Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Evening out, fail

We arranged to meet four friends in Victoria Street, Richmond, for dinner. The trip in the car should take 15 minutes, we allowed 20 and it took nearly 30. How I hate Punt Road and Hoddle Street. There are too many people in Melbourne for our trains, trams and roads. We entered our favourite restaurant, Tran Tran, but there weren't any tables available. The Mama San, who remembers us, was very  apologetic. 'Why you no book? Just quick call and I could have fixed it'.

Richmond is an area where many Vietnamese refugees settled in the 70s and 80s and the street has a very Asian feel to it and is well known for its cheap but good meals. Unfortunately over the past decade or so, it also became a place for drug dealing after dealers were pushed out of city. I think it has improved a bit of late.

But the character of Victoria Street is changing. Across the road is a bar called The Vic, I think, with most of the customers white people. The bar had taken over the side street and behind a cyclone wire fence, patrons listened to very loud music. Thump, thump, thump.

We should have headed the other way along the street, but instead entered the huge restaurant Tho Tho, within what was once a pub. It was so hot inside the sweat was pouring from us, we could barely converse because of the level of noise in the restaurant, it was chaotic and R did not receive his soup. In the background was the constant thump from the music across the road. The hand written bill was unintelligible when we wanted to work out who owed what. I will say though, the food was ok but we couldn't wait to get out of there.

We were home by 8.30, out of the humidity and away from the noise and we concluded going out was a bad idea. Usually we enjoy ourselves when we go out for dinner, even if it is an effort at times. Often before we go out, we say, it would be nice to be staying in. This time, I really wish we did stay home.

14 comments:

  1. Sigh. I have had nights like that too. Which reinforces my hermit like tendencies.

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    1. EC, yes I know what you mean. It is always such an effort to go out at night now.

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  2. As I live in the suburbs I never venture into Sydney after dark and from what I see on the news it 's a good idea but I found some good eating places around here and so much more peaceful.
    Merle.............

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    1. Merle, going out for a mean should be easy and peaceful and a pleasant experience, as yours are, not as ours was.

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  3. Andrew, it was one of you unlucky days. But your city seems to be a multicultural pot - definitely. . Next time will be better if you book in advance.

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    1. Gosia, it certainly is a multicultural pot, and generally works ok. There are some issues with people from the Middle East and Africa at the moment though.

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  4. Going out for dinner is usually a delight. You were very unlucky to go into to an overcrowded, overly noisy, sweaty place.

    Don't pay? Ring the local council to complain? Probably not... just tell everyone you know in the entire universe NEVER to go to that restaurant or pub again. Revenge is sweet :)

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    1. Hels, I will certainly be telling people, but to be fair to the place, we should have just walked out before we sat down when we heard how noisy it was and how there didn't seem to be cooling.

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  5. Lack of air conditioning and a steaming bowl of vietnamese noodle soup are definitely not a good combination. Those boxes of kleenex on the table at most vietnamese restaurants on Victoria street definitely come in handy though for dabbing excessive sweat.

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    1. Ad Rad, Tho Tho must be a bit posh. We had serviettes on the table. Odd that there wasn't air con, or it was inadequate to the task.

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  6. Booking is a good idea but when we are in Sydney there are so many places that you can't book you just have to take your chances or queue and wait for a table and unfortunately the trend is here now too.. Jamie's Italian always has a queue out front as do all the good spots.. the thing is to pick just the right time to get there.. it can be done :)

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    1. Grace, I afraid no matter how good a place is, I would not queue. I imagine an early dinner, say 6 o'clock might be a good time.

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    2. I used to love going to Minh Minh, where the crazy lady who owns the restaurant, Sandy, used to flirt with all the gay boys and apparently she had to fire one of her staff for servicing elderly gentlemen in the bathrooms. Sadly the food has gone down hill in recent years...

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    3. Evol, I think we have eaten there. There was one where the Mama San was quite outrageous and most of her customers were gay. She was great fun.

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