Update: Prix Fixe is now closed
Jason M Jones and Chef Phillipa Sibley’s Prix Fixe restaurant is billed as Melbourne’s first ticketed restaurant. The deal is that you pay for your set menu ($75 a head) when you book. The website describes Prix Fixe as a restaurant “where your table is the stage and each course – the show”. It also promises that “Sibley’s eccentricity, kookiness’ and love of all things ‘silly’ will shine through in the fitout, menus and music – always expect a little twist or surprise and a touch of whimsy.”
Perhaps I read too much into things, but I was a bit disappointed to head to Prix Fixe with Meat-and-Three-Veg for our wedding anniversary and find this was a restaurant without theatre, silliness or whimsy. The only thing out of the ordinary was eating from a set menu and having to pay for my meal in advance.
The set menu changes on a monthly basis and this month it’s a Midsummer Night’s Dream. The courses for the menu were described as ‘Acts’ and paid homage to the Shakespeare play’s setting in Athens. To start there was an amuse bouche of Sibley’s take on Avgolemono is served. Rather than the traditional egg and lemon soup it was a smooth asparagus soup with an egg and lemon sorbet.
Next was a disappointing modern interpretation on a Greek meze plate. There was a rather rubbery haloumi with sauce á la Greque, layered ‘tzaitziki’ with ouzo infused labne, pea falafel and an overly salty taramasalata made with salted cod. The main course was a better option, including a slow cooked ballotine of chicken, stuffed with a panzanella salad and served on top of skordalia with “Green Fairies” artichokes and green olives, barrel aged feta and a rich chicken jus.
To finish there was a complimentary pour of rosé over tiny, frozen grapes and then dessert of a wobbly truffled honey panacotta, apricot sorbet, partly poached apricot, pinenut and almond baklava topped with candied rose petal.
The food was mainly well executed but didn’t reach the same heights as Sibley’s former restaurant, Albert Street Food and Wine. Plus I just couldn’t get over the disappointment that the only theatre was in the ceramic shades hanging low like tiny spotlights over each table.
Details: Prix Fixe, Alfred Place, Melbourne
Damage: Pricey. Dinner $79 pp – 3 courses and a surprise or two.