29 August 2015
I regretted having to leave Tasmania after only 1.5 days. The food had been fabulous, from the wonderful dinner at Franklin to the excellent lunch at Westend Pumphouse. Also a pretty nice dinner at Lebrina last night, but I’ve decided not to review it due to some unrelated issues that may have clouded my judgement on the experience. But I had to catch a 7am flight to Melbourne so I sadly said goodbye to this beautiful island.
Wow, now I’ve been to Hobart (at 42.88° S) and Longyearbyen (at 78.22° N). That’s a vast span, about as far north and south as probably only 0.01% of people on this planet have been. The colder and more remote the better for me!
But I landed in Melbourne a bit groggy (I also enjoyed too much tipple the night before chatting with some new friends), so was so glad for an early check in at the really awesome Oaks on William — excellent rooms, perfect location, awesome staff! Another place I’m sure to return to! But a wee bit of rest and unpacking I headed out into the cold day for lunch at Coda.
Although the trams in Melbourne’s CBD are free, I walked through the CBD and found Coda. A cool basement space, I sat down and relaxed and looked over the fun menu with cocktail in hand. This Vietnamese-influenced fusion restaurant has a lot of buzz about it, and looking at the menu I was excited. Hard to choose, so I managed a set and hoped for my good food luck to continue from Hobart (rather the bad luck from Sydney).
I chilled in the nice space and not too long after the first item arrived, the wagyu brisket…
This was pretty good, braised in master stock. The brisket was a little dry on the exterior but the flavour was deep inside, where the meat was nice and tender. Nice start. I had also switched by now to an Armenian Areni…wow, I’m in Melbourne and drinking a wine from Yeghegnadzor… Then the second item arrived.
Oh, this quail is beautiful, blackened and beautifully seasoned. Such a nice aroma too. Lovely little treat. I enjoyed more wine while finishing off this beauty before the main arrived, and it was bigger than I imagined…
Oh my…this was the sizzling plate of prawns in a Chinese chilli bean paste, with a healthy amount of king brown mushrooms. Wow, this smelled amazing. Took me ages to eat it (I did finish it all!) as it was so tasty — especially those awesome mushrooms, which had absorbed all the beautiful sauce and flavours of this dish so well. I tell you, mushrooms are better than bread for this purpose!
I also got to chat with some fellow diners as we each admired each others’ dishes. What a cool place. I was beyond full at this point so finished up some coffee and took my leave. I got lazy and took the tram back to the hotel (including going the wrong way on the circular…oops). Melbourne is growing on me quickly, far more than Sydney. Something more real about this city — reminds me of a Chicago; as opposed to how Sydney has the NYC feel.
I’m liking it so far!
141 Flinders Lane
(entrance on Oliver Lane)
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia