It’s not just chips – there’s the huge range of sauces, onion rings, burgers and even “nuggets” – not bad for a vegetarian/vegan outlet. For a very late lunch we order a few boxes of deep fried goodies drenched in sauces to take home for a proper pig-out, six-pack in hand – all class.
|Fries with Swiss and Belgian sauces from Lord of the Fries,|
Flinders Street, Melbourne CBD
Thickly cut and well browned, I struggle to find a single crispy chip in the box, but the thick, creamy and herbs/spice-dotted mayonnaise makes up for it, mostly.
|Onion rings with Aussie sauce|
Perhaps caused by the golden crumb on the rings of onion, this pack actually maintained some crispness and was my favourite of the lot.
|Nuggets with Vietnamese sauce|
|Post Lord of the Fries meal|
|Seamstress, Lonsdale Street, Melbourne CBD|
In fact, the cucumber flavour came through more strongly than the elderflower, as did the lime. It was a very pretty yet properly warming drink.
Written up on a board next to the bar, the ‘bartender’s tipple’ was a special that included pisco, pineapple juice and lemon, and was a stronger drink, equally warming if not more so. Pisco is not one of my poisons of choice, with its strong rum-like, in my opinion.
|Nihonshu, Lonsdale Street, Melbourne CBD|
A literal hop and skip away, we pass a dimly lit shopfront with a long bar running down its length and step back to see Nihonshu looking back invitingly. I see two seats inside at the high-seated bar and pull up to the substantial menu of sake and shochu.
|Shelves stocked with sake|
The shelves behind the bar are almost groaning under the weight of a huge selection of bottles and tins of beers, with Japanese snacks to match. We see others further up the bar choosing their own sake cups of different patterns for their immediate use.
|Winter special and potato chips|
We ordered a winter special of umeshu (plum wine) with black tea and sugar, which arrives piping hot in a large earthenware teacup. It’s strong in all three facets, with the alcohol in the plum wine almost amplified by the heat, toned down somewhat by the bitterness of the tea.
We also share chips and soy crisps in more gorgeous crockery from an actual menu of Japanese snack foods.
|Chilling at Nihonshu|
It felt quite Japanese underground in the bar, so it was a little odd to step back out into the cold Melbourne CBD street and see Saturday night crowds out and about. The night continues at The Toff in Town (a lot of colourful characters, to say the least) and Match Bar (much more subdued and cruisey).
With the wisdom of not being quite so young and stupid anymore, the night ends with a degree of decorum and the morning after starts with a refreshing, hangover-free swim and spa session. I’m finally seeing some positives in maturity.