Sunday, March 18, 2012

Just another Melbourne Weekend

Friday nights are special - The end of the working week and if you read this blog regularly, you'll know Sue and I celebrate the start of the weekend with bubbles and a quiet night in front of the tellie with a chick flick or old time movie. It helps to wash away the frustrations of the working week.

This Friday night we decided on a dinner out. Our number two son left on the Thursday for two years in Montreal so Sue needed cheering up now that we are empty nesters. We'd been saving a restaurant voucher that we had the good fortune to win at a function. The voucher was for $200 at the Brighton Baths Restaurant not far from home but I'll ask Sue to describe the night for you.

We arrived just as the sun was poking thru the clouds, lighting up a couple of container ships leaving the bay. This was the view from our table.
Within the next thirty minutes the mood of the bay changed with dusk looming. Later it was fully dark with twinkling lights from stars and ships on the bay, plus a troop of seagulls which rode the water in a beam of light from the restaurant windows.

For my money I would have been happy with baked beans on toast just to look at that view. Well maybe not really...not at these prices anyway.
We started with the chefs tasting plate which was very nice indeed. From the front - roasted pork belly with apple sauce. Nothing special but tasty. Then zucchini flowers stuffed with persian feta and fried in a tempura type batter and a small amount of balsamicy salsa. This was an absolute ripper. Then tuna, very light seared on the outside with a coriander crust. Not a big fan of tuna, but it was very soft and quite tasty. Lastly a salmon gravlax with tiny pieces of beetroot and cubes of beetroot jelly and a dob of horseradish cream. Nice. All prepared with care and attention to detail.

Sorry about the poor photos - don't know why my little pocket camera was  not up to its best.

The two mains were perhaps not quite so successful. The one on the black plate, mine, was a saddle of rabbit wrapped in proscuitto, served on roasted cos lettuce with cherry yoghurt and preserved cherries. There was a line of crushed pistachios on the plate as well.
 The rabbit was cooked beautifully, but the cos was over salted and quite unpleasant. The little cherries were an explosion in your mouth.
Leon had duck breast, served, very trendily, with mushroom and truffle soil. The duck was very chewy. Perhaps not rested long enough. The soil had a deep, rich flavour and was nice.
We each ordered a side of asparagus with hollandaise sauce. The sauce must have come from two different jugs. Leon's was yum, but mine had a very strong mustard flavour which didn't suit the other things on my plate at all. A bit disappointing.

Leon had an affogato, yawn, which was presented nicely and was, affogato. Yawn. 
I had what looks not very inspiring on the plate, but was quite possibly the most delicious dessert ever.
It was red and white poached peaches, served simply with mandarin sorbet and little chunks of homemade honeycomb. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. The flavours were very simple and not very sweet, then very so often you would get a hit of honeycomb. It was very yum!

SATURDAY NIGHT and the oldest Wheelrace is run.
Melbourne ran the 114th edition of the Austral Wheelrace on Saturday night - historically it claims to be the longest running track racing classic in the world. It brings out many spectators, some which are past winners over the years. Back in 1983, your writer was the first loser, that's second place to some but to miss being in the record books, first loser is appropriate.

Each year its always a thrilling night and I had the opportunity to be involved as a volunteer. Being in the middle and up-close amongst the riders is very exciting. We had some internationals riders for this years event which made the racing more challenging for the locals.

This morning on waking, I logged in to the European race results and was pleased to see our own Simon Gerrans, current Australian road champion had won the Milan to San Remo classic road race. I think the Aussies will have a good year with fellow Aussie Matthew Goss winning and earlier Euro Classic a few weeks back.

State of the art carbon fibre track bikes with the very lightest of tyres pumped to 180 psi hang in readiness for their riders in pursuit of a famed win in the classic Austral Wheelrace.
Riding wheel to wheel, shoulder to shoulder adds to the thrill of a great spectator sport.
Thrills and spills are not uncommon.
In April, Melbourne hosts the World Track Titles.
Alf Middleton won the Austral Wheelrace in 1894

The question was asked, "Could Patto from the scratch mark". He didn't in 1961 but did in 62' and 64'.

In 63' they were asking if Barry Waddell (pictured) could win from scratch - he didn't but Patto, now in his mid 30s was still up there and won the following year.

The crowds in those early years (late 1800s and early 1900s) at the Melbourne Cricket ground attracted thousands to watch bike racing as it did in both Europe and the USA. Today it competes with many other "Spectator" sports brooch to us through the electronic media.
As the weekend drew to a close, Sunday offered perfect weather for mowing the lawns and a bit of house tidy before returning to work tomorrow. Geee, weekends go quickly, don't they?


  1. The meal looks and sounds delicious!
    I feel for another 'empty nester'. I'm finding it difficult with daughter setting up her own nest not too far away, but son studying in Colorado for a year. Still, only a couple of months to go; the time has passed very quickly and I'm sure it will for you too.
    Your Friday nights are very much like ours...

  2. Oh, Gaynor, I was always expecting to be an empty nester at some stage. I just didn't imagine that both of our boys would be on different continents, both from us and themselves. Still I suppose I should just consider it as new holiday destinations. Now I just have to convince myself!

  3. Your reply to Gaynor, is exactly our situation! You must embrace life as empty nesters and have your own life adventure now. :)

    1. LLM - Sue has done a great job making the boys independent and confident. I guess its our own fault that they follow their own roads.

  4. Having no children of our own we will not get the empty nester feeling! That pudding of yours Sue really sound yummy, worth trying something like that out.
    Not long now to the TDF. About the only cycle racing we seem to get on ordinary TV here with out having to pay extra for the sports channel :( Diane

    1. Diane,
      We actually get back home from france this year to watch le Tour on TV but its a lot of late nights down here for us.

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