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It’s your old pal Kit (Christof) Fennessy here. I've been writing this blog with your help for ten years, and there's over a hundred and fifty recipes, restaurant reviews of Australia and around the world, and general gourmet articles in these pages for you to fritter away your idle hours on.

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Deanery

Bligh Place
Melbourne VIC 3000
ph: 9629 5599

Looking over past entries, I note that in many ways, literarily speaking, I've become a parody of myself. "Here's a discrete little number tucked up an alleyway in Melbourne. And watch out gastronauts!" Well, I'm sorry! But this mockery, of a debacle, of a sham is going to just keep rolling on because that's exactly the same case here!

The Deanery is a discrete little number tucked up the end of a pretty discrete little alleyway.. and watch out gastronauts discrete or otherwise! I guess this venue is a direct result of the post-Kennett CBD eatery and bar explosion that makes such statements cliched. But what a cliche! Like "a thousand dollar hooker"! Built in an old carpark, with a secure and temp controlled wine storage facility, groovy decor and a well considered menu mean, you could eat here every day and you'd never eat or drink the same thing twice - mostly due to penury.

My first memories of this restaurant come bar are from my last days at VU's Graduate School of Business in the city. If you know where that is, you won't have trouble finding it. Basically, it's at the end of an alley off Flinders Lane near Elizabeth St - a lane it shares with a bar called Robot which most Gen Y-ers seem to know.

My history with this place is a long one. I was taken there for my farewell lunch where I ate some of the most memorable scallops on the shell I've ever eaten; and my boss got caned for using the corporate credit card for it. And I used to catch up with my friend Paul there; he's a bit of a glamourpuss, and had organised discount rates on bottles of French champagne over the bar. And last but not least, when I blew up the elctrics on the old Saab by putting the battery in the wrong way, I quickly took Jane there before I had to pay the mechanics.

Not much has changed at the Deanery in the last six years. It doesn't look tired. The fit out is a little dated, early 2000's, but there's so much wood and strips of bamboo, etc. that it's timeless. And it's still a place to go and blow the last of your cash before the outside world catches up with you!

Across the back wall of the restaurant, a mezzanine at the back, there's an impressive looking sealed glass wine storage facility. It holds the restaurant's cellar and you can store six cases there for as little as $25 per month with card swipe access. Drinking your own booze on site attracts a $10 corkage, but if you're from an office at 303 Collins and are looking for a place to quickly go and knock the top of a Grange between meetings, it's really not a bad option.

There's a special menu at lunch at $35 for two courses, but they'll get you on the wine and extra side dishes. My companion at lunch there in October asked where the rest of his entree was! The food is perhaps a bit on the "nouvelle cuisine" side, as made popular in the 80's; big white plates with small artworks in the middle.

I had the mulloway which was just delicious with sides of lyonnaise potatoes - sans the bacon, quel dommage! (which I've subsequently learnt to spell, thanks Babel Fish!!) - and a crisp green salad.

It won't run to everyone's taste, but the service is good and the menu delicious. If you're feeling cashed up and generous, you could do much worse. I rate it 6 and a half tentacles out of 8! Bon apetite!!

Visit their site online at:


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