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.
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