Saturday, 25 August 2007

Winners Don't Gamble, Losers Do - Crown Casino Foodcourt

Busy busy busy! It had been mad workwise lately. Certainly no time to do anything else that hold more personal interests, like posting to blogs! Badly needed a break to get some perspective, which I guess I did achieve in a small way. Just returned from a week's skiing in New Zealand's South Island. The mind and soul are somewhat refreshed although on returning to the coal-face, the workload is continuing unabated. The brief push on the "reset" button helped however. I was in an inundated (read "dark") state of mind when I attempted to write a previous post here, describing an evening stroll at the Crown complex on the week before we headed off for some snow and fun. Couldn't finish it then so for the sake of completeness will put it up here, somewhat retrospective though those thoughts are now...

"...Not having been for awhile, KB and I braved the chill for a pre-dinner stroll along the Southgate and Crown Promenade stretch of the Yarra River early on Sunday evening. It's the time when Melbourne's skyline is at its prettiest, with the amber glow of Flinders Station leading the eye upwards to the multicoloured fluorescent hues of the city just beyond. There was a crowded throng of people with the same idea. I guess many could sense that the depths of winter are behind us and are keen to make the most of the progressively longer days.

On our return pass alongside the Crown casino complex, we ducked indoors for a much needed toilet break (that is really about the only reason we ever set foot in Crown to tell the truth). On this occasion, it was a chance to have my first sticky at those much scribed about and similarly hyped upper-echelon eating houses, Neil Perry's Rockpool Bar & Grill and the more recently 'officially' opened Japanese fusion temple of Nobu. Only gazing from the outside for now regretably. I certainly hope to pay a proper visit to either one or both of those establishments in the future but probably not until our bank accounts stop laughing sarcastically at the mere idea of it. For now we'll have to contend with 'window shopping', much like pressing a greasy nose against the displays at Tiffany & Co. Rockpool was unfortunately surrounded by construction boards so there wasn't much incentive to have a closer look. However the horizontally panelled walls interspersed with see-through glass strips which bunkered both floors of Nobu just invited leaning forwards and having a good peer in. Inside was intriguing indeed, with the main dining area situated on the ground level within a vast, dimly lit minimalist space. The place was surprisingly empty early on this Sunday evening however, to the extend that I wasn't sure whether it was opened for business. I didn't see a single soul in fact, not even evidence of staff. But I can definitely say that I'm still keen to give it a try!

Walking along the rest of Crown's restaurant strip which was filling up with early dinner crowds certainly had the effect of reminding us that we were yet to have ours. We had dinner planned and ready to cook back home but needed some filler to tie us over till then, so our best hope for a small takeaway was the complex's foodcourt. What's more, as part of renovations there was a large declaration of a "New and Improved Foodcourt" plastered on the walls so we explored the possibilities. I must say that a quick glance around didn't convince me that there was anything new nor improved, just usual offerings dominated with pedestrian Australian-Asian deep- or stir-fried goods. Perhaps the foodcourt renovation had not started yet? Not tempting at all but our hunger got the better of us so we gambled on an outlet that purported to offer Chinese/Malaysian/Thai/Vietnamese/Asian-of-your-choice food. That alone should have warned us off but hey, a fried snack was in order. We got a couple of spring rolls ($1.50 each) and a couple of meat curry puffs ($2.20 each) and on eating them can safely say that they were very very wrong on all of their claimed countries of origin. The food was in fact, spectacular Crapanese! The curry puffs were ok but nothing like any Malaysian ones I'd ever eaten. Basically mince of no particular description (or flavour) and mashed vegies mixed with some commercial generic curry paste and encased in lousy pastry. The greasy springrolls however ranked as one of the worse I'd ever eaten with a sodden, stringy and absolutely tasteless cabbagey filling. Frozen industrial food at its worst. What a waste of a buck fifty! I guess the Crown management is consistent, screwing people for every cent inside its dark casino bowels and doing the same outside at the Foodcourt, using the term "food" with "court" loosely. The crazy and perhaps hapless public on the inside deserve all they get (or lose) I guess, but I for one certainly won't be gambling any more money on those foodcourt bains marie again!..."

Told you I had been in a vitriolic state of mind. Anyway the next series of posts are of infinitely brighter Briefs of our whirlwind trip up and down the South Island of the Land of the Long White Cloud, and the meals we encountered along the way. It was great!

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