There’s good service and then there’s good service. Does putting on a French accent to increase the suaveness of an establishment equal good service?
This was the debate over dessert at the Yak Bar. Our waiter was attentive, exceedingly descriptive when it came to the specials and he spoke with the rolling R’s and guttural smoulderingness of a French accent. But this accent did slip occasionally. A single word in a sentence would be tainted with the tinny characteristic of the colonial inflection. Was he really French? Or was he putting it on? Why would he be putting on an accent? Increased tips, a bet, to pick up?
The Yak Bar is on the corner of Flinders Lane and Russell St, Melbourne. It is both a bar and a restaurant with office workers crowded in for after work drinks on the Friday night that we visited. This however just added to the bustling ambiance. We had no booking but this was not an issue and we were asked to have a drink at the bar while a table was made available.
The Food at Yak Bar, despite the accent, is rustic Italian. And as I was dining with another friend of Italian origin we are hard to please. ‘Proper’ is the most glowing endearment that can be bestowed on an Italian meal and the house made pasta at the Yak Bar lived up to that description.
We stated with antipasto for entrée which consisted of plenty of cured meats, crunchy grissini and marinated vegetables including eggplants remarkably similar to Nonna’s. For main I ordered the gnocchi of the day which was served in a broth like sauce of 3 meats, rabbit, beef and pork sausage. Although it appeared watery the sauce was incredibly rich and full of flavour. My dinning partner ordered the rabbit tagliolini, thus meaning that we had both broken a cardinal rule of being Italian ‘Don’t pay for rabbit’. Other foods Italians refuse to pay for include lemons, parsley and silver beet. Dessert was tiramisu, rich with mascarpone and should have been shared after a pasta dinner but wasn’t.
Our question remained unanswered, was the waiter a French expat with enough time to lose some of his defining enunciation, or was he just, to use an Australian colonialism ‘taking the piss’? A return visit might be required to find out. Oh what a shame.
Yak Bar – 150 Flinders Lane, Melbourne