I am a writer living in Melbourne who loves to devour culture and the arts. Visit me at www.pumptheatre.com.au
Published January 3rd 2011
Vegetarians, stop right here. In fact, why are you in this review anyway? The title of the eatery is The Meat and Wine Co. Do you really need to know anymore? Goodbye.
For those that are still here, my fellow carnivores, feast your eyes upon the meaty, heavy goodness of this well-decked-out restaurant on Southbank. Although the address may make it difficult to find, you really can't miss it on the ground. Big bold letters spelling the restaurant's name adorn the ground floor of the Freshwater Place apartments. As soon as you see it, you'll know you're in the right place.
Enter via the side door to come face-to-face with your host. They'll show you through the massive dining spaces to your table. And, for once, this often over-the-top touch is absolutely necessary. The dining room is huge, and spread over several floors and sections. Without the help to get to your seat, you'd probably be left floundering in the sea of bottles, tables and patrons. Another important point: make mental notes about where you're sitting. Sometimes, a loo break can mean a 20 minutes detour to find your way back.
Onto the decor. Normally, the fitout of a place is secondary to service, food, etc. Where the Meat and Wine Co differs is that they seem to have place utmost importance into the design and layout of the dining rooms. Wine bottles form the centre of a large stairwell that leads between sections. Pinks, purples and blues are splattered across all the walls, and the lights flicker and change with the mood. Would all be fantastic, but it can look a little kitsch. More subtlety would be nice, but it certainly has a unique feel.
The food is good, as to be expected from an international chain such as this. Steaks are the specialty, again to be expected. They do a marvellous job, with the steaks tender and juicy. Another good point is the service, which is quick and efficient. Overly so, at times, where you can feel as if you're being forced out the door to make way for the next batch of patrons. However, a fast meal is what this place specialises in, but don't feel like you have to rush. A slow dinner is one of life's true pleasures.
Overall, if you like meat, go here. That's pretty much it.