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“Interesting and Excellent Food but”
Review of Charcoal Lane

Charcoal Lane
Ranked #16 of 305 Restaurants in Fitzroy
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $19 - $38
Cuisines: Australian
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Reservations
Neighborhood: Fitzroy
Reviewed October 18, 2013

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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Thank Ascott150
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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124 - 128 of 151 reviews

Reviewed May 31, 2013

My partner and I primarily chose this restaurant for its fantastic cause and our dining experience far exceeded our expectation. For entree we had the Flinders Island wallaby tartare and the ora king salmon sashimi, we were so engrossed by the blend of flavours on our own plates that we neglected our customary sharing! For mains we had the Flinders Island native spiced lamb backstrap and the paperbark smoked barramundi with a side dish of roasted vegetables, again the dishes were exquisite with the blend of spices and condiments really lifting the flavours. We were quite sated but became greedy for more interesting combos so moved on to macadamia & white chocolate brownie with white chocolate soil and lemon myrtle ice cream for him and the chocolate marquise, coconut sorbet, salted caramel and candied orange for her. It was a rich and delightful end to a very beautiful meal, a very good Aussie meal.

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Thank durlaw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 29, 2013

What a great presentation of native foods. The menu is small but that's not a problem: still hard to choose. The restaurant is an initiative of Mission Australia - who describe it as follows: As a high quality restaurant, Charcoal Lane provides the best work experience, hospitality training and supportive environment to enable Aboriginal and disadvantaged young people to transition to mainstream employment.
I can certainly endorse that it's high quality. And the quail entree is so good!

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Thank SusieQ22Australia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 19, 2013

took my 19 YO son here for lunch last Friday. I had a delicious pear, rocket Gorgonzola gnocchi and my son enjoyed the kangaroo burger with an amazing chutney. Decor beautiful, comfortable, warm and welcoming service. staff were most attentive from the moment we walked in until we left..Wine list was well priced. we had a memorable little lunch here and created a lovely memory for us both. Thank you to the lovely staff and amazing chef. Well done!

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Thank butch01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 12, 2013

My sister and I were fortunate to be given an honour to have the chef opened the kitchen earlier than its usual time for lunch.

We had our lunch ( set menu ) outside at the back of the restaurant since the staff are busy arranging the tables.

Despite the short notice given, the service and food was just impeccable.

The entrees - wallaby tartare and salmon sashimi was absolutely delicious. The freshness and unique flavour of the entrees had us at the first bite.

Main Course - The Tatami Spiced Kangaroo Loin was done perfectly medium-rare and tastier than any steak I’ve had so far.

Dessert - Chocolate Marquise was just so divine. I honestly cannot think of any dessert that's more chocolate-y than this

Instead of wine, we had green tea to end our awesome lunch experience.

What tops the cream of this experience is Charcoal Lane has a training program to support young disadvantaged Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people that gets my thumbs up!

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Thank moniqee
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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