Where: 90-96 Bourke Rd, Alexandria 2015
Opening Hours: Mon - Tue 7am - 4pm, Wed - Thu 7am - 10pm, Fri 7am - late, Sat 8am - late, Sun 8am - 8pm
Alexandria was a warehouse and superstore wasteland until fairly recently. Not a bar, café or restaurant in sight that didn't offer simple beer, pies or sausage rolls. So what happened? Well, first it was the organic bustle of The Grounds, then Kitchen by Mike opened in nearby Rosebury and shifted hungry eyes southwards from the trendier suburbs. Now it's the turn of Vicinity Dining.
Sleeker in a more corporate way (design-wise) than the rustic and rusty chic of the aforementioned other two, Vicinity want more than to attract local residents and business folk at lunch. Located opposite The Grounds, this new hub could be the start of something bigger. Vicinity, owned by The Prospero Group behind French eaterie La Grillade, is split between the restaurant and a bar that opens onto a really quite nice deck area with a cracking fire at night. The chain curtains that hang from the ceiling are an effective way to create different areas while keeping the 600 square metre area open.
The selling point of the kitchen is the spit rotisserie, with a rotation of meat dishes to share, the most prominent of which is the lamb shoulder, served up in a copper pot, swimming in lemon and sumac and decorated with three dollops of tahini yoghurt ($34). It's more than enough for two, although if you can fit in another main, the flounder with fennel ($22) is a clean counterpart to the massive indulgence of the former dish.
The pan-seared chorizo with apple cider ($12) is a tangy starter, and if you're feeling retro, the dessert menu boasts a knickerbocker glory ($15), a tall glass of ice cream with a cherry on top.
The only distracting thing is a massive wall of televisions, presumably for private functions or sporting events. The eye is always drawn towards a TV in a bar, no matter how interesting the conversation or the food. Turning it off isn't an option, so it's good that the menu is easy to switch on to.
By David Lappin
Good For Groups: