Back on the road again to good old Melbourne. One the crew said he felt like a China for dinner. A quick Google search gave us a likely option in Heffernan Lane. Looked in, sparse crowd, time for a pre-dinner libation. Next door was a doorway with a simple lightning bolt above it. Stuck our heads in – hey presto – a bar. Most fortuitous.
It turned out the place was called Union Electric, but couldn’t see any signage to that effect. Fabulous little place with great music and we propped up to the bar. Now I have to take my hat off. Union Electric had only two taps – and I’d drunk neither. That’s pretty remarkable for a bar that’s not really focussing on beer. Highly recommended for a pre-dinner drink. We asked the batman for validation our original choice for China and he steered us the next laneway. The omens were good because Celestial Lane was the location of our China. The Celestial Gardens in the North-East of Sydney’s CBD is a classic old China that should be heritage listed. We ascended the stairs to enter one of the more modest looking restaurants I’ve been in. Beige and grey dominate the colour scheme and the air-conditioning units aren’t subtle. All of this is inversely proportional to the fare and value of the fare served up by The Supper Inn.
Lucky we arrived early, because 20 minutes later the place was heaving. There was still room for a number of blokes that were either auditioning for the Bill Hunter role in a remake of Muriel’s Wedding or had just finished a council meeting. The dishes were excellent. Great Claypots, Phoenix nest filled with goodies, seafood etc. Fabulous feed.There was plenty of time for a post-prandial bevvie, and in this part of town we didn’t have to walk far. Our mate who requested the China drinks Whisky, so no better place to take him than Boilermaker House. It’s a lazy comparison but this post’s taken me four days, so I’m being lazy, Boilermaker House is a Melbourne version of Baxter’s. Whiskey bottles are arranged in alphabetical order and are accessed in the early letters by a librarian’s ladder.
The tap list at Boilermaker House has been very good both times I’ve visited. A terrific find was Feral’s very limited release Tusk. This is a monstrous Imperial IPA that only gets released twice a year and to a very small number of venues. Boilermaker House was one of four venues in Melbourne. It’s a special place no matter what the list, but doubly so this visit.
All these spots are in the one block. You’ve got to love Melbourne.
Union Electric: 13 Heffernan Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000
The Supper Inn: 15 Celestial Avenue, Melbourne VIC 3000
BoilerMaker House: 209/211 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne VIC 3000