30 August 2015
This lunch was going to be special. I was meeting up with one of my oldest friends — with whom I have never met in person! We began as pen-pals back in the early 1990s and have been friends for over 22 years, with communications far easier now than the old hand-written letters. But this was the highlight of my trip to be sure. We met in the CBD and had a very pleasant stroll around as we caught up, and it was her recommendation that we had lunch at No.8 by John Lawson.
We made it to the restaurant and had a nice table in the corner. The menu looked lovely and we both ordered and shared a bottle of white. It was so good to be able to chat in person after all these years! As we talked about everything that’s happened over the years that’s so much easier to talk about in person than in letters of emails or the rarer conversations, our starters also arrived.
This was a nice house-smoked eel, one of my favourites. Nice and flavourful without being flakey, done very well. Only thing was the wee portion… We both enjoyed our starters and the conversation kept flowing. At this point, however, there was a large table of rather drunk ladies getting louder and louder…oh dear, the brunch culture I so hate in NYC is also annoying me here…
Nevertheless we carried on and talked about more things — this conversation could be endless! Then our main courses arrived, and I was very excited for this.
This was a fabulous lamb that they sourced from a breeder that’s been doing lamb for over a century; specifically called Nigel Thomson’s Barwon lamb. I could have chosen the belly, but this rack sounded so good. And it was fabulous, one of the most flavourful lamb I’ve had in ages — even better than last night’s at Charcoal Lane. The fat was glorious, the meat full flavoured, all cooked to perfection. Totally awesome.
Now my friend is, like most people, a lover of desserts, so I was game. We carried on chatting, trying to ignore the even-louder drunken ladies, before our desserts arrived.
I chose the sweet carrot and white chocolate dish, a nice combination. Not as sweet as you’d think, good balance, but nice and rich. We were both full after this fabulous lunch.
We happily abandoned the ladies to their own drunkenness and had another stroll south of the Yarra before the sad but inevitable parting. This was such a special day for me, and it was accented by an excellent lunch too. I really wish I had given myself more time in Melbourne. Now I know I need to come back!
No.8 by John Lawson
8 Whiteman Street, Southbank
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia