Sunday, 5 August 2012

The Vineyard - The Human Zoo Known as St Kilda

vineyard restaurant st kilda
Photo courtesy of  Gary Medlicott, The Age
After reviewing my earlier post on The Den and The Atlantic Oyster Bar, I have to apologise as I could have done much better. I woke up with a bad hangover and very tired and if it wasn't for an alarm that was set I would probably have slept until the sun set today. I still have fuzzy memories of cleaning up my kitchen at 3:00 AM with a glass of Absolute Vodka, Absolute Vanilla and Chambord (so classy I know) as John Cusack was holding an old ghetto blaster over his head with Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" playing in Say Anything in all hours of the morning. With such quality media, I am not surprised that I was motivated to clean, do laundry and act like a pork chop in the wee hours and I am sure that it is understandable also.

The Vineyard on Acland Street in St Kilda is a great place to "hang out" and watch the human traffic that usually resembles a procession to the cemetery which ironically is not far away. Hipsters, bogans, alternative types, bikies, goths and emos all seem to converge at this place and strangely enough, appear happy as they languish outside braving the four seasons in one day, smoking fags and being merry. I have found a trip to St Kilda is not complete unless you dine and sit outside at The Vineyard, which certainly will fill a void in your life if you enjoy watching people that are unconventional. When I was a tourist in Melbourne and used to call Circa my favourite restaurant, I would frequently use The Vineyard as a breakfast location as it is a short stroll from The Prince and is a recommended venue if you are in the area.

Dining and drinking outside comes at a price. When I think of value for money, the term is completely lost on this place. I recently enjoyed a bottle of Melbourne Bitter and a pair of wagyu mini-hamburgers for around $28. The hamburgers satisfied my hunger but I was bemused by the mushroom gravy that was added. I have never had mushroom gravy (or a soup perhaps) added to a patty that purports to be wagyu and I am sure never will again, but honestly you really do not come here for the food or service. The human traffic both in and outside of this place will leave you amused for ages and you may even find it acceptable to get rained on since the drama that plays out is certainly more interesting then anything that happens in Summer Bay or on Ramsey Street.

I find it interesting that in 2006, a man threatened to burn the restaurant down. After being ejected from The Vineyard, he went to a service station where he bought a fuel can, filled it with petrol and returned to the restaurant where he tried to ignite the fuel. Security apprehended the man and the place did not catch fire. This is just some of the sordid trivia that is attached to this place and I am confident if you sat outside long enough you would witness many interesting things. There seems to be an overarching theme involving restaurant arson in Melbourne. First it was The Swagman and later Jamie Oliver's Fifteen was torched. Fortunately The Vineyard survived to feed and amuse the masses and hopefully it will continue to for decades to come.

Be prepared to start a tab or pay as you go though if you do sit outside as there seems to be a problem with people ordering, eating and then fleeing. The old juvenile concept of "dine and ditch" seems to have affected the bottom line of The Vineyard, so now you must excuse the inconvenience. I think it is a great policy though as you are forced to think about your spending which can quickly go out of control if you are not careful.

This is a place you come to meet mates, have a laugh, have a few drinks, listen to music, have "a feed" and watch the world go by. If you want to take service or food seriously, I would encourage you to go elsewhere however what you get is on par with expectations but what I promise, you will have fun.

The Vineyard Restaurant, Acland Street, St Kilda

The Vineyard
Link to review
71A Acland Street  St Kilda VIC 3182
(03)9534 1942
My Rating: 10/20
Service: 2/5
Ambiance: 3/5
Quality: 3/5
Value For Money: 2/5
Comment: Pay first if you sit outside

Twitter: @epicurean3006 
I answer e-mails and appreciate suggestions, recommendations or tips if you send them to epicureanofsouthbank (at) gmail (dot) com

Only 67% of the reviewers on Urbanspoon liked this place at the time of this post. Sad but true.

The Vineyard on Urbanspoon