First published on 30 Jul 2012. Updated on 20 Aug 2012.
We weren't sure about chef Mark Best's choice of location for his beautiful bistro Pei Modern, but we're sure as hell glad he picked Collins Place now! It’s open all day so you can pop in for lunch, dinner, coffee or a stiff drink pre- or post- that random screening that you're going to because your friend's alternative-Japanese-cinema-loving friend couldn't make it. Doubling down on shows? Prop it up at the bar and power through some salami and a pint of Brunswick Bitter. Beats the hell out of popcorn.
If you're going to see Experimental Shorts, you'll need some alcoholic libations, possibly beforehand. Certainly afterwards. Warm up at Riverland on the banks of the Yarra with a glass of spicy mulled wine and a selection of share plates. Try the twice cooked caramel pork belly or an organic sausage from their outdoor barbecue. If you’re after a place for a more substantial post-show shoush, cross over to Young and Jackson where you can lubricate your cinematic arguments with all the beers.
The Forum has its own bar for the festival but if you're looking to get out between shows then nearby is PM 24. Part of the Press Club gang's group of restaurants, PM has great wine and French bistro fare and offers an express lunch menu that starts at $37. Get the rotisserie chicken – it's unanimously agreed to be one of the finest pieces of poultry in town. After watching Into the Abyss we're going to go and appreciate our freedom over a liquid nitrogen chilled martini at EDV.
Izakaya Den is just down the road, serving up their miso, tataki and teriyaki express lunch specials, but we reckon 1930s politically themed, Bar Ampère in Russell Place is the most fitting venue for debating the day’s screenings. It’s an all-day job, so start up a tab and keep coming back for food and beverages from first espresso to last call Toronto cocktail at 3am. Take the day off, take a chance on a few unknown films and enlighten your body and mind Italian-style with a glass of wine and the simple glory of a tin of Ortiz anchovies (king of tinned fish). Chalk it up as a mental health day. Don't show this to your boss.
If you’re after a quick and easy bite before or after screenings then head to Dumplings Plus for your Asian fix. Need a decent coffee? The sister cafe to St Ali, Plantation is just downstairs doing their best latte work and a whole lot of cold drip. For slightly more sophisticated snacking (alcohol) head to the Moat Café and Bar inside The Wheeler Centre. Packed to the gills with boffins and books, this is an intellectual’s bar and the perfect place to get some closure (especially if you're watching the Suicide Shop) over their Middle Eastern/European share plates and a glass of vino.
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