Tokyo 7 Japanese Restaurant, Melbourne, Australia

With Melbourne in a snap, five day COVID lockdown, I decided to try takeaway from a closeby Japanese restaurant called Tokyo 7.

The restuarant is between A’Beckett and Franklin Streets down a new laneway called Frederick Way. Frederick Way comes out on Franklin Street just opposite the Queen Victoria Market.

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The Kathmandu Cottage, Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne was slowly coming back to normal after a pretty quiet Christmas and New Year, and a mate and I had decided to catchup for a beer and dinner.

We started at The Drunken Poet near the Queen Victoria Market for a couple of medicinal Guinness’ and then we needed to find somewhere for dinner. We honed in on a place called The Kathmandu Cottage. Everytime I’d walked by I’d made a mental note to eat here and today was the day.

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Hakoya Izakaya, Melbourne, Australia

I’d tried eating here a couple of times but it was always booked out, so today as I walking with a mate to grab a drink I suggested that we pop in and try to book a table for dinner and managed to grab a table for 7:30.

And I’m glad we did as Hakoya Izakaya is one of the best Japanese restaurants I’ve eaten in outside Japan.

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Wasn’t 2020 a crap year!

The alleged old chinese proverb says “may you live in interesting times”. While there’s no known link to an actual chinese proverb, 2020 has certaintly been an interesting year.

The year started off with me finalising my mid year European holiday plans – a 4 week sojourn through Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany and The Netherlands. Flights booked, hotels booked, currency purchased. The one time in my life I was really organised and I think I jinxed it.

News started filtering through mid January of some flu-ey like illness that was circulating in the northern winter and the assumption was this’d all be done by March and we could then get on with our lives.

But it wasn’t done by March and in late March we got told to work from home as the number of infections and deaths increased.

It dawned on me that I wouldn’t be heading to Europe for my holiday. I held off for as long as possible before cancelling holding onto some faint hope that I’d be able to head overseas. But then the Australian government closed the borders and you weren’t allowed out without a good reason or a Liberal party membership card.

Luckily I was able to get over 99% of my money back after I’d cancelled – only being out of pocket for the credit card surcharge of around $30 that Qatar Airways had charged me. In hindsight they should have refunded the credit card surcharge but I couldn’t be bothered arguing over it.

And then the Melbourne lockdown happened. Between late March and late October the Melbourne metropolitan area was under a strict lockdown for a total of 112 days, with a small break in the middle that ultimately ended up causing the second wave. In total we had one hundred and twelve days where you had to have a valid excuse to be outside your home or you’d face some pretty hefty fines.

While retail was closed, and the cafes and restuarants were restricted to take away only, bottle shops were open! Go figure. And bars that had traditionally not been able to sell take aways were allowed to so, so this opened up an opportunity to feast on craft beers from a couple of nearby bars – Penny Blue and Benchwarmer.

And feast on beers I and a mate did – from mid March til the end of 2020 I managed to try some 340 new unique beers.

After lockdown eased the Melbourne CBD has been a wierd place. People are slowly coming back into the CBD but its nowhere near as busy as it was pre-pandemic, and many places unfortunately just didn’t survive. It’s going to take a fair while for the city to recover but I think ths post-COVID CBD will be quite different from the past.

For me – while it’ll be work from home from the foreseeable future I’m hoping that there will be some overseas travel in 2021. Hopefully Europe will get this under control by mid year. If not I’m crossing my fingers for Japan, South Korea or Taiwan.

Let’s all pray that 2021 is nothing like 2020.