Sunday, November 04, 2007

Panama Dining Room

The Panama Dining Room is located on Smith Street Fitzroy. It's actually in an apartment type thing with a small sign on the stairwell that indicated the restaurant was upstairs. Upon walking up two flights of stairs, you get to this rather bland entrance, with no indication that it was the main entrance or the fire escape as indicated on the door. We entered hoping it was the right door.

Once you step inside though, you are greeted by this very sparse high ceilinged space. Mood lighting greets you while you absorb in the rather unexpected interior. To one side of the large room is tables where guests are dining. There is a semi-circular bar on the other side, with lounges and high tables where people are drinking. A pool table sits in the middle. However, how anyone can play is a guess. As Kin noted "the lighting is way too low to even see the cue stick".

We order some Little Creatures Bright Ale and wait for Paul to arrive. The ale was quite light in flavour with a hint of honey and something else. When Paul arrives, we order our meals, with everyone opting for just mains.

Paul gets the Chicken wrapped in Prosciutto. As usual, he says his meal is quite ordinary and ok. He never seems to pick the good dish.

Kin goes for the Lamb with Beans, which he gobbles down very quickly. Hence I can only assume that it's good.

I have the Rabbit with Asparagus. It's very good. The rabbit leg had a flavour and texture was more like a slightly gamey chicken rather than the usual stronger rabbit flavour. I loved how they paired the rabbit with fried cheese and asparagus. The flavours all went together in a very interesting good way. There was also something slightly sweet in the sauce, which tasted really good.

For dessert, Kin and I both got the Creme Brulee Stack. This consisted of a couple layers of thin puff pastry, a layer of strawberries, a thin burnt sugar shell, creme brulee and a strawberry sauce. It was delicious, the creme brulee being soft and went really well with the strawberries.

Ambience here was quite good. It was a little bit dark whilst the sun was setting. But once it got later and they turned on some lights, it was much better. The noise level isn't too great, with the tables spread quite far apart. The view outside the windows of the city skyline was really good. The whole building felt a little odd, with things so open and the bar area on the other side. There wasn't as much buzz from the bar, or maybe it was just so far away that all the noise was loss when it got to us.

Service was a bit hit and miss, more miss in my opinion. They wait staff took a very casual approach, which can be great, but the service has to match. Firstly, it was really hard to tell who the wait staff were. They wore clothes that could be easily confused with patrons. The next issue was that everything was really slow. It took a good twenty minutes from getting our drinks menu to placing an order, and that was only because we waved someone down. Then we had to ask for meals menu. All this despite the fact that we had to be out of there by 9pm since the table was rebooked. I knew this when I booked so that wasn't an issue. It was just that we had only just ordered 8pm, despite being there by 7:15pm. Once the actual orders were made, it didn't take too long for the food to arrive. It all arrived at the same time too.

I liked the food and the prices are fairly cheap, all in the $21-$27 range. The serving are a bit small, but you do get full after you eat dessert. As usual, drinks really add cost to the meal and a couple of beers really brings the total up. So it didn't turn out as cheap as we thought, but still acceptable.

Overall Rating: 13/20, Food is good but service a bit too casual and slow.

Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20: Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.

Panama Dining Room and Bar on Urbanspoon


  1. Two different scores for the same place??

  2. Oops my bad, I'll edit it now.

    I cut and paste the scoring thing from another post. I wondered where that score part went to hehe.

  3. could it be that paul think that nothing is special cause he always have something common? it was chicken this time, salmon the last time. next time go to another place and ask him to try a game meat. i suggest boar. i love boar meat....

  4. could it be that you love hii?

  5. actually i am in love with you my sweet sweet knight sir anonymous. won't u shed your identity and tell me who you are? i been dreaming about you and i wondered who lies behinds the veil....

  6. Ok will.

    It's me. I love you too.

    Let's go to Singapore for a romantic holiday.

    Pack your chewing gum!!!

    I had my eyes on her first. Back of Hii, you already got your grubby little hands on Kurt Angel!

  8. now now anonymous... it is not nice to sell someone's name as your own. ... use your own and don't pretend to be a 'paul hii' we know that 'paul hii' would never comment like that.....

    romantic holiday??? singapore???? are u nuts? i go there for the weekend.... how romantic can it be???? pleeeze lah... u want to come up with something romantic... come up with something more exotic.... wat with you????

  9. You got me. Paul Hii is too busy going after one our friend's fiance.

    Singapore is a good place to go as long as you don't strap drugs onto your pommel horse. If you want exotic, how about kaoraoke bar in Causeway Bay?

  10. Sharon, the common foods can taste good too. It just seems that everytime Paul always says his dish is average.

    Anonymous, can I go karaoke with you in Causeway Bay?

  11. nope... hk is not good.... i go there too many times in a year... think of another place... and who goes to K bar and think that it is romantic anyway... u are no romeo are you?????

    paul hii going after someone's else fiance... that doesn't sound like him and we both knows it... stop slandering him... before he sue u. that is a tort and the evidence are all here. we should never defame anyone...

    thanh.... that is not true. there have been many food that paul had had that he thought were fabulous and had expressed as much. for instance the time when we were at the korean restaurant and when we had the glass noodle. he loved it. :P

  12. anonymous - i take it back. it wont be a slander action. but a libel action...

  13. What do you know about law? you're still studying... talk to me when you become a real lawyer

    and how do you know everything about Hii like we do.

    All you know is squat!!!!

    Don't be jealous of this girl be jealous of Benneton. He's driving his balls while Hii is driving him around.

  14. my darling anonymous... what the hell do you mean by saying 'what do i know about the law????' i know what i am talking about.

    who told you i was still studying??? my darling anonymous... you are the one who knows squat about me....

    you know - u do seems to like to contradict yourself... first you ask me - 'how do you know everything about Hii like we do' and then you tell me i know squat... which is it???? you tell me i know, then you tell me i don't know....

    there is no Benneton! wat the fuck are u going on about.... and who is jealous... sounds to me like you are the jealous one.... :P

  15. Sharon, what anonymous means by "and how do you know everything about Hii like we do" is a sarcastic comment in Australian terms.

    The words "how do you know everything" is a rhetorical comment meaning you know nothing, and what makes you think you know anything. That is followed by "about Hii like we do", which should have a comma after Hii, meaning, "unlike us people who do know a lot about Hii". I think it's a difference in slang that has caused this confusion.

    So then Anonymous follows it with "All you know is squat!!!!", which actually doesn't contradict anything they have said, since they have implied that you know nothing from the previous sentence.

    Secondly lastly, there is a Bennetton.

    Lastly, I'm not really obsessed about what food Paul likes to take constant. I just mentioned it because I asked him who his meal was and he said it was average, and since I didn't try it, I put his opinion on it. Usually foods that he likes and recommends, I always turn out disliking and thinking it's quite bad. Hence I know in terms of food, I don't take his opinions too much.

  16. geez use his real name lah... not some nickname you gave him... that no one else but the three of you knows.

    thanh, that the beauty of the english language...

    he get his statement wrong so be it... it was read literally and it was interpreted literally.... that the beauty of drafting and why people pay lawyers a huge sum of money....

    thanh... i know you are not obsessed about the food he takes. it was the way you said it... 'As usual, he says his meal is quite ordinary and ok. He never seems to pick the good dish.' which leave me to think... that is not true as there were many times when he said that the foods were good... i know cause he tell me about it when we talk.

    then again, didn't we all like the food at the korean restaurant? i definately loved the kimchi soup... and i know you were with me on that!!!! :)

  17. now now Sharon dear

    watch your language
    that's not how an Ah Lian behaves on a public blog!

    No you are jealous of Hii's new love. Otherwise there wouldn't be no stalking. I have Hii's msn log to prove it.

  18. hahahahhahaaha.... you are positively hilarious!!!! this is the first anyone ever call me an ah lian... heheheheheehee.....

    jealous of bon? never!!!!

    stalking??? how is it that u have his log unless you are stalking him????

  19. I like Ah Lians
    they are pretty and fashionable

  20. Shit! Sharon your English obviously needs more development. Just by the fact that you can't interpret other people's comments and by reading your comments written in broken English, it is clear to us all that you need to go back to ESL.