Ash Street Cellars is this month’s chosen destination for a touch of team bonding over steaks, snapper and some sweets for good measure.
Work. More specifically office work. Who in their right mind came up with that crazy experiment? For those that have managed to dodge a corporate lifestyle it’s everything you’ve ever managed. For those of you, like me, who are part of the cubicle chorus, the biro brigade, the excel jockeys, the powerpoint princesses, the corporate crunch – you all know that there are a series of techniques that you need to maintain your sanity.
My favourite, for when a colleague is working my last nerve, is to imagine them in a non work setting. Not like nude (god help me) but them on holiday with their family, being a big brother, being someone’s daughters and seeing their human side even when they’re so deep in the dullest dribble you want to take a stapler to their head.
The other thing that can keep you sane in the hub bub of office life is the office lunch. Stay with me here. If you don’t have a handful of people that you would want to have lunch with then it is quite seriously time to consider a new gig. The office lunch is not only crucial to sanity in the workplace but affords you the opportunity to flaunt your conversational skills – not in bullet point format.
And so it is that myself and my favourite colleagues ESC the agency for a little team bonding (see what I did there. #officehumour).
Ash Street Cellars is the destination dutifully organised by our Account Exec who plainly has her finger on the pulse of colleague appropriate venues. We have ordered in advance (organised!) from the March into Merivale set menu (thrifty!).
Somebody comments that Ash Street Cellars is just like the laneways of Melbourne (we wish). It is a good city spot behind the behemoth Ivy complex opposite Felix. The menu is European/Mediterrean, big on the small plates like most of Sydney.
The team have ordered three steaks, three snappers and a rogue Paella for the colleague that has a habit of striking out on his own at the best of times.
The support staff for this little soiree is a Fig, Jamon & Manchego Salad and Beetroot & Feta Salad. Both of these are super pretty and tasty to boot.
On presentation alone the Steaks served with Eggplant are looking like the winners on the day. All reports are that the steak is lovely if not lacking a little oomph flavourwise.
The Snapper with a Tomato Panzanella is also a pleasant choice – nice flavour and fresh fish. Perfect lunch fare I think.
The Paella is the underperformer on the day reinforcing my theory that Paella outside of a Spanish restaurant is always a regrettable choice. A little dull and lacking in flavour, certainly lacking authenticity.
HR departments could use the office lunch as a barometer for staff morale. The ordering of dessert suggests this is a group of people that don’t mind hanging out together. The dessert skippers are indicative of a group of people that can barely stand each other’s company ;)
Cue the Chocolate Fondant, Raspberry and Pistach’ Tart and the Alfajores (shortbread) with Dulce de Luche. The Alfajores is served with this beautiful mound of coconut puff which is a little like eating sugary air.
All are perfect for providing the sugar rush that will get you through the emails that have mounted in your absence. The rich Chocolate Fondant was worth the 15 minute wait – share it with a colleague for upping the bonding stakes (it would be quite the undertaking on your own).
All the food at Ash Street Cellars is nice but a little unsubstantial, perhaps a bit too simple in nature. Don’t get me wrong, I would certainly return. What Ash Street Cellars is good for is probably a ‘ladies lunch’ or a ’post work’ catch up with a girlfriend where you want a delicate nibble and a gossip. It would probably also meet the ‘first date’ brief fairly well when one is keen on meals that are not too substantial.