About two years ago local government closed the Grinders’ favourite Chinese restaurant. The restaurant was positioned on the edge of a local beach looking across Gulf Saint Vincent. For entertainment, a jetty in the foreground was the social hub of the locals, no matter what the weather.
The restaurant itself wasn’t especially gourmet. The food was good, the prices and service were excellent. It was the ever-reliable place to go for family celebrations and had an excellent trade in takeaway.
So why close it down? A bit slow on the rent? Roaches? Building works?
Nup! In an amazing piece of social engineering, the council decided it would find a better use for the restaurant and would not extend the lease. There was talk of relocating the RSL to this prime spot, but nothing was ever confirmed.
The building remains empty nearly two years later and the business owners have started over somewhere else in a building owned by an investor rather than a team of self appointed do-gooders.
Tonight we finally dared to seek out a replacement venue. (I can only imagine how much extra weight I’d be carting around if I had been patronising a local Chinese restaurant for the last couple of years.) So we went local, arterial roadside and neon lit.
There’s no gulf view, no local teenage waitresses, and no jetty activities. However the nosh is good, the service courteous, and the prices reasonable. There’s a fish tank for the kids and a backlit photograph of some international city for the adults to ponder.
About the only other thing to do was to check out the other diners and the stream of people collecting their takeaway orders.
Most of the takeaway patrons arrived in 10-20 year old Australian made station wagons. No doubt the kids had been playing sport all day and were at home tearing the place apart waiting for their tea. If a health study was to have been done on the profile of these fatty-boombahs rolling in for their foil tubs o’ goodness, the results would have been grim. In fact I think I know why very few of these places have alfresco dining; the footpaths just aren’t wide enough to seat these suburban eating machines.
The diners represented a few other social situations.
The couple near the window LOOKED like a father and daughter on an access visit – but I could be wrong
Nearby, was a couple in their forties, kind of tired looking and washed out. She was wearing a newish white t-shirt and a black bra underneath. The shirt sported some punch line about being a bitch
And then there was the couple in their mid thirties near the servery. He had cleanish jeans and a short-sleeved shirt. She had makeup, a tight low cut red blouse and a beret! Say no more – thirty something and still dating – good luck to them.
Over all, the dining experience was pleasant enough. These days, eating out with family is getting better. The kids are a little more independent; no more spoon-feeding, no ducking out for nappy changes, and fewer tantrums. I think this is what the call that good stage. It won’t be long before the hormones kick in and their interest will shift from strawberry sundaes and fanta to fast cars and late nights free of parental supervision.
So as they say, “Life doesn’t get any better than this”.