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The first time someone wrote to me ‘looking forward to meeting you IRL’ I had to look up what IRL meant. Ah – In Real Life!

Since joining the Twitterverse a few months ago, I’ve been collecting followers and following others. Most of the people I’ve never met IRL, despite knowing all about their likes, dislikes, thoughts and habits. But as many tweeters know, there comes a point where if you want to grow your relationship you have to take your online conversations offline.

So one afternoon @sammartino tweeted an invitation for twenty of his Twitter followers to join him at Mr Price’s Foodstore for dinner. It was the perfect IRL blind date – I’d heard good reports about Mr Price’s Foodstore but it’s only open during the week for lunch, which meant that it was unlikely that I’d ever have the chance to review it. Plus it would be a chance to meet the humans behind their Twitter handles (hello @IdeasCulture @ScottKilmartin @Valeriekhoo @GinaMilicia @mildlycurious @lilylauren @andrewsayer @ppeach @CheyanneBrae).

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Gary Price is chef and host at Mr Price’s Foodstore, which has been styled to look like someone’s warm, welcoming house. Lining the walls were sepia-toned photographs, stack of dusty looking books, twee oil paintings and various front-parlour paraphernalia. The mismatched wooden furniture further added to the quirky grandma feel to the space. In another quirk, there’s no menu – basically Mr Price goes out to the markets each day and then you’re given a choice as to what’s seasonal and fresh for that day.

To start it was a choice between an asparagus salad and a creamy pasta, salmon with a butter lemon sauce, roast chicken or beef shanks for mains and crème caramel or cheese for dessert. My pasta was ok but my neighbour described it as looking like Continental Alfredo pasta packet mix. The salad was disappointing, given the three stalks of asparagus offered for $13. My salmon fillet was veering towards the overcooked and I noticed that a number of people left the chicken unfinished. I didn’t try the dessert but opinions ranged from 10/10 to 3/10 for the crème caramel.

The cosy décor and the diverse and congenial company greatly tipped the balance of Mr Price to HOT for me, as I can’t really give a thumbs up to the food that night. I’m also willing to be generous with Mr Price given that it’s probably not usual for him to cook for masses of people all at once.

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