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Rathdowne Tavern - Wed, 8th Apr 2009
184 Rathdowne St, Carlton Nth
Ph: 03 9348 1133
Prices: Mains $24-$30
Style: Modern Australian
26th Apr 2018

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Review by Dave
Gastro-pub goes the distance

From the outside it looks like a run-down pub that's seen better days: peeling paint and minimal signage portray a deliberate contrast against the interior of polished timber floors and white tablecloths. Many pubs have tried to go down the gastronomic route, but often are let down by half measures and trying to please two very different demographics. Not so at Rathdowne Tavern.

Gone are the pokies, stale beer aromas and cigarette smoke (ok, so that last one's true everywhere now, but it wasn't always the case). In their place are fresh modern flower arrangements, polite and helpful staff and a great wine list, not to mention the food.

We started with layered confit duck salad with oyster sauce and pappadums ($12) and linguine with mussels, chorizo and chilli (special, $17). Although I enjoyed the pasta, the salad was a highlight, the pappadums providing a wonderful textural contrast to the rest of the ingredients.

The choices for mains are what you'd expect from a gastro-pub, but with a twist of originality here and there. The rare honey-glazed duck breast is served with a crunchy potato and zuccini roesti, pork belly comes with the kind of crackling we all strive for at home, on a bed of creamy Dijon mash and mint sauce served separately.

By this stage of the evening we were getting pretty full, so despite the encouraging dessert menu we opted to share a blueberrie pie, which was simply delicious.

RT won't blow your mind with it's culinary experience, but it does provide a wonderfully comfortable atmosphere while at the same time managing to maintain a distinct restaurant feel and standard of food. One thing we've noticed over the years is that while service during the quieter mid-week times is great, peak dinner times tend to get a little bit sluggish, particularly with larger groups, so pick your time to visit carefully.

We ate:
- Confit of Duck salad seasoned w. soy & oyster sauce layered w. pappadums, spring onion & mescalin
- Linguine with mussels, chorizo and chilli
- Slow Roast Pork Belly served on Dijon mash served w. mixed vegetables and a apple & mint sauce
- Honey glazed duck breast served w. a potato & zucchini roesti w. baby carrots & a fig jus
- RTís Blueberry pie with vanilla ice cream & almond bread

We drank:
By the glass: Long Gully Chardonnay, Boat O'Craigo Pinot Noir


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