Friday, December 19, 2014

Two Fat Indians, East Melbourne

This is a bit of a Melbourne Institution and those who like their Indian food will undoubtedly know of Two Fat Indians. It has a prominent location on Wellington Parade, and I’ve driven past it many times coming in and out of the Melbourne CBD. It had also been recommended to me by numerous credible sources and so it has been on my wishlist for a while.
Finally, I got my chance to visit when we needed an impromptu dinner venue after watching Intestellar at the IMAX nearby. There were three of us, and we took a table near the middle of the restaurant. I liked the leather chairs with their high backs. It conveyed a sense of formality and the restaurant can be for an occasion or an informal impromptu visit such as ours.

The menu is fairly standard and includes a number of familiar favourites. We ordered a spicy dahl, a vegetable korma and some tandoori chicken, as well as rice, pappadums, raita and mango chutney to complete the feast. For drinks, we also got some mango lassi.  
The service was friendly and attentive and the food was rich and tasty. My favourite was the vegetable korma, and the tandoori chicken came a very close second. The gigantically tall mango lassi was also very delicious.
Two Fat Indians on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Hotel Windsor, Melbourne CBD

As a part of J’s Bridal Shower, we booked in High Tea at The Hotel Windsor on a Sunday.  Our booking was for 11 people at 12-2pm, as there is a 2-hour limit on each sitting.
We arrived promptly at 12, were ushered to our table, and left there. There was no welcome to the restaurant, and certainly no explanation of proceedings. For first-timers of High Tea at The Hotel Windsor, it can be a daunting, or at least confusing experience, and those who had previously attended such a session had to take it upon ourselves to explain it to the rest of the table.
Anyway, the champagne was rushed out to us and we were each poured a glass. Then began a long wait for what would happen next. It felt much longer than it probably was simply because we didn’t know whether we had to request our tiered stands or whether they were on their way. The waitress that we hailed down to direct our enquiries to was difficult to communicate with. She didn’t seem to understand our question and we certainly did not understand her attempted responses.
Our savoury foods did arrive and we got right into them. Everything was quite delicious and my favourites were the creamy chicken sandwiches and the rich bacon and sweet potato tartlets.

The scones are also worth a mention, as they were soft and fluffy, and served with strawberry jam and lemon curd. One thing however that warranted improvement were the sandwiches (excl. those delightfully creamy chicken ones) which were very scant on fillings and not very exciting to eat at all.

In fact, some of us just left our sandwiches behind as we pursued desserts from the buffet. Yes, that’s right, there is a dessert buffet, including countless types of sweet pies and pastries, cakes and slices, a chocolate fondue, a crepes station and DIY ice cream section. The things that were favourites amongst our group were the crème brulee, a peach and chocolate cake, the vanilla panna cotta, and the cookies & cream ice cream

The food was good was much as the service was not. The mishaps and blunders continued throughout our session, including a missing tea, missed champagne top ups, and having the bill served an hour and fifteen into our two-our session.
The one that takes the cake though, was when a flock of waiters approached our table midway through J’s speech, and audibly interrupted us with ‘Are you done with that?’ and ‘Can I clear that away?’, and started to disrupt the scene by clearing away plates.
We were incredulous. At first, we tried to stop their onslaught gently with a stern look, a vigorous shake of the hand and a firm hand put up to indicate ‘No’. But apparently that was not enough and they persisted with the questions, and cleared away our plates despite our protestations.
We had enough and spoke up, in very explicit terms that they should stop clearing the table as we were in the middle of speeches. One of the waiters (in fact, the one directing the others) still did not seem to understand and continued to ask why, in his annoyingly European accent. His presence was becoming too disruptive, we decided to ignore his inability to comprehend and overwhelming obtuseness.
Now, I adore accents as much as the next bleeding heart, but when they start to hinder effectiveness and efficiency, then I can’t help but doubt their overall utility. Besides, good service is about being able to read situations, read people and take non-verbal cues. I can think of many fine waiters at fine establishments like Flower Drum, Grossi Florentino who  are not native-English speakers who employ their attention, observations and intuition to provide stellar service. I was highly disappointed at the Hotel Windsor.
111 Spring Street Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Duke of Wellington, Melbourne CBD

They say that you don't go to a YumCha place for pizza, but I had recently had an amazing time eating Italian style YumCha, so my food courage is currently at an all time high. 

Thus when the team went back to the Duke for yet another team dinner, I decided to be a little bit adventurous and ordered myself the curry. 

It was surprisingly good! Tasty, rich and wholesome, it was how a curry ought to be. The rice was also fluffy and the papadums were crispy. Even the accompanying raita was well made / chosen. 
The Duke of Wellington on Urbanspoon


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