There are a famous historical fleet of tram cars in Melbourne that have become the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant. This restaurant on wheels is in fact the first traveling tramcar restaurant in the world.
It was 11am on a Tuesday morning and Mr.B was getting antsy at our motel on Hawke Street, West Melbourne. I smirked as I took my time combing and drying my hair. I asked what the deal was but got no specifics. The only answer I managed to get out of him was that I was being taken on a surprise lunch, somewhere…different and also to hurry up with my hair-do.
Off we went out of the dingy motel in a rush with nothing but Mr.B’s iPhone navigation system. We obviously had no idea which direction we were meant to be walking in nor how far we would go. I wasn’t allowed to help for obvious reasons, so I tagged along asking every 3 minutes if we were there yet. It was a funny temperature outside, the wind was blowing my perfectly dried hair in every direction imaginable to mankind and the coarse air was making me thirsty.
The ‘walk’ soon turned into a less than comfortable power pace and of course, my curiosity was growing. I wanted to know what ‘restaurant’ wouldn’t have us a single minute late. I just couldn’t put my finger on it.
Thirty minutes later, we arrived at our destination. According to Mr.B, it took way longer than he had anticipated. We were at a tram stop! For those who aren’t familiar with Melbourne, trams are the common transport norm. I looked at him in disbelief and asked what on earth we were doing there. Turns out, we weren’t late, there were others waiting too. It also looked like we were the youngest, the others were groups of 50-60 year old American tourists. I couldn’t help but crack jokes on if we were on our way to a retirement home. Mr.B was not amused.
Finally, uniformed staff arrived at the platform with lists to take our attendance and then it all started making sense. We were about to board a tram, which was also a restaurant! I was pretty excited for the experience. We boarded tram car # 3 and were given a table for two near the entrance. As soon as we were seated, we were given a quick brief about where we would be heading, how long the trip would take and the free alcohol available (most important point!…)
After taking our orders, two different dips were presented to us, a hummus dip – a smooth blend of chickpea and tahini with a hint of mint and a roasted capsicum dip – fresh roasted capsicum blended with Australian cream cheese and tapenade. Of course, we wolfed this down. We were starving as we skipped breakfast. What better way to wash down the first meal of the day other than the free flowing Morgan’s bay sparkling cuvee from the Red Cliffs in Victoria and Tahblick Sauv Blanc from Nagambie, Victoria. So dangerous but what a lovely tipsy feeling! – for those who don’t drink or don’t fancy that fuzzy feeling so early on, there is a plethora of un alcoholic beverages on offer too.
Soon after, we were served our appetizers alongside copious amounts of sparkling. We chose one of each, a duck terrine which is a tender confit duck terrine wrapped in prosciutto, accompanied by a wild berry relish and cornichons. I thought this was delicious. I had been craving duck for a while now and this satisfied me completely. I especially liked the fresh proscuitto wrapped around the terrine. The next had to be my favourite though, it was a smoked Tasmanian salmon with avocado mousse. Did I just say mousse? Yes I did! I can’t tell you how smooth that was, it was so beautiful I just never wanted it to end. It was also dressed with baby capers, red onion and tomato salsa.
I was less impressed by the main course. Again, we opted for one of each so we’d have a variety. Unfortunately, both the grilled chicken breast and the Victorian farmed eye fillet of beef were almost identical in taste apart from the obvious difference. They were both paired with a rosemary and thyme scallop potato and ‘fresh seasonal vegetables’ which were quite bland. I found both mains to be chewy and lacking in creative flavours. This could also have been done on purpose during menu planning due to the common ‘older clientele’ onboard.
(please excuse my blurry images…the alcohol and moving vehicle didn’t help)
Lastly, we were offered a cheese tasting plate which was matched with a quince paste and served with golden crisp water crackers and a spiced fruit loaf. We were struggling to finish at this point and couldn’t even bring ourselves to have a swig of baileys or dessert wine. Instead, we experimented with silly photos and ridiculous hashtags on instagram in our early arvo tipsy state. The table next to us were certainly not impressed with our behaviour and conversation topics.
follow me on instagram @missy_so and find my hashtag #miperfectplate for my mouthwatering home made food creations!
Melbourne didn’t really do it for me in the attractive-city department. I didn’t find the buildings and intersections to be of much interest. St.Kilda was quite disappointing too. All in all it was a different experience which I did enjoy but I’d rather recommend this experience to older couples who don’t take pleasure in spending their days walking around town and exploring the sights by foot. At $85 per person, it’s not the cheapest experience but it’s definitely something out of the ordinary.
The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant
PO Box 372, South Melbourne
3205, Victoria, Australia
Telephone +61 3 9695 4000