Sunday, February 26, 2012

Episode 2 - Murder on the Ballarat Train

Like Cocaine Blues, the menu for Murder on the Ballarat Train is being created in advance of Friday's episode and is somewhat hampered by the fact that I haven't actually read the novel. I won't even attempt to recreate the refreshments, if any, offered by Victoria Railways on the Ballarat train in the 1920s. Instead, I'll turn to the big hotels that accommodated and fed train travellers.

In the 1920s Melbourne's "most modern hotel", the 12-storey Hotel Alexander opposite Phyrne's departure point for Ballarat, Spencer Street station, advertised "200 rooms and 200 bathrooms". The main dining room offered "discriminating travellers who want the best Australia can provide" a 10-course table d'hote menu for 7/6: hors d'oeuvres, potage, poisson, entree, roti, legumes, entremets, savoury, dessert and cafe. The restaurant also had a la carte menu with continuous service through breakfast, morning tea, luncheon, afternoon tea, dinner and supper.

After the pallid piece of toast she waved around in Episode 1, I hope the promise of country air will do something to sharpen Phyrne's appetite. 

Tonight's menu is inspired by the Hotel Alexander's table d'hote on 22 February 1928: 

Oysters a la Mornay

Filet de Boeuf Roti

Currant and Apple Tart

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