If a picture tells a thousand words then I happily start this post with the picture above, behold the New England lobster roll. I had heard much and seen much and discussed these rolls much, now was finally my opportunity to try them for myself. Were they worth the wait, absolutely, did they deliver on flavour, yes. What I wasn’t really prepared for was how incredible they actually look, believe me if every sandwich/roll/protein wrapped in carbs looked like this my childhood would have been vastly different (I’m recalling that soggy cheese and tomato number that haunts me til this day). It’s a perfectly balanced combination of fresh poached crayfish, kewpie mayonnaise, cress and the crunch of the roll (which is most definitely not a brioche but another sort of sweet yeast) toasted and brushed with what I can only imagine is butter.
We then moved on to the equally revered rustic pork buns, served with Shanghai chilli vinegar. The bun itself was pillowy and soft the pork sticky and unctuous balanced by the sour chilli hit of the dipping vinegar.
Our main course was fried chicken served with kimchi and a selection of accompaniments, including kewpie, sriracha and another dipping sauce who’s name I can recall (a sour chilli ginger concoction – it was delicious). The chicken pieces were crunchy and the flesh succulent. This is a Wednesday only special.
With all the discussion about restaurants that don’t take bookings, we were lucky enough to secure a seat at the bar which allowed us this view, that selection of records endeared the place to me even more so, just behind The Smiths album was The Cure “Boys Don’t Cry” as a child of the 80’s I was loving this without the irony of a Gen Y hipster. The service was incredibly efficient and unobtrusive, everything hummed like clockwork, which I find is a stand-out to the success of Andrew McConnell’s other restaurants Cumulus Inc and Cutler & Co. I liked that turntable as much as I liked the gold boot roller-skate sitting above it (out of picture). The space is clean and minimal with a slighty 70’s vibe. The lighting makes it feel warm and was turned down later in the evening to create a cosy atmosphere that reminded me of the lighting at Cutler & Co, lowlit and moody. Whoever does the hiring has done a stellar job, the staff were very affable as well as knowledgeable.
For my first review of the year I’d say I’ve set the bar quite high, this goes into my instant classics much like that vinyl.
We drank 2010 Yarraloch Arneis, Yarra Valley and finished the meal with a glass of Beaumes-de-Venise muscat from France.
157 Fitzroy Street,
St Kilda. Melbourne
Open 7days 12noon – 11pm.