I was in Melbourne to see a Bruce Springseen concert which started at 7.00 pm. I needed to find a restaurant around Southbank that would give me dinner at 5.00 pm. My traditional favourite at Southbank, Walters Wine Bar, said "no", not until 5.30 pm. Trocadero had been well reviewed that day in the Sunday Age so I walked across the square to try it out. I had no reservation but the maitre d' welcomed me anyway and I was given a table in the attractive dining room with its views of the city skyline and river. On a latish sunny afternoon it was a delightful ambience. I was quickly set up with a French champagne for around $20 and given a menu. The place says it is a bar and brasserie. It is more than that. The wine list is ambitious and enticing. The food verges on fine dining. I had 6 oysters from Batemans Bay in NSW which were delicious. They were fresh as ... and still attached to the shells. There was copious liquid still in the shells and the squeeze of lemon was all they needed. These were beautiful oysters that tasted absolutely of the sea. Following was another fish dish - crispy skinned flathead fillets with a terrific green salad. The bread was artisan and the unsalted butter beautiful. A French chablis by the glass was subtle and creamy. I looked at desserts on a small but appropriate list and chose an apple cake with quince and other things. It was up to standard, as was the viscous and deeply flavoured espresso coffee. The service was excellent throughout and the cost was $112, which I though good value. I think Walters has a great competitor and I'll be back here again. They open from 11.00 am until "late", but I think they see "late" as 11.00 pm. In this location they should go later. There would be a demand.
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