Panama Dining Room

I do like the Panama Dining Room on Smith St. Used to be a pool hall, when the floor below was a Latin Band venue — The Stage — which used to go off, and where I had some of my best evenings. Now The Age is onto it, and here’s their review. In fact, they like it so much they reviewed it again. It has that up 2 flights of stairs, you have to know about it excellence, but unlike so many such places, it is an expansive place once you get up there. There is a free pool table, and apparently on Sundays they have table tennis. They only got a sign recently. This one will be with us for a long time, like Spleen, and The Lounge, and 20 Myers Place. The photo of the Room’s bar is by Ben Richards, one of the Crumpler crew whose HQ is not so far away from the Room. Here are some more of his lovely Room photos: Continue reading “Panama Dining Room”

The Age’s take on Kent St, the good Smith St Bar, is here. Our Melbourne daily has forgotten that the city side of Smith St is actually in Fitzroy, but who cares? It’s an odd review which does not ring true to the location for me. What is meant by this passage for example?

‘Behind the large roller door (which is a glossily bright shade of Margaret Fulton kitchen green), Kent St unfolds in a marvellously ramshackle fashion. Like Miss Haversham’s formerly grand abode, had Miss Haversham lived in an upstairs-downstairs townhouse near Number 96, the place is like a ’70s dream house gone to seed. You half expect to be greeted by a bunch of dust-covered ladies-who-(didn’t-make-it-to)-lunch in bell-bottomed playsuits clutching stale vodka stingers.’

Whether this is a reference to Miss Havisham (as is suggested by ‘dust-covered ladies’) or Miss Haversham from the BBC series ‘Upstairs Downstairs‘ (as is suggested by the spelling and the alusion to upstairs-downstairs), neither is evocative of Kent St, and how do we segue from either period to the 1970s?

Birdman Eating and The Royston Reviewed by the The Age

I got my hair cut at Dr Follicles today, and had a coffee from Birdman Eating, which I have earlier written about.  The Bird Man has got his liquor licence up and running nicely, and has a drinks and tapas thing happening of an evening — though he was kind of distancing himself from the ‘tapas’ concept (despite the menu saying ‘Evening Tapas’) in favour of the small meals to share concept. You can have green beans for $7.50, zucchini and fetta fritters for $8, grilled ox tongue with beetroot, capers and horseradish for $11.50, shanks for $14.50, crispy duck for $16.50 or go the hack with a sliced hunk of steak covered with a piquant salsa for $28.50.  This guy’s saucy: I love the attitude associated with ‘Black pudding with eggplant kusundi and leek croquettes.’ I’m going there for drinks one night, because he’s also dishing up Milawa Gold Washed Rind cheese with apple jelly, and hot cinnamon doughnuts with chocolate sauce.  My coffee was truly memorably good, which either means Matt Preston, who also gave the Bird Man a great review in today’s Age, was wrong, or the Bird Man has taken the critcism to heart.

And, just a week ago, Dani Valent reviewed The Royston in The Age, which I have also earlier posted about, and which is also a place I want to go for dinner. If only I had the time.

The Age gagas about local establishments

The Age‘s John Lethlean gave Lentil as Anything the thumbs up the other day. Now that same journal’s Michael Herden has given Cavallero on Smith St a decent plug. I’m dying to try the place: the assiduous Breakfast Blogger got there almost a month ago, and he’s got the whole of Melbourne to cover. He wasn’t totally convinced, but I’m calling it teething problems: I want to like the place. Mr Herdern calls Smith St a “psychotically eclectic strip”. Too many interior decor shops already I reckon, but there’s room for a few more Cavalleros (snap). According to the folk who supply their coffee, the Cavalleros have “a shiny new chrome 85 series two group”. That’s a cofee machine.

“Birdman Eating”: damn good baked eggs on Gertrude St

That’s Tim, presumably the Bird Man himself, proprietor of this oddly named cafe next to Dr Follicles in what was formerly Organic Gertrude on Gertrude St, near Smith St’s corner (9416 4747). What he needs to do is strike up some entrepeneurial deal with the ready reservoir of fellas waiting for a mop chop next door (I’m thinking a brass bell with a rope which travels through the wall to bling bling a couple of minutes before it’s your turn, or a little doorway through which espressos could travel). It’s a spic and span place, probably a bit too s ‘n s for my tastes, but it’s brand new, and cosy clutter will no doubt round off its sharp corners over time. It’s an interesting place with an interesting menu, a breakfastry that lists eggs and bacon as extras, but boasts interesting options including: