Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Food glorious food!

I had some of the best meals I've had in a long time while we were in Melbourne over January. It is very hard to come back to Manchester and find myself struggling with all the things that are simply not available here. I find myself getting more and more critical and resentful.

We spent a small fortune on smoothies and fresh juice at many of the hundred Boost bars in Australia. On a hot day when you can't face food these places are a fantastic little oasis where you can indulge in a low-fat tasty smoothie that you know is doing your innards good!

We had a fantastic meal at The Stokehouse in St Kilda which is just about my favorite space to eat in Melbourne. We sat in air-conditioned comfort as the outdoor eating area was full and had such a great meal which only cost us £24 - my main was a huge porterhouse steak which would have set me back at least £15 here in the UK.

The sheer abundance of choice in Australia in terms of eateries is staggering and after 20 months away I had forgotten just how much of our social lives in the UK is limited due to the inverse of this face. Eating out in Australia is affordable which is how it can sustain so many restaurants / cafés / brasseries etc. as people can afford to eat out more.

Now I know we were on holiday and paying in pound Stirling but in comparison to prices/quality here, well, there is no comparison. Maybe if we earned £100K between us we could eat out more and broaden our choice but that is not the point. I do not want to be paying out extortionate amounts of cash for food I know cost a third less in Australia. I'd rather cook myself to be honest as at least then I know what I'm paying for!

Ian got home from work on Sunday afternoon and as it was a bright, sunny but oddly mild kind of day I could have done with finding a nice little café somewhere to wile away a couple of hours. Sadly you know nothing came to mind. Well, lots of places came to mind - Journal in Flinders Lane, Brunetti's in Carlton, Volumes in Eltham, the Kent Hotel in Rathdowne Street but as I prattled off all these places Ian told me not to get maudlin. How could I not - all these places are on the other side of the planet and people other than me are enjoying them as we speak!

There is a place in Manchester I am truly going to miss when we eventually leave here. Greens is our 'local' if you like and if I'm honest, it is one of the best restaurants I have eaten at. Greens is 3 minutes from our house, it is vegetarian, reasonable, BYO (huge plus), non smoking (even bigger plus) and just so brilliant. It has won Manchester Restaurant of the Year for 2 years on the trot and its no wonder. We love it. We'll miss it.

On a more hypocritical note Ian and I went to another brilliant Melbourne eatery for our 4th wedding anniversary early last month. Circa (click on the 2nd box for Circa) at The Prince is slick, fresh and sumptuous - we loved it! I drove there in my brother's car only to decide upon seeing the wine list that that was a terrible error in judgment! We quickly decided that we'd catch a taxi home and collect the car in the morning thus avoiding a parking ticket - which we did sporting huge hangovers which we cured over breakfast at Big Mouth in Acland Street!

Back to Circa - $300 and 3 bottles of wine later we had convinced ourselves that this was the life and Ian magnanimously suggested that when we move back to Melbourne we could eat here regularly. Sweet man. Drunk but sweet.


Anonymous Faith said...

Home Sweet Home! Australia is such a happening place. Though I find that I don't really miss Melbourne as much as I long for the shores of Sydney. Maybe one day we will all be home and we can have a drink or two, or three....?

7:52 PM  
Blogger claudy said...

Hey Faith!
I love Sydney too but Melbourne wins in every department, every time. All my English mates I've sent to Melbourne have preferred it! Sydney is amazing looking but as Tim Freedman (The Whitlams) sings of her "you've gotta love this city for her body if not her brains..."!
Claud x

11:21 AM  
Anonymous Paul said...

Next time you're in Melbourne try Taxi at Fed Square, The Botanical and if you can get a table The Flower Drum. Breakfast and brunch are also great at The Bot, I can't think of any place I'd rather live.

3:33 AM  

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