Thursday, April 21, 2011

Crown Promenade - Melbourne

I have stayed at the Crown Promenade on a number of occasions and have always found it a great experience at a reasonable price. What I call reasonable and you call reasonable may vary immensely. It is definitely affordable at $375.00 a night including the best breakfast you will ever have and valet parking.

Situated at the beginning of Whiteman Street just a few minutes’ walk from South Bank you may not be on the strip but you are so close you can smell it. Rooms are spacious and extremely well appointed. No you don’t get the marble bath in the basic rooms as you do in Crown towers but the bathroom is more than big enough and well appointed. No there is no TV over the bath as in Crown Towers but there is a big screen TV at the foot of the bed.

I arrived just after 12pm on my last stay and was asked if a room with a bay view from the 12th floor was suitable. And if it was I could move in right away. BAY VIEW ON THE 12TH FLOOR. Yes thank you. Generally check-in is from 2pm but if a room is ready from 12pm on, it’s yours. Late check-out at 11am. Check-in was quick and painless and right from the moment I arrived in the car the staff were out to please. Yes I’m paying for it but the staff are serious about good service. But in a fun way.

I ventured into Melbourne for lunch and had a delightful meal (scallop risotto and a house white) in Hardware Lane with my son. Then back to the room to bask in the tranquillity and opulence. I have to admit I’m a would-be-if-I-could-be-but I-can’t-be although I can enjoy the Promenade. To avoid the sting of the Promenade’s costly wines from the mini-bar I selected a very nice red from a bottle shop near the bottom of Queens Street. A red, a shower and a read on a king size bed with 180 degree bay views. Love’n it.

Of course there are the usual shampoos and soaps but a small tube of tooth paste would have been nice. Plenty of towels, a well stocked mini-bar a stunning view of the bay and city and all the mod-cons. It just needs you to make the stay perfect and perfect it was.

Due to rain I ate at the Mesh Restaurant in the Promenade. I almost need another blog entry to describe what I ate, how good it was and how much I ate (guilty). The floor manager came over on a few occasions to ask if I needed anything. They do care. Breakfast had me back in the Mesh Restaurant for some more gastronomic indulgence. Service, food, wine, ambiance, class, distinction, location-the Crown Promenade has it all. Spoil yourself and do it often and make sure you feel guilty when you leave the restaurant. With all you can eat and an extensive choice of beautiful food, I did both times. Guilty!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pelican - St. Kilda

After a night at an exhibition in Melbourne my wife convinced me to drop by St Kilda and take tapas and a drink at Pelican, 16 Fitzroy St. St. Kilda . Cathy had dropped in here once before and said I would like it. I was not prepared for the spices and delights which awaited me. Pelican is a modern wine bar/hotel but is just a little tied and needs a freshen-up. Though modern it is quite cosy inside and also has some very nice outdoor, on the street, dining and wining areas. Smokers gather here so if you don't like the smell of smoke, stay indoors. There are lots of nice areas to sit so things aren't all that bad.

We arrived late, about 10pm, but this was no problem for the staff. All service is at the table and within minutes I had glorious drinking Belgium beer and my wife a Cab-Merlot. We ordered three tapas and though the waitress felt we needed a forth, three turned out to be perfect. The tapas consisted of a potatoes in paprika, Moroccan meat balls and a mushrooms dish. Diced potatoes in paprika, who would have thought? This dish was divine, and had me ambush the chef to identify the spice. The meat balls were, as was the potatoes, lightly spiced and yummy. So too the mushrooms. The whole three dished were very enjoyable. I want to do it again!

Service is excellent and the staff friendly, including the ambushed chef. The music, for a pleasant change, was modern and thankfully not techno, dance, trance, rap or electric crap as can be served up far too loud by far more expensive eating houses. How you are meant to enjoy food and conversations in some bars and restaurant with loud inappropriate music playing is beyond me. But not at Pelican. The music just added to an excellent experience and a great late night chill-out. Not expensive and extremely enjoyable. Fly in or drop by.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Beretta's Hotel - Langwarrin

The term "pub meal" is used quite a lot in the Australian language with reference to food quality. It is quite often a derogatory term. Because the basic "pub" meal is just that: basic! But can one hotel/pub stand out and shine when a lot of the others serve just plain bad food. By the way I don't consider a Chicken Parmigiana a rare delicacy.

Lucky for me the Langwarrin Hotel or Berettas is just down the road. The meals at the "langy" are better than the pub meals you will receive at other local hotels in the area. They are restaurant quality. Not fine dining at a pub price but good tasting and good size. To top it all off the service is very good to, pleasant and friendly. The nice part about the langy is the kids free area. This allows a couple of adults to dine and wine away from children. The langy is a family hotel but does provide for those who want a quiet meal, away from children and some of the noise.

They have a huge kids area, sports bar, smoking area, pokes room, decking area and general bistro. Brekky at the langy is not to be missed. Beretta's really tries to have areas dedicated to all requirements. The beer on tap is limited so big beer aficionados may not find strange brews on tap but many a bottle is held on the cool. Kids drinks are also well catered for. Wines, reds and whites are a plenty and at bar prices so it is not hard to have a cheap and enjoyable night at the Langy on minimal cash. I drink Fat Yak which is rather pricey but is very nice and on tap.

I drop in for the fettuccine carbonara and my wife the salt and pepper sqid. Many other nice meals are available so most tastes are catered for. In fact I would not be surprised if the langy does not cater for all tastes. Even yours.

Revisit: Back many times for great meals and drinks. Today fried squid, excellent and plenty on the plate.