Thursday 30 August 2007

Cookie - cosmopolitan chic

This post is from a meal before my holidays in September and I had meant to post much earlier but holidays, work and lack of energy took over. But my friend, Heather, put up with me using the flash on my camera and I took notes so finally here it is!

Heather and I enjoyed a lovely dinner at Cookie. This is the sort of place that E is not so keen on - too crowded and noisy and too many luvvies at the bar for him. He tells me all the waiters look like drama students - and indeed, he has a point, as to watch them pour a beer is quite a performance. They clean the glasses before you by placing them over rotating roller brushes and then put them over a little water fountain to rinse them. I find it quite intriguing.

I have not really eaten there before - just been for a quick drink. But Heather and I decided it was worth a try. Despite E's protestations, I enjoyed the space. It takes up the first floor of Curtin House in the city. Curtin House is a fine early twentieth century building (built in 1922 and once the headquarters of the Communist party). Inside, some of the attractive period details are retained including wonderful arched leadlight windows (which I managed to take a photo of). The large room is partitioned so the spaces feel more intimate and large pillars breaks up the space.

After realizing it was reservation only in the dining section, we found a seat in the ‘back benches’ of the other section (I don’t remember what they called it). One large wall is covered with an oversized photo of a black and white crowd. Above us were lightbulbs that were painted black on the bottom to dim the lighting. Our table had a kitsch patterned runner with flowers and hens on it, and we had gingham serviettes.

The menu has some good vegetarian options and we chose a range of dishes to share. Our vegetarian pad thai was nicely presented with a garnish of bean sprouts, shredded chilli, boiled eggs and chopped peanuts. I love the dry spicy noodles and tofu. The Eggplant and Sweet Potato in coconut and lime was fragrantly spicy with the eggplant cooked to melting perfection. We ordered the steamed vegetables with tomato & chilli jam. I found the combination of cabbage, marrow and broccolini an odd one but still appreciated some bland veggies to go with the other dishes. I didn’t try the chilli jam as I had enough spice in the meal but Heather seemed to enjoy it. And finally we had some plain boiled rice which was welcome with the spicy foods.

A filling and delicious meal in a bustling but interesting ambience, so I will be thinking of ways to persuade E that it is worth a visit.

Level 1, Curtin House,
252 Swanston St, Melbourne,tel: (03) 9663 7660

PS – I know it has been some time since I posted on this blog – but as I have done very little cooking lately (and nothing exciting), it has slowed down considerably. Thanks for the comments and I will try and write up something from my holiday soon! And hopefully I'll have a little more to write after that. (posted 6 Oct 07)

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