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“Good. Been better. Will return.” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Charcoal Lane

Charcoal Lane
136 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, Yarra, Victoria, Australia
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Ranked #4 of 160 restaurants in Fitzroy
Cuisines: Australian
Restaurant details
Melbourne
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
31 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Good. Been better. Will return.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 22, 2014

It's been a couple of years since out last visit. This time was a little disappointed with the main courses.

Our starters were delicious. We had the tasting plate. (See photo). Every morsel was tasty. The two sausages came with different accompaniments - emu with a sweet relish, camel with a spicy one. The crocodile nugget was crunchy on the outside and retained its sweet moistness inside. The quail eggs were just on the cusp of being hard-boiled so were still melt-in-your-mouth smooth/creamy. The feta was sweet, not too salty and subtle in flavour. The quandong fruit pieces tasted like they had been poached/stewed and were of a generous portion that allowed their sweet, slightly tart fruitiness to be savoured. (When quandong is commonly used as a seasoning, their subtlety is a bit lost.)

The other starter was mutton bird - very unusual menu item. The portion looked like smallish squab but a bit darker (but not as dark as duck) and very succulent. The flavour was clearly of the sea...a bit difficult to describe but imagine fish oil infused quail; hardly any bird/chicken/duck flavour at all, just fish flavour. Very unusual.

For mains, the macadamia encrusted chicken breast was a little lacking in flavour - a bit more salt maybe, and more generous with the herbs/spices?

The salt bush lamb on a bed of couscous had a distinctly burnt flavour in both ... which came from the burnt underside of the lamb. On the one hand, Charcoal Lane is a training facility and so such indiscretions is somewhat expected. But on the other hand, part of training is to recognise when something is truly over done and to re-do the dish.

The table service was very good. Tap and sparkling water was offered, nice in-house baked bread given and local herbs dukkah placed on table. The maitre'd was kind enough to advise that we may wish to skip sides as we had ordered plenty. He was right.

Charcoal Lane is always worth visiting for their use of local produce - some common, some rather unusual.

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37 reviews from our community

91% Recommend
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    2
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Melbourne, Australia
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
4 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
49 helpful votes 49 helpful votes
“Excellent All Rounder”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 31, 2014 via mobile

I recently had two visits to Charcoal Lane - dinner with family then lunch with work colleagues. On both occasions, the service was attentive, the food excellent and the atmosphere relaxed yet professional. Go there. You won't regret it.

Visited January 2014
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“A unique taste with great service”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 21, 2014

Our waiter at this beautiful restaurant was friendly and extremely knowledgeable. I feel I learnt so much about native Australian cuisine and when I had a question they would find out the answer from the chef. The food was beautiful and well presented. We tried the tasting plate and we loved the crocodile ceviche. For main course we tried the wallaby and the kangaroo sirloin. The flavours were fresh and blended well together. The dessert was also very lovely leaving us feeling satisfied. If you are a traveler to Australia or even a local and want to try interesting food with local native ingredients you will not be sorry you stopped here.

  • Visited January 2014
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Brooklyn, New York
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
“Once in a lifetime.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 4, 2013 credit card Amex Card Member Review

I recently visited Melbourne on holiday and made it a point to go to Charcoal Lane after getting glowing recommendations from some locals. After a lovely stroll down Gertrude Street, I came upon the modest and modern venue and was instantly greeted by a warm, friendly staff. The cuisine was modern with Aboriginal influence—completely new to me, but a very delicious adventure! (Have the kangaroo chorizo. Have the Chef's Tasting Plate. HAVE IT!)

P.S. The mission of Charcoal Lane only makes it better. This is a must if you're in Fitzroy.

Visited November 2013
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Sydney
Top Contributor
86 reviews 86 reviews
67 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
“Deliciously Australian”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 7, 2013

This restaurant acts as a training ground for disadvantaged and aboriginal people and is operated by Mission Australia. What an amazing experience...

Menu is broad with a good range of Australian fare. If you are worried about eating Skippy then don't go for the wallaby dish. We named him Keith and then of course couldn't eat that dish! We had the mackerel, lamb rump and chicken breast. All delicious... Accompaniments asparagus and potatoes also great.

Make you keep room for dessert as good variety. Mind you we all had the same which was the very moist apple and berry pudding. The lemon myrtle icecream was a great partner to the dish.

Short wine list but good selection at affordable prices.

Ambience good. Lovely staff. No complaints!

  • Visited November 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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