Tag Archives: wine bar

beautiful dining space, lacklustre dining experience

My mother celebrates Easter, but I do not, being a heathen much to the chagrin, oddly enough of my non-practising Hindu father (no, I don’t get it either). Mum asked if she might have dinner with me and my partner, and wanting to keep the peace whilst my father is abroad for the funeral of his sister, I of course agreed.

Mum normally likes to keep her venturing local, unless it’s for a special occasion. Thinking her preferred local eatery was closed for the religious holiday, I booked for us to eat at Wesley Anne in Northcote.

Wesley Anne, dining area

See the delightfully romantic booths in the dining area in my admittedly appalling photo? We were not seated in them. Despite it being empty, we were put on a table so that all pedestrian traffic could squeeze past our table to get at the loo or outdoors. I’ve seen it remarked on Foursquare (did I just cite Foursquare?! Yes, I’m afraid I did) that the staff seem either vacant, or just plain distracted by goodness knows what. As we waited for our entrée, we were given a small plate of bread rolls, with olive oil and balsamic. Um, is one bread plate each too much to ask, guys?

 bread rolls with olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Mum and partner weren’t very hungry, so I suggested that we share the mussels in white wine amongst the three of us. Too bad it wasn’t fish or we’d have that Jesus thing down-pat (joke). Oh gosh, the mussels were very good. Partner reminded us all to save our bread to mop up the remnants of the sauce. It isn’t classy to do it, I’m sure, but I’d do it again.

 mussels with white wine

I suspect by how quiet Mum and partner were that I might have chosen the best main out of the lot – the French creamy chicken and bacon pie with mash and peas. More hearty, rustic food. The mash was pretty ordinary and quite dry (seriously, I’ve better mash made by non-foodies), so I left it begrudgingly despite my mash-love but put my peas in to get the leftover pie juice. That sounds a bit wrong but it wasn’t thick enough to call sauce as such. I was tucking into my pie with such gusto that I completely forgot to try what I assume was tomato sauce, as pictured below.

 chicken and bacon pie

Mum had the Wesley Anne’s take on chicken Maryland, which supposedly was Mexican (she said it tasted very Indian-inspired), and supposedly on pilaf. I’m a bit stumped as to why they drowned the so-called pilaf in sauce (yes, this time it’s sauce!) as that sort of ruins the fluffiness of pilaf. Mum didn’t utter a compliment once about the dish, which made me feel a little guilty about dragging her out all this way for unimpressive food. She did also note at one stage that a couple had come in and summarily inspected the menu and dashed off without ordering anything. Not a good sign. With a bit of pressing a few days later, she admitted she didn’t like her dish at all.

 chicken maryland

My partner had the pork salad, which sadly was very lacklustre. The amalgam of flavours from different cuisines suggested it didn’t quite know what it was, or what it wanted to achieve.

 pork salad

I am ashamed to say that the entire time here, I did not once imbibe an alcoholic beverage. Wine-lovers will appreciate the variety of the list, but I was in the mood for a decent beer and nothing took my fancy. Its atmosphere is a bit confusing: while on one hand it seems very plush and sophisticated, the service seems to indicate the contrary. It is standard practice at many pubs to help yourself to a menu and order at the counter, but that doesn’t mean that you have to forsake good customer service. There are dozens of other bars and restaurants on that strip of High St (some of my notables include the Northcote Social Club, and Kelvin). Having said all of that, because its location is 15-20 minutes out of the city, and it’s also a bike-ridable distance for me, I’d go again for a barhop especially since learning from Beer Bar Band that they had Mountain Goat Steam Ale on tap (I’m so kicking myself for not realising when I was there, sigh).

Note: photographs reproduced with kind permission of this kind fellow.

Wesley Anne on Urbanspoon

tune in, tune out

For a Melbourne bar restaurant to be considered remotely good, there are about three essential criteria that it must meet.

One, that it should be off the beaten track; almost impossible to find. Two, that it should have flights of stairs; the better to work up an appetite. And three, that it should be quirky; to better distinguish itself from the competition. Of course, there are the three other things that all good places should aspire to: good food and drinks selection, great value and friendly service.

Welcome to the Recorded Music Salon.

Whether stopping in for a quick nosh or a long, boozy dinner, RMS is a great place to unwind. Located a stone’s throw away from the impressive columns of the parliament building on Spring Street, RMS looks over the busy public transport stop at the top end of Collins Street. Typically, you’ll miss it if you weren’t already in the know with its discreet entrance (right next to a 7-11 convenience store) and the tiny piece of board that serves as signage above the door.

Head up the narrow concrete stairs, however, and you’ll soon discover a wonderfully pleasant space with friendly staff, a great drinks list, yummy food and chilled ambiance. The bar — the heart of the venue — runs almost the length of the rectangular space with scattered seating and tables (some communal) peppered throughout. And of course, there are the windows that afford such great views of the street below. Early in the week is best for whiling away a quiet evening while closer to the weekend and the place heaves with great music and plenty of energy.

On my midweek trip before heading to another venue, I decided to stop in for something light from a menu that features plenty of Spanish and Middle Eastern-inspired choices. My trio of dips – baba ghanosh, hommus and dukkah – came out served in a small crockery bowl, accompanied by wedges of toasted wholemeal pita bread, all placed on a wooden board. It’s this kind of detail that makes the difference — earthy and welcoming. Paired with the slight crisp taste of the Gewurztraminer white available by the glass, and all was right with the world. Shame that yours truly was so engrossed by the view that time had run out to try other dishes and plonks before I had to make my way to my next stop. A repeat visit is definitely on the cards.


Relaxing with a glass of white and delicious nosh, watching the world below go by.


Tip: sit by the expansive windows on a gorgeous sunny day, order your favourite tipple and nosh, and simply watch the world below go by. You won’t regret it. Recorded Music Salon: ticks all the boxes.

Recorded Music Salon is located on Level 1, 11 Collins Street, Melbourne. Ph (03) 9650 3821. http://www.recordedmusicsalon.com.au


Recorded Music Salon on Urbanspoon