Posts Categorized: Richmond

Oysters, ethics and stout

Oysters, once the food of the people. Now if you are interested in various different varieties you’ll be paying up to $4 in restaurants.That’s nearly $50 for a dozen and in my opinion too much. I want to eat them but can’t afford to pay that much.So I will often will buy them at one of Melbourne’s markets (pre-shucked if I’m feeling lazy) for about $1 each. The fact is that unless you are a cashed-up hedge fund manager the best place to eat them is at home or at the market. Oysters are not only health food with that amazing salty juice and taste, but arguably they are one of the most ethical foods you can eat. The ethicist and philosopher Peter Singer says that molluscs don’t have central nervous systems and don’t suffer like sometimes fish or mammals do which makes them a guilt free food. Out of all farmed foods they also have very little impact on the environment or negative effect on water quality. In short if you are eating oysters, you are minimising suffering and impact on the environment. They are the ideal pre-dinner snack, requiring only a squeeze of lemon and filling enough to keep anyone away from the devils business of potato chips and salted nuts. And so I found myself at Mountain Goat for its oyster and stout night the other Friday (which isn”t every week sadly). A dozen oysters from St Helen’s in Tasmania is a reasonably $30. Plus stout and oysters are one of those classic matches. As is a chilled glass of almost any crisp white wine. As part of my striving to become more healthy and ethical in my eating habits, I’m converting from Pringles to oysters. Try it. It’s worth it.

Union Dining: quite literally slow food

The last time I had dinner with my accountant (yes, this is Adriane, not Ed) we chose to eat at the pork-driven Josie Bones. The Jew and the fish-eating vegetarian, and we had a great night. This time we’ve picked Union Dining, one of the hot new names on everyone’s lips. Firstly, if you’re trying to find it, look for the BP station at the far end of Swan St, it’s next door. Parking can be a challenge, and by the time I arrived I was feeling slightly frazzled, but as soon as I set foot inside all was forgiven. The entrance was softly lit, the music calming, and someone came immediately to take me to our table. The restaurant has the feel of a country pub recently renovated with the usual wooden tables and bentwood chairs, although combined with the tiled walls and floors it makes the noise levels pretty high. Two prawns an hour We started with the prawn entrée, spilt open and grilled with roasted garlic and saffron. There were two to a serve, and they looked great. Ours were over-grilled making them a bit dry but they were still delicious. The accountant continued with the quail, resting on soft white polenta with pine mushrooms and seemed happy. Then we waited. And waited. Well into my second glass of wine, and having eaten one prawn so far, our mains arrived an hour and a half after we first sat down, a good hour between courses. Luckily there was plenty of di Chirico bread to keep me from falling over. Still no sign of the mains I chose the Basquaise fish soup, with roast garlic and fennel aioli. It was tasty, a rustic, thick and tomato based soup although a half-serve was enough for me. The accountant chose the Harpuka on wilted greens, with mushrooms and baby leeks. The fish was moist and tender with a crispy skin and, although the presentation was a little lacklustre, he was happy with it. We shared a salad of braised baby artichokes, beetroot, pearl barley and whipped feta. I felt there was a bit of a mismatch with the artichokes which had a strong floral taste, with the earthiness of the beetroot and barley. I later found out they had used oranges when cooking the artichokes rather than the usual lemon, which may explain the floral taste. It doesn’t work for… Read more »