He’s back, I thought to myself as I saw Omar being seated at the kitchen bar. The last time I saw him, he was about to embark on a five week work/fun trip around Asia. Little did he know that during his time away, a series of solo dinners were taking place and a blog series idea was bubbling away, all inspired by him.
When I told my friend who worked at the restaurant before my time that I was inspired by a guy that comes in on his own most weeks, he knew exactly who I was talking about. Our conversation reinforced the fact that I had developed a soft spot for Omar’s style. And I wanted in.
Most of the friends I have made since arriving in Melbourne work in hospitality, which means that evening rendezvous are usually out. It was only when I started working full time in PR that I was able to hold the knife and fork to eat with again, rather than to polish, and rather than wait around for someone to have an evening off I decided to go it alone.
Solo dining was never high on my agenda until now, however. Rewind a few years and the sight of a lone diner would make me teary. I will never forget one particular guy who stood up to walk out of a restaurant with cocoa powder acting as a thick, morbid lip liner. He had clearly enjoyed a decadent chocolate fondant and had no one to tell him that he had smothered a sizeable amount around his chops.
But the more time I spend on my own, the more I get to understand the enjoyment. In fact, as I write this I’m sitting somewhere in Brunswick with a glass of Pinot. I’m alone and I’m definitely the only person alone here in this buzzing bar. And I like it. I’m chatting to the bar men, writing this and enjoying each sip of my wine as I do so. To me, as someone who was once so riddled with anxiety at the thought of walking into a restaurant, bar or café alone, it’s so unbelievably liberating. Now I find it a chance to relax and reflect on what is going on in my life. I find I can concentrate more on what I’m eating and drinking and take in more of my surroundings. I can go where I want; I can leave when I want; I can talk to people if I want. This is a time for me. And me only.
Over the next few weeks, months, or years depending on how long I’m in Melbourne, I’m going to share my solo dining adventures with you. The next post in the series will be the first of the solo dining reviews and I will tell you all about my trip to Hakata Gensuke.
I hope you enjoy reading as much as I am enjoying indulging in some of the best food and drink Melbourne has to offer. Let me know if you have any recommendations!