More butcher, less chef we approached our Vlado's experience with an open mind and an appetite for red meat.
Thursday evenings are not usually so special for us but given it was Chris's birthday and this boy likes his red meat, why not gather some friends and feast together.
Vlado's blends in with the shops on Bridge Road. We enter through the heavy door and it feels like we're invading a stranger's home. There's a smell of BBQ and we're brusquely told to go upstairs.
Feeling like children visiting grandma's friends we tiptoe upstairs and seat ourselves round the small table in what must be a former bedroom. There are gilt framed oil paintings on the wall, the crockery is very 70s esque and it is untouched by the passage of time. Apparently this was a great first date place - probably if you're Chachi from Happy Days and trying to impress a girl...
Two of our party are running slightly late but they arrive and within minutes we are served a sausage each and two small plates of mixed meats follow suit. There's some eye fillet, pork, calves liver and a small hamburger pattie.
There is also a bread roll each and the great British salad - iceberg lettuce, topped with quartered tomato.
We can't fault the quality of the meat and begin to tuck in. We find the service efficient if not warm. It's like a well oiled machine - the waiter knows what to do, when to serve and anticipates all things all with the stealth of a Transylvanian vampire. It is all a bit gothic really or maybe more Addams Family...
Vlado's describes the experience it offers as "not only the life time experience with the best meat materials that let you know you'll be relishing an excellent meal, it's the ingredients - 'no salt, no pepper, no sauces just meat!'
The quality of the meat is undoubtedly amazing. The fillet I had was melt in mouth and just oozing quality and flavour and my dining friends comment likewise. The bread roll is a damn fine role and Karly knows her bread and loves her bread and she gives it the kudos it deserves.
I'm just left wanting more...not more meat but more something...maybe vegetables but not the salad, potatoes of some sort and dare I say it a sauce. I think I would have enjoyed the experience a whole lot more with just a few chips and some gravy! I know the meat speaks for itself but the sides add to the occasion.
Dessert consists of strawberry pancakes, some vanilla ice cream, some whipped cream and that synthetic strawberry sauce of my childhood that evoke memories of Mr Whippy and the ice cream van. Lots of strawberries and enjoyable but not something I couldn't make myself.
The whole experience at Vlado's is memorable. I cannot fault the meat; I just want a little bit more for my $88. .
As we left, another party was also leaving and this guest, obviously a repeat customer, looked the waiter in the eye and rasped out, "Next time better sausage". I half expected Igor the henchman to appear and give the waiter a threatening shove! I guess they come for the meat experience and the quality of the sausage. I prefer a place where the clientele leave the henchman at home and we sit and enjoy few more side dishes, a little bit of ambience and music, less of the barked out messages on the intercom which was a little disturbing and less of the feeling I need to be on my best behaviour as I'm visiting granny's friends!