THE RYDGES POST

Drink/Dine ian 9/15/2013

While dining at Rydges is ALWAYS rewarding, if you love seafood and would like to combine that with Melbourne theatre, Box on Collins is THE place (189 Collins).

Box on CollinsYour humble blogger and his good lady wife dined there before going next door to see King Kong at The Regent and it was delightful – not inexpensive, but great value for a memorable meal and a rewarding dining experience.

It was a Sunday lunch prior to the matinee performance and we had no expectations or booking – just took pot luck.  We were given a warm welcome from a charming young lady by the name of Lisa (she may be a Lisa with a ‘z’) who turned out to be a co-owner – after settling in, also met her husband and business partner, Adrian, and our designated waitress (on a working holiday from the US) was super-attentive as well. Could not fault the friendliness and efficiency.

There are a few tables outside and the interior comes as a wee surprise – very long, very narrow… which makes total sense when you discover that it was once a CBD laneway. (There is another dining level above, too). Street entrance is to the left of the Regent in the top photo. At the end of the restaurant is a lift that goes up a couple of floors to the Regent Theatre and this is how patrons in wheelchairs access the theatre.

We chose a nice bottle of white wine, decided to skip entrée and go straight for a seafood platter. Platters normally leave me with a gripe or two for serving up too much deep fried and not enough of the good stuff like oysters and bugs… not even a hint of a whinge with this plus not a hint of waste and not a hint of hunger – in short, perfect!

You can tailor your own platter but we decided that they know more than we do and chose the mixed seafood platter A ($80 each). It arrived with both natural and Kilpatrick oysters (very plump and fresh), pan seared bug halves with white wine, garlic, butter and parsley, calamari fritti, lightly floured and deep fried with a garlic aioli dipping sauce, scallops (same way) and thermidore (served in the half shell with a creamy cheese and mustard sauce) – also two prawn dishes – king prawns pan fried with cracked black pepper, garlic, lemon juice, spring onions and butter and garlic king prawns with white wine, roasted garlic, butter and parsley, sensational scampi spring rolls with light garlic and ginger seasoning and a sweet chilli dipping sauce plus some good ol’ steamed mussels with Napoli sauce, tomato, onion, coriander and fresh chilli. Probably sounds a tad over the top in the garlic department but certainly wasn’t overwhelming to the taste buds and no one in the theatre complained. Mind you, the gorilla did brush back a tear at one point but we think that was through sadness.

And because I get around in a wheelchair, we also used the restaurant lift to exit the theatre and received a friendly farewell, too.  Highly recommended.

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