A Reunion

A few weeks ago a good friend I went to school with invited me to a lunch with others from our year at school.  Apart from Pip, I hadn’t seen most of the others I would be re-connecting with for many years – and there’s no need to mention how many years that might have been!

I was a tad anxious as I set off for the city as I’m not good at recognising people at the best of times, let alone after a few decades and I did hope I wouldn’t make one of those dreadful faux pas where as I entered the restaurant, I walked straight past the people I was meant to be dining with.

Verandah Restaurant and Bar

We met in Sydney’s CBD at a great place called Verandah that has a bar in one section and in a separate area there’s a restaurant where they are open for lunch and offer a business dining special that includes two courses, a glass of wine and coffee for just $38.00.

Eight of us met today with me and Pip being the only females present and most had come from their offices in the city and strolled down to Verandah for our reunion.

The restaurant

It’s incredible that after such a long period of time we were able to pick up where we had last left off and as soon as we met we were immediately transported back to our school days like no time had ever passed.  We ordered wine and clinked glasses and said ‘cheers’ to start off the lunch and straightaway started asking each other about where we were living and who we had married, (and who had married again) and how many children and their ages and where they were going to school etc.  And the catch-up was interrupted by the fact we had to order but as soon as that was done we resumed our conversation and the immediate details covered, we then reminisced about our school days and the funny teachers we endured and the great days we shared.

Leek and Potato Soup with Croutons

I ordered the soup and found it to be a very pretty colour that was very smooth in texture but it could have been hotter and there was something gritty in it like the vegetables hadn’t been properly washed before being put in the pot.

Chilli salt squid, lemon and mayonnaise

Most of our party ordered the squid and this received high praise from all who ordered it saying it was extremely tender and nicely battered.

Rump steak, braised red cabbage, red wine jus

A lot of us ordered the rump steak.  I ordered mine medium rare but it came out well done if not very well done.  Apart from the dry beef I found the dish to be lacking in flavour and very under seasoned.

Salmon, sweet corn, carmelised bacon

Pip ordered the salmon and loved it.

Penne, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Blue Cheese Sauce

No complaints from those who ordered the pasta.

Rocket and Parmesan salad $8.00

A simple but pleasant salad.

Chips $8.00

I loved the chips.  They were hot, crunchy and salty – nothing to complain about there.

As much as we weren’t there for the food and it was definitely secondary to the reason for being there, I do have to say I was disappointed with both the dishes I ordered, (the soup and the steak).  However, the service was fabulous as the waiters were extremely attentive without being intrusive and even obliged in taking a group photo of us all on Pip’s camera.  If I was heading back into the city to meet with friends I would definitely dine again at Verandah.

All too quickly the time passed and some of us had to return to work while others moved on to the bar where we enjoyed another drink and a further opportunity to swap stories.

We all had such a great time that what we couldn’t understand was how we hadn’t organised something like this sooner – there’s something very precious about those you went to school with.

I hope we get to do it all again soon.

Verandah Restaurant and Bar

55-65 Elizabeth Street, Sydney Ph:  9239 5888

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  1. Eat.Play.Shop. says:

    Glad you had a good time! Reunions tend to scare me!

  2. What a lovely reunion, too bad your food was disappointing. I had that happen in NYC at Tabla; we ordered a spinach fusion pizza and the spinach had sand in it. I complained but the waiter just shrugged.
    I’ve not had a reunion with school friends but I have been recognized by people with whom I went to grade school! Once we were in a Thai restaurant in Mid Toronto and the bartender came over and asked if I was Eva and recognized me from grade 5! A similar situation happened at our gym where a guy came up to me and asked the same; we hadn’t seen each other since grade 3! Crazy isn’t it?
    Eva http://kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com/

  3. I had to laugh because I know that feeling of walking right past people you know and not recognizing them. I hate to say it but in my case it’s because I need to get a distance vision glasses script filled…or at least that’s part of it! Glad you had fun in spite of some of the food…the broccoli cauli in cheese sauce looks really good.

  4. Norma Chang says:

    Glad to know I am not the only one who walk past people and not recognizing them. What a fantastic reunion, I hope when you return to Verandah you will be happier with the food.

  5. Mandy - The Complete Cook Book says:

    How fabulous to be in a city with so many of your school buddies – sadly I am nowhere near any of mine however facebook does help bridge the gap.
    Have a lovely weekend Charlie.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  6. I’m sorry that the food was middling (though the fries look awfully good!), but it sounds like the catching up was well worth it.

  7. gardencorrespondent says:

    I have a reunion coming up next year and I can’t decide if I can face it or not. Brave you! It sounds like this one was fun, in spite of the food.

  8. Marina@Picnic at Marina says:

    ouch! I wouldn’t want to eat soup with unwashed vegetables either, and that would disappoint me too. Leak is very tricky vegetable, it needs to be washed thoroughly, and not in a hurry. Restaurants seems to ignore the washing part quite often.

