I was in Melbourne a couple of weeks ago with 2 other colleagues for a business trip. The only time we got to relax was after our client meetings, so we decided we should reward ourselves with a nice meal after a hard day's of work. The task of deciding where to eat invariably falls to me (not surprisingly being a food blogger). The first venue that I have chosen was the always-popular, one-hatted restaurant, Town Mouse in Carlton.
Town Mouse is all about good, fine-dining quality food served in a casual, relaxed atmosphere; much like places such as Saint Crispin and Mister Jennings. The decor inside is casual with black tiled walls, timber furnishings and bar stools (not ideal if you have a bad back). And the service is warm, attentive and unpretentious (who wants stiff service when you're tired after a long day any way?).
The menu, developed by head chef, Dave Verheul, is modern, seasonal and produce driven. It is divided into snacks, raw items, vegetables, meat & fish and desserts. The food is designed to be shared, which was fine with us, as this meant we got to sample a variety of dishes.
|House made sourdough bread, sesame butter|
|Goat's cheese profiterole, caraway, thyme & our honey ($3.50 each)|
|Milk curd, fried bread, broccoli, chicken and lavender jus ($9)|
|Shaved calamari, oyster cream, dill and fermented apple juice ($15)|
|Heirloom kales, slow cooked egg, quinoa, comte foam and mustard ($20)|
|Slow roasted red cabbage, prune, parmesan and red apple ($15)|
|Smoked pork jowl, hispi cabbage, hazelnut and sour pear ($24)|
|Skate wing, globe artichoke cream, broad bean, oyster, fennel and bay leaf ($23)|
|Snapper, wood grilled broccoli, clam, capers, olive oil ($34)|
|Red currant, strawberry, lychee and macadamia tart ($16)|
|Almond parfait, fennel, licorice, chocolate and toasted meringue ($15)|
|Lime posset, green apple, white chocolate, dill and matcha ($15)|
Overall, I really enjoyed my meal at The Town Mouse. The food was amazing and reasonably priced, with the highlights being the vegetables (which may come as a surprise to some). The service was excellent - the staff were friendly, attentive as well as being knowledgable without being pretentious or overbearing. And I loved the vibe at Town Mouse - a cool, relaxed dining space with a buzzing atmosphere.
Highlight: The slow roasted red cabbage is probably the best cabbage dish you will find anywhere!
Lowlight: The skate wing was an underwhelming course for me.
Verdict: Town Mouse represents a new age of dining, where good, fine dining quality food is being served in a more casual, relaxed environment. These are the sorts of venues that Sydney needs more of. 7.5/10 (Great)
The Town Mouse
Contact no: (03) 9347 3312