Restaurants
Eating out - past and present

Lost restaurants of Melbourne

Where and how we ate in the 1950s

In the 1950s it wasn’t quite dining as we know it – only a select few Melbourne restaurants were legally able to serve a glass of wine with your meal. And you might come across the odd singing waiter.

Four courses for $1.30

Posh dining ain't what it used to be.

Back in 1967, at the Swiss Inn in Sydney’s King’s Cross, you could enjoy “a set 4-course OYSTER and CHICKEN Dinner for $1.30, with a large bottle of Penfolds Riesling or Claret for 70 cents”.

Dinner at Al's

Revisiting memories in Rome

Our first visit to Hostaria al 31 (fondly dubbed Al’s) was in 1990, the second in 2001. And when we visited again in October 2018, we found that very little had changed over nearly three decades.

Time to tango  

When afternoon tea went Latin

In March 1914 The Herald reported on a new phenomenon at the Paris Café in Melbourne’s Collins Street, writing that for the past three or four weeks “Tango Suppers” had been in vogue and the idea was to be extended to the Paris Café’s Afternoon Tea Assemblies.

The clubs with no beer

Melbourne's 1950s nightclubs

As the 1960s approached, the city that is now renowned for its night life was dull indeed – and not just on Sundays. Nightclubs came – and went – discouraged by Victoria’s draconian liquor laws and the Licensing Squad that enforced them.

All you can eat

The $23 Chinese smorgasbord in Portland

Somehow, I don’t think we’ll be visiting the Canton Palace again, despite the attraction of the $23 “all you can eat” Chinese Smorgasboard [sic].

The Paris House

Sydney in the Belle Epoque

Opened in 1890 in Phillip Street, The Paris House was the premier restaurant of Sydney’s ‘Belle Epoque’. Later run by Gaston Lievain, from Lille, it offered a ground-floor bistro, a top floor sponsored by the Moet champagne house and private dining rooms where lovers could meet, The expression “As dumb as a Paris House waiter” was testament to the staff’s discretion.

The world's best restaurants

Elite Traveler magazine has named three Sydney restaurants among their 100 Top Restaurants of the World. Their list of the world’s best restaurants is decided by a reader poll and in 2016 has put Sydney among the top dining destinations in the world

Summer of '62

Celebration menus in Sydney

The menu for New Year’s Eve 1962 at the Rex Hotel offered Oysters Naturelle or Fruit Cocktail, Sole Bonne Femme, half a Spring Roast Chicken with vegetables in season, followed by Tropical Fruit Salad and Ice Cream.

The truffle big menu

A long lunch in Catalonia

“With this menu, we want you to offer the jewel of the best home product, with a very good year and in the middle of the season, we hope you will enjoy as much as us.”

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