I love the Byron George fitout of the former 1887 department store that is MJ and the passion and energy that owner Hayden Burbank, a restaurant novice, has put into executing the design from distressing the walls to his brilliant, affordable living wall of greenery. What I’m not so sure about is the design of Lambie’s The Smith, 5 minutes away on High St.
I am as sure as Lambie about the food at The Smith bringing together dishes that appear to be from Mamasita, The Newmarket and Chin Chin into one venue. That’s the new fusion of vibrant, fresh mouth tingling Aussie-Asian-Cal-Mex flavours that dance on the tongue. It’s right on trend with a wine list that nearly matches (give me something delicious, boutique and great value on tap).
MJ’s menu is French-based and
designed by ubiquitous super chef Paul Wilson created by head chef is Tony Milton. In contrast to The Smith, it doesn’t hit the trend of what people most want to and are eating in this city’s busiest restaurants right now. But it’s a comforting menu and I’d be happy to cocoon myself with the Snapper Pie cooked in a French cocotte with braised leek, mushrooms and spinach veloute. It’s really a menu that will keep steak eaters happy. With chips. And a bottle of red.
Back from MJ’s Breathless/Jean-Paul Belmondo inspired theme, I’m at The Smith into the soft shelled crab tortilla, the green papaya salad, the tuna Tataki and the ever present (in Melbourne at least) king fish sashimi with good company and wine.
Michael Lambie, who’s food I first ate at Circa then Taxi and Lamaros, has designed the menus of perhaps even more venues than Paul Wilson and given up all his other commitments for this one venue.
Both these places are great additions to Prahran but I’d just like to I’d just like to stuff Lambie into Morris Jones.