Flinders St Melbourne, VIC 3000
|Opening hours||Sun-Thu 8am-9pm; Fri-Sat 8am-1am|
|Payments||eftpos, AMEX, Visa, Mastercard|
|Phone||03 9046 8260|
I am that person, fumbling for my Myki and tapping on like a drummer in a punk band, huffing down the steps to the train platform, pressing desperately on the door, looking imploringly at the smug persons within, then staring forlornly as my train eases its way from the station, at best oblivious but, I suspect, gloating.
Except I'm not quite as forlorn any more because, instead of feeling bad for 20 minutes, I can ditch the gloom and go to Green Light Diner for coffee or booze, free Wi-Fi and a hot sandwich. I can head there for Sunday roasts ($19) or late-night beef-and-pickle bagels. I can go to have a superlative scrambled egg sandwich drip down my chin and make me oblivious to missed trains forever.
Green Light is a new diner at Clocks, the TAB and pokies club that's not been a dining destination of note until now, when it was taken on by Darran Smith, a restaurant professional who could silver-serve a flounder or flambe a tart tableside but probably never will again. Instead he's doing bagels and coffees and loaded fries in a swanky all-day venue, along with pub guy Steve Schreuder.
The entrance plaza feels like a utilitarian waiting room but tuck around the corner to the main dining area, a gorgeous and atmospheric hat-tip to art deco railway stations and first-class travel. With its luggage racks, vintage suitcases, leather booth seating and brass fittings, you expect to hear steam engines hissing and a chorus of clackety-clack.
Instead, you get TV white noise and Top 40 hits but the natural light is lovely and the booths spacious and comfortable. I recommend it for snacks but it's also a good location for meetings. Further into the premises, there's a terrace that overlooks the river, a good spot for quiet beers, batched cocktails and secret assignations. Later in the year, the basement will become a whisky bar – stand by for good times.
If you are meeting important associates to get projects green lit, arrive early to have the Good Morning, a most excellent sandwich at any time of day. Drippy scrambled eggs, nicely cooked bacon, melty cheese and jalapeno mayo are just about held together by a sweet brioche bun. It's a two-napkin situation that requires private time.
Easier to eat in polite company, the pork schnitzel with fried egg and capers is golden crisp, and the spaghetti carbonara is topped with a yolk that you can splat, spill and twirl through bacon-flecked pasta. It's good gear.
I'm much more into empty calories than empty spending but it's worth noting that the pokies doing their dumb dinging and stinging down the back are run by Doxa, a social club which funds youth projects via pokies profits. So if you feel like a flutter after your frittata, at least your coins are going to the kids.
Rating: Three and a half stars (out of five)