The Waiter’s Club

June 14, 2011

20 Meyers Place, Melbourne

I went here with a group of friends on Friday the 13th May (cue dramatic music). It had been pouring and hailing and miserably cold all day, but that didn’t stop us! This restaurant was formerly the Waiter’s Club, which has a rich yet dubious history – apparently it was a popular spot for underworld figures and corrupt authority figures back in the day. I’m surprised they didn’t use it as a setting in Underbelly. It’s a very small place, hidden down Meyer’s Place, through a non-de-script door and up a thin stairway. With company such as Lily Blacks and the Meyer’s Place Bar, and with Madame Brussels and the Melbourne Supper Club just around the corner, you can’t go wrong, really.

The place reminds me of someone’s seventies living room, and on a friday night it was bustling, we could barely squeeze into our seats for fear of bumping the people at the table behind us. The walls are wood-paneled, the tables are laminex, and the hearty Italian menu is written on chalkboards. The curtains have a floral pattern, there are framed maps and posters of Italian landmarks on the wall, and a painting of a rather grotesque looking fat old man at a dinner table kissing a pretty woman in a red dress. (To quote C, “that’ll be me when I’m older”) The crowd is loud, and those same laughs in any other restaurant would be disruptive, but here no one seems to mind. The menu is divided into pastas and meat/fish. Very simple, but pleasant and uncomplicated.

The waiters are very friendly, and the service is very quick. Wine options are limited to a house bottle of red or white (although you can BYO), and come in an unlabeled bottle. When the food arrives, it’s an enormous, unceremonial pile of pasta on an oval plate. Tuck in.

I had penne in a tomato sugo with spring onions, red and green peppers, hot salami, olives, garlic and herbs. It was tasty, but not particularly refined (which is not a put down, I think many people would say they like the Waiter’s Restaurant but not one of them would describe it as refined). I mean, look at it, it’s like something I’d do at home. I would cut capsicums like that, and salami into awkward squares. But the tomato sugo is better than I can make, and the pasta is cooked perfectly al dente each and every time. And the atmosphere. And the waitress with the bob and cute smile. I don’t have either of those. My kitchen and meals area, as joyous a place as it is, doesn’t match up to the Waiter’s vibe.

I can’t really remember what everyone else ordered. I’m fairly sure JH and T had the same as me, and JS had a chicken parmigiana, and D had a type of pasta (???)…I do however know what C had, because he asked me to take a photo of it, in a slightly offended tone I must say, as if he was hurt that I didn’t want to take a picture of his food. Bolognese. Yummy. JS was also good enough to give me some feedback on his chicken, which wasn’t overly exciting he said, but he liked the vegies and thought they worked well with the parmigiana.

Coffee and dessert. My latte was nice, if a little overheated.

As always, I had the tiramisu. Coffee soaked sponge fingers, vanilla-mascarpone cream, chocolate powder, done the proper Italian way. No further questions.

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Filed under: Italian, Melbourne CBD