Tuesday February the 7th 2006
293 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia
I have no idea where to walk to, and am not particularly hungry, the walk first takes me along flinders lane, which I thought would have decent restaurants but none really appealed.
Then there was an art house cinema complex, but the only movies showing featured old english women in big hats (more on hats to come).
Eventually I walk to Brunswick Street, some 2 hours later. Brunswick Street is popular among hippies and the gay folks, and I could be either or both of those so lets go!
There are many restaurants among brunswick street, some really nice ones, some crappy ones. The first one that appealed was an african restaurant, however they seem to take cash only, bad luck for them.
There are a number of pizza places but I decide thats too easy, those would be the fall back plan.
Finally, near the end of the restaurant strip, I spot the Thai Thani Restaurant, which serves Thai food, or Thani food, or both.
Before we get into the food bits, lets survey the street scene.....
Brunswick street, looking away from Melbourne, camera perched on a rubbish bin
And the same street, looking towards the city, camera placed on parking meter, flash photography sux.
The restaurant is a bit shabby on the inside, there are no table cloths, instead there is shiny paper which the waiter insists on stamping with a stamp that says BYO WINE ONLY, I guess thats because the hippies try to smuggle in medievil beer or something.
There are a few other tables with people, I am sat adjacent two women, theres also an Australian guy with a few asian women and a small female child....more on these later!
The menu is extensive, everything is just about the same thing in different combinations, and all main dishes come with the option of beef, pork, chicken or prawn.
I select the thai fish cakes as my entree (the most common of all thai foods I think), Chicken with chili, onion and cashews with rice as my main, and lemonade as my drink.
Its now time to wait for my meal, the two women behind me talk loudly, one of them is a lesbian, the other is her friend since school, who I dont think is a lesbian, we shall call her straight chick.
Lesbian chick it seems is depressed, as she has never had a proper job, she is however interested in the idea of being a buddhist without actually being one, she likes meat. Amusingly, they discuss the muslim cartoon scandal, and lesbian buddhist talks about how when she used to be a muslim. It seems lesbian chick would like a job where she gets to be creative, perhaps as part of an arts festival, this will allow her to focus her creativity and improve her main passion...creating abstract hats (I am not making this up). Straight chick attempts to be as supportive as possible, but suggests the way to becoming world famous for abstract hats is to get any kind of job and work on the hats on the weekend.
Lesbian chick thinks this is not a good idea, the creative process is far too complex for straight chick to understand.
My entree arrives!
Thai fish cakes - minced fish combined with potato, spices, coriander, deep fried with a sweet chili and chopped nuts sauce
The entree is very nice, and the quantity is excellent, 5 fish cakes, this is probably enough for 2 people to share.
Its about this time that my attention is drawn away from lesbian buddhist hat making to the Australian guy with 3 asian women and small girl. Small girl knocks a full bowl of tom yum soup onto the guy, who leaps up and sends small girl flying! The guy walks briskly to the toilets without showing concern for the girl who is tended to by one of the asian women, not a word is spoken.
The waiters and owner clean up around the table and when the guy returns he is on the phone, he tells people to come by and he will come out and meet them....
Not more than a minute elapses and 2 asian guys are out the front of the restaurant, and Australian guy walks out, gets given some cash and walks back in, not a word is spoken....
My main course now arrives.
The photo isnt great, the pot thing on the left has steamed rice in it, the platter has the chicken and cashew nuts.
The main course is a good size, but surprisingly it is lacking in flavour, they also fail to supply the right quantity of rice for the size of the meal...an all too common mistake.
Meanwhile, Australian guy has another call, and soon he meets an african guy out the front who gives him more money. I think I have it worked out, the asian women are importing the gear, probably inside the small child, hes collected the gear and handed it to his sellers, who are out selling it and bringing him his cash. If you are looking to score in Melbourne you may find this information useful.
Predictably, as the bill comes to the table with the two women, lesbian chick needs to visit the bathroom, when she returns the bill is paid and she fumbles around in her purse until straight chick says 'dont worry, its my treat', who didnt see that coming at the start?
I start giving the eye to the waiters, I am clearly finished and waiting to leave, but no, evenutally I have to go to the counter to pay.
Heres a picture of Thai Thani from across the street.
The shabby exterior - note crappy air conditioner above the door
My bill was,
Fish Cakes Entree $9.50 - a little expensive for fish cakes, but I got a lot
Chicken with cashews $13.90 - Good value for the quantity
Rice $1.90 - cheap! especially comapred ot red pepper indian from last night
Lemonade $2 - again, cheap compared to last night but it was postmix