Rusty and the boys like a good spag bol
Last Saturday, while having lunch on the balcony at my favourite cheap pasta joint in the city, I saw a large man emerging from a large black Mercedes. Watching this guy cross the road with two little boys, I had one of those celebrity spotting moments when you think “that bloke kinda looks like Russell Crowe”, only to discover on closer inspection that it actually was Russell Crowe.
Things became more interesting when Rusty and the boys came up in and sat down at the table across from me at Bill and Tony’s.
Bill and Tony’s is the kind of cheap standard Italian restaurant that you can’t find in inner-city Sydney much anymore. Gaudy maps of Italy and red and white chequered table cloths have been replaced by stark aluminium interiors and names like Il Ruccola del Fuccula.
Well not Bill and Tony’s. There you get a standard pasta: Bolognese, Napoli, Marinara and maybe a Pesto if you’re lucky, and a choice of good mains like chicken schnitzel. They also serve cordial on each table at lunch, something I personally love, because cordial and pasta was always a standard lunch at my Nonno’s house.
But more importantly you won’t pay much more than about $10 for a plate of pasta at Bill and Tony’s, which is pretty much how it should be for a flour, egg and sauce compound.
Hulking over the table in the middle of the restaurant with his two boys either side of him, Crowe dominated the room with a presence that could only have been bettered by the sudden appearance of Optimus Prime dropping in for coffee (I have this idea of Crowe and Optimus Prime hanging out together for some reason).
Being curious as to what the diet of the Gladiator and junior Gladiators consisted of, I was thrilled when Crowe ordered spaghetti bolognese and schnitzels all around.
While Crowe can be a bit self-conscious with his man of the people stuff, I don’t doubt that it is also a pretty natural choice of venue and dish for Crowe.
For starters you have to give the guy credit for taking his kids to a normal restaurant. Crowe is obviously aware of the fact that if you take kids out all they actually want to eat is spaghetti bolognese and chicken schnitzel.
Cafes and restaurants are full enough of yuppie parents demanding that their child return to the table and finish their ricotta, pumpkin and caramalised onion puff pastry flan. Crowe and his children are thankfully not adding to those ranks.
One also gets the feeling that if Crowe had the choice at anytime he’d go spaghetti bolognese and a chicken schnitzel.
But what I loved about this scene was that one of the world’s biggest movie stars, definitely Australia’s biggest and best, chooses to take his sons to a $10 a plate restaurant and orders our unofficial national dish: spagbol. Having just returned from a period in America and Europe there was something so characteristically Australian about this scene, emphasised by the facet that nobody batted an eyelid (or at least pretended not to) and left him alone to eat lunch with his kids.
So Rusty I raise a glass of orange cordial to you: great actor, owner of the Rabbitohs and fellow spaghetti bolognese consumer, in sum, a great Australian.
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