I didn’t plan on writing this one up, so here’s the sole picture, in all it’s cell phone-quality glory:
Thanks for sending it along, PG. You’re looking at tempura-wrapped squash blossoms stuffed with goat cheese from Matteo’s, in Melbourne’s North Fitzroy neighborhood, which I had as a starter (or entree, as they called the first course). Yes, it tasted gorgeous, as deep-fried squash blossoms tend to do. The watermelon and veg balanced the richness of the tempura batter quite nicely, which I would say the restaurant tended to do very well as a whole.
The food at Matteo’s is probably best described as Australian-Asian fusion. It’s not cheap, but if you’re looking for a nice place to eat in North Fitzroy, it’s worth checking out. There’s a tasting menu, an a la carte menu (which I ordered from), or, if you’re there for lunch, a two course + wine fixed price lunch deal for $35.
For the main course, I ended up having a decadent mushroom tart with a brioche crust, topped with a poached quail egg, spinach, cherry tomatoes, and a shitake mushroom sauce. Now, I love mushrooms, so this dish may not be for everyone, but if mushrooms are your thing, you will love the creamy, mushroomy tart filling. It paired really nicely with the Tasmanian Pinot J picked out for the main course. Everyone else was pretty happy with their mains, minus those who got the duck. The duck itself was good, but the Japanese omelet side was a bit on the greasy side, which may be why this particular option has since been taken off the menu.
So, to sum it up: I’d recommend this place if you’re looking to spend some money on a nice meal in Melbourne. The food was excellent and fine dining atmosphere wasn’t uncomfortably posh, which is always a good thing when you’re traveling with someone who refuses to admit he owns a single pair of long pants.
And with that, I’ve finished my report of Melbourne, mostly because we didn’t do much there this trip. We only had a couple of days, and we’ve both been there before, so there wasn’t anything too exciting to write about. I will say you should check out the Melbourne Museum if you have a chance, because live spider exhibits are the most awesome thing you will ever find in a museum. One of the first supercomputers is there, too, which I never get tired of checking out. I mean, seriously, memory made of vacuum tubes? How could that not be cool??
Yes, I am a total geek sometimes.
Next, I’ll post on Perth and Margaret River, though it may take me a little while … I’m at a summer school during the next couple of weeks and am learning lots, so the blog is sort of on the back burner for the moment.