312 Drummond Street Carlton, Victoria 3053
It’s easy to find delight in a restaurant that is so obviously having a good time itself. The mood here is upbeat, and the bijou black-tiled dining room seems to promise both fun and refinement. Chef Dave Verheul is an exciting kitchen talent; his food is surprising and striving without losing sight of basic diner enjoyment. Old-time techniques such as pickling, fermenting and smoking combine with newfangled kitchen tricks to push cuisine to new places. Duck breast is served with pickled quince, fermented turnip juice and spiced crumble to create a dish that’s rich, deep and piquant. Potato is magicked into cous cous and tossed with curry spices. Flavour matches and contrasts are thrilling, and vegetables are shown heaps of love. A wedge of red cabbage is slow-cooked and studded with caramelised prunes and apples in a homage to produce that proves that technical cooking can be robust and heartfelt, too.
And … The desserts are as creative and delicious as the savoury dishes.
Best bit The food is sublime.
Worst bit All the indoor seating is on stools.