Monday, 10 September 2012

Shed 5 - The Beautiful Smell of Sewerage

What a memorable weekend it was. A mate was down from Sydney and he was looking forward to experiencing all of the usual goodness that Melbourne has to offer. The last time he was down, we ended up having an exceptional long lunch at Cumulus, which remains one of my personal favourites since I started writing this blog. As I was not originally responsible for making a restaurant booking, although good intentions were had by others, it was ultimately delegated to me on Saturday morning to sort out. I in turn got into contact with the lovely Emma at South Wharf centre management and asked if there was anything she could do to help me with my plight. She was able to secure at table for four at Shed 5.

It is rather hard to impress a Sydneysider since they are used to relaxing harbour views, so I wasn't using the view from South Wharf as a draw card, but more as an aside as the precinct is a relaxing area that deserves exploring. Shed 5 had been on my list of places to try for a month now so I was happy that I was going to be able to surround myself with friends and be able to engage upon pleasant conversation. Like in the allegory telling of the journey that Dante made through Hell, I had to abandon all hope of talking about politics, life, sport and the weather because we were so distracted by the smell.

I did not notice the smell of raw sewerage when I first entered the restaurant which is fitted out in an old shed. However as the beer, wine, starters and ultimately entrees and the desserts were presented, the smell gradually took over. We were left to talk about it for a few hours amongst ourselves.

We started with plates of duck cigars and cyprian lamb and pork meatballs. I thought the duck cigars paired with pistachio and cherries was a great way to start the feast however the meatballs seemed a bit uninspiring. As we finished up with the starters and ordered more wine, another blast of the sewerage smell wafted past us. The server first blamed it on the Yarra River. Given that I live on the Yarra River and have traversed its banks more time than I care to count, I have never smelled sewerage so I excused myself and went outside to have a good sniff but the only thing that I got a wiff of was fresh air.

When the dishes of king green prawns, roasted lamb neck and the bannockburn half chicken turned up, the intensity of the sewerage smell also increased. I thought the pairing of the prawns with feta cheese was bold and adventurous but it worked. At one point I considered mashing feta into my nostrils though as I wanted to experience any smell beside the one of waste. We were all so distracted by this noisome odour that we all ended up finding the food to be secondary and it is probably why I do not consider it that special.

Later it was suggested that we be given financial relief when the bill came. Although we ended up with complimentary desserts, the experience just wasn't enjoyable. Besides having the smell blamed on the Yarra, it was later suggested that centre management was responsible and that the infrastructure is the culprit. I believe that the staff were just tired of people talking about the stink as it was distracting from the good work from the kitchen and the prompt and professional service. It was certainly a memorable evening and not one that I will forget any time soon, sadly for all the wrong reasons though.

Shed 5
Link to review
37 Dukes Walk, South Wharf VIC 3006
(03) 9686 1122
My Rating: 9/20
Service: 3/5
Ambiance: 0/5
Quality: 3/5
Value For Money: 3/5
Comment: Distracted by the smell

Twitter: @epicurean3006
e-mail: epicureanofsouthbank (at) gmail (dot) com

When I posted this review, 95% of the reviewers on Urbanspoon liked this place however the sample is constrained to 43 votes currently.

Shed 5 on Urbanspoon