We headed off to Brisbane to have lunch at a classy river front city restaurant. Up we cruised on the M1 in date day mode, like two 17 year olds, music blaring, windows down, hair blowing backwards.
We found a park nowhere near where we wanted to go and traipsed for blocks back towards the river then along it looking for that special place.
We discovered an upwards winding, semi hidden staircase on the other side of an old, partially open wrought iron gate which had a faded sign leaning against it that said, ‘Half price lunch’.
I stopped because I love old things. Dave stopped because of what the sign said.
‘An unpretentious entrance to a restaurant if ever I saw one’, he said.
I said, ‘I don’t think we should go in there, it looks really spooky.’
He said, ‘Babe, relax, stop panicking, the food might be gold.’
He pushed open the creaky gate and went up first. I followed him up the long stairs, past a thousand cigarette butts and many empty wine glasses finally reaching the top, only to see stained, rusty legged chairs most of them knocked over, like we’d missed some wild party decades before.
An old man appeared in the doorway from nowhere. He was bald on top with bits of long hair on the sides and he was hunched over. We both jumped. He looked at us then whispered, ‘Table for two perhaps?’ We could only nod. He said, ‘Come this way.’
By now I was feeling like we were a lot like Brad and Janet from Rocky Horror who’d stumbled across an isolated mansion and were escorted inside by the creepy butler. I was already making plans for our rapid escape.
He whisked us past dark shelves of crockery and cutlery and unsmiling staff who stopped and stared at us, past the kitchen with chefs chopping who also stopped and stared at us.
With a flamboyant gesture he seated us at what must’ve been the best table in the entire city! We were now on a huge sunlit balcony overlooking the river with panoramic views.
But we were the only customers there and the restaurant was huge. We glanced around and saw two large closed glass doors with a very long line of people outside, all peering over at us.
It was five to twelve and we’d come in through the staff entrance.