I’m not sure why I flew 14,000 km to Australia to go to a restaurant called The European. Probably for the same reason I ate bratwurst for breakfast at Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne. Because Anthony Bourdain told me to.
I found a recurring theme in my solo dining experiences in Australia. I was inevitably seated at the worst table in the house, or at the bar (if there was one). This was unless I spoke up and asked for a different seat, but the status quo seemed to be: single person = loser = bury them in the restaurant near the washrooms. (Or, as the Australians say, ‘the toilet’. Even more appetizing).
I did not let this daunt me! Many times I requested another seat…but at The European one early Friday morning, almost all the tables were taken or occupied by ‘reserved’ signs. This was not a ruse – sure enough, the tables filled quickly with what I’d term ‘well dressed government types’ for The European is just across from the Parliament in Melbourne. (State government is parliament, not legislature, as we have in Canada. Where we also have provinces, not states. Australian politics are both complex and confusing to me).
Here’s my Moleskine-written account of my breakfast at The European:
Just ate a mushroom brushetta with rocket, tomato, proscuitto and poached egg at The European. I suppose I should be frequenting restaurants called ‘The Australian’. Sitting by the kitchen again, but I’m enjoying getting a peek of the chefs in the peek-a-boo window. This place is French with an Australian accent, and is filling up with patrons – there are many working breakfast meetings booked here, by the looks of the clientele.
Funny how when you are travelling with someone else how you are so fixated on each other that you miss the majority of the surroundings. Travelling solo allows for much more observation. But it is a little lonely. And dicey (note to self: sitting at a bar restaurant and eating seems to send a bad message).
So the service was uber professional, but not unfriendly at The European, and despite the nagging feeling I was in Montreal at L’Express again, I enjoyed my sophisticated European/Australian breakfast.
More on my bratwurst at Queen Vic market later. Thanks, Anthony, for the leads. Your devoted servant, foodie suz.