The Grand Hotel
333 Burnley Street, Richmond (map)
On Saturday I went with my ex-office-buddy J and his mates to the second preliminary final to see the Hawks SOAR to victory! The game started at 7pm, but we wanted to celebrate the lead-up to the game with a bit of style and panache this time (no marathon booze-up at The Corner today!) - so we had a leisurely late lunch at The Grand.
Although I'd been a-drinking at The Grand before, I'd never dined at its hatted restaurant. The setting was relaxed/formal and the staff were great, happily accommodating our 2pm booking.
We started with a dozen beautiful Tasmanian oysters:
Although I'd asked them when I'd made the booking to make sure there were still a few 500g steaks left (J's original plan had been to spend the afternoon devouring a big mofo of a steak at Vlado's, after all), we all ended up getting seduced by other items on the menu instead. I had the roasted lamb rack with a salad of frisella bread, artichoke, peppers and cherry tomatoes ($35.50) - it was the best lamb I've had in ages. So soft and tender and juicy, and yet really quite light with the vegetables, artfully soggy bread and piquant vinaigrette.
Two of the other dishes sampled were the roast duck with cabbage, gnocchi (make that gnocco) alla Romana and orange juniper berry sauce ($33.50) and the veal, pot roasted with white wine and dill, served with silverbeet and parmesan ($29.50).
The dish I liked the look of most apart from mine was the tagliatelle (made fresh on the premises that morning) with a ragù that featured eggplant (about $26). S reported back that it was delicious.
We washed down our mains with a Mornington Peninsula pinot noir, then afterwards ordered a shot to steady the pre-game nerves. I had a glass of Poire Williams and the boys had a glass of Grappa each - except for Q, who ordered a ripper of a dark beer, the toffee malty Matilda Bay Dogbolter. I'd never had it before, but I'll certainly look out for it next time I'm down the grog shop...
After the meal, we walked from The Grand to the MCG, kicking the footy along Swan Street and stopping for a while to boot it up and down the alleyway between Dimmeys and the Vietnamese bakery.
The queue at the Members' entrance to get a reserved seat at 4:30pm was INSANE.
Because we had a few hours to kill before the game started but were too nervous about the game to have more than one beer in the Blazer Bar, I decided to potter around in the MCC museum.
I love the revamped Members' section. I also really love living walking distance from the 'G - on a clear night I can sit in my back garden and hear the crowd roar "BALL!!". I've been getting back into footy this year thanks to J, but of course the promximity thing is particularly awesome in summer - roll on the cricket season!
CARN THE MIGHTY HAWKERS!! :-)