I’m all about the history of a venue and how I feel when I go into a place. So I was curious about the Wallis and Ed story. I knew that it used to be the Hard Rock Café, which I remember going to when I was a boy, but what about before that? And what is the significance of the name?
It so goes that in 1936 Edward the eighth (the King of England) renounced his throne for the woman he loved – a mere American socialite who was pursuing a divorce from her second husband (aka a man eater!). It sounds like a fairytale and one hell of a romantic story. The significance? I like to think that it’s paying homage to the Windsor given its romantic/royal undertones. I was intrigued to say the least, I’m a sucker for romance, what can I say.
As you can see really well presented, great setting and beautifully lit. I’d always walked past it to and from work (right out of the parliament station Spring St exit) always wondered what it was like; I’d just assumed it was another café, not a stylish dinning experience. Quite the contrary my good man, sophisticated wines, elegant lighting and civilised wait staff makes for a modish venue indeed.
The menu is an impressive mix of café simplicity and lavish dinning cuisine. I dragged our photographer Wanda Chin along to help me….take photos…. nothing to do with the food. We agreed on the Duck with winter vegetables, French vinaigrette and hazelnuts for entrée – of course we did!
I had to try the lamb with pan-fried gnocchi, green olive and bullhorn peppers. I bet they didn’t serve this in 1936.
My partner in crime had the Barramundi with fennel, salted fish and spring onion milk. I also tried this (hey I had to right) – not bad!
If Wallis and Ed were alive today I’m sure they’d be impressed by the whole set up, even if the wait staff seemed a little preoccupied. I wonder if it was customary to tip in 1936 even for unimpressive service?
It’s 3/5 Cravats from Mick and Wanda.
You can visit Wallis and Ed at 1 Bourke Street, Melbourne.