Saturday, May 12, 2007

Eating in Melbourne on a Sunday Night

Back to N1 & N2's visit visit, their last night in town was Sunday and we went out to dinner. N1 was keen to head to hardware lane where we'd once had a great meal last year.

The Melbourne natives amongst us will say "there's nowhere open in the city on Sunday night" and to a large extent they're true. With this forewarning I searched a few books and found a smattering of places claiming to be open on a Sunday night...wrong! It might be rude-ish to be closed on a Sunday night (I guess everyone needs a night off) but to advertise you're open and then be closed! That's downright rude. Especially when you're supposedly a "Melbourne local" and therefore an all-knowing tour guide in your friend's eyes. Luckily N1 & N2 were very understanding of the fact that I couldn't click my fingers and find an open restaurant. N1 convinced us to try Hardware Lane just on the offchance.

As we walked off Bourke st, past the carpark everything looked pretty closed. But, just down a little further we were convinced we could see umbrellas. And is that music we could hear? Sure enough, Vons Restaurant and Bar was open and teeming. There was a band on one side of the alley and people eating under the comfort of heaters on the other. It was a food oasis for our hungry tummies. The vibrant atmosphere was a stark contrast to an otherwise closed city.

Apparently one can't be too choosey on a Sunday night in the city and Vons did all right. I ordered Osso Buco which was as lovely and tender as it should be. It also came with polenta which I'm not always so keen on, but this was so moist it was more than enjoyable. The flavour intensity of the sauce could have been a little sharper as things became quite bland towards the end of the dish.

Having made only a recent return to my blog I'm a little out of practice at taking photos without the flash, so you'll have to apply a little imagination to my images while I practice up a bit. I've also been forgetting to take my camera out and instead having to make do with a mobile phone camera (see post to come.....)

S-bo had lamb fillets, with red onion confit, polenta and baby peas, and N1 & N2 both had pasta. Whilst not groundbreaking, the food was good quality and generous. The service unfortuantely was a bit hot and cold. The floor manager was excellent however the waitstaff were a little scatty. Maybe there's a reason why Sunday is traditionally the night off in town. We took a little while to order and our waitress kept returning prematurely. Even a polite "we'll call you over" made no difference. Perhaps I'm being fickle, I know a few posts ago I was accusing staff of being too inattentive!

Our meals arrived together but N1 ordered carbonara and received calamari, so one dish had to be sent back anyway. These things happen, I guess "carbonara" and "calamari" sound sort of the same, but we were a bit annoyed when carbonara AND calamari arrived on our bill. The bill was more than expected and I just put it down to a Sunday loading. Luckily someone looked closer.

It was an unfortunate way to end an otherwise enjoyable evening. We left no tip, but I'm sure we'll be back if we want a meal in the city on Sunday night. Apparently Vons has been open on a Sunday only for a few weeks and are relying purely on word-of-mouth. Their website doesn't list Sunday opening times so call ahead to be sure.

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