Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Builders Arms- Fitzroy

211 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy

For a foodie like myself, there is nothing more exciting than finding a restaurant which offers a menu so interesting and diverse, you simply must return to try as many dishes as you possibly can. And it doesn't hurt either if the dining room itself is so tripped out that you feel as if you have gone down the rabbit hole and entered some weird Alice in Wonderland like hemisphere. With chicken/rooster portraits lining the walls, my bird phobic friend would only be seated facing away from them. This dining room is really a shining example of how exceptional decor can heighten the dining experience.

This was my first and quite long standing impression of the Builders Arms. I literally dragged along every willing and sometimes unwilling dining partner I knew to taste the wonderful Middle Eastern inspired cuisine. As you could understand, after such a high rotation, it was time to give the old gal a break and expand my tastings. So it had been a while.

So it was Friday night, dinner was to be had somewhere, and the Builders Arms was thrown in as a suggestion. Sounded like a good idea, and the others didn't need convincing. Maybe we needed a booking? You can imagine my surprise to arrive to an empty dining room at 7pm. My first impression was, do they still serve food here? Hang on, there are menus on the tables. Something had changed....table service out, pub menu in, pay at the counter.

I can only imagine that the hospitality industry may have suffered many blows in the past year, and obviously Chefs move on, but seriously, has it come to this?

While the food was not terrible, in fact, my fellow diners report good things about the Atlantic Salmon on New Potatoes and the Pork Belly on Mash, my choice of Scotch Fillet with Salsa Verde and roast tomatoes really lacked any inspiration. And was overdone.

Along with the inspiration, the chook portraits are gone. Maybe this isn't the kind of place one goes to the be wowed anymore? Maybe I just chose the wrong dish.

In all honesty, I can only rate this at 12/20. The service was non existent, I could smell the waiters body odor, the menu was a down grade and the music was terrible. No. I would not like a side of Kate Bush with my steak. Thank you. The restaurant felt like a place where people scoff down a burger before hitting the bar. Oh well. Se La Vi.


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  2. Oh No! I just recommended this place for my office Christmas party based on a fantastic meal and evening I had there about a year ago - so sad to hear it's changed so much. Will have to retract my recommendation for the party... thanks for the warning!

  3. I just read your blog, its fantastic! As someone who clearly enjoys food, stay away from the Builder Arms. Totally disappointing!If you are looking for a venue in the area for a function Flore Wine Bar is sensational, I would imagine they have Xmas do packages, every time I go there lately they seem to be closed for a private function!

  4. Fancy dress balls are often sizable affairs... and if you're going to ask your guests to put all that effort into simply dressing themselves to attend the party, it's only fair that you make the effort to arrange some fantastic corporate event entertainment in return.

    office Christmas party Melbourne