This specialty restaurant deserves to do well for several reasons beside being a warm and friendly joint. It fills a niche in Melbourne dining, the cooking is very good, the dishes varied and interesting and it's reasonably priced.
We took some friends there last night and enjoyed a very good meal. There are about 20 dishes on the menu which are all suitable for sharing with prices ranging, mostly, from $6 to $17 with a couple of special dishes around $30.This is what we ate.
We started with sardine on toast with a little green chili and Cafe de Paris butter.
The fresh sardines were full of flavour, the chili inoffensive and the butter luscious.
Next grilled duck hearts with cumquat jam and avocado salsa. The jam with its bitter sweet tangy taste was beaut in this dish.
The rillette with toasted sourdough was a trout and spanner crab combination in a light olive oil, a gentle subtle combination. Grilled Monkfish and chorizo, on a skewer, had a super creamy cauliflower was another mild combination.
Masterstock pigs trotter spring roll came with a spicy mandarin salad. Another winner, two totally different tastes that went well together.
Grilled asparagus with crumbed poached egg and cider beurre blanc was crisp and benefited from having both white and green asparagus. It also featured a thin crisp raclette cheese fried between two thin slices of pastry. Green beans and broad beans with smoked cheddar fondue, pickled shallots and mint salsa verde was a very unusual and interesting taste and a nice balance to the meat dishes.
A special on the night was suckling pig ($35). Served with a big piece of crackling and mashed potato and a small salad. The meat was not quite as as delicate as some we have had in the past.
12 hour beer braised beef cheek, white bean puree and crispy tripe, on the other hand was unbeatable, almost falling apart, moist, with great flavour, it was well supported by the puree and the tripe added a touch of variety, not dissimilar to crackling but with it's own taste. Well fed we elected to try three desserts.
Baked dark chocolate mousse with blood orange marmalade, salted peanut praline and clotted cream, highly recommended,
Tart Tatin with creme fraiche sorbet and beer butterscotch sauce, rich and sweet with a slightly burnt taste,
and Rosemary and pine nut castagnaccio, a flourless chestnut cake, with caramel crystal malt ice cream, which was the least interesting of the three whilst still being quite pleasant.
Although they are beer specialists we like our wine and drank an acceptable 2010 Provenance Pinot Noir ($59).
For carnivores this is a very good place to eat. Far more interesting than the usual offerings bistro offerings. Further more all the purees were excellent, the salads interesting and the whole thing very satisfying. Menu items change each season with minor variations every few weeks.
Returnability factor very high
Thursday, September 15, 2011
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