sunday, 9 September, 2012

In a world of microwaved scones, fizzy cream and pretend jam, Thelma and I found an oasis of Nannaness and even though it isn’t a pub and even though it wasn’t Thursday, we felt we should share.

Thelma had heard about Jam and Cream and as it was a lovely day for a drive and Brad Pitt was otherwise engaged, we decided to investigate, all very Miss Marple.

The washing line in the front window, displaying freshly laundered Nanna type ‘smalls’ semaphored its intention loud and clear – this was a cafe of “old fashioned family values”.

I have to say it is an odd spot for a Nanna Cafe, in a service road, next to the discount shoe shop and round the corner from a couple of shuttered asian takeways but there it was, a piece of nostalia in Heidleberg Heights.  Any how in we went, tables were decoupaged with 1950s dress patterns, doilies were stencilled on the floor and the cash register is a reminder of the days before digital, and ever decimal currency.

Jam and Cream is run by a group of women who obviously enjoy and have a passion for a gentler, analogue time but most importantantly for quality food that Nanna not only would approve of but be slightly jealous that she had been out baked.  Have to say that my Nanna was not the best cook, she made excellent lamingtons and a mean roast but her pastry  could be used for roof tiling.

At Jam and Cream, the menu is purely 1950s home baking; there are sausage rolls, pinwheel sandwiches, sponge cake, slices and scones of every hue.  As Thelma noted, they are practicing the art of Experimental Sconing.  The Savoury scones had names like: Alfred, Clifford, Gilbert, Basil and Montgomery that reflect days and baking gone by.  The sweet scones were more ambitious, they started with Plain Jane (Traditional with jam and cream), but included Bertha (a Mars Bar scone), May (lemon & poppy seed served with lemon curd & cream) and ones with coconut, ginger and white chocolate, but not at the same time.  And the best thing about these scones, they are baked to order, yes, not pre done and ‘nuked’ or sitting on a counter going stale but rather baked to order.

What we had: Thelma went for the Plain Jane, your traditional plain scone with raspberry jam and cream and naturally a pot of tea (house blend) ($13), they were excellent exactly as a scone should be and the accompanying jam and cream was delicious and plentiful.  I had the pinwheel sandwiches ($9.50) and they were a grown up version of the fairy bread pinwheels I remember as a child; fillings include; squashed egg and ham.  Note for the whippersnappers: fairy bread pinwheels were available.  As we felt we had room for a little something else, and with the good  grace of the cook, we spilt a serve of scones and I had a May scone, with lemon curd and Thelma, in typical fashion went the truly exotic and had  a Beryl, one with cherry, coconut, served with chocolate ganache and cream, apparently delicious but mighty messy.

The tea was plentiful, proper tea pots, with tea leaves and at least three cups per pot and naturally it was served in proper cups and saucers, the good ones that Nanna would have kept for best.  Actually the cup in the photo had strong childhood resonances for Thelma as cups like this belonged to her Nanna.

And that is  the other interesting thing, for  Women of a Certain Age, Jam and Cream provides nostalgia, similar to the couple sitting behind us, singing along with the 1950s music, this was their courting music.  For the stylish yet eclectic young women sitting next to us, this was retro and for the Mother with the young girl and boy this was an illustration of ‘old fashioned family values’.

Just a final point I need to make: icing sugar has no place on scones, in fact icing sugar has no place in anything other than icing.  It drives me nuts,  why dust anything with icing sugar that doesn’t represent the Swiss Alps because all it manages to do is coat the bosooms in fine white powder, make everything slightly sticky and make you look like you have been snorting coke (not cola!).  I also have an issue with the affectation of dusting with paprika, one question -why? Here ends my rant, but be warned, this is my quest, the end to food dusting.

The Royal Oak

Thursday, 6 September 2012

The Royal Oak

We got soaking wet on our walk last night.

The evening started well, quite a nice night for a walk really as we hadn’t seen each other for two weeks, given Thelma’s theatre outing last week and there was plenty to talk about.  The main topics were the state of play with The Mother and the issues faced by Women of a Certain Age(WOACAs) in the workforce.   Regarding The Mother, after some confusion, she is off to have a shoulder reconstruction next week.  This means she won’t be playing in the finals, and will probably impact on her pre-season, but she should be right to return mid season 2013, should Geelong need her (Go Cats).

