I was sorry to read that Vlado Gregurek - a Richmond 'institution' had died recently in another Richmond 'institution' - Epworth Hospital (just a few doors from his restaurant). Vlado's Restaurant at 61 Bridge Road ( 9428 5833) was renowned for its MEAT, MEAT, MEAT! His restaurant never really changed since it opened in 1964! How often these days do you know of a restaurant staying open for more than - well let's say 10 years - but 48 years! It's the longest running restaurant under single ownership in Melbourne. Amazing.
|Vlado in 1964 - courtesy The Age|
I recall being taken there by my parents way back in the early 70's. My father was a man who enjoyed his food (and has passed this onto me I'm afraid) but even he was defeated by the amount of food (MEAT) which was presented that night. I can remember we just accepted the 'fixed menu' which began with sausages, followed by a tasting plate (more meat) and then a choice of steaks (I think he ordered large - his eyes were bigger than his stomach!) which always came with only a coleslaw salad (I think it was just called cabbage salad) and that was followed by strawberry pancakes (hardly crepes - nothing so light!). I can see my fathers face now! My mother and I had given up long before. Suffice to say we didn't return.
|The 60's grey brick facade on a beautiful old Victorian building!|
But many a man (and perhaps the odd woman) returned frequently to this 'institution'. Locals and interstate and overseas visitors ensured that the restaurant remained a force to be reckoned with. Vlado was always on show in the front 'butcher counter' stroking his beloved meat before cooking it on his special mallee root (now there is another wood dying out) charcoal grill. The quality of the meat was second to none. After all that is what the customers had come for. Vlado received an OAM and was inducted as a Melbourne Food and Wine Festival Legend in 1994. Imagine being a legend in your own lifetime. What an achievement - as was eating an entire meal at the restaurant!
I was pleased to read that Vlado's will continue as it has for so many years. Ivan Glavas the former head waiter will now operate the grill after just a short 28-year apprenticeship!