312 Drummond Street Carlton, Victoria 3053
An experienced bunch of New Zealanders opened the Town Mouse in the former Embrasse site early in 2013 and it instantly felt like part of the neighbourhood. The gleaming tiles, low lighting and funky tunes say wine bar - and the seating is all stools at high fixed tables - but the food is much more than bar snacks. Big flavours, fine technique and a delicate touch combine in dishes like shaved calamari with onion and oyster puree and the sparky addition of fermented apple juice, and miso-marinated fall-apart pork jowl with smoky carrot kimchi. A spherical seafood 'terrine' is a little bit old-school and very delicious, moistened with intense crab stock and draped with potato and nori shards. Desserts burst with enthusiasm. there may be chocolate tart with Thai flavours or quince crumble with ale ice-cream. The menu is designed to share - lucky really, because everything screams 'eat me'. Warm, expert service ticks the final box.