I'm in Melbourne often enough - so why not write a bit about some places I've seen :)
Published April 28th 2012
What's in a name? Not what you would expect at this place.
Cookie is actually a perfect name for this restaurant, although you might be hard pressed to find a cookie to eat. The name is ambivalent and throws you slightly, which is actually just what the whole atmosphere of the restaurant itself does.
First of all, there is a concrete staircase to ascend once you find the place on Swanston Street. Don't look out for the name Cookie to appear before you or you'll be pacing up and down Swanston all night. Rather, look for the number 252 Swanston Street and use this as your guide. From here walk up the rather ominous staircase to level one, and lo and behold Cookie will await you.
So you might still not know what to expect, or your expectations may change completely once in Cookie. The room is divided into a bar and a dining area, but the two could easily be interchangeable. The dim lighting sets the mood and the music playing doesn't feel like a restaurant at all. The music, although atmospheric, is perhaps a bit too loud for dinner time conversation. Combine this with how busy the place is on a Friday night and you'll have to raise your voice an octave or two to chat to your companions at the table.
Speaking of how busy it is, ensure that you honour your booking. If you book a table for 7pm, arrive before that time and don't be late. Or you may find your dinner is being cut short by the waitress politely asking you to leave. Business is business, after all.
Now, the menu. If you didn't know by now, Cookie serves Thai food. Did you expect that? No one would blame you if you didn't. However, the drinks are effectively multi-cultural and you can choose from French wine all the way through to a large German beer.
The menu is neatly divided into three sections of small dishes, medium and large dishes. For the most the prices reflect this division, however don't enter with the idea that small dishes will be under $10. This isn't a cheap eats place.
The food is fantastic, giving you all the flavours and spices expected of Thai food. The options are wide ranging on the menu, giving plenty of choices to meat-eaters and vegetarians alike. The dishes are perfect to order a bunch and share them around between the group – this is the kind of food where you don't want to miss out on a dish.
Perhaps the portions in the dish are a little bit less than you'd expect for the price. Naturally if you order one from the small dish section of the menu, you know it will be smaller than a medium. But perhaps it's best to interpret the small, medium and large terms on a loose basis – large in this case does not mean the one dish would feed a family of five.
Once your stomachs are full and it's coming to the end of your booking and the waitress is dropping subtle hints that she needs to clear the table, you inevitably have to order the bill. In a pleasant twist, the bill is delivered inside a story book reminiscent of childhoods past.
This delightful ending to satisfying drinks and food adds that little extra to the evening. And as you're walking out of the room, if you didn't notice them at first, the row of picture story books at the door makes it hard to leave without a smile.