This may sound cliche but I reckon I have the best boyfriend in the world. Upon arriving in Melbourne, he surprised me with a pre-booked lunch on The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant. Those who 'like' me on Facebook (isn't it confusing how 'become a fan' has been switched to 'like'!?!), will have read about all of the drama I experienced before even getting on the plane from Sydney. It went something along the lines of being two minutes late to check-in, followed by a twenty minute wait at the service counter and a delayed flight which meant I ended up on the same flight without a penalty!
Anyway, the boy stayed calm during this entire catastrophe while I was a grouch, even though it had been my fault that we were late (blame it on last minute packing), and would have resulted in us missing out on the lunch he had pre-paid for!
Thank goodness we made it!
The Tramcar Restaurant offers three daily sessions which vary from a four course luncheon to a five course dinner. Due to our tight schedule of dinner reservations which I had planned, he booked the luncheon which was $82.50 each. I balked at the price at first but it really includes unlimited booze and is a quirky way of seeing Melbourne.
Aboard this stunning historical tram, the decor was very royal and plush yet cosy. The service is chirpy and you can even find the wait staff belting out some classic hits. While the aisles are a tight fit, the booth-style seats gives every table a bit of privacy and space.
During our two hour lunch, the tram travelled across the streets of the city and suburbs, including Prahran, Armadale, Malvern, St Kilda, Middle Park and South Melbourne.
We start with an appetiser of chicken liver and cognac pate and roasted red capsicum dip with plentiful water crackers and lavosh crispbreads. The pate is rich, buttery and delicate, where as the capsicum dip is rather mediocre. We are served sparkling wine and continuously asked if we need topping up!
There is a choice between a pan seared Tasmanian ocean trout or a duck risotto for entrees. Both of us agreeably choose the risotto which turns out to be a brilliant decision as it is cooked to a perfect consistency and full of flavour. The morsels of duck and mushrooms add a delightful juicy texture to the dish. The truffle oil is my only complaint - being slightly overpowering.
We again opt for the same main course when given a selection of chicken or beef. The Victorian farmed eye fillet of beef is served with a potato and herb rosti, steamed baby carrots and green beans and wild mushroom jus. The wild mushroom jus paired with the roast beef is wonderful and rustic in flavour. The potato and herb rosti stack has a golden crisp layer on top which seals together the distinctive nutty quality of the starchy potatoes.
We are also offered unlimited drinks from the bar including a selection of local red and white wines and spirits.
Then we finish off with a cheese platter, served with pear paste, fruit bread and water crackers, tea and coffee and optionally, a shot of liqueur.
All the ladies also receive a fresh carnation which I thought was a lovely touch!
It's touristy and corny but nonetheless, a delightful dining experience and a terrific way to catch a glimpse of all of Melbourne.
Thank you, Zen, for the surprise (and keep them coming)! ;)
The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant
Bookings are essential