As I wandered home from a really terrific lunch this afternoon, another great Darlinghurst laneway caught my eye. At first, it was the colour contrast between the spectacular blue sky and the bricks and stones, and then the “Hope Street” sign caught my eye. What’s that, I thought to myself? Hope Street 2010 Ministry “aims to bring greater independence and freedom to those whose lives are crippled by homelessness, long-term unemployment, sex work, problem gambling, poverty and loss of indigenous culture”.
It was then I began to feel a little guilty having just spent a fair amount of money on an expensive lunch at Bistro Moncur which, by the way, was fantastic.
“Feel like catching up for lunch on the weekend?”, I said to a mate on the phone the other night. “How does Bistro Moncur sound?”, he said to me last night on the phone, and without hesitation, I said yes. I’ve been there twice before, once with him and once with another friend, and on both occasions was impressed. I mean, it’s expensive by ordinary pub standards, but it’s worth it for the food, the atmosphere, and the service which was excellent.
For lunch, he had the crab omlette (which looked divine and “they didn’t scrimp on the crab meat” by his account), and I had the pan fried calves liver (which tasted divine, “better than the rubbery old liver mum used to cook”, I told him). For deserts, he had the orange, chocolate souffle while I had ice-cream, sorbet and berries. All of this accompanied by a bottle of Innocent Bystander Pinot Gris from the Yarra Valley, obligatory tap water and a lovely coffee at the end. Can you think of a better way to spend lunch on a Saturday?
As we walked back down Queen Street, Woollahra, we looked at shop windows containing nothing you would ever actually purchase, or things you would purchase at extraordinary prices. “Look at that”, I observed in one window, “half a dozen tea towels for thirty-dollars. Can you believe it?”. It was then I mentioned the small town of Bangalow, near Lismore which has transformed itself into a far more upmarket place than I remembered as a child. “You can buy anything here except nickers”, a friend recently commented, and that’s what I thought also about Queen Street, Woolahra.
“What are you going to do now?”, we asked each other at the end of our lunch. Although we both emphatically agreed we were not going home individually to have an afternoon nap, I succombed to the couch, and I bet he did too. For a moment I toyed with the idea of an afternoon walk in Centennial Park, but instead I turned the air conditioner on for the first time this summer, turned the television on for the first time in three days, and sat down to relax.
After today’s lunch, I think it’s cheese sandwiches for dinner tonight.