Sunday, 30 March 2014

the brunswick mess hall, brunswick

March is a swathe of birthdays for me, across the city, the country and the world, I feel like every day I am crying out "Happy Birthday!" or "生日快乐" or "I'm sorry I forgotttttttttt." So I can never make it to all birthday celebrations, but this year one celebration I made it to was Ash's 30th birthday dinner, at the Brunswick Mess Hall.

Arriving quite late, as this dinner was one of three events I needed to make it to this chilly Thursday evening, my ordering was a bit of a mess but I did seize quite shortly upon the Bramble Fairy cocktail, because a) it's a bramble fairy! and b) it contains jam. This was excellent, and the Mess Hall has a large array of very excellent cocktails for ordering and some lovely, helpful bar staff. Look at that adorable little pink thing! So pink. And a spotty paper straw.

Sadly, the enthusiasm I felt for the cocktails could not be continued over to the food menu. In the end I settled on the pad thai, which they cheerfully made vegan for me; and it was perfectly servicable, and when it took a million years to appear and only came out after Ash yelled at someone, they also refunded me so that was some excellent service.

The atmosphere is lovely, and I did enjoy my cocktail, so it's a shame that there's a second sadly. Let me recite some of the cocktail names for you: The Saigon Colonies Cocktail; The Ping Pong Special; Samurai's Mist. Good work, everybody! Good, racist work. With their food coming from the "Lucky Panda" kitchen and this frustrating, pan-asian and also appropriative (there's a pinata there somewhere) menu and packages, I'm probably not a return. How many appropriative and upsetting restaurants can Melbourne really support? Apparently like a poo-million (a word I stole from Hayley yesterday and do not plan to return).

The Brunswick Mess Hall
400 Sydney Road

Ordering at tables, eft/cc available, didn't check the toilets. Forgot about the entry. GF available.

Other Melbunnies: Cindy + Michael (ps there were DEFINITELY no 油条 on the menu; Melbourne Mademoiselle.


Hayley said...

I can only be happy that my own personal lexicon is changing English for the better one friend at a time.

Speaking of gross racial appropriation by Melbourne restaurants, did I ever tell you about how I once had to go to a work function at Happy Palace in the CBD, where not only have they taken the look and feel of the suburban Chinese restaurant circa 1985 and made it into a joke for white people, but the bar is made of aquariums that are filled with REAL SCORPIONS, why has someone not called the RSPCA?

steph said...


Liz said...

I didn't even spot the ping pong thing with that cocktail!

Toilets: clean, stylish, no gender neutral option, not accessible.

I kind of want to buy all the ingredients on their cocktail list and make everything at home, with new, non-racist names.

Tash said...

Forgive me for asking or seeming ignorant, but how are the cocktail names racist? There are no negative connotations or prejudices contained in those names, simply Asian references. Referring to race is not racist, but making a judgement or discrimination based on race is, which The Mess Hall does not appear to be doing. I am not Australian, and I love it when people here make reference to and embrace my culture, even if they miss the mark sometimes. Personally, I never mind if my friends or even strangers point out that I look different, and ask me where I'm from, and about my culture. And I love it when I can introduce people to new ideas or ways to do things. I do however mind when people treat me differently because of my race. I feel as though our energy and criticisms would be better directed at those who DO discriminate based on race, rather than those who are simply appreciating and incorporating other cultures into their own.