It must be a decade, maybe more, since the glory days of the Grand Pacific Blue Room on Oxford Street, Sydney. They had good food and service, and they were located in an imposing building which, sadly, has remained empty for a number of years. That particular part of Oxford Street, which was once vibrant, is a shadow of its former self, with many empty shops.
As I sat and waited for my friend to arrive, I had a beer at The Beauchamp Hotel. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Sunday afternoon drinks at The Beauchamp were part of my weekend routine. Across the road, The Albury was still a very popular gay bar, and so you would often find people going back and forward between the two. As they were opposite each other, The Beauchamp gained the nickname, “The Wodonga”.
So it was with some fondness and excitement that a friend suggested we dine at Don Peppinos, a new restaurant which has opened in the old Grand Pacific Blue Room. The food, the atmosphere and the service were all excellent. And they seem to be doing quite well, as on the night we were there, they were running two sessions, both full.
The other really terrific place where I’ve eaten lately is called “The Spice Temple”. Their website declares they’re “one of Australia’s most awarded Chinese restaurants”, and it’s easy to see why. Again, very good food, and very good service. The only downsides – perhaps a little too dark for my ageing eyes to read the menu, and it was probably a little too pricey for my budget. But an awesome experience, especially as it was an opportunity to farewell a long-term colleague.