It Wasn’t So Bad

It’s Friday afternoon and I’ve just been sitting in the nearby park enjoying the sunshine. What a nice way to spend the afternoon, watching the people with dogs in a park that doesn’t allow dogs, watching the retired people go for their afternoon walks, watching the “disco boy” with an iPod bopping along as he walked.

The weather for my birthday was also spectacular. I had lunch with Colin at the Bellevue Hotel at Paddington which was great. The Bellevue Hotel is one of those many street corner hotels in Sydney. With the exception of the TAB, the front bar is old fashioned with dark carpets and a great deal of timber. By contrast, the restaurant in the rear is a brightly lit white-washed walled renovation of what was once the hotel’s backyard.

The Bellevue which is now owned by Damien Pignolet (Bistro Moncur) and Ron White was previously owned by Suzy Carleton (formerly married to television reporter Richard Carleton). In those days, my friend Colin told me it has been a popular spot for the theatre crowd, Labor politicians and Paddington locals over many years.

On the day we were there, the crowd was “very Paddington” with lots of casually dressed businessmen (including some graziers) doing lunch. I swear Dennis Lillee was sitting at the table next to us where they were showing around photographs of race horses, though it has been a number of years since I’ve seen him in the flesh, so I can’t entirely be sure.

For the crowd, the menu was perfect, with its combination of home style favourites along with more typical modern standard fare.

It was a bright sunny day. It was my fortieth birthday. Colin and I both come from working class families in the country brought up on “comfort food” and so we both chose the Corned Wagyu Silverside with White Sauce, Cabbage, Carrots and Mashed Potatoes as the main course. The silverside was thick and tasty and the source accompaniment was excellent. Colin, who describes himself as a connoisseur of mashed potatoes, thought they were excellent.

Having silverside though reminded me of a story from my teenage years when my dad arrived home one night very drunk. Mum, disgusted with his behaviour, went to bed telling him there was no dinner for him. The next morning, however, dad awoke to tell mum that he’d loved the soup she made for dinner – he’d drunk the left over water from making silverside. Ewww.
I chose the 2005 Cape Mentelle Georgiana from Margaret River, Western Australia, as the accompaniment. Although it was an excellent accompaniment to the main, Colin advises not to have another glass after desert.

As Colin is a connoisseur of mashed potatoes, I too am a a connoisseur of tiramasu which is what I chose for my desert. As they clearly used good coffee, it was excellent. Colin had the rum flavoured chocolate ice-cream which was also excellent. Highly recommended.

Later in the afternoon I went and had my “Swiss Cellular Treatment For Men” which was terrific. It was so relaxing that as I stood up after the one hour treatment I actually felt a little stoned. What a great gift and what a fun way to spend an hour or so of my life.

I spent the evening with a group of friends boozing at Henry Henry, my favourite new bar near Railway Square. We talked and laughed and had a great time all round.

Turning 40 has been an interesting experience, as I have genuinely reflected on various aspects of my life. I guess I do actually feel like a grown up now…

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