A Sharing-Caring Lunch.
Travelling along Brunswick st you will run into no end of funky and fashionable cafes, bistros,
and small restaurants. One such destination is St Jude's Cellar, a relative new-comer to the
area. Open since April 2008 St Jude's Cellar is a wine bar, attached to a bottle shop, with an
emphasis on small, sharing dishes. The large dining room features a bar all along one side and
a huge sky-light allowing a indoor-outdoor kind of feel (at least during the day, we haven't been
for dinner here).
First things first, the wine. A surprisingly sparse list for somewhere that refers to itself as
a wine bar. The twist is that the adjoining bottle shop doubles as a 'walk in wine list',
and for an additional $15 you can buy a bottle there and enjoy it with your meal. Although we went
for a browse, we decided instead to go for something from the printed list, a 2005 Crittenden Estate Chardonnay ($48). A Mornington wine we had not tried before, but one I will be looking up again.
St Jude's is one of a growing number of restaurants following what John Lethlean referred to as
the best trend in the Melbourne food scene of 2008. I speak of a sharing/tasting menu. All dishes
at St Jude's are entree sizes and designed (more-or-less) for sharing for two. While the menu does
say they can alter the portions depending on the number of people, we chose instead just to order
a greater number of dishes and split them between the five of us as best we could. A table of five
is about as big as I would want to do in this manner, as any more people and you'd struggle to divide
the dishes. You could also order just about everything on the menu in one go.
We went for a few items from the "cured and preserved" section, with the pork rillettes with
pickled pear worth a special mention. A couple of salads, a fish dish, some pork belly (also
very good) and 150g of aged scotch fillet. We also chose a couple of dishes from the specials menu,
including a stand-out simple but delicious omelet with spring onion and Italian ham. After your meal
there are a few cheeses on offer, and a few deserts, but not a massive range.
Overall we had a very enjoyable, lazy Sunday lunch. I maintain you're better off with a
smaller group, maybe even dinner (or lunch) for two, otherwise it gets a little awkward. But if you're into tasting menus and sharing and grazing, then by all means head along to St Jude's Cellars.
2005 Crittendon Estate Chardonnay