As the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival comes to an end I can't help but think it's best for my waistline. My final stop was organised by the lovely Shen from work who arranged for our department to lunch at Matteo's. I'm rather fond of this place. It was the scene of one of my first dates with The Writer. If you like what follows you'll be pleased to know they offer a similar deal for $35 Monday-Friday throughout the year.
With a rather large group we were able to sample almost everything on offer. My co-workers were kind enough to tolerate me snapping away like a delirious tourist.
The entrees included kingfish carpaccio, chickpea soup with blue-eye cod brandade and curried yabby tails and pork belly with apple and coconut salad. In hindsight the entrees were probably more innovative than the mains but today I was strictly a mains and dessert girl.
The five spiced duck leg confit red-curry laksa with steamed coconut rice (try saying that after two glasses of wine!)came with a few unexpected lychees that weren't an unwelcome pairing. There was nothing spectacular about this and it veered towards being overly rich. The far more virtuous choice appeared to be the trout with steamed Vietnamese rice paper rolls but then again I've never been one for restraint.
This was evident when the dessert platter of chocolate panna cotta with Persian fairy floss (what else would you find atop a dessert in 2007?), warm apple crumble with cinnamon ice cream and chilled candied fruit nougat parfait hit the table. The cheese option of twice baked gorgonzola soufflé, dried fig salsa, taleggio on toasted fruit and nut loaf and marinated Meredith fromage blanc would probably also have been worth a try. The dessert platter was more pleasing to the eye than the palate but the generosity of the serve was commendable.
I'm not convinced I like Brendan McQueen's emphasis on Asian flavours in his savoury dishes. To me it feels a little like Pearl comes to North Fitzroy. This one hatter is nevertheless a beautiful restaurant with wonderful service and well worth a visit!
533 Brunswick St North Fitzroy
Open: Lunch: Sun-Fri noon- 3pm. Dinner: 7 days 6-10pm
Phone: 03 9481 1177