Venue- Colombo’s (Family Restaurants)
Address- 250 Whitehorse Road, Balwyn, Victoria
Phone- 03 9836 6442
Open 7 days, Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner from 7am till late
Price- Entrees- $10-$15 Mains: From around $17-$25. Seafood Platter higher. (Pretty average really)
It was the obligatory matriarchal, mother-in-laws age-unspecified birthday and the venue was chosen by my brother-in-law based on location (easily accessible for the crew coming from the Thornbury, Eltham and Croydon regions) and a wide variety of foods for even the fussiest eaters.
Having discovered via its website prior to going that it was a family restaurant, I was expecting it to verge on the tacky side of ambiances but was actually pleasantly surprised by the décor. There was a mixture that could suit all depending on where you were sitting in the multi-levelled complex. Part exposed brick walls, part neutral painted rendered walls which were adorned with a mix of modern art work gave the venue a more up-market feel. There was a section with a whole lot of cricket related paraphernalia but I wasn’t seated near there.
The highly air-conditioned atmosphere, combined with a large screen TV in one section screening the tennis, ensured that the venue would have been busy for most of the day.
We were seated in a raised section. I was lucky to sit on the booth style side of the table which looked a fair bit more comfortable then the wooden chairs on the other side. The table was set with a variety of glasses, icy cold jugs of water, cutlery, linen napkins and a couple of ice buckets. These, I found out later, were essential as the entire restaurant was BYO with no alcoholic beverages available on the menu. I hadn’t come across this for a long time and it is essential knowledge if you plan on dining there.
The service was very good. They were friendly and courteous, even when mother-in-law, who arrived at the restaurant before the rest of us, got confused by the table setting for 8, had them change it all to a different table set for 6 and then realising that the original number was correct, had them move it all back again!
The meals didn’t take all that long to come out and all came at the same time which I think is important when dining with a group. (I’ve eaten out at places before where some people had finished their whole meals before others had even gotten their’s. Not acceptable!)
The boys all enjoyed their main meals. Veal Parmigiana, Scallopine Vino Bianco with Mushrooms (no animal activists on this table) and an Eye Fillet went down very quickly. The boys all chose vegetables over fries which looked really good. The sizes were quite large. I observed the male on the table near ours receiving his entrée of Nachos, which was huge, and overheard the inevitable comment of his wife, “And you ordered a pizza as well?” She had that annoyed look on her face that women get when they take the high road.
The entrée sized pastas were plenty. The Spaghetti Marinara seemed to include a lot of seafood and if I liked seafood then I’m sure it would have been good. It was enjoyed by those that did.
I had a gourmet Vegetarian Pizza but was a little disappointed. The “special sauce” seemed to have been smeared on with a toothpick and perhaps I missed it but I didn’t seem to come across any of the bocconcini cheese or sundried tomatoes that were supposed to be on it. Never-the-less, it was tasty and filling and at $14 a pop, wasn’t worth complaining over.
We all wanted to get out of there because the gang (minus the old folks), were coming back to our place for drinks, but in walking out, I regretted not ordering a dessert. They looked great!
Millions of different individual portions of mouth-watering delights behind glass cabinets paved the walk in and out.
Escaping outside into the street, I thought I had passed all temptation but low and behold, the front windows once again captured my attention with their sticky, sinfull treats. I had to be peeled off the window and I know that if I ever go back (I doubt I’d go out of my way, but if I comes up), I will definitely be getting a dessert!
Oh, and before I forget, for those that are meat adverse, there are a variety of dishes that might suit, from potato skins, to bruschettas, dip trios, pastas, risottos, salads, eggplant stacks, oh, and did I mention those delicious looking deserts that showed no signs of meat whatsoever? Mmmm meat-free-desserts.
Hehe, that makes me think of the Meat Shake album by Ugly Duckling....... sorry this is a restaurant review, not a music review.
Reviewed by Debs