Wednesday, May 2, 2012


It's been months in coming, but we have not forgotten.

Divine Concubine! 
Behold! The secret door!

I’ve got to say that this side of Rundle Street saved the best for last – Concubine is mostly worth the hype (although most people seemed to come because they liked the idea of the secret room). It wasn’t that secret, but it did give off the private party vibe and was good fun. 
Pictured: party vibe.

The tofu is the best I have ever eaten- it was al dente, golden and crunchy on the outside, and full of silky puffs on the inside-amazing stuff. T-O-F-U has always translated to S-H-I-T for me, a poor alternative to meat, but this one beat the meat hands down. ..ahem. 
I saw what you did there.

The restaurant’s banquet caters quite impressively for vegetarians, or at least those that eat fish. This is an impressive move that leaves the standard veggo dishes of steamed greens and broad beans for dead (yes I am referring to the dishes that Café Kowloon, Ying Chow and the like have been banging out for years). 
Tofu Daiquiri. A triumph!

The fish presentation is impressive –until you realise it’s just crazy. Honestly, who wants to eat a fish that looks like a taxidermist had first dibs? Why the hell was the fish MOUNTED? And how the frick were we to eat it? Most of the table stared at it for a good while before someone stabbed at it with a fork, only to peel half the flesh away. It was like ripping a dress off a clothed person. It had EYES, goddamit! 
Pucker up, buttercup.

As loyal readers would know, any praise is good praise under my critical eye. I wasn’t crazy about the prawns in lime but Concubine take risks and they are generally worth taking. The menu is slightly risky and I was impressed with its versatility. 
Served on a bed of awesome. And lettuce.

The dessert was actually S-H-I-T, two scoops of watery gelati in a bowl isn’t even trying. But hey, no one cared by then, and besides, Chinese restaurants and dessert are not exactly synonymous. 
I call this creation "The Frowning Chef On Ice"

The company I must rate-special mention to Triton, who won the award for ‘best and fairest’ on the Gouger Street Epicure gang. 
The award is a traditional Tibetan bar towel.

Special mention goes to Dougie, who definitely was the most adventurous eater and dared to eat the very worst (link to Congee, the Meatball-Seafood-Chicken sub way roll, Stanley’s bizarre bacon and barramundi bonanza and the Chicken and Jellyfish). 
Don't bet she won't eat it. That wasn't her cash at the beginning of the night.

A shout out to those who came on the adventure: Tess, Trent, Em, Hazel, Tallora, Rosey, Shaun, Krista, Marc, Dan, Shippy, Michael and Olivia. Thanks to all the readers that read it along the way: Rosie the photographer, Kath Lockett, Neil, Suzanne, River, and those who remain anonymous. We will be back next year in a big way. 
You're all winners. Except for Triton.

So here’s the Tally: 
3. YING CHOW (controversial decision to put after subway, but the food was so bad that everyone of the Cirkidz who have been going there for years vowed to NEVER go again) 
4. THE TALBOT HOTEL (who get food from Chinese restaurant next door, so that alone is a good reason) 




  1. I've never tried tofu, but if I ever find myself in Concubine, I'll give it a go.
    That plate of prawns looks scrumptious!
    Mmmm, prawns.

  2. A colleague of my was just looking over my shoulder at the USB drive I posted these photos from.
    Him: "I just saw that folder. 'Concubine', eh?"
    Me: "It's not what it looks like! It's a restaurant! A restaurant, man!"
    Him: "Sure."

  3. Good thing you weren't eating at Naked for satan then.

  4. When you come to Melbourne, we'll take you to try some actual vegetarian fish. And why not Naked for Satan while we're at it.

  5. Daniel - We may have to remedy that.

    Looki - What's a vegetarian fish?
    ps. I'm dreading what sort of Google searches will lead people here ...

  6. It's a Melbourne famous tamarind fish (with seaweed skin) at the White Lotus restaurant, a vegan Chinese restaurant with the decor of a bathroom and very friendly staff.
    I don't make the fake meat myself, but this is quite tasty and not stuffed with artificial crap.

    1. Ya, fake meat is weirdest. Like why would you even bother.
      "I like everything about meat, except for the meat"

    2. Some people like the taste of meat, but avoid it for ethical, sustainability or health reasons.

    3. It probably just doesn't taste good enough.

    4. I guess if we can get fake meat that is as healthy/healthier than real meat, with the same taste, then there's no need for real meat.

      Although I'm not one of them, there are so many vegetarians who stop being vegetarian because they miss the taste of meat. So if it helps them, I'm all for it.

      And to be honest, the combination of salt, flavour and protein is pretty enticing.

    5. I think you're refering to bacon.

      *queue Homer Simpson noises*

  7. Welcome back.....! Always wanted to go there and, thanks to your glowing description of the Tofu (which I've always kinda liked) it'll be on the list when we get back 'home' for a visit.

    NEXT year. *sniffle*

    1. So many 'homes'! Look, I'd be honoured if you'd find the time on a visit to go for a Gouger St meal, or even drop around for a coffee. Consider this an open invitation! Any time!


An explanation of The Joy Division Litmus Test

Although it may now be lost in the mysts of thyme, the poll below is still relevant to this blog. In the winter of 2008, Mele and I went to live in Queensland. In order to survive, I bluffed my way into a job at a Coffee Club.
It was quite a reasonable place to work: the hours were regular, the staff were quite nice, it wasn't particularly taxing on my brain.
There were a few downsides: In the six weeks or so that I worked there, there was about a 90% staff turnover (contributed to by my leaving). This wasn't seen as a result of the low pay, the laughability of staff prices or the practice of not distributing tips to staff, rather it was blamed on the lack of work ethic among Bribie Island's youth.
However, one of the stranger aspects of the cultural isolation that touched our lives during our time "up there" was the fact that nobody at my work had heard of the band Joy Division.
The full explanation is available here.
But please, interact a little further and vote in my ongoing poll. The results are slowly mounting up, proving one thing: people read this blog are more well-informed about Joy Division than anyone who works at the Coffee Club on Bribie Island.

Have you heard of the band Joy Division?

Chinese food, not Chinese Internet!

Champions of Guess The Header

  • What is Guess The Header about? Let’s ask regular “Writing” reader, Shippy: "Anyway, after Franzy's stunning September, and having a crack at 'Guess The Header' for the first time - without truly knowing what I was doing mind you - I think I finally understand what 'GTH' is all about. At first I thought you needed to actually know what it was. Don't get me wrong — if you know what it is, it may help you. I now realise that it's more Franzy's way of invoking thought around an image or, more often than not, part of an image. If you dissect slightly the GTH explanatory sentence at the bottom of his blog you come up with this: “The photo is always taken by me and always connects in some way to the topic of the blog entry it heads up.” When the header is put up, the blog below it will in some obscure way have something to do with it. “Interesting comments are judged and scored arbitrarily and the process is open to corruption and bribery with all correspondence being entered into after the fact and on into eternity, ad infinitum amen.” Franzy judges it, but it's not always the GTH that describes the place perfectly that gets it. “The frequent commenters, the wits, the wags and the outright smartarses who, each entry, engage to both guess the origin and relevance of the strip of photo at the top (or “head”) of each new blog and also who leave what I deem the most interesting comment.” It generally helps if you're a complete smartarse and can twist things to mean whatever you feel they should mean - exactly the way Franzy would like things to be twisted." - Shippy Blogger and GTH point scorer.
  • Nai - 1
  • Lion Kinsman - 2
  • Will - 2
  • Brocky - 2
  • Andy Pants - 2
  • The 327th Male - 3
  • Mad Cat Lady - 3
  • Miles McClagen - 4
  • Myninjacockle - 4
  • Asheligh - 5
  • Neil - 5
  • Third Cat - 5
  • Adam Y - 6
  • Squib - 6
  • Mele - 6
  • Moifey - 7
  • Jono - 8
  • The Other, other Sam - 14
  • Kath Lockett - 15
  • Shippy - 19
  • River - 32