It was a pretty special occasion, and as a result the Gourmet Wife and I were after a pretty special location. Luckily for us, and for everyone who lives here, Melbourne has a wealth of excellent places to spend a lot of money on a quality meal. Taxi Dining Room is the one we chose.
Situated in one of the most Melbournian of Melbourne locations, between Fed-Square, a tram stop, and the Yarra, the entrance is a rather uninspiring walk up a few flights of stairs past Transport Public Bar and Transit Cocktail Lounge. Once you enter the dining room however all becomes white table linens and wine glasses. It's hard to describe the room accurately, as I think you could have completely different ideas of what it's like depending on where your table is. There's great views from some tables of the Yarra, others of the slightly open kitchen area or bar, or overlooking parts of fed-square.
After our initial glass of Tasmanian sparkling (Pirie NV, $13), we settled in for fairly indulgent evening. Sarah selected from Taxi's Sushi and sashimi entree ($26), while I had the amazing Anise spiced crispy quail with foie gras, apples and candied walnets ($24). The quaily was as deleicious as it sounds, possibly even better than it looks, and it looks pretty damn good:
As happens periodically, we felt a bottle of Pinot was called for. Having to navigate the tome of a wine list was quite the pleasure, but having to skip past the four pages of Burgandy was a prudent move (nothing under three digits in there, move along), we settled on an Eversham Wood 2008 Pinot Noir from Oregon ($90), which was closer to an old world Burgandy than their Australian equivalents that suited us quite well. Incidentally, the Sommelier was extremely curteous and helpful.
Our mains consisted of a special, egg stuffed spatchcock ($45), and the Crispy Szechwan duck with lime pickle, Vietnamese salad & sesame tamarind sauce($45).
Then dessert of Dark chocolate tian with chocolate fondant & passionfruit foam ($20), and
a Chocolate parfait with vanilla and white wine jelly with baby doughnuts ($19.50)
And I guess it's at this point that I come to my gripe with Taxi. If you looks at the prices so far, lets just say they're in the upper end of the spectrum. What's hard to fairly communicate is that I can't fault the dishes as they stand, but sitting next to the numbers on the menu I start to think they may fall just slightly on value. There's only a few dollars difference between courses here and, say, those at Pearl or Matteo's, and while all three produce excellent food, atmosphere, wine, and staff, there's something that (for me) puts the latter two above Taxi. Don't get me wrong, Taxi is up amongst the best, and I thouroughly recommend checking it out, the value you can decide for yourself.
Sushi platter, Spiced quail, Egg stuffed spatchcock, Crisyp Szechwan duck, Choclate tian, chocolate parfait.
NV Pirie Sparkling (Tas), Everhsam Wood 2008 Pinot Noir (Oregon, USA)