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Sirens Restaurant & Bistro

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by Clay Steele (subscribe)
Nutritionist & Life Coach Meeting all requirements to call myself so (i.e. none)
Published April 15th 2012
Back when folk were shy because Queen Victoria made them ashamed of their bodies they required a place to hide away their sinful flesh while they changed into full body length swimwear.

In 1936 they constructed a dressing pavilion on Williamstown Beach for just this purpose, lest the sight of a woman's ankle incite moral repugnance in the form of wanton carnal desires.

Sirens from afar
Sirens Restaurant on Williamstown Beach

Given that in the last 80 years or so we have become more and more comfortable with the sight of skin and the necessity of intercourse the dressing pavilion was really no longer required for its original purpose. So what to do with a vaguely charming deco white building abutting Williamstown Beach? Well in a tremendous demonstration of good sense the said building was converted into Sirens Restaurant & Bistro.

Sirens Ext Wide
Former Dressing Pavilion now Sirens Restaurant

Literally on the beach, Sirens is a perfect location for a posh lunch or just a relaxing coffee on the deck overlooking the water at Williamstown Beach in Melbourne's inner west. Given the real estate values next to the beach and a lack of competition within walking distance, the venue can afford to appeal to the higher end of the market with its prices. This is probably a strategic move as it keeps the speedo clad mouth breathers from wandering in off the beach requesting a Four n' Twenty and a VB, thus putting the more chic clientele ill at ease.

From my preamble you may gather that I suspect one is paying for the location rather than any artisan from the kitchen. The food I have sampled there has been of reasonable quality but not enough to justify the $30-plus price tag they attach to a dish such as grilled chicken tenderloins (or maybe I'm just stingy).

On a sunny day the deck looking out over the beach is a very pleasant place to sip a latte or imbibe a chilled lager however ordering a few courses will leave you slightly out of pocket and querying whether you got full value for money.

Sirens Deck
View of the water from Sirens' deck

With a separation of the restaurant and bistro one would expect perhaps a difference in the menu items and hence the pricing however both areas have the same menu. I have only ever attended the bistro so am unable to report if there is a difference in the service levels; in the bistro it's only fair-to-middling. The restaurant section gets used for functions a lot and does afford some wonderful views of the water.

The dessert menu is a saving grace with around a dozen delicious selections available (with an additional four specials). Unfortunately I failed to read the fine print or I would have realised the tiramisu contained orange juice rather than Tia Maria and would have selected the vanilla panna cotta in its stead. Even with the citrus tang to it the entire serving of tiramisu did disappear down my gullet in short order given some indication of its quality.

Sirens Tiramisu
The Sirens' tiramisu

If you're looking for some nice Facebook photos to show the world that you're in a better location than they are, then the view and setting of Sirens at the height of summer is a hard one to beat.
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Why? Location, location, locatoin
When: Lunch & Dinner
Where: Williamstown Beach
Cost: Most mains over $30
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by Clay Steele on 15/04/2012
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