Regarding WOACAs, both Thelma and I,  fair to say, are well experienced and credentialed in our respective fields, and the issue is becoming, where to from here? Both of us are practitioners.  We really don’t want to take on management role where budgets, spread sheets and strategic planning are the focus of daily life; not that either of us mind offering an opinion on such matters, but we don’t want to be responsible for them. So where do we go?  This was the main topic on our journey.

Our walk took us to The Royal Oak, a quiet, unpretentious local pub, with a TAB and few patrons in the front bar. The strongest feature of the pub is the friendly nature of the staff.  When we arrived, the woman behind the bar introduced herself as “Alison”, and told us that she had taken over the Oak ten days ago. She has an Irish lilt and a genuine warmth that bodes well for the pub’s future.

Meanwhile for the here and now:  I have to say the on tap beer selection limited at best: Carlton Draught, Coopers Original Pale Ale and Bulmers Cider (I know its not beer, but it is on tap!).  We were offered a broader range in bottles, but that is not  part of “The Rules”.  We started with two pots of Coopers at $4.40 each.

The menu was an interesting mix: Thai Tuna Patties and Asian Chicken Coleslaw mixed in with pub standards of rissoles and mash and chicken parma.  When faced with such choices, I always following the sage advice of the Wise Stu, “When ordering food, remember where you are.” As the victim of many disappointing Thai Fish Cakes in country and non country pubs, I have taken this advice as a mantra. The Oak is a pub, nothing more or less, so I avoid the ‘asian’ and went with the pub cuisine.  This view was further solidified by the lovely Alison who told us that the Asian meals were ‘inspired’ rather than authentic.

What we ate: on Alison’s recommendation, I had sweet lipped snapper with salad and chips ($17).  Can’t you just imagine a fish with coral lipstick and a touch of gloss?  Thelma had the chicken parma, with, after much consideration, chips and salad (16), not veg and mash. Thelma will always be tempted by mash but your classic pub parma is chips and salad!

The friendly nature of the staff was further enhanced by the chef (assuming so as he had a stripey apron and came from the kitchen) who stopped by and asked us if we enjoyed our meals and actually seemed interested in the response.  We did, and at $50.40 for honest pub grub of two mains and 4 pots of beer you can’t complain!

After the repast, we continued on our way, and then the skies opened, the wind howled and the umbrellas blew inside out, so we caught the tram as far as we could but still managed to get soaked in the tropical downpour that is indicative of Melbourne’s Spring.  I discovered what a ‘shower proof jacket’ means , you get wet when it rains, and Thelma discovered that wearing summery clothes at the beginning of spring is naïve at best and leaves you soggy at worst.

Finally a confession

I’m not sure whether you have noticed, or care but the postings on our blog have been random at best over the last couple of month; there are reasons and I have become a ‘frozen moment’ about it.  I have had the drafts and images but something happened between that and the actual completion.  No more! I have decided to get over it, and get on with it. I will do my best, the posts will reflect our experience and the date we were there will be noted, they will be posted as soon as it can and hopefully the backlog will be clear in the next month. Confession over.

The Parkview Hotel

Thursday, 14 June 2012

I know it’s not the best photo, but have a good look.  See the figure on the top of the post? Thelma and I tried very hard to get a clear image but give that we are just using a basic phone camera this isn’t a bad effort.  Now to the real questions who, what and why, and will we ever know?

Actually I wonder if there are figures on other tram stops?

Life at the moment is topsy-turvy; Brad Pitt is still in the country ministering to The Mother, I am still on zoo keeping duties, so Thelma and I demonstrating flexibility by not so much walking but rather feeding, driving,then taking and forking, so the essential part of the evenings activities are still intact. These are really the most important parts anyway.

Now nothing gladdens the heart like 2 for 1 offer, and that was the sign that beckoned us to The Parkview, two mains for the price of one.

With such a budget saver, Thelma noted that “we can have as much beer as we like, and dessert!”  Well we didn’t go that mad but we did start with nachoes ($11) because we could . And they were exactly what you would expect of $11 pub nachoes, nothing more, nothing less.

Interestingly, even though it was a Thursday and I assume a pay night for many, the pub, bistro and even the pokies area seemed very quiet, perhaps this is why the 2 for 1 offer?  The lack of patrons seemed to encourage the barman to chat, we were offered wine but as you know, Thursday is beer night. After some discussion we went with Thunder Road full steam pale ale x 2( $11).  The barman, a friendly man with time on his hands was more than happy to chat and we all agreed that Thunder Road was a good ‘summer’ beer and apparently its a local brew, from Brunswick.

What we ate: Thelma went for the beef cheeks, celeriac puree, roast field mushrooms, dutch carrots and mushroom sauce ($16).  Apparently, while hot, the beef cheeks were enjoyable but as they cooled they got tougher. Me? I had scotch fillet with roast veg and mash, and despite the garlic butter recommendation from the barman, went the red wine jus; should have gone the butter.

Finally a word of warning regarding the sobriety test on the way to the loo; it’s 1/4 step down then 1/2 step up; easy to miss and the result would be unattractive.

Lifeus interruptus

Thursday, 7 June 2012

One of the challenges of being a woman of a certain age is having a mother of a certain age.

The Mother dislocated her shoulder; not, she would want me to let you know, through an old lady fall, but rather hefting carpet and getting her feet tangled in the bottom of it.

Anyway the up shot is that Brad Pitt has gone to the country to tend to The Mother, as she needs support with tying laces,  cutting food and general domestic support, he is NOT needed for personal care, much to his and The Mother’s relief.

This change in circumstances leaves me now responsible for managing the menagerie  and disrupts the elegant flow of the Thursday Night.

Thelma and I decided that flexibility was required, so rather than our usual routine of walk, talk and fork, we massaged, trained and pizzaed. First we went for a neck and shoulders massage at Lu’s Healthcare at the QV Centre.  Lu’s is one of the myriad of massage shops that has opened in the last couple of years, initially I was suspicious, how good can a franchise massage shop be?  Well, I have to say, very good, serious deep tissue chinese massage, just what was required after a fairly fraught week.

After a good work out at Lu’s, we floated to the train and to feeding time at the menagerie.  That done, Thelma and I sat down to repeats of repeats of The Big Bang Theory and pizza from Pizza e Vino and a bottle of durif. Pizza was good, thin crust, fresh ingredients; we had L’Atomica $15.50 and Verdura $15 and most importantly, they home deliver.

Although the evening was enjoyable, hopefully we shall resume normal transmission next week.

Percy’s Bar at the Astor Hotel

Thursday 31 May, 2012

It was Thelma’s turn tonight and she opted for Percy’s Bar.  There was a moments confusion when were planning our journey as she was determined that Percy’s was on the corner of Lygon and Alexandra Pde, whereas I ‘knew’ it was Lygon and Elgin.  We knew if we walked down Lygon st one of us would be proved right; and I was!

Walking down Lygon Street means running the gauntlet of the spruikers from the phalanx of Italian restaurants that Lygon street, especially at the city end.  This is a tedious process, and tests the patience, how many times does Signora have to say “no thanks” when asked if we want to see the menu for dinner and “no, we don’t care if it is warm inside” – we are feeling decidedly frosty out here.

I understand that everyone needs to make a living but I would like to offer the following advice to the Lygon St Spruikers Guild.  When you are purposefully  walking and talking down the street, not strolling, looking  wistfully into windows like something out of Lady and the Tramp, there are no signals that we are in need of garlic bread and carbonara of any sort, if you need to say something, try,” lovely evening” and maybe next time when I am in the need of carbonara, I will come to your establishment.

Anyhow having fought our way through “Little Italy”, we were at Percy’s Bar at the Astor Hotel, on the corner of Elgin Street.  Percy’s is a well know establishment, owned by Percy Jones, a legendary Carlton football player, he must  be legendary as I know about him and my football knowledge is limited to the odd fact I have picked up from my Geelong mad aunty, “Go Catters!”.

Now before you say “Bar”?!”, Percy’s is a pub in the classic  tradition, there is a front bar, populated by classic style patrons and at the back is the bistro, I assume, in times gone by it was “the lounge”.

We went in through the bistro, did discuss whether we could eat there but then determined that in the spirit of The Quest ‘bistro’ did not fit in to The Rules.  We managed to get the only table in the bar, next to the Hot Cupa Nutz machine  and sat under the shrine to the Carlton Football club, dominated by a photo of Perce and Alex Jesaulenko holding a cup aloft.  Don’t expect more details as that is stretching the limits of my footy knowledge, and Thelma knows decidedly less that I do on matters of the local religion.

Looking round I realised two things, we were the only women in the bar area, and when ‘young people’ came in to the pub, they avoided the main bar and its regulars and congregated at the end near the bistro,that was their place.

Sitting, holding court on the other side of the bar was Perc himself.  The general bar chatter was football and Carlton in particular and the regulars looked to Percy for acknowledgment and approval of their ideas.  As one said:”He’s the boss, the Buddha”.

The menu in the bar was limited and classic:, chips, sausage and mash, steak and naturally a parma and chips .  Thelma opted for steak, feeling in need of the iron, I was not inspired until I saw that you could have corned beef, from the bistro menu.  Now in my thinking corned beef is a pub bar meal, I would never have ordered the roast duck, that would be far to fancy but after consultation it was agreed that corned beef fitted into our remit and budget. And can I say it was delicious!  The meals were excellent.   Thelma had  rump steak with chips and paid a bit extra for salad, but with this she also got a free pot. Now salad in many pubs can be a few tired leaves and a bit of tomato, but not here it was fresh and plentiful, the steak was cooked to her liking “on the medium side of rare” and the chips were plentiful but not over whelming.

My corned beef was better than my Nanna used to make who tended to boil things into submission , with mash, fresh  broccoli peas and beans that weren’t cooked within an inch of their lives.  There was a small dish of sauerkraut and mustard sauce to pull the whole thing together.  Again, fresh and delicious.

The beer, well given that the signage throughout the bar was Carlton, so it was not a surprise that the only beer on tap was Carlton Draught.  Other beers could be had in a bottle, and I guess at a price, but that would break the rules.

All up, our dinner cost $45, and I would have to say good value as well as delicious.

On our way out, use the facilities, it’s a long walk home you know, Lygon St to Merri Station.  Have to say that I was bemused but the advertisement in the ladies, it was  a poster for steak.  Perhaps it could be seen as a health message to encourage women to increase their  iron uptake.

Just a comment on the “Walk” part of our evening, I was injured in the line of duty. Note to self: trim toe nails before undertaking significant walk in boots or the results can be ugly.

Gasometer Hotel

Thursday 24 May 2012

As usual, Thelma came to me but before we set out, I checked the BOM Melbourne radar site, the radio had been warning all day of storms so didn’t want to be caught out.  Actually BOM is  a favourite site of mine, because as a dog walker, it is very useful to know whether the dark clouds are serious or not.

It was my turn to pick so decided our destination would need to be on a tram track, to  give us an option in case of inclement weather.  Chose the Gasometer, in Collingwood. The last time we were there it was a mock Irish pub and Thursday night was “International Parma Night”. You know Hawaiian Parma, with pineapple, Italian with Napoli sauce and Mexican parma with salsa and guacamole .

As we were walking along Smith Street, it was a good chance for me to show Thelma Sharon’s big budgie. No, it not a euphemism; let me explain.   Sharon West, a friend, teaches visual arts at the Indigenous Arts Unit of the School of Art, RMIT University. Through her art she examines the relationship between settler and Indigenous cultures within the context of Australian colonial art history.

Sharon won the award for Excellence in Conceptual Photography at the Kodak Salon at the Centre for Contemporary Photography and part of her prize was to have her work displayed on bill boards in Collingwood.  Hence her big budgie and big magpie (quite appropriate for the streets of Collingwood) are on the wall of the Seven Eleven in Smith Street.  They are quite an impressive sight, as they are huge, imagine a pony size budgie. Interestingly, Sharon gets to keep the posters when they are taken down. Now given that they are the size of a regular billboard, we are wondering she will do with them. Feature wall in her flat, doona cover, thoughts?

