20 Meyers Pl
Melbourne, VIC 3000
Finding out that pasta is a healthy, low GI choice (thanks, K!) is probably the best thing that’s happened to me since Chris. As a food blogger, it’s hard to maintain a healthy diet, and I try doubly hard to make up for all the dining out I do, at least until cake shows up at work. I mean, I know that a huge plate of creamy fettuccini isn’t going to help towards a long and healthy life, but there’s still been more pasta passing through my stomach recently than there has been in a long time.
The Waiters Club Restaurant is one of those Melbourne institutions that have been around since the beginning of time. A co-worker of mine remembered eating there as a little girl – a good 25 years ago. It’s called the Waiters Club Restaurant because that’s literally what it used to be – a place for waiters, especially the Italian ones, to chill after their shift ended. Of course their clientele has since then opened up, but the rickety stairs, nostalgic wood panelling, and newspaper clippings from 1991 still remain.
We couldn’t turn down the suggestion of Garlic Bread, casually offered up to us as we perused the chalkboard menu. What we got was exactly what it said on the packet – four crunchy pieces of toast, rubbed with herbs and garlic, and soaked through with golden butter. It really is very hard to mess up garlic bread.
Tortellini Bologna was a good change from our usual pickings, and the soft pockets of pasta were indeed hearty on a crisp evening, a time when overcooked pasta is much more easily forgiven. The chunky ragu tasted genuinely home-made, and was rich and comforting, with a fruity undertone of red wine.
On the specials board was a tantalising Porcini Risotto, which I snapped up as soon as I saw. The grains of rice were bound in a sticky sauce, woody and rich with the distinctive fragrance of porcini mushrooms. The aromatic mixture was topped with generous shavings of pungent parmesan – it was classic comfort food for grownups.
There were no prices listed on the chalkboards, but our meal came to a total of $41, which I felt was reasonable, if not a bargain. Many may say that The Waiters Club Restaurant is a bit past its prime, and whilst I’d be inclined to agree, it’s really Melbourne that’s moved upwards and onwards. I doubt the restaurant has changed since the day it opened its doors, and if the food has been consistently tasty and comforting all this time, then there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.
Rating: 13.5/20 – nostalgic comforts
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.