Yet again my friend D organised a wonderful venue for us. The Aviary is in Victoria Street Abbotsford (just down from North Richmond Station).
It's a bit hard to identify what kind of venue this is. Is it a restaurant? Is it a bar? Is it a pub? Or is it a refuge for out of work actors (more on this later).
On arriving we were advised all tables (of which their currently aren't many) were booked but we can find some small tables down the back. They were near the toilets but it wasn't really intrusive at all, it was actually kind of private down there.
The Aviary's speciality is various plates of Tapas, which on a Sunday night are only $5.00 a plate. Three or four plates would be plenty for even the hungriest person I'd wager. But there is also a traditional pub menu of sorts, and so I ordered my staple of a Chicken Parmigiana which was $19.
Well, when it arrived I was simply flabbergasted, it came out on a wooden platter with a massive pile of chips, salad, and the Parma itself was simply gargantuan. The Terminus Hotel in Richmond could definitely learn from this one. As our waitress said (more on this later), "It could feed a small african nation", and I'm inclined to agree with her.
Drank quite a nice red, there's obviously an extensive wine list and every sort of drink you could want. Atmosphere is relaxed and happy. There was a sign up saying that a beer garden was coming (though hopefully not til after winter!) and also there's an upstairs which it would appear is going to be maybe another bar or perhaps more restaurant tables?
Anyway, to our waitress. As soon as we walked in I looked at her and thought "Hm, I know you", but couldn't place where from. But then it hit my like a bolt of lightning. She was an actress in a show that nobody in Melbourne can possibly have seen yet, but the rest of Australia is all over it. This was kind of exciting, but made me wonder... is she down on her luck, or does she own the place? I was to shy to ask and also even mention the show she was in that I can't possibly have seen, though I think she knew that we knew. Personally if confronted by some sort of celebrity in ordinary situations I invariably leave them to their own devices because I doubt there is anything original I could say to them outside of the situation without making myself look like an incompetent dweeb. But she was an excellent waitress.
Anyway, I'm not sure why it's called The Aviary but this is one cage it's a pleasure to be locked up in for a while.