Archive for March, 2008

The Lounge

Last night I went to a comedy festival event, and afterwards my friends and I were looking for somewhere in the CBD to grab a bite to eat. Granted, it was a Sunday night, but options were limited. After several other stops we ended up at The Lounge on Swanston Street near Lonsdale.

The place is just as its name suggests, a cheesy lounge with velour couches and spinning disco lights reflecting off the walls. But it was relatively empty and even had a (terrible) comedy act going on the stage in the corner, so for grabbing a quick bite to eat it served its purpose.

The menu looked good, all the basic pub grub like chicken parm, thai curry, fish and chips, and soup, and it even tasted ok too, I had the soup and I’d give it a 5 out of 10.

The real bad news came during the walk home and the next morning. Both my boyfriend and I were in misery the next day, even though we each had different meals. I don’t care how good the menu looks, I’m never eating there again.


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Victoria State Library

Libraries bore me to tears, so the fact that I can spend even limited time in the state library is surprising. I’ve been forced into it due to lack of internet access at home (hopefully soon to be remedied!) but for free internet and plenty of quiet study space it’s actually a real winner.

If the cold, solitary desk cubicles aren’t for you, there are also tables with semi-squashy chairs dotted around the place where you can plug into the internet and powerpoints and get slightly more social with your neighbors. But for times when you just need to block out the world, the second level does the trick.

Except for you, annoying girl on the mobile phone Wed arvo. You know who you are. I was the one giving you the evil eye during your 45 minute conversation. I almost came over and said something, don’t make me follow through next time.

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The Silent Disco

On Sunday night, Easter night, at 11.30pm, I went Silent Disco-ing. What better way to celebrate Easter?!

Silent Disco was held as part of the Melbourne Comedy Festival at the Hi Fi Bar on Swanston Street. It was a great concept: two DJ’s, no speakers, only wireless headphones given to everyone attending. I could change between the two DJ’s with the flick of a little switch on my headphones, and a red or green light next to the switch let everyone around me know what I was listening to. It’s bizarre at first… everyone dancing and singing out loud but no actual music. By the end of it, though, I completely forgot that I was silent disco-ing and it felt like any other club.

The DJ’s competed with one another for the most listeners, and people were switching based on what their friends were listening to and who had the best beats.

Still, at the end of the night when I took my headphones off to leave, it was a strange sight watching over 200 people bounce to a beat that was only in their heads.

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Rooftop Cinema

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I agreed to sit on top of a building, exposed to the elements, and catch a flick. I love outdoor cinema, but this usually involves expansive parks and trees and picnic blankets, not skyscrapers.

The clincher, though, was that Ghostbusters was showing on Sunday night and I’ve somehow never ever seen it. Startling, I know.

Rooftop cinema is on the top floor of the Curtin House, home of the well known bar Cookie. The set up was fantastic: lounge chairs, plastic grass growing underfoot, and a screen set to a backdrop of sparkly Melbourne high-rises.

Not only that, but service in your seat via sms. Just send your seat number and request to the bar, and they’ll quietly slip you your snacks/drinks/meal during the film.

Then, after the movie, visit the rooftop bar right next to the cinema area, which has the same great view and serves up fantastic granitas. Experiences like this remind me of why I love living in big cities.

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Fitzroy Pool

Today it’s forecast to be a blazing 40 degrees in Melbourne. I love the heat, so this isn’t much of a problem for me. Hey, I spent a year living in Perth. But a hot day is an especially good excuse to get to the pool and cool off.

I’ve been to Fitzroy pool at least five times in the last three weeks, and am very impressed. There is a student discount, decent shower facilities (of course harbouring everyone’s tendencies to stroll around starkers in a public space, something I’m still adjusting to), and a fantastic 50-meter outdoor heated pool. Even on chilly evenings the water has been toasty warm, but not too warm to swim a brisk kilometre in. But on hot days it’s been purely refreshing. The lanes are wide, the water is blue, what’s not to love? Plus, surprisingly membership is reasonably affordable and perfect for commitment-phobes like me, since members can use their sister pool/gym facilities in Richmond and Collingwood, which have indoor pools for the chilly winter months (I mean, Fitzroy pool is warm but not THAT warm).

All of that good stuff has swayed me, plus my first Melbourne celeb-spotting incident: the lead singer of The Panics strolling around the pool while I swim my laps.

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The Lion Hotel

The Lion Hotel in Melbourne Central is a large pub-style restaurant next to the Hoyt’s ticket queue. Generally a restaurant in a shopping centre has to be something fantastic to impress me, since I prefer outdoor or street-front dining. The Lion unfortunately wasn’t. It’s a bit overpriced for the quality of the food, which is nothing outstanding.

I was there meeting a friend for lunch, and shared a foccacia and the soup of the day, a carrot-coriander concoction. The sandwich was good, standard foccacia, but did the cook even taste the soup? It was horribly bitter, inedible really. No one I was eating with thought it was any good either, so I’m assured it wasn’t just a personal aversion to carrot and coriander.

However, at the end of the meal it was quite clear that the soup had barely been touched and the waitress nicely said that had we just asked she would have brought me something else. The service is good, but the atmosphere and food are a bit average. If I tried it again, I’d go in the evening and stick to drinks.

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Sushi Sushi

I’ve been living in Melbourne for just over three weeks now, and one of my main priorities in moving to a new city is finding a good, cheap sushi joint. In New York it was the Sushi Lounge, in Perth the Shanghai Food Hall, and finally I’ve found my sushi home here in Melbourne.

I was first introduced to Sushi Sushi on Swanston Street, between Collins and Lt Collins. I walked by, hungry and needing a snack, and saw the salmon tempura sushi roll sitting in the window. With a price tag of $2.20. It was incredible, crunchy, salty, with extra soy and a bit of wasabi. Then I tried the cooked tuna roll. Equally as good, still $2.20, and it tastes very fresh.

I don’t need a fancy setting, and these restaurants don’t offer it- just a small table with chopsticks and soy sauce ready and waiting, if you choose not to takeaway to eat while walking, which these rolls are particularly suited for as well.

I’ve since learned that there are locations all around the city and suburbs in Melbourne. All over Victoria, for that matter. I need never go far to find my sushi fix.

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