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.
Gertrude St is my preferred east-west bike artery into the heart of the city, but from time to time I find myself wandering along Gipps St, one block north. It boasts the Laird O’Cockpen Hotel which in my imagination might conceivably be the place that erotic poet and Liberal parliamentarian Bruce Atkinson visited out of professional obligation, as well as Nicholas Dattner‘s emporium of super expensive wooden tables (did you know his old man was a British spy on whom Trevor Howard’s character was based in the 1949 zither music-rich The Third Man, one of the most famous films of all time?). It also sports the Glasshouse Hotel. I thought it was standing vacant, but I found out a year or so ago it was doing a roaring lesbian trade on certain evenings, and always had done. Now I find Maria from Dante’s in Gertrude St has bought the place. A little online pamphlet named Same Same says of the development: Continue reading “Dante’s Maria buys Glasshouse”
Henceforth, this is no longer a blog about Abbotsford as I choose to define Abbotsford. It is about that and country pubs, in particular those with old fashioned accommodation still operational (endangered species). There is a Flickr group on the subject (a future project of mine) but precious little else. If you know any other than Jeparit’s Hindmarsh Hotel, Dimboola’s Victoria Hotel, and Queenscliff’s Royal Hotel where you might enthuse about staying, let me know. (I bought Country Pubs of Victoria at Grub St Bookshop yesterday before heading over to the John Wren exhibition at the Racing Museum in Federation Square, of which much more anon.)
I went to Beechworth today and took the Canondale for a spin on the rail trail, discovering in the process the Commercial Hotel, just shy of 150 years old, and apparently in good hands. It is pictured, 3 times (the fourth is a gorgeous house in Beechworth). The pub’s proprietor fellow told me that I wouldn’t find too many hotels in Victoria in as original a condition as this one, and I believed him. It is a beautiful place — Ned Kelly used to drink there — and you can get a smallish simple clean rennovated double room containing a washbasin and a new bed — nothing else — for $65 a night (3 nights for the price of two) or bed, breakfast and 2 course dinner and champagne for $85 a couple, a bloody good deal.