  9. yummychunklet says:

    That penne dish looked delicious!

  10. Seems so beautiful and so delicious… I wished to visit there and have a dinner. Thank you dear Charlie, love, nia

  11. Choc Chip Uru says:

    A delicious lunch to catch up with friends – how could it get better?

    Choc Chip Uru

  12. OrgasmicChef says:

    I love this story!! You don’t want to know how long it’s been since I had a chat with friends from school. 🙂 I do have many of them on my Facebook page because chances of meeting any of them for lunch is pretty much out of the question.

    That restaurant looks very good and I wish your meal had been better.

  13. Miss Piggy says:

    Pity your meal didn’t really excite you…bummer. $8.00 seems a bit OTT – unless they are drizzled with truffle oil & topped with Parmesan cheese that is.

    • hotlyspiced says:

      That price is fairly standard I’m sorry to say. Food is very expensive in Sydney and this is reflected through all the restaurant pricing. xx

  14. Victoria at Flavors of the Sun says:

    Sounds like your old friends made up for what lacked with the food. I think I have lived in Mexico for too long, but although the dinner sounded reasonably priced, $8 for chips seems really high. Is that a normal price for Australia?

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Victoria food is really expensive in Australia. Most restaurants do charge $8.00 for a small bowl of fries. Outrageous I know and the sad thing is, we happily pay it!

  15. Until I saw the title of this post, I was afraid your post following your victorious exhibition of speed at Alfie’s Athletics Carnival might involve your being disqualified due to some scandal. Glad to hear your triumph is secure and that you had a great reunion with your school friends. I hope you can arrange to do it again. No sense waiting until the 10th anniversary of your graduation to see them again. 😉

    • hotlyspiced says:

      Oh don’t fill me full of fear! I hope I haven’t been disqualified. Yes, I’m really looking forward to our 10 year reunion but gee, I’ll be really old by then xx

  16. Just wanted to say hello because my time is limited the next few days.

  17. Claire @ Claire K Creations says:

    Sounds like a lovely lunch. I love how you can pick up with someone where you left off even if it has been quite a few years. I have quite a few friends like that.

  18. What a lovely catch up, although I’m sorry about your food. The salmon looks like it might have been a good choice but gritty soup and poorly cooked meat can never be a good thing. As you say, though, that was secondary to the focus – and I’m glad you had such a great time re-connecting.

  19. J Cosmo Newbery says:

    The presentation was a bit average on some of them. But I suppose that is what candles are for…

  20. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says:

    I can imagine how nerve wracking and yet exciting that would be! Did you have to explain why you were taking the photos to them and did they understand? 🙂

  21. I have my high school’s 10 year reunion this year, but no details have been set in stone. I think I will be away in NZ anyway and will miss out 🙁

    Those chips look delicious!

  22. Joanne @ Eats Well With Others says:

    Maybe it’s a trade-off…you were either going to get good company or good food. Usually I would choose the latter, but in the case of this reunion…I think the former was definitely welcomed!

  23. GourmetGetaway says:

    Great story! I am in the middle of organising our 26 year reunion at the moment. We have a facebook page now and we are all chatting like old friends once again. It is funny that feeling of just picking up where you left off, even though nearly three decades have past.
    Great story, but shame about the food 🙁

  24. Better sometimes to have good company than good food! but also pretty disappointing! I’ve missed all my reunions but have run into friends along the way…and I’ll walk right past them! But as soon as we start chatting, it’s like we were just together! Glad you got a chance to catch up with old friends!

  25. What a great reunion! And the food were fantastic too.

  26. Funnily enough, with Facebook these days, all of the people from school that I’d care to be in touch with I am still in touch with, though I admit it would be nice to physically catch up more often. Love that you were still able to take all of these photos of the dishes, less love that they weren’t very good.

  27. InTolerantChef says:

    I’m glad the company was better than the food 🙂

  28. It’s a shame you didn’t enjoy your meal very much, but perhaps that’s more due to the fact you are obviously a very good cook yourself. But I’m sure it was a wonderful occasion to be with old friends. I’ve had similar opportunities recently and reconnecting with old friends is important to me at this time in my life. I hope you continue to stay close to these friends! They are the flavoring in our lives, I believe.

  29. justonecookbook says:

    At least you enjoyed the company you had the meal with. I haven’t seen my friends from school in Japan for many years – just a few friends who can make time for me when I go back every year. I think people won’t recognize me as I gained weight so much since I came to the US. Teehee. I kind of want to have reunion. It sounds fun!!

  30. great review! it sounds like you had an amazing time, and I hope the food is better if you return 🙂

  31. Barb Bamber says:

    I have a friend from high school I meet with once a year when she flies in from where ever in the world she’s living at the moment. We do pick up like we’re still 18.. if only our bodies would do the same:D

  32. Karen (Back Road Journal) says:

    Sounds like a nice afternoon catching up with old friends but it seems that you haven’t had much luck with the dishes you have ordered when eating out.

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