Have you ever seen that Vince Vaughn movie “Wedding Crashers”? No, me either. But the dinner I went to on Friday night made me feel like I was in the prequel “Engagement Party Crashers”.
Holly and I had gone along to Table for 20. The most overground of the underground dining scene, from what I’d read/heard it was going to be us and 18 others at one communal table for a night of friendly food and conversation. Holly had recently been to the bar upstairs (Sticky) and had really enjoyed it, so we were quite looking forward to it.
Walking up from Central (that Foveux St hill is never fun is it?) Holly got a text from the restaurant – “Are you close?”. We were still early at that point, but fearing we were breaking some unspoken rule about being late we hurried up the hill and arrived to an empty room. Turns out everyone else was upstairs at the bar, we weren’t late, hadn’t committed any faux pas, all was well.
Taking our seats, it was quickly obvious that despite the name, Table for 20 is now catering for nearly 50 (I think I counted 46 chairs). But it was still communal tables, just two of them now. A group of three came down from the bar and took their seats next to us. Down from Brisbane for the weekend, they’d managed to score a last minute booking. I expected other small group of two and threes to fill the remaining seats, but things didn’t quite pan out like that.
One table filled up with a group of 20 who were there for a birthday. The rest of our table filled up with a group there for an engagement party. Suddenly we were very outnumbered. I’ve no idea whether large group bookings are a regular occurrence, and how much this actually changed the feel of the night. It just felt a little weird to me.
However food started arriving, we got chatting with the other three “crashers”, and a girl started playing piano pop covers (which was quickly followed by a competition between Holly and I to name the song/artist first).
Food wise there were three courses – a mushroom tagliatelle (deliciously fresh), lamb shanks (perfectly falling apart) and a ricotta tart for dessert (most photogenic, but least impressive – little too eggy for our liking).
If it seems like I’ve glossed over the food, I kinda have. Overall I’d say it was good, not great, food. But I think if you’re going to Table for 20 for the food you’ve missed the point a bit. At the end of the day it was a different experience to a normal dinner out. And it wasn’t an unpleasant experience. Just not sure it’s one I’d be in a rush to repeat.