|Pig and fig at The Aylesbury|
I ate at The Aylesbury with the lovely Claire who writes Melbourne Gastronome and although the menu did not make sharing mandatory, it did have a tapas section and sharing appeared to be what everyone else was doing. There were no problems to start with as we ordered the cleverly named “Pig and fig”($12), cured shoulder of pork sliced into ribbons and topped with torn pieces of sweet fig. The two ingredients worked well together and the quality of the produce shone through.
|Inside The Aylesbury – a big bar area great for solo diners|
It was the arrival of the zucchini flower ($8) which brought our lunch to a temporary halt. The flower was filled with creamy goats curd, lightly deep fried and drizzled with honey. All good stuff except for the fact there was only one flower and two of us. Our waiter had somehow failed to mention the singular nature of the zucchini flower when we ordered and so we of course had to order another rather than try to split such a tiny morsel.
|Zucchini flower singular – difficult to share|
The steak with bone marrow ($18) sounded good on paper but was served as one whole piece of meat (rather than cut into slices for sharing as they do at San Telmo). It was also rather unhelpfully accompanied by only one steak knife so we had to make do with eating steak with butter knives. Unfortunately for us it was not one of those moments when the phrase “it was so tender you could cut it with a butter knife” applied.
|Steak with bone marrow|
To finish we tried a salad of heirloom tomatoes and caramelised onions ($10). There was no problem divvying this up, just the more major problem that some of the tomatoes were not ripe and so were very hard and bitter to eat.
|Heirloom tomato salad|
The Aylesbury looks good with trailing plants and jars of preserves dotted on shelves softening up what used to be Barbagallo Trattoria e Pizzeria. It’s also got all the right intentions with an emphasis on sustainable, seasonal and locally sourced food and a brilliant rooftop bar. However service that redefined the meaning of perfunctory and a muddled menu left me pondering: to share or not to share?
Update – June 2012
I’ve been back to the Aylesbury a few times since I wrote this review for various reasons, once to get spectacularly drunk at the rooftop bar and again for a big dinner with a group of girlfriends. We sat in the semi private room at the back and ate from the set menu which was excellent. There were none of the service problems and the portion sizes for groups were spot on. It just goes to show how experiences can differ from visit to visit and perhaps initially I hit the Aylesbury on a bad day.
Details: The Aylesbury, 103 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne 3000 (Ph: +61 (3) 9077 0451). Open for lunch Mon- Fri 12-3pm and dinner Mon – Sat 6pm – late. The rooftop bar is open Mon – Sat 3pm – late and on Fridays from 1pm.
Damage: Reasonable. Our bill came to $56 for two without drinks.