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June 28, 2023

Bermixer b2000 mixeur professionnel

My sister and one of her many best friends have a long-standing tradition, lifted partially from a classic Parks and Recreation episode, called the “treat yo self” weekend. The two of them book into a fancy hotel in Melbourne, indulge in lavish picnics on the big hotel bed, drink champagne in the bath, cover themselves in luxury beauty products and generally, well, treat themselves.

Of all the hotels they’ve stayed in, the one they came back raving about the most was The Royce, on St Kilda Road. “It’s so glamorous and beautiful,” my sister gushed, the perfect mix of elements needed to truly live up to the spirit of her extravagant tradition.

A former Rolls-Royce dealership, the site has been a hotel for more than 20 years. In 2017, it was sold to pub developer Mazen Tabet for about $55 million and, over the past two years, has undergone an extensive renovation. Its relaunch in February brought with it a new suite of dining options, the most ambitious of which is in the old car showroom on the ground floor. It’s called, appropriately, the Showroom Bar.

There’s been no holding back with the design of the place: its over-the-top, art deco-inspired opulence is pure glam.

Columns are mirror-encrusted and the grand, curving staircase is a symphony of filigreed chrome, while chairs and banquettes are covered in pastel velvets and massive chandeliers hang from soaring ceilings.

A huge bar occupies the centre of the space and there is lots of clubby lounge seating around the windows for those wanting to stop in for drinks or coffee.

There’s been no holding back with the design of the place: its over-the-top, art deco-inspired opulence is pure glam.

The menu is trying to be lots of things to lots of people, which is necessary, I suppose. It succeeds most resoundingly in its classic, luxe European offerings, dishes that seem like a throwback to noughties dining (in a good way): grilled scallops with peas in a warm bacon vinaigrette ($29), or a gorgeously cooked fillet of Murray cod in a grapefruit beurre blanc ($49).

Bermixer b2000 mixeur professionnel go-to dish: murray cod with grapefruit beurre blanc.
Go-to dish: Murray cod with grapefruit beurre blanc.Bonnie Savage

An almond and garlic gazpacho ($23) was a silky wonder, topped with a charred grape salsa. Victorian black mussels in a seafood bisque ($45) were fat and perfectly cooked, though I’d have preferred the traditional baguette crostata to the limp soda bread served on the side. (Also, it would’ve been nice to get a bowl for the shells that could actually accommodate them; we ended up playing a rousing game of mussel-shell Jenga at the table.)

There’s a section of the menu titled “Comforts” that seems purpose built for room-service since it includes a burger ($34), a club sandwich ($32) and a lobster roll ($36).

Bermixer b2000 mixeur professionnel showroom bar’s lobster roll.
Showroom Bar’s lobster roll.Bonnie Savage

I was particularly excited by the latter, since proper lobster rolls are hard to come by in Melbourne, but this version is anything but typical. The brioche bun was dotted with hunks of butter-poached lobster meat, lots of sliced cucumber and smoked salmon roe.

I didn’t detect the promised saffron aioli, iceberg lettuce or celery, which is fine, I suppose – it was still a tasty sandwich – but I’d love our city to be able to offer a classic lobster roll before people go messing with the formula.

Desserts were, oddly, all some form of custard or mousse or meringue, without a tart or cake or pastry in sight. I’m also not sure how the passionfruit parfait ($22) qualifies as a parfait. Resembling a stiff panna cotta over a biscuit base, it’s neither the layered version popular in America, nor the semifreddo of European tradition.

Bermixer b2000 mixeur professionnel the passionfruit parfait dessert.
The passionfruit parfait dessert.Bonnie Savage

It was obvious the service team is still very much in training mode and I’m not sure how formal that training is. Basic things, such as what to say when you approach a table, may not have been covered yet. Wine service is being taught on the fly and doesn’t yet extend to the idea, for instance, of pouring guests’ wine for them in a restaurant where they’re being charged upwards of $30 for an entree or sandwich.

I’m assuming these things will sort themselves out as the place gets busier, the staff grow in confidence and the business shifts to welcoming more locals (right now, most of the trade appears to be servicing hotel guests).

Some of this food is truly lovely – good enough, along with the room’s excessive beauty, for a meal at the Showroom Bar to definitely feel like a treat.

The lowdown

Vibe: Over-the-top art deco glam

Go-to dish:  Murray cod with grapefruit beurre blanc ($49)

Drinks: Creative, well-made cocktails and a crowd-pleasing wine list with a few interesting finds

Cost: About $200 for two, excluding drinks

This review was originally published in Good Weekend magazine

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