After spending more than two decades working for the Sunday Herald Sun and other organs of the Murdoch empire, I am these days extremely firm in my resolve to never, ever pay for any of them.
But today I buckled, buying a copy of the Sunday rag on my way to an impromptu picnic lunch in Yarraville Gardens, figuring that sniggering my way through the liftout section grandly entitled “Victoria’s Top 100 Food Experiences” would see me through lunch.
Look, I know that lists are made to be the subject of debate and even argument.
And I’m aware that by responding I could be charged with feeding the beast, but …
There’s a lot of old standbys in the 100 – Abla’s, Pelligrini’s, the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant and so on.
I’m cool with that – there’s a reason such places are famed, and that’s because they’re often very good, immensely enjoyable or both.
No surprise, either, to see a swag of celebrity chefs and restaurants get a run. But imagine how much more room and numbers they’d have had to truly sing Melbourne’s praises had they grouped these luminaries together instead of allocating so many of them their very own places on a list of 100.
Ho hum …
But the western suburbs?
Let’s just say my cynicism and low expectations have been amply rewarded.
The Station Hotel gets listed in the “No.2: Steak” section.
And then there’s this:
And that, rather dismissively and one-dimensionally, is it.
If I’ve missed anything, it’s been buried.
Ebi doesn’t even get a nod in the fish and chip section.
This is all to be expected.
So what I find even more staggering is that as far as I can tell there is not a single mention of Indian food or food traditions and culture, western suburbs or otherwise.
(There’s undoubtedly other major ethnic cuisines also treated superficially or not at all, but I can’t be bothered to add them up … OK, I’ll name-check one other: North African.)
What’s that I hear you say?
“No such list can possibly cover all bases to everyone’s satisfaction.”
But in that case, it should’ve been entitled “100 of Victoria’s Top Food Experiences”.
That’s a subtle but important difference.
The conclusion I draw from this is simple: Support your favourite food blogs.
At least I got to gleefully use the rest of the rag as my tablecloth.