Arriving at the Gasometer we were welcomed by the warmth of two open fireplaces. We discovered the focus of the cuisine has narrowed somewhat so from International Parmas, it now has an Eastern European focus;  Polish chicken, wiener schnitzel, meatballs with vodka and dill sauce and smoked salmon goulash. There was also two pages of vegan meals and they boast that there is a vegan only deep fryer and they don’t use any pre-made products.

What we ate: Thelma had wiener schnitzel, that was beef, not veal and made the profound comment that it tasted “beefy not veally’.  Most profound!

Me? I had the polish chicken and dumplings, I had a vision of meaty casserole and fluffy dumplings.  The reality was more like a poor version of Mum’s chicken casserole but without the meaty bits of chicken or the veg, (three bits of carrot and two of potato do not veggies make). What I got was dumpling like gnocchi, when what I had imagined was fluffy and substantial – ‘ my bad’ because had I thought about it I had had east European dumpling at Koliba Czech and Slovak Restaurant and was equally disappointed.

What we drank: Prickly Moses Red Ale and Collaborator Brown Ale ($12.50) – according to the barman, the was only 2 kegs of Collaborator made, which is a pity really as it was a smooth and full bodied, a truly noicedrop.

Overall cost: meals $46, beer $12.50 = 58.20;  just under budget

Before I go just a piece of advice to the tall barman, when you ignore the woman of a certain age waiting for service at the bar to engage with the tattooed twenty something that just walked in to check out the menu and then just walks out again; serves you right.  Just saying!

Lord Newry

Thursday, 17 May 2012

This was a nice night for a walk, even the possums in the Exhibition Gardens thought so.  That was  until a cyclist came towards one of them as it waddled across the path; there was a moment’s hesitation and then it swung into the overhanging foliage of an oak tree.  As it did so it so cunningly avoiding the possum barrier on the trunk of the tree and disappeared into the tree, for, one presumes, a feast of forbidden foliage.  Note to City of Yarra Parks and Gardens: possums is smart.

As the evening was almost balmy, we decided to pick the Lord Newry, a pub that was a ‘good walk’ from the city, keeping the pubs closer in for when the weather is inclement.  Our logic here is that if the weather is miserable we walk to the closest pub on our list then we can catch the tram the rest of the way to Merri.  Honour is then satisfied as we have walked and we have’ pubbed’.

The last time Thelma and I were at the Lord Newry was the week before the ‘No smoking in pubs’ legislation came into place.  Things have changed at the Newry, no smoking inside for a start.  There has also been a refurbishment of the pub in the last couple of years, but the main feature of the Newry is its sense of genuineness, in contrast to the display home feel of The Tramways that we visited last week.

I quickly learnt the pub had been refurbished when I followed the sign for  the toilets that directed me “through the dining room”.  I wandered, I searched but no dining room, because yes, the pub had been refurbished and what had been the dining room was the pool room and yes, there were still toilets.

At the Newry you get the sense that is is a locals’ local; from the table of drinkers complete with large black dog out the front that you know have been here before and will be there in the future, to the posters advertising the pool competition, this is a place that holds a place in the community, or at least that’s what it feels like.

The menu reflected the sense of genuineness of the Newry, yes it has been refurbished but it hasn’t lost its soul What we ate: Thelma went for the Cumberland sausage ( the whiteish, spiral one) with mash, peas onion and rosemary gravy ($18). Thelma is a great fan of peas and mash. Me, I had an excellent parma, proper chicken breast with a Napoli sauce that had a hint of warmth (chili) to it ($19). And we drank: Coopers Pale Ale and Fat Yak (nothing too fancy here) – $9.70.  So all up dinner cost $46.70

Perusing the menu, we came upon Breakfast – 12 till 5pm Friday, Saturday and Sundays; with such breakfast stalwarts as Chicken schnitzel, fried eggs, saukraut, chips and salad.  So many things are wrong with this and then you realise that you are not the demographic they are trying to appeal to. Perhaps the next time Thelma and I have a big night on the sherry we might tryt the Lord Newry for Sunday breakfast.

