Bronze-coloured folio titled 'Melbourne a la Carte, a Guide to Good Eating', published in or after 1972, containing 37 unbound pages, each providing the menu of a different Melbourne restaurant. Many include one or two recipes, and each is present in a different graphic style, representing the particular style of the restaurant.
Published by the National Gallery of Victoria Women's Association, the folio is a 'new and completely revised edition' of 'Melbourne A La Carte' has been. All proceeds from sales are to go to the Acquisitions Fund for the Gallery to acquire artworks. The folio is 'intended to bring tourists and residents a cross-section of the best of Melbourne's widely diverse restaurants, large and small. By including facsimilies of actual menus and wine lists with typical recipes and brief descriptions of the restaurants it is hoped that something of their atmosphere and quality will be conveyed.'
The restaurants included in the folio are: Geoff Brooke's Steak Cave, Melbourne; Jamaica House, Carlton; Shakahari, Carlton; Delmonte Cellar, Carlton; The Pickwick, South Yarra; Tolarno French Bistro, St Kilda; The Stagecoach Inn, Melbourne; Eugenie and Lucien, Toorak; Argonaut, South Melbourne; Regency Room, Melbourne; Cafe Florentino, Melbourne; Kurt's Casa Virgona, Fitzroy; Lazar Restaurant, Melbourne; La Brochette, Kew; Kenloch, Olinda; Fanny's Garibaldi Room, Melbourne; Blue Peacock Restaurant, Nathania Springs; The Gallery Restaurant, National Gallery of Victoria; The Lamplighter, Melbourne; Maxims, South Yarra; Charley Brown's, Melbourne; Elizas at the John Batman Travelodge, Melbourne; The Black Knight Restaurant, Camberwell; Bird and Bottle, Croydon; Beachcombers' Restaurant, St Kilda; Chopsticks Restaurant, East Melbourne; Club Grill, Southern Cross Hotel, Melbourne; Madeleine's Restaurant, Melbourne; The Legend, Melbourne; Little Reata, Melbourne; The Terrace Restaurant, Hotel Australia, Melbourne; The Voyager Room, Melbourne; Two Faces, South Yarra; White Hart Inn, Windsor Hotel, Melbourne; Le Chateau, Melbourne; and Coonara Springs Restaurant, Olinda.
Bronze-coloured folio, printed on front the title and list of food and prices. Contains 37 unbound pages (original number unknown), printed on different coloured paper, in one or two colours. Each page is of different style, reflecting the different restaurants they represent. Folio has damaged edges, with tears, folds and losses. Pages in good condition.
This folio of menus is significant on a number of levels. It provides a rare insight into Melbourne restaurants at a specific time - September 1972 - documenting the sorts of food offered, prices and in some cases actual recipes. Although not exhaustive, it includes a range of restaurant types, locations, dishes and prices. Most of the restaurants - although not all - no longer exist. This information is rarely preserved, and offers a rich source of content for research.
The menus are also significant as a document of fund-raising activity in the arts sector in the early 1970s. Compiled by the National Gallery of Victoria's Women's Association, the menus were intended to provide support to the Gallery's Acquisition Fund. The Association's purpose today is to 'support the interests of the National Gallery of Victoria. This is largely through the funding of works of art for the collections held by the NGV and through a travel scholarship for NGV curators. In addition, since 1963, the NGVWA has provided Encouragement Awards for promising students of the Victorian College of the Arts.' (National Gallery of Victoria web site, accessed 19/7/2011) While key role of the Association today remains funding (these days money is raised through an annual program of events), it also focuses on bringing people to the Gallery and fostering general interest in the arts.
Finally, the menus are significant as an insight into tourism in Melbourne in the early 1970s, and the challenges faced in disseminating information about available options in a pre-internet era. The Pink Pages (predecessor to the Yellow Pages) provided restaurant listings, but few other sources of information were available to the restaurant diner, and certainly none which provided such comprehensive information about Melbourne restaurants.
Donation from Heather Crotty, 29/09/2010
Printed on cover of folio: 'MELBOURNE A LA CARTE / a guide to good eating'. A list of food items and prices follows. On inside of folio, facing: '$2.95 / Printed by Southdown Press, Melbourne.' On back cover: 'This new and completely revised edition / of Melbourne A La Carte has been / Compiled and published by the National / Gallery of Victoria Women's Association. / All proceeds from its sale go to the / Acquisitions Fund. / It is intended to bring tourists and / residents a cross-section of the best of / Melbourne's widely diverse restaurants, / large and small. By including facsimilies / of actual menus and wine lists with typical / recipes and brief descriptions of the / restaurants it is hoped that something / of their atmosphere and quality will be / conveyed. / There are, regrettably, omissions, but / we do feel that can can vouch for those / included. / Menus and prices are those current in / September, 1972. / The Women's Association gratefully / acknowledges the co-operation of the / restaurateurs and the generous assistance / of Southdown Press.' Extensive text follows on each leaf of the folio.
Type of item
257 mm (Width), 14 mm (Depth), 356 mm (Height)
Folio size. Each page is 235 w x 328 h