Adelaide: 24th November 2015
It used to be the Ovingham Hotel. It probably still is, for the name is written in small print on the sign, along with the information that it was established in 1880. It’s now home to the Bombay Bicycle Club … which you don’t have to live in Bombay, or even own a bicycle to join.
When I first visited … 2006, I think … there were two clubs you could join. To join the ‘Horn Club’, you just had to get a rope ring around the horn of a rhinoceros head on the wall, to claim a free drink. But, the ring was suspended from the ceiling, off centre from the horn, so ‘ringing the rhino’ was wellnigh impossible. You could also qualify for a free drink by joining to ‘100 Club’ … you had to sample each one of the 100 beers from all around the world that they offered. However. I’ve never stayed in Adelaide that long … but I did, out of curiosity, tick off each one that I’ve ever had, and was rather impressed by the total.
Although these ‘clubs’ seem to be gone now, the décor has changed very little. It’s Indian … but the India of bygone days; of Rudyard Kipling and the Raj; maybe the India of yesteryear as we imagine it used to be. In fact, it could maybe be said to be more Indian than India. The only complaint I have is that, if you’re sitting at the bar, those snakes’ heads are a little bit close to the ‘bits that matter’. Even though they’re carved in mahogany, it’s still a bit unnerving!
There’s a wide cross-section of cuisine from all over the world, and, of course, there’s Indian food. I know, there’s somebody will jump up and say ‘the food you get at an Indian restaurant is nothing like the food you get in India’. Maybe they’re right; I wouldn’t know; I’ve never been to India. But, I did enjoy a very pleasant lamb rogan josh.