Sitting behind us was a table of thirtysomething blokes discussing life, the universe and everything but I have to say my ears pricked up when one made the pronouncement the “a pram is just four wheels with a baby on top”.  It was amusing to listen to the ‘blokes support for this view’, I wonder what the mothers of their children think? Do they not know there is a whole pram industry that would deny this, a pram is so much more; all wheel drive vehicle, status symbol, shopping cart and some where to carry your coffee. The baby can often seem like an optional extra.

Tramways Hotel

Thursday, 10 May 2012

When you think about it, there are a lot of pubs in inner city Melbourne, and these are the ones that are still operating, not the ones that have been turned in to boutique, or’ boutiquish’ apartments.  The reason that this is has popped into my mind is that Thelma and I ‘lost The Tramways Hotel.  We knew its general vicinity in North Fitzroy but our bearings were confused by the angularness of the roads, no grid pattern here, and the fact that the Tramways, Lord Newry and Fitzroy Star are all within spit of each other.

There was slight tenseness in the air when we realised that we hadn’t walked past it but were parallel and would have to go a block to the left when our actual forward journey would be forward and right.  There was a debate, was this going backward? (See The Rules) Me, slighty tired and grumpy “No” as we were parallel, Thelma less sure, being more a stickler for The Rules, was testing my case (and patience). We  got to the “I don’t care phase I’m going any way” stage and the moment was over.

The Tramways has been renovated since we were here last, and in our opinion, not for the better.  It feels like it could get a run on “The Block”.  It is now in a modern, inner city style, with a slightly sterile over tone.  It feels like a café or restaurant not a pub,  consistent with this style were the candles and Sicilian Sea Salt on the tables.  And I have to  mention the deconstructed brass door handles  – hard to describe, you just have to see them for your self.

The patron seemed to reflect this style, they seemed to be young professionals.

The menu at the Tramways has adopted a burger theme.  Beside the classic beef, there is lamb and haloumi, quinoa and hummus and greek beef (which is just wrong). There was a steak sandwich  and the three non burger mains were steak, chicken and gyoza.

Thelma and I both went a steak sandwich, which came on a seedy bun, with a spoonful of coleslaw and the best chips.  Skin on, naturally as that fits the style. $18 each, per sandwich, not per chip.

What we drank: Thunder Road Brunswick Bitter($4.50) and Golden Paw American style pale ale ($4)

All up our dinner cost $45.50, well under budget.



Thursday, 3 May 2012

It is a sad fact that sometimes life comes between Thelma, me and Thursday night. And this was such a time.

Thelma’s work some times takes her on tours of the country and this Thursday she was gracing the fine city of Shepparton.   She partook of the fine dining repast courtesy of room service from the motel’s bistro, this included a $10 bottle of wine.  She would like it noted that she didn’t finish the bottle.

If missing Thursday night is disconcerting for us, it is down right traumatic for ‘Brad Pitt’, my partner, who plans his Thursday’s  based on the premise that he will be ‘home alone’.  There is a standing order for chicken and broccoli risotto from the local Italian and what ever high quality TV program he chooses, “Pascoe and Dalziel”, “Stargate” and “Red Dwarf” reflect his choices.  Having me home on a Thursday night, spoils these simple pleasures.

So what did I do?  Spoil his fun?  Nah! actually I used the opportunity to visit D&D, and join them for home delivered Indian, ordered on the net.  My other reason for visiting D&D was to have some earings made for a cousins 40th birthday.  The picture shows D’s handy work  and reflect a lovely set of synergies; my Mother’s crystal beads, made for a my cousin by a friend of 30 years standing.

Well, that is what happens on a Thursday night without Thelma; no walk, a bit of talk and plenty of fork.


In our previous post, we mentioned that The Rose, the Fitzroy institution was to be auctioned on 27 April 2012.  Well, it sold  for $2.65 million and much to the relief of locals and Thelma and me the new owner said The Rose ”will stay as a pub and be run as a going concern”. For more information see: Sale of The Rose

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