The special New Years’s Eve menu at the Rex Hotel was typical for its time. It offered Oysters Naturelle or Fruit Cocktail followed by Sole Bonne Femme, half a Spring Roast Chicken with vegetables in season, Tropical Fruit Salad and Ice Cream, Assorted Cheese and Coffee. I have since donated the souvenir menu to the National Library of Australia for its ephemera collection.
I visited the Rex back in 1962 as a 15-year-old along with my best friend and her family. We had travelled from Melbourne for the holidays and were staying in a flat in Bondi. Back then, posh hotels were really the only choice for a celebration meal, so we took Christmas dinner at the Astra Hotel and saw the New Year in at the Rex.
The Rex Hotel, later the Regis and now the Beach Road Hotel, is still going strong. As the Regis, it was a popular music venue, remembered by some for “IXS on a Saturday arvo for $5”. And it’s still a popular party pub. The menu has changed a bit. Now it’s pizzas, sliders, steaks and the distinctive Chicken “Pizzagiana”, a unique creation where “our famous parmigiana meets a supreme pizza, pepperoni, mushroom, bacon, olives and tomato sauce topped with grilled mozzarella cheese”. The mind boggles.