Posts Categorized: Prahran/South Yarra

The Smith vs Morris Jones

Here’s what should happen. Somebody should take Michael Lambie, owner of The Smith in Prahran, and stuff him into Morris Jones, the other brand new, nearby pub on Chapel Street in Prahan. 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.

Blog amnesty fortnight: South Yarra’s Bond St Cafe and its great value Italian food

Now I know how ignorant I was thanks to the apertivo that Mauro Marcucci sent us out at Bond Street Cafe and Wine Bar. Served in a champagne flute Aperol, prosecco, a slice of orange and a skewered olive, it was the delicacy and balance of the drink that impressed me. I know better how to treat this sibling of the bitter and medicinal Campari. Delicately. Many of you will already know Mauro from his days, many years ago at Cafe e Cuccina. And then from Pizza e Birra et al in Sydney. I’m still trying to forgive him from turning the great value Italian that was Termini into Pizza e Birra, although I do enjoy the pizzas there when I’m being unfaithful to my local, the Mr Wolf bar. And perhaps I could forgive him if Bond St wasn’t 40 minutes walk away from my St Kilda cave in South Yarra. The clientelle is a mix and the corridor of a restaurant is packed. The Frank Report appears to be a fan. As are the whole South Yarra set from the young rich and funky to the full helmet of hair. And it is no surprise because it is exceptional value rarely seen nowadays with Inizi (small plates to nibble on) from $3.50 for a single slice of grilled eggplant up to $11.50 covering othe spread of olives ($6.50) potato and salt cod fritters ($11) and octopus and pickled vegetable salad at the top end of the scale. There’s a great looking bar of cured meats, Coninui (mains) from $22 for a bug risotto, a gnocchi with veal ragu up to $26 for a porterhouse with roasted shallots in a red wine sauce and the market price for fish. We had somewhere under 90 minutes for our meal having bought tickets for Milk at The Como ( great film although it dragged in places) with the added disadvantage of she who will be now know as the twidow (twitter widow) being on stacked heels. This meant you could walk uphill but required careful manhandling down slopes and stairs. And it is here that I invoke the blog amnesty fortnight initiated by Jack, extended by Claire and also joined by Sarah. I’ve left it so long to blog this attractive joint that even Bob Hart has beaten me to it. And having eaten the specials I can’t remember exactly what… Read more »