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The first rule for the Panama Dining Room: you have to be fit enough to climb two very steep flights of stairs, which means prams, walking frames and legs in plaster can be difficult. Second rule: you mustn't mind noise, because the music playing is sometimes loud enough to inhibit conversation, and usually loud enough to chase away the oldies. But if you're fit and easygoing, this is just fine; a treat, in fact. The dining room is also a lounge, with a pool table, a big bar, and seats to recline in. The room is simply furnished and wonderfully lit by big windows that look out onto the Fitzroy roofscape. There's a large, high communal table with stools, and the other tables are surrounded by chairs in a pleasant mix of styles.
While the mood is laid-back, the food and wine lists are pretty serious. The cuisine is contemporary, where tasty classic dishes have been given lively modern twists with delicious results. Try the zucchini flowers with mascarpone or the roasted loin and leg of rabbit with spelt and olives. There are always a couple of specials to choose from as well. The bar has its own menu, with tapas dishes such as baked chorizo, steamed clams and smoked cod croquettes. This is a great place for a drink of any kind; the list includes a wide range of beers and spirits, cocktails and wines from around the world.