It's Fitzroy, but not as we know it.
North of Alexandra Pde, Matteo's - the two-hat Melbourne stalwart - is well
removed from the busier, noisier area's of Brunswick St Fitzory. For that, I am
thankful, it would sit awkwardly amongst the hustle and bustle further south.
Matteo's is larger than it seems (if that makes sense), and its Modern cuisine is
certainly more Asian inspired than the name would suggest.
I must say
that high expectations coloured my outlook of Matteo's and I was expecting a hell
of a lot. I wasn't disappointed.
The service was friendly and helpful, the decor is pleasant, the room is busy but
not loud. Basically, it was great. And that's before I've even mentioned the food.
We started with a glass of Yarrabank cuvee (a particularly popular choice judging by the
amount of glasses that went out from the bar) to accompany our entrees. Sarah decided
she couldn't pass up the Oysters - six ways which included natural with lime vinaigrette,
tempura with wasabi mayonnaise, shooter with mirin & sake, and three others (obviously).
She was simply blown away. I recall the word "transcendent" being used. Several times.
Once again Lachie's Pie Theorem(LPT) came into effect, and I was forced (by the laws
contained in the theorem) to order the Baked Asian pie of minced chicken, pork belly
& eggplant. Eggplant is not on my list of favoured vegetables but in this form it
worked supremely, delicately balanced between the two meats and the pastry. A fantastic
pie and another notch in the belt of the LPT.
With mains came a bottle of Delamere Pinot Noir from Tasmania, chosen mostly by the tasting notes
provided from the
reasonably extensive wine list. Although it seemed heavy on the cabernet/shiraz side of things,
it's not that hard to find a bottle that interests you if your tastes lie elsewhere (as ours
did on this particular night). My main was the Chinese roasted suckling pig with five spiced
apple and sake poached red dates. Although the suckling pig was enjoyable, the real star of this
dish was the crumbed terrine of pig cheek and trotter. I have not eaten these cuts before (to
my knowledge), but this was just a solid cube of porcine goodness. I have no other words to
Sarah's main was another seafood offering,
Balmain bug tails, seared king prawn & veal sweetbreads in Yakitori sauce,
Asian coleslaw with shredded pork & jellyfish. And while not reaching the dizzying heights of
the oysters, was an excellent dish.
I'll only give dessert a quick mention, which is very hard for me to do. As somewhat of a
notorious sweet tooth, I feel I may overstate how good any dessert is. Objectively however, taking away all my preferences, and looking purely on its merits:
the tasting plate of 6 desserts is awesome, and anyone who thinks otherwise is an idiot.
Matteo's is a great place, and we thoroughly recommend it. It's not too fancy, won't cost
and arm and a leg (maybe just a hand, or up to the elbow depending on how you
order wine), and you'll leave feeling satisfied with some of the best food you can
find in Fitzroy,
Entree: Oysters 6 ways
Chicken, pork belly and eggplant pie.
Main: Balmain bug tails
Chinese roasted suckling pig
Yarrabank Cuvee, Delamere Pinot Noir.