In June I chronicled our first pub visit in 92 days, and now I describe our final pub experience for, well, dunno.
Back then it was at the Broady in Glenelg South, and on this occasion circumstances allowed us to swing by the Excelsior in the inner suburb of Brompton.
The government’s lunchtime press conference saw our lockdown outlined, and so, with a singular wish, we made a booking.
I’d last frequented the Excelsior about twenty years ago as part of a loose, but committed collective which attempted to visit every hotel in Adelaide under the cross of a Wednesday Schnitzel Club. Back then the pub’s interior design was Phantom-themed as in the ghost who walks, man who can not die. I’ve since discovered this connects to Marvel comics hero Stan Lee’s lifelong catchcry- excelsior.
Now, this motif has been retired and the pub is a little more anonymous with standard boozer carpet and taupe walls and a circa 1998 Triple M soundtrack. But, its location is trendy Coglin Street and the mise en scène as we alighted our cars was suggestive of Melbourne’s Fitzroy given the proximity to the CBD, and aspirational and artsy population.
The service was friendly and the staff were certainly approachable. There was no gloomy subtext which in their position would’ve been fair. Ordering a Big Shed American Ale the advice was, “It’s highly drinkable and quite fruity.”
Claire opted for an entrée of parmi (not parma) bread and this got our last supper underway in a fashion of which JC may have nodded his Neoplatonist approval. It was a warm evening, but C’s glass of red was both generous and pleasant in that luxurious, midweek way.
Despite the swirling uncertainty in our city-state the pub patrons appeared calm and accepting. Nearby, a family with three young girls coloured in their books in functional silence. Even their pigtails were cooperative, laying still on their narrow shoulders. Thinking of the boys at their age, I shuddered at the likely fiscal and psychological tolls of a similarly modest mealtime.
My beef burger was satisfactory although I’m constantly dismayed at the absence of beetroot in these. Surely, its inclusion is as Australian as pineapple on a Hawaiian pizza. My chips came in one of those petite wire baskets about which I have reservations. Still, they’re better than suffocating them beneath a schnitzel which must soon enjoy a Royal Commission.
Claire’s salad was plentiful and enjoyed. The roast capsicum, red onion, baby bocconcini, and bacon all played their roles like a young Meryl Streep, whatever this means.
Strolling out into the early evening a clot of lads was settling in for the night on their apartment balcony and judging by the hollering were each about five beers deep.
We were all on the cusp of lockdown, but I remember that excelsior means upward and I nodded to myself and glanced again at the balcony.
Their approach seemed impeccable.