My second Monday on the job, I got an email from Robert (the managing partner of the Australian offices, residing in Melbourne) asking if Steve & I would like to join he and his wife for dinner that evening.  Though slightly dismayed that I’d worn a run of the mill business casual outfit that day, was already en route to the office and therefore may not be properly dressed for such an occasion, I of course, happily accepted.  I was interested to meet Robert’s wife, and to have a nice, taste-bud-pleasing evening out.  What a way to start a Monday!

 Robert’s secretary Irene booked the restaurant and told me the name, with appropriate punctuation about how lovely it was (and that Steve should wear a jacket), which I promptly forgot. As I blustered to remember it (“Fiorellis”, or maybe “Florentini’s”?) to the other associates, I quickly became aware (and remembered it this time!) that we had been invited to an evening out at Grossi Florentino’s, THE classic upscale Italian establishment in the city and a hallmark of special occasions for S&C.  To hear it tell, visiting partners, departing associates and (apparently) arriving associates are graced with this unique treat.

 The reputation did not disappoint.  Greeted with a “buena noche, Senora,” we were escorted to our table in this ornate, dark and charming second-floor establishment.  I cannot tell you what the wines were, other than a crisp and dry white and a smooth, balanced and multi-tonal red, for Robert ordered them and I didn’t catch the names as he rattled it off to the waiter (not that I’d recognize the labels in any event).  For the entrée (first course servings in Australia are entrées), I had the egg yolk and pumpkin puree ravioli, and for the main, pancetta wrapped rabbit served with kale and pine nuts.  Steve had venere risotto to start, and suckling pig roast with bread stuffing and sprouts for his main.   We were treated to a salmon parfait with salmon caviar for an amuse bouche, and great conversation throughout the evening about Melbourne city living, the office and the local industry and our clients.  Interestingly, Robert was frank and forthcoming about a number of aspects of the Melbourne practice—who are clients are, who our competitors are, how this tiny satellite office fits in to the broader global law firm.  It was a lovely, interesting, and fully satisfying evening.

Food: B+ (too stuffy, and rich for my tastes);  Atmosphere/company:  A+;  Drinks:  A