Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Melbourne Supper Club

More an upmarket, sophisticated havana smoking type of a place than somewhere to dine per se, The Melbourne Supper Club is a late night bar on the first floor of 161 Spring Street with fabulous views of Parliament House.

Patrons enter through an inconspicuous wooden door and take a short flight up some wooden steps.  Upon reaching the top, I was pleasantly surprised to see a long, airy light room with high ceilings and a huge arched window at the front.  A large framed picture dominates the main wall which is easily recognisable as, the lady with the torch that appears at the beginning of every Columbia Pictures Production.

The seating is a mix of leather Chesterfield and bright, lipstick-kissing red sofas, velvet tub seats and warn leather studded wooden dining chairs.  It's a little bit old school, but very cool old school.  Even the waitress with her quirky demeanour and head-to-toe black Victoriana-esque style added to the coolness the place.

Taking a seat by the window, the view over towards Parliament House and below, towards Spring Street were excellent.  With the dinner jazzy music playing in the background, the place took on a relaxing ambience.

On the table, our waitress placed a red hardback bound menu with 'Melbourne Supper Club Bar' written in gold stencilling on the front.  The menu reads like an extensive library list of wine and other alcoholic beverages.  For wine buffs, I can imagine that this place is probably a little like being in wine heaven.  The wines are priced by the bottle, but there is a separate page for wines that come by the glass.  The prices vary, but let's just say you could end up paying a few hundred dollars for a bottle of wine if you're not too careful.

On finding the food, I discovered the one and only page dedicated to it.  The choice was rather limiting which was a little dissappointing.  However, I guess this place executes the meaning of supper quite literally as 'a light evening meal'.  Seeing as we had come to eat, we ordered a couple of 'Around the Table' plates; Chevap sausage rolls and Selected house dips with Turkish bread.  Having never had Chevap before, I discovered that it is a Serbian type of sausage typically made from veal or beef.

As the evening sky turned to dusk, the place slowly filled out with groups of after-work office crowds and pre-theatre guests from the next door Princess Theatre.  Some took their place on the Chesterfield sofas, others headed up the stairs to the next level and out towards the roof terrace. 

Before my hunger had a chance to set in, our Chevap sausage rolls arrived along with our house dips and Turkish bread.  The sausage rolls were a beautiful golden crisp in colour and came with a side of tomato sauce and a side of tomato relish.  The pastry was deliciously chewy with just the right amount of meat inside.  They were hot and filling; for $16, you get six mini sausage rolls.
The trio of dips turned out to be salmon, tzatziki and hummus. The generous basket of bread consisted of warm Turkish bread and wedges of paprika pita. At $13, this was good value. The salmon was smooth and subtle, the tzatiki was light and fresh as one would expect it to be.  And the hummus was packed with a good garlic punch.  This turned out be my favourite of the three dips.

Having consumed a light supper, I felt more than satisfied.  As I sat back to soak in the atmosphere and take in my surroundings, I did'nt feel the need for anything else.

The Melbourne Supper Club has olde worlde charm mixed with modern day touches and a smattering of bourgeoisie about it.  It's grown up escapism in the city, yet only a stone's throw away from the bustling streets of trams, cars and crowds. 

The staff are not the friendliest, but they are polite.  They simply make sure that you are watered, and fed if you wish to be so. 

If you're after an early evening bite or even a late night snack where you want to sit back and relax, this is the place to come.  But if you're after a good substantial supper, I'd probably suggest you head elsewhere. 

The Melbourne Supper Club
Level 1, 161 Spring Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000
Tel: +61 (0)3 9654 6300

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