Sunday, January 14, 2007

Taxi Dining Room, Transport Hotel, Federation Square

Taxi Dining Room, Transport Hotel, Federation Square
Sunday 14 January, 2007

We had tried to secure a booking at booking at Taxi last January & August with no luck, so this time we booked so far in advance they didn't even have a diary set up yet!

Taxi is located on L2 of the Transport Hotel in Federation Square. It's a happening space with plenty of attractions, bars and galleries in the vicinity. We walked down to Federation Square after drinks at the Hairy Canary. It was a hot, balmy evening and we needed sunglasses to counter the glare outside and inside the Transport Hotel.

Taxi Dining Room is located on Level 2 of the Transport Hotel - due to the bright sunlight we had no idea where we were walking but as we approached the entrance to Taxi we were greeted by an overly friendly staff member who commented on what a fantastic day it was. His enthusiasm was a little over the top and took us back a bit. He led us to our table and left us to take in the view.

The design of Taxi is unique - there is the main dining space which looks out over Flinders St Station and Southbank, the bar in the centre and more seating around the side and rear (also a private dining room) that commands views across to Melbourne Park and the Yarra River. The use of glass is abundant and with the bright sunlight it's almost tacky but there are splashes of colour around the room, sheer bronze fabric to separate the walkways from the dining space and large globe size lights that hang from the ceiling at differing lengths.

We were left alone for ages and then suddenly we were greeted by our waiter and shortly afterwards another staff member offering bread who also commented on how fantastic the day was. This was getting ridiculous....I'm all for positivity but forced, insincere positivity is excruciating.

The menu is a blend of Japanese sushi bar and international fare and once we had decided on our meals the sommelier arrived at the table with the bible size wine list. He explained that the wine list is too large to read so he would assist us with our choice - after leaning towards a pinot he suggested the most expensive bottle on the list. No thanks and right then I decided I didn't like him. Seriously, with a wine list offering bottles ranging from $40 - $540 - why would he recommend the most expensive bottle on the list? We politely declined and asked for another suggestion of less $$$ value. His second recommendation was accepted and we were not disappointed.

I couldn't go past the Steamed Atlantic scallops with abalone and Taxi XO sauce for entree and the Pork tenderloin with apple & cauliflower puree. The scallops were served in the shell (4 large scallops on a round dish) with slithers of abalone on top and thick XO sauce drizzled all over the plate. They were absolutely delicious and the serving was very generous.

The pork tenderloin was good - nothing spectacular but again, the serving was enormous. We ordered a side salad of Rocket, baby spinach, pear & blue cheese dressing that we hardly made a dint in as we were too full! There was no way we could have even considered dessert however, we were keen to have a after dinner drink so we asked our waiter if we could re-locate to the bar. We sampled a few different sticky wines (complimentary, of course) before deciding on a Pedro Ximenez sherry - now we're talking!

We struck up a conversation with the bar staff who shared with us that there was a lounge bar on Level 3 of the Transport Hotel that we should check out. So, after settling our bill we walked upstairs to discover this groovy, deserted lounge bar with sweeping views across Melbourne. Inside it's an aladdin's cave with leather lounges, rugs, lamps etc and outside it's a large open beer garden but the service here was atrocious - think, young, hip bar staff who are too concerned with flirting with each other than doing their jobs.

Taxi Dining Room, Transport Hotel, Federation Square - (03) 9654 8808


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