'After Lunch' Cressida Campbell
Last week I was in Melbourne. I love being in Melbourne.
The city looks good. The streets are wide, the buildings aren't too tall and in some of the inner suburbs the street scapes with their wonderful nineteenth century architecture are fabulous - for example the view down Brunswick Street towards St. Patrick's cathedral. The parks are beautiful and moreover thay don't seem to be infested with ibis.
Who wouldn't enjoy a city where they have a public transport system which works. For $6.80 a day I could go where ever I wanted (within reason) on tram, bus or train - and I could get to everywhere I wanted to go easily, if not always quickly.
Melbourne's shopping districts still have some character. Strip/high street shopping (in fact many suburbs have a 'High Street') is alive and well here.
Melbournians care about food, they understand food and eating out and they have some fabulous restaurants. In Sydney it seems that you either eat at the local Chinese or you take out a loan and eat at some high end, reasonably pretentious establishment. In Melbourne it is possible to find excellent, casual, resonably priced eating on almost every corner.
Thanks to a friend well versed in the eating pleasures of this city we headed to Cumulus Inc in Flinder's Lane for dinner on Friday night. We were there at 6pm to ensure that we got a table (there are no bookings) and the place was already busy and noisy. (One of our party was 80 so sitting at a proper table was preferred over sitting at the bar however next time I want to sit up so that I can watch the food being prepared.)
Back in the mists of time the invention of the restaurant did away with the idea of sharing food in public. Eating out has come to mean sitting down to your own plate of food and perhaps allowing your fellow diners at best a token taste. Sharing a meal with friends in a restaurant translates as sitting at the same table with them and all eating at the same time but not actually sharing the same food. That is unless you are eating at Cumulus Inc. Here the food is meant to be shared - each plate has enough for three or four with plenty to choose from - and all of it delicious. It was great fun to be able to sample a number of different dishes and to talk about what we were eating. What's more we came away happily satisfied having only spent just over $100 for three of us on food. (The cost of the wine is another matter!) And Stephanie Alexander, who was eating at the next table, looked as though she was enjoyng herself too.