We set our standard high, we were planning on going to Mamasita. Which is a Melbourne restaurant in every sense of the word. It has an amazing reputation but it does that Melbourne thing of making itself very hard to deal with. The Melbourne rule is the harder a place is to find the cooler it is. It’s upstairs, you enter through a very non-descript door which is marked only by a small sign.
Of course because it is uber cool they don’t take bookings, you need to put your name on a waiting list and you will be called when your table is ready. Like the resturant is a hot chick that you have given your number to. She might deem you worthy of a callback but you are never too sure.
We arrived at 6.30pm and were told that we could have a table at 9.30pm, faced with a three hour wait we wandered off to find somewhere to drink. We found a darkened hipster Tapas bar called Bar Lourinha where we were mustered to a communal table. It turned out we knew the people next to us (Melbourne is a small place after all), it also turned out they had been turned away from Mamasita as well (arrived at 5.30pm for a 7.30pm booking.)
After discussions we decided to forego our ‘booking’ a Mamasita and stay to eat tapas and drink beer.
So looking to extend my ‘Melbourne’ experience I ordered the Hawthorn Pale Ale.
First impression: ’Imported from Hawthorn’ interesting positioning as Hawthorn was 6km from the Melbourne CBD. A quick look at the website tells me that it’s only the knowledge of the brewer’s which is imported. It seems like all Melbournians they lived overseas in their youth (I assume their 20’s in student hovels)
Appearance: This wasn’t pale at all – it was more of a golden or even amber ale.
Packaging: There is a lot to like about this label. It’s all a giant joke. ‘Imported from Hawthorn’ makes another appearance. There is a tall ship, a nice English theme to it all (not unlike Lord Nelson actually), But here’s the thing it’s all with a knowing wink. Very Melbourne.
Taste: Full of flavour, in fact it tasted a lot like Sierra Nevada’s pale ale. It claimed to have five different kinds of hops in it – perhaps it adds to the complexity of the flavour – whatever they are doing it’s all very good.
Food suggestion: If you want to eat it with anything on the Mamasita menu you’ll need to turn up about 5.01pm.
Random Wikipedia Fact: The Hawthorn football club’s original nickname was the Mayblooms – after a brown and yellow flower. Later they became known as the Mustard Pots (1933) before eventually becoming the Hawks, and becoming home to the most arrogant bunch of birdshit t-shirt wearing blond haired moronic supporters in the history of the VFL/AFL.
6 degrees of Norm:
1. This beer is probably not named after Nigel Hawthorne
2. Who was famous for being in ‘Yes Minster’
3. Which also starred Paul Eddington.
4. Who played the white Rabbit in ‘Alice in Wonderland’ an English TV series
5. The USA also made a TV version of Alice in Wonderland
6. Which starred George Wendt as Tweedledee.
Ranking: A Jug Please
Postscript: Further research tells me that The Hawthorn Pale Ale is actually brewed at the Mildura Brewery (under supervision), so it has travelled a little more than 6km, but the ship still seems a little impractical.