Most years, we only get to Lorne for our January break.   So it’s always interesting to see what’s changed over the previous 12 months.  However, generally the changes are only incremental.

There are almost invariably changes in the retail scene.   Shops come and go, as do restaurants.

This year, the Arab restaurant – a Lorne institution – has closed and its premises are unoccupied.   I heard that the landlord had terminated the lease because of arrears in the rent.


Westpac have closed their branch, leaving only an ATM machine, and the 2nd-hand bookshop has gone, too.






The solar operated rubbish bins are new, too (I think).   These are an interesting concept:   apparently they have a greater capacity because using a solar-powered motor, they compact the rubbish.

One thing hasn’t changed:  the traffic congestion!   The agapanthus are still here, too.



Trip Advisor and “The Shed”

I often look at TripAdvisor’s reviews, and have posted a reasonable number myself.   I also like to think that I understand the art of reading reviews on TripAdvisor (and elsewhere) and sorting out the ones that can be relied on and those that aren’t so reliable.  In particular, I distrust “1-time posters”, and I look for recurring themes in the reviews.

It seems that TripAdvisor has procedures to protect against “fake” reviews, but these appear not to be foolproof!    Apart from the issues with Meriton, it’s been reported that a non-existent restaurant rose up the rankings to become TripAdvisor’s number 1 restaurant in London!

Supposedly the person behind this is called Oobah Butler, and it appears that he’s written the story behind this  here.  The story has certainly been  reported in the media and here).

It seems that TripAdvisor were asked for comment, and Butler reports that they said, “Generally, the only people who create fake restaurant listings are journalists in misguided attempts to test us.  As there is no incentive for anyone in the real world to create a fake restaurant it is not a problem we experience with our regular community – therefore this ‘test’ is not a real world example.”

Indeed!    So TripAdvisor consign the fact that they were fooled to the “fake news” basket?

Disclaimer:   I haven’t independently verified any of what Oobah Butler says, but apparently this is an archived link to the TripAdvisor review as at existed at some stage, which seems to suggest that there’s at least some basis to his article.


A small restaurant called Amaru opened up not far from us a couple of years back.   It seemed rather inconspicuous, but evidently it’s been a big hit in the culinary world.   In fact, in the write up in the  “delicious.100” list, it was started, “Clinton McIver is serving up one of the most exciting showcases of Australian produce”.

I can’t comment on it personally, because it’s listed in the “$$$$” price range!  However, I do wonder how the word gets “out there” about classy restaurants, although I assume there are blogs and Facebook pages.   Amaru was listed 9th in the “delicious.100” listings that were published recently, but now I read in the newspaper that it’s actually been ranked number 1 in the “popular vote”.

I admit that I’m usually a little dubious about polls where the respondents are self-selected, but the article stated that there were about 12,000 on-line votes, so presumably the voting was reasonably representative.  Clearly, they’re doing “something right” there, but even though we often like to check out new restaurants that are close by, I think this one is out of our class for the time being!

French Brasserie

We went to dinner with T and W, who suggested The French Brasserie.   We had a great night.

The French Brasserie is in the city, down Malthouse Lane, which is an alley that runs off Flinders Lane.

The night was pouring rain, but the restaurant is spacious and we were made comfortable at a nice table. There was lots of activity around;  it seems that Flinders Lane is now a “lively” area, and it was the night the “Same Sex Marriage” legislation passed Parliament which may have had something to do with it.

The approach is very French in staff, service and food.  In fact, most of the staff  appear to have French as their first language (are they here on working holiday visas?);  obviously this is appropriate in this environment, although there were occasional moments when things had to be repeated to ensure there was no confusion.   The menu isn’t extensive, but it does appear to be authentic.  Our only issue was that the “Le Canard Rôti” was described as “Roast duck breast with slow cooked egg”.   We mistakenly (as it turned out) assumed that the duck would be roasted and hence more than pink, but we managed to sort this out amongst ourselves.

The Trip Advisor reviews are very positive.  They mention the comprehensive wine list, but seem to gloss over the cost!   Sure, you get a lot here, but you need to pay for it, so this is not the place for a bargain night out!

100 Restaurants

The so-called “delicious.100” magazine fell out of the Sunday paper.   It supposedly lists what it regards as the top 100 Victorian restaurants, listed in order from 1 to 100.   I notice that I blogged about the equivalent publication last year.

It’s not clear how the list was compiled, and it’s not specifically stated that the reviewers (who are named) actually dined at all the restaurants listed.   There’s a suggestion  that one of the factors was popular vote (but I didn’t persevere long enough find the link to this).     Maybe the listing was at least to some extent compiled from other sources (although of course I can’t say for sure).

Hence, to my mind it doesn’t have the credibility of the Good Food Guide.   Just the same it’s an interesting “read”, and the task of actually listing restaurants in order of rank is certainly ambitious.      I admit (as I’ve done before) that (top) restaurants aren’t really my scene, although I like to read about them if only  to make sure that none of the restaurants that I do like have made it!   And it’s interesting to know the sort of dishes that these restaurants serve (often not my “style”).

This year the publication is stated to be compiled in “partnership” with Uber Eats.  Strange indeed, because it’s hard to imagine that any of the really good restaurants would condescend to allow their food to be delivered!  But perhaps the readers of this guide are likely to use Uber Eats when they’re not eating out?

Sydney Rowing Club

We’re back home now, but I thought I’d mention that we went to Sydney Rowing Club for Sunday lunch with M and G.  It’s at Abbotsford, on the Parramatta River upstream of the Gladesville Bridge.   Once there, I was slightly disoriented because of the twists and turns in the river, but that didn’t detract from the pleasant outlook.

It was certainly popular:  a lovely day, an efficient food and drink service and, as I’ve mentioned, a great view out over the river.   However, we managed a table.   In addition, there seemed to be a number of functions occurring:  a post-christening lunch, and at least one wedding.

We caught the Parramatta River ferry back to Darling Harbour.   The ferry wharf is right alongside the club, but being Sunday, it seems that many Sydney-siders take advantage of the low daily cap on Opal fares for a very reasonably-priced day out on the Harbour.

Abbotsford ferry wharf

We squeezed on to the ferry, but it by-passed a couple of the scheduled stops on the trip down the river.

Eating at The Rocks

We headed to The Rocks for dinner.    Of course the area is historic, so it’s pleasant from that perspective.   However, to be frank, I’ve found in the past that it’s hard to find anywhere there that’s half decent to eat at, probably because it’s over-touristed and under-restauranted with the result that quality declines and prices rise (a corollary to Parkinson’s Law?).       So it was with a little trepidation that we asked for a table at Caminetto.   In fact, I was pleasantly surprised:  my veal chop with mushroom sauce was nice and S’s vegetable lasagna was quite acceptable too (but surely it’s hard to get lasagna wrong)?   We opted for a ½ litre of “house red”,  in spite of being told when we asked about the style that it was an “Italian blend” (whatever that means).   But even that went down well after the first couple of sips.

At the outset the service was just a little ordinary, but it was a busy time of the evening.   As the evening progressed, and things slackened off a little, the service improved.    Hence, when an unexpected heavy, but short shower came by, we were quickly moved from our table in the courtyard just outside the reach of the umbrella to an adjoining dry position.

We then headed through the Argyle cut and ended up walking all the way back to our accommodation on what turned out, after the shower, to be a very pleasant evening.