Sunday, April 08, 2007

April 6, 2007: Transport Public Bar

Post-modern sculpture? If it looks to you like the kind of overblown interpretive concrete geometry that belongs in a public space such as Federation Square you're getting warmer. It's actually the deck furniture at Transport Public Bar (perhaps you noticed the white sneaker toe just past the red padded seat). Even with most retail outlets closed, the city (and the pub) were healthily populated on Good Friday. With books and blankets, Michael and I sought an hour or two's refuge in the city gardens before our growling stomachs led us back to the concrete park and the deep-frier. (Ironically, the Transport public bar claims an "emphasis on organic meals and environmental design". With not a leafy green to be seen, we really missed their point.)

While much thought has clearly gone into the modern design of the Transport public bar, it's more pub than trendy bar. It's a place for a beer, a steak or burger with chips and perhaps a yell at the footy on screen - not really somewhere to be seen, and definitely not the place for a date. In the absence of any televised football, this was just fine for us - an open ceiling and wall of louvres let the sun and 'fresh' city air in and provided ample view of the Swanston St goings-on.

The menu at the bar has a few vego options. Michael was well pleased to see a veggie burger (with chips, $10) among them, and I predictably had eyes only for the chips ($6.50). They were of a pretty good standard, I think they were lightly battered for extra crunch, with a sizable dose of seasoning. Get 'em down quick, though, because they're far less interesting once lukewarm. The tomato sauce and capsicum mayo were portioned quite generously, but were average in flavour. Michael's burger was an excellent balance of crunchy and chewy, fried and fresh, but the potato-heavy patty is a bit much given that the prescribed side is a handful-and-a-half of chips.

When only partially full, the Transport public bar is a pleasant (and well-located) place to sit back with a friend, a beer, and a salty snack or meal. For this purpose a vegetarian is just as likely to enjoy it as any other punter.

Address: Ground Floor, Transport Hotel, Federation Square, cnr of Flinders and Swanston Streets, Melbourne CBD
Ph: 9654 8808
Price: veg mains ~$10-13

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