This trip I’ve walked out of more cafes and restaurants before taking a seat than I care to remember. Chin Chin I’ve walked out of twice and yet I found myself in this establishment seated and ordering on Sunday evening. You can get Chin Chin food all sorts of places, but it’s not just anywhere you have to shout all night. Anna put me onto an Age article which discussed the impact this on you – it even makes it harder to taste. Don’t have to worry too much about the food then, is that it, eating experience concept developers?
I am, however, developing a theory. You know that thing some people do where they constantly jiggle their leg up and down and it drives you crazy? Somebody told me once that the way to neutralise this is to jiggle too. And it works. If you have never tried it and you are thinking of jumping the table to kill the person doing it, hang on just a minute. Try jiggling back. Ever had to sit at the table with somebody who has a disgusting sniff that has you enraged by its grossness? Sniff back. Keep sniffing back. It works.
So if you ARE willing to shout all night during dinner, this does make being in the shouting establishments bearable – apparently the owner of Chin Chin thinks people shouting at each other with loud music blaring equates to enjoyment. Not pleasant by any means, but you can get on with the business of eating and as long as you move along at a decent pace you won’t have to see the ear specialist the next day.
But I was damned if I was going to do shouting two days in a row. If Miss Chu was doing the eating experience concept for Australia’s establishments for illegal refugees, there’d be an outcry. It is torture at its simplest. It made Chin Chin a zone of serenity. I will never know what the food is like at Miss Chu.
The good thing is, eschewing Miss Chu found us at a place I’d been meaning to try for ages – Collins Quarter. I never used to think ambience mattered in restaurants, you went for the food. But now that shouting is becoming compulsory at so many places, it has moved to the top of my list. I really mean top. I’d rather sit in a place and eat indifferent food than shout my way through dinner.
Enter Collins Quarter, which manages to combine an atmosphere where talking is possible with food that is worth concentrating on. This really is worthy of the name ‘complex’, having several quite different spaces at one’s disposal. I can’t speak for the outside area, but we sat in the bar, which was quiet, and when we were ready to eat we accepted the suggestion of the waitress that we move into one of the booths at the side of the bar. So far so good. We sampled the platter to share, then the gnocchi, the schnitzel and a fig salad, followed by one dessert, all of which The food was simply reasonably priced and fair quality. Having said that, I do so wish that restaurants could move on from goat’s cheese. I will cheer the day it becomes unfashionable.
I’m hoping to go back for breakfast – I’ve never understood the idea that packet muffins are edible (though clearly this is a minority opinion) – and Collins Quarter is the first place I’ve ever seen that has house made English muffins. I have to say I’m curious.