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.

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.

 

%d bloggers like this: