I’ve been trying for a while to get into The Town Mouse but the place is tiny. After a few glowing newspaper and blog reviews it’s hard work to get a booking but I suppose at least I can be thankful The Town Mouse takes bookings. Finally I managed to book in for date night with Meat-and-Three-Veg as long as we agreed to sit at the bar.
Sitting at the bar isn’t such a big deal at The Town Mouse as every table is bar height with bar stools. Be warned – this means long dinners can be a bit uncomfortable. Otherwise the fit out is sexy and sophisticated – all shiny black tiles, polished concrete floors and dangling light bulbs. In keeping with the bar feel to the place, there’s a great wine list with lots of European options and I particularly loved the expensive but seriously smooth Catherine & Claude Maréchal Auxey-Duresses 2010 from Burgundy ($17).
The menu’s all designed to share and it kicks off with some snacking items like olives and goats cheese profiteroles ($3 each). But disappointingly the profiteroles were served cold and lacked in flavour.
The more substantial entrees were better like the pork jowl ($25). The milky white tender meat was teamed with charred octopus on a plate swirled with squid ink. From the mains the duck breast ($33) impressed. It was served pink and rare with tangy yoghurt and tiny pieces of sprouted wheat although was on the small side for sharing. Kipfler potatoes ($12) were cooked in “toasted hay” but any hay flavour was pretty hard too detect. There was more flavour in the thick wedge of sticky sweet slow roasted red cabbage ($14) flecked with prune and apple.
To finish, a sweet caramelised pear ($15) served warm was a great wintery dessert teamed with walnut and camomile ice cream. It was a good dessert but could have been more generous – I would have loved a whole pear instead of only half. This was my feeling with lots of the dishes at The Town Mouse. They were clever and well executed but often left me wanting more. At the end of the night I felt our bill of $140 was a lot for a fairly light meal for two with minimal drinks.
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Details: The Town Mouse, 312 Drummond Street, Carlton 3053. Open Lunch Thurs – Sun from 12pm, Dinner – Wed-Sun 5pm – Late.
Damage: Pricey. Our bill came to $140 for two.