Those of you not living under rocks will know what a lovely day it was yesterday, so much so that while I was sitting in my room mindlessly trawling through internet related junk, the sunshine streaming in through my window and a lovely breeze blowing, I got inspired to actually leave the house and soak up some of the glorious spring atmosphere. Thus with the aid of SMS texting messaging technology (it’s all the rage with the kids these days) I arranged to meet up with a few friends for a movie and dinner in Leederville, just the thing for such a splendid weekday evening.

The Garden: A Vast Improvement On Former Usage

To take full advantage of the weather we met for a pre film drink at The Garden. As the name suggests, it’s a lovely, mainly outdoor beer gardeny type place right next to the Leederville hotel (and is kind of a part of it too) perfect for a relaxed drink and a chat. It’s also certainly a hell of a lot better than what that space used to be used for too, which was an incredibly seedy back room/dance floor for the Leedy, complete with raised platform and cages for people to dance in. It was, on the few occasions that I was unfortunate enough to end up there, truly repugnant; full of gross, sweaty guys rape-dancing skankily dressed women to the latest top 40 RnB horror, so its transition to an upmarket outdoor bar is definitely a huge move in the right direction. That being said, The Garden does get a little pretentious/douchey on a weekend night so I’d stick to using for quiet afternoon drinks, but all things considered that’s definitely the lesser of two evils.

Luna Leederville In All Its Art Deco And Neon Glory

Pre movie tipple sorted it was on to Luna Cinema, which just happens to be one of my favourite places in the entire world, to catch Killing Them Softly, a gritty gangster flick starting the man who seems to be ageing better than a quality bottle of cabernet, Mr Brad Pitt. Housed primarily in a beautiful old art deco building smack bang in the middle of Leederville, Luna is part of a fantastic chain of independent cinemas that also includes the Paradiso in Northbridge, Luna on SX in Fremantle, the Windsor in Nedlands and Camelot in Mosman Park. It really does make me happy to think that our fair city has enough classy people (that’s right, I’m talking about you now) to support such a large number of what is in most places a dead or dying breed. Not only do they show great films that offer an alternative to the mainstream box office, but they’re also a great standard go-to date when trying to impress the kinds of artsy, alternative women that I often find myself attracted to. If she wears vintage threads and really digs Sonic Youth and you want to seal the deal, forget flowers and chocolates my friend and take her to a Fellini retrospective instead. Luna also has a great outdoor cinema in operation during the summer and sometimes holds movie premier parties there with free beer and pizza, so be sure to keep an eye on their website for upcoming events over the next few months (http://www.lunapalace.com.au/index.php?cin=cinemas&cinema=1). As for the movie itself, it was a really interesting, slow burning take on the  non glamourous side of gangster life that, while it did tend towards the brutal, was intelligently done and made for good conversation over dinner.

Malaysian Persuasion: A Fine Spread At Ria

For said dinner we decided to check out Ria on a friend’s recommendation. Set back from the road down the railway end of Oxford street it’s a fairly well established little place that does predominantly Malaysian cuisine and whose owners have recently expanded their Leederville operations with Foam Coffee Bar and Kitsch bar. I do realise that this entry has gone on a bit, so I’ll keep my review of Ria fairly brief and to the point. The decor, atmosphere and service were decent but nothing to write home (or the internet) about. Thankfully the food didn’t follow suit and proved to be both tasty and pretty good value for money. Between five of us we went for Mums Loh Ak (braised caramelised duck), the Indian chicken curry special, Portuguese baked fish, eggplant salad, Nasi Kunyit (yellow rice lightly spiced with tumeric, star anise and cloves), Nasi Berdhal (rice with lentils, ginger, aromatics and pistachio nuts) and a roti each. The duck came braised in a deliciously thick kecap manis based sauce, the curry was creamy and well spiced and the fish topped with a spicy layer of sambal reminiscent of the one you get with Indonesian nasi lemak. Both rice dishes were good too and offered well suited accompaniments to the rest of the food. Overall it was very nice, not mind blowing or anything like that, but for $25 a head well worth the money.

Chicken Curry: As Close As You Can Get Without Your Eye Getting Wet

So, a great night out all said and done and I was definitely overdue for a visit to Luna, and I’ve resolved to not wait so long to go again. Now to just find someone to go with, so if you’re an attractive, vintage clad fan late of 80’s/early 90’s alternative grunge rock looking for a movie date with a witty, handsome and very modest blogger, or know someone that fits that description, then you know where to find me…

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