After a couple of poor start issues, the restaurant was very good because the server excelled and the food itself was interesting and sumptuous. The restaurant does not allow special bottles of BYO wine. I tried to bring a 1989 magnum of James Irvine Grand Merlot for a 24th birthday celebration and offered to pay corkage, but not allowed! Pity, as the oldest red wine on the menu was three years old. The bug on table that I killed before we started was also not good. However, quickly made up for as noted above.
1. Restaurant and Decor - The restaurant is in Fitzroy in a gentrified area across the road from a tall housing commission flat. The building is an old converted bank and was used by the Aboriginal Health Service that with Mission Australia still works with the restaurant to assist aboriginals and underprivileged to move into the hospitality industry. A restaurant that tangibly supports a cause. The decor is wooden and modern (see photo).
2. Service - Apart from BYO wine policy, the service in the restaurant was fantastic. The main guy waiting on our table explained the unusual Australian food aspects and dealt with numerous food allergy issues that we had. The service was prompt and effective even though there was a very large group booking when we visited.
3. Food - The food was really interesting and challenging (in a good way) to the taste buds compared to more traditional herbs and spices. The food and sides were excellent quality and well cooked and the tastes blended well. I had the lamb strap and it was delicious with the asparagus with ruby lime and fries. The desserts were also interesting and I had the pudding with coconut covered ice cream - very tasty.
4. Allergies - As noted above, the gluten free, dairy, nut, egg and fructose malabsorption allergies were understood and dealt with by component adjustment to desired dishes rather than no you cannot have this this and this! It was very well done, and with good humour too!
5. Wines - The no BYO even for special wines was poor. The wine list itself was short/limited but a pretty good selection. however, with no aged (over three years) alternatives (that I prefer) and mainly in the $40-50 range.
6. Value - At $600 for two courses for seven people including tip and wines, it is not cheap. But given the food quality and unusual varieties, and the excellent service, I say it is very good value.
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