Friday, October 28, 2011


680 Victoria St,
Richmond, VIC 3121

Aussie Rules - No, Cricket - No, Rugby - Not even close. These are the incorrect answers to the question "What is the number one sport that unites Australia?" the correct answer is "Cutting down our tall poppies". Greg Norman will tell you, so will Rupert Murdoch and looking at some of the critiques circulating about Fenix I think Gary Mehigan may have a thing or two to say about our true national past time.

Unless you have been living under a moderately large rock, you would know Gary as one of the Masterchef judges and generally comes off as the lighter hearted judge, likeable, and generally fair in his assessment. Along with this he is one of the owners and public face of Fenix in Richmond.

Fenix has struck me as a place that looks like worth trying if in the general area, not necessarily worthy of a trip to Richmond's Victoria Gardens to get to though. So on a fine sunny Melbourne spring day I found myself at Fenix for a coffee that transitioned in to an unplanned and very fine lunch.

For entree I selected the scallops which were perfectly cooked. Caramalised with a slightly translucent centre, these were delicious. Overall the presentation was great with the shells perched well above the board buried under tasty foam. The accompanying crumbs and puree complimented nicely.
Pot roast lamb rump, braised neck w carrot & star anise puree, fresh dates

For my main course I chose the Pot roast lamb dish. This was a faultless cracker of a dish and had Gary been there it would be high-fives all round. The lamb rump and neck were both cooked perfectly, the carrot and star anise puree added a vibrancy to the plate that made this visually attractive. The supporting roles of the date puree and carrots should not be underestimated either, visually great and every component played a role. If you were to go to Fenix wanting a "Gary" dish I think this would be the one to go for.

Service from the floor staff was also faultless, both friendly and attentive through lunch. The wine list was good with reasonable markups which makes splashing out for a good bottle more attainable.

So back to my opening, if you were to google "Fenix review" you would find several mixed reviews and if you drill in to the comments sections of The Age or Urbanspoon you would find all manner of disappointed people that I would suggest were dying to go to Fenix to simply say how bad it was. Whilst I wasn't dying to go to Fenix, I can only offer praise for a restaurant producing well cooked, honest food in more than pleasant surroundings. If I were local, I would certainly go back on a regular basis, perhaps I might even go out of my way to get there.

Fenix - 14/20
Fenix on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Porgie + Mr Jones

291 Auburn Rd,
Hawthorn, VIC 3122

Hidden in a strip of anonymous shops on Auburn Road, Porgie + Mr Jones has developed a reputation of producing good food and spectacular coffee. While I have enjoyed many breakfasts here, today was my visit for lunch.

Very good coffee
I do have to say I like interior here, it is reminiscent of the Mark Dundan style of fit out with a Brother Baba Budan meets St Ali meets Seven Seeds. It works well and has a laid back atmosphere without the pretentiousness that one tends to encounter a few suburbs in.

I was surprised and impressed to see the menu range on offer, 4 vegetarian & 5 carnivore options along with a good range of baguette's & panini .

As much as the Hopkins river beef "steak sanga" sounded attractive, it was hard not to go past the "Porgie Parma" of parmesan crusted chicken, smoked + roasted tomato, pulled pork, three cheese gratin with pear salad (phew)

The Porgie Parma
Despite the lengthy description that conjured up visions of a massive plate of never ending food, the plate I was presented with was actually quite tidy. The parma was a nice juicy fillet with the mix of the tomato, cheese and pear salad making this much lighter and more enjoyable than a regular pub parma. The lack of fries or chips was not missed as the slices pear provided the required crunchy texture and helped to refresh the saltiness of the cheese and pork.

Overall I am impressed my lunch at Porgie's + Mr Jones, excellent food, coffee and service. The only thing I would ask is that they take visa!

Porgie + Mr Jones - 4/5
Porgie and Mr Jones on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

adriano ZUMBO

80 Pyrmont St
Pyrmont, NSW 2009

Walking past an entrance to the newly renovated The Star casino, it was hard not to notice the bright pastel window of Adriano Zumbo's latest outlet. 

As luck would have it I was there only a few days after opening. The macaron sweatshop was in full swing, but the desert train (yes like a sushi train, only with deserts!) was not.

Since a macaron is ever so small and seems so harmless, it is easy go overboard. In a few days I worked through quite a few of Zumbo's sweet macaron creations.
Caramel and raspberry - nice, but ever so sweet. The jamminess is rich, thick, syrupy with the caramel coming though momentarily.

Lime Mojito -What great flavour. Upfront the kick of lime is great, as you get through it, the mint comes through with a large amount of subtleness.

Cola - Wow, I've complained about a lack of chew in some macaron's I've tried lately, this is not one of them. Not overly cripsy and the cola flavour doesn't pack as much of a whallop compared to the others, but enjoyable nonetheless.

Peach - This is not quite what I expected, the flavour was spiced like a plum pudding with a peach background

So Zumbo's macarons (or Zumbarons as he calls them, I kid you not) are nice, but not faultless. But the little shop has lots of charm and would love to go back when the train is in full swing.
Adriano Zumbo P√Ętissier on Urbanspoon

Prawn Star