Fifty years with no updates is rare in the hospitality industry. But Vlado’s, an iconic family-run steakhouse, is so well-regarded that it hasn’t needed a makeover since opening in 1964.
The table clothes are crisp white. Miscellaneous copper bowls hang from the ceiling. There are no windows – just walls of archaic photos of cows, juxtaposed against images of the international presidents, sportspeople and movie stars who have visited the joint over the past half-century. All of them had the privilege of meeting the late Vlado Gregurek, original founder and steak perfectionist.
His son Michael has taken the reins and ensures each patron has a welcoming, seamless experience. Longstanding waiters trained by the legend himself stand night after night behind a glass cabinet filled with the highest quality Australian meat. Wearing white gloves, they handle each piece with care and grace.
After a pork-and-beef sausage, a plate of liver, pork neck and burgers, your only selection in the four-course carnivorous affair is your preferred cut of steak. A black tray is brought to each table with a raw chunk of rump, fillet and porterhouse. You specify which hunk takes your fancy and how you’d like it cooked. From blue to well-done, it will undoubtedly be perfect. You’ll get a light salad, but that’s the only deviation from the theme.
There has been one small change in 50 years and that's the dent in your wallet. Each guest is up for a hefty $105. And that’s before considering the list of ferocious reds from Penfolds, Wynns, Leeuwin Estate and other benchmark producers. But where else can you get such nostalgia and a consistently solid feed?