And just like that it was all over. Melbourne Food and Wine Festival is done and dusted for another year, and like every year I wish I had managed to make it along to even more events. This year I started with a bang with visits to The Immersery, Eat.Drink.Westside and the Travelling Samovar. Then I had a bit of a festival lull due to a trip to Brisbane (post coming up on that soon) before finishing off my festival with some express lunches and a trip on the Speakeasy tram.
Despite its awkward setting wedged next to the entrance to The Sofitel hotel, I really like the food at Pei Modern and the minimalist fit out. The express lunch menu offered tiny fried whiting all crispy crunch. Usually I’d eat bones and all in a fish like this but the bones on these were lethal so it was a little bit fiddly picking them all out.
Continuing on the seafood theme I also had a meaty piece of swordfish topped with some walnuts for crunch. Service was a little slow for an “express” lunch, but it was a good way to eat at a top restaurant for a reasonable price.
Details: Pei Modern, 45 Collins St, Melbourne 3000 (Ph 03 9654 8545)
Damage: Reasonable. Express lunch of two courses with a glass of wine for $40.
Classic French food is the order of the day at Bistro Guillaume. I’d eaten here once before for a work lunch so was impressed to see the Express Lunch options were drawn from the standard menu, offering an opportunity to get a true experience of Bistro Guillaume. I started with steak tartare as if you are ever going to eat raw meat, it’s best to eat it at a top notch restaurant like Bistro Guillaume. The meat was silky and tender and I loved the home made crisps that accompanied it.
A main of salmon fillet was seared on the outside then almost rare inside, letting the quality of the seafood show through. However the boudin noir had a mealy taste and my sister who was my lunch date struggled to finish it. Love the French accents of all the waiters here (swoon) and the fit out which like a modern Parisian bistro despite the fact Bistro Guillaume is in the Crown Casino complex.
Details: Bistro Guillaume, Crown Casino, 8 Whiteman St, Southbank (Ph 03 9292 4751)
Damage: Reasonable. The express lunch of two course with a glass of wine is $40.
The highlight of the festival for me this year was The Everleigh’s takeover of the Tramcar Restaurant. It was so much fun feeling like a tourist in Melbourne as the tram lurched around the streets while enjoying some quality Everleigh cocktails.
I think I’ve found a new favourite cocktail as well, a Tom Collins done Everleigh style. The mixture of gin, lemon, sugar and soda was slightly bitter and oh so grown up. Shout out to my excellent cocktail tram companions Anastasia, Amber and Melinda. If you go on this next year bear in mind it includes a four course (fairly average) meal. I thought there were just snacks so we all ate dinner beforehand. Oops.