Posts Tagged ‘st kilda’
Since moving on from Outpost, Paul Jewson has been a busy man. I’ve seen him in the kitchen at St Ali, he’s been working at St Ali in London and turns out he’s and partner Marco Pulagni have been turning the Waldorf in St Kilda into the beautifully rendered Fitzrovia. At 155 Fitzroy St, it’s just near the newly opened Golden Fields, Baker d Chirico and Miss Jackson in what’s becoming a fine-food hotspot.
I’ve long been a fan of Paul Jewson’s food. It ticks all my boxes (I don’t really have boxes to tick), it’s generous, has big flavours and is always seasonal. It’s hard to say what the plan is, but when we dropped in on Sunday the daytime menu was poorly printed on the dodgy computer printer. We were told it was “temporary”, but I’m not so sure it was, not in the sense that it will ever be “fixed” anyway. It was the same at Outpost and the ever-changing menu works perfectly, especially when the food has this sense of style. I just wish they’d get a good printer.
The dinner menu, though, is a far more refined affair in presentation and substance.
The restaurant comprises 2 separate areas. At the front, a 2 level, minimally lit, glass atrium, perfect for breakfast or brunch and come evening a perfect place for a pre-dinner aperitif or glass of wine. The dining room is a more traditional dining area with a huge open doorway into the kitchen. Currently the walls are sparse, but trimmings are coming and it won’t take much to turn it to a understated, classic dining room.
The kitchen itself is somewhat of a feature, it has a huge marble-topped island table crowned by a rustic, hanging pot rack. It doesn’t have the carefully manicured design of Outpost, but it is far more functional and will provide a great vibe on a busy night.
The 2 brunch dishes we had were sticky lamb ribs on a smoked corn salad and scrambled eggs with bacon and tomatoes. The ribs were in the no-fork-required territory with the sauce overpowering the flavour of the meat. The scrambled eggs were as good as they get, endless folds of soft, rich egg with a tomato chutney with a nicely balanced tang. The chutney was so good that I ended up eating the last of it on toast.You should follow me on Twitter.
It’s been open a couple of weeks now, and I managed to drop in before a gig at the Palais. Golden Fields is McConnell’s latest outpost – it’s pretty much a reinterpretation of Cumulus, with a Chinese twist. In fact, it’s so close to Cumulus I feel a little deflated.
The food is great and the service sparkling, but it is a little too similar to what has come before it.
The menu borrows some of the very best from Cumulus and Cutler & Co. The lamb shoulder appears similar though it is spiced with cumin seeds (though I didn’t actually try it). The pork buns are straight off the Cutler bar menu, they are as amazing as ever and the fried prawns and pork tail are very similar to a blend of 2 Cumulus dishes that have since been retired. The similarities don’t end there, the interior design is straight from the same playbook: white tiles, big bars, open kitchens and coat hooks. It’s good but not ground breaking.
The menu works well, as you’d expect. The feature of McConnell’s cooking and menu construction is that each dish is simple yet effective. The way you order a variety of dishes builds all the complexity you want. The beef belly and rump was brilliant, subtle flavours and awesome textures. The shredded cabbage and Moreton Bay bug salad is so simple it’s brilliant.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it, the food rocks and I’ll be back. I’d suggest that the menu will evolve and grow into its own skin. I hope next time, I won’t just be thinking how much like Cumulus it is.You should follow me on Twitter.
This post was written by Bruce Thurlow who’s normal prose cover the pages of The Black Keys Fan Lounge, The Adventures of Mr Dingleberry and Travel Generation. His opinion on the Belgian Bier Cafe on St Kilda Road rang ever so true with us all here at My Aching Head.
The other night at the Belgian Bier Cafe on St Kilda Road, someone asked: why do girls like yoga?
Not such an unusual question when drinking at a boys-only gathering whilst contemplating the meaning of life and drinking expensive imported beer.
There’s plenty more questions about girls with no definitive answer, I thought, without being drawn into the conversation. I had after all been stuck for minutes wondering why I was paying A$7.50 for a Leffe Brun (Dark). This sweet brown beer isn’t as popular as its Blonde brother, but it is my personal favourite. When I say ‘favourite’ I mean it’s my beer of choice on the rare occasions I venture to this so-called ‘Cafe’. So-called because I was sitting at a picnic table placed on an otherwise dusty-brown piece of dirt – average facilities masquerading as a classy establishment. Others weren’t so lucky having brought their own picnic blankets or camping out on a rare piece of grass.
Upon the table was a ‘tray of frites’ I had bought for A$7.50 and smothered in mayonnaise to be shared amongst friends. I’m not sure how regular fried chips taste any different simply because they are described in a foreign terminology and served in an un-common fashion. I would have been happy with a bowl of chips.
Before long someone bought a Duvel, 8.5% of alcohol, pure bottled fury. It was also marked at an angry price, AU$10.50. The bottle did look pretty cool though. I guess the guy who bought it was already pissed.
After a long conversation about Hong Kong martial arts movies and directors had petered out, I asked everyone at the table: why do people like this Belgian Bier Cafe? There was no answer. It was obviously just one more of those questions that has no definitive answer.You should follow me on Twitter.