Is there any Melbourne institution as wreathed in thriller because the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant? An excellent maroon fixture trimmed in Hollywood lights, it is the meals on wheels phenomenon flocked to by vacationers however which has remained a supply of untouched curiosity to locals since hitting the tracks in 1983.
However what precisely occurs past the tassled veil?
We’re amongst a couple of locals gathered on the tram cease on Normanby Highway. It is a nervous-looking gang of voucher-touting French and an enormous group from Malaysia, all with smartphones on the prepared.
On board, each inch is roofed in pink velvet and retro lamps. Laid out is our amuse consisting of crackers and two rosettes of dip – sun-dried tomato and hummus tinged with mint. A cork pops, the tram judders and to the tune of Ella Fitzgerald, we’re away.
The menu appears barely to have modified for the reason that ’80s when entrees included “avocado Nellie Melba”. The meals, impressively, comes from a kitchen the scale of a Rex flight galley. Certain, it is as retro as an outback wedding ceremony reception, however at worst it is robustly consumable and at greatest, it is really Fairly Good.
We select between charcuterie (good rillettes, cornichons and pate with chilly toasts) and a two-tone tower of chopped smoked salmon and avocado cream cheese ringed by a gazpacho moat. Is it a imaginative and prescient from a 1997 girls’s weekly? Completely. What a thrill.
That is the retro ceremonial dinner you solely want your pals have been courageous sufficient to throw, trimmed with extra velvet than ought to be allowed and that includes a drinks service match for a ’70s airline. Your $135 five-course dinner (there’s additionally $90 lunch and shorter pre-theatre journeys) consists of actually as a lot Ninth Property glowing, primary wines and non-brand-specific spirits as they will get in your glass whereas cornering Albert Park.
Is the surroundings spectacular? Again within the ’80s the tram was free to roam. Today it is largely the 12 path to St Kilda and a closing metropolis loop. Nonetheless, as we hit Acland Road and mains (an excellent steak, served rosy and buttered with a creamy potato gratin is best than the vaguely Asian hen breast and mushrooms) Luna Park glows vibrant over dinner. For an excellent second, the lifeblood of Melbourne programs via our veins. That, and shiraz.
The steak, cream cheese and unending wine hits as we reverse up Acland Road. We out of the blue perceive why, between the brie and fruit and our chocolate orange tart dessert, there’s a pause in Albert Park.
“A girl cried and fell asleep final week,” confides our waiter. Typically there’s bonhomie between tables. Sometimes the confined area, Tia Maria and language boundaries do precisely what you count on. As soon as, somebody additionally sabotaged the bathroom after a lover’s tiff. However this crew is experience or die, all winking jokes and bomb-proof stoicism within the face of sullen teenagers and upchucking vacationers. Joe, who rides the opposite carriage, is thought to sing.
Is that this the very best expertise in Melbourne? I am unsure. But when you may get on board with the glitzy, kitschy glory of cheese and crackers and steak and shiraz in a classic tube outfitted like a tea parlour in a French knicker store, you are in for a magic compartment experience.
Well-known diners: The Harlem Globetrotters; Dannii Minogue had her 40th birthday aboard.
The dish: For retro wonderfulness, the salmon and avocado tower.
Tackle Cease 125, Normanby Highway, South Melbourne.
Telephone 03 9695 4000
Web site tramrestaurant.com.au