Cheaper and more casual is what diners want apparently. That’s why PM24 in the city has closed to be replaced by Lucy Liu’s kitchen and bar and now Taxi Dining Room has been reinvented as Taxi Kitchen. I was invited to visit to check out the changes. The white tablecloths are out and more bar style seating is in but the glittering views over Federation square, Flinders street station and the Yarra remain.
The Japanese influence on the food and the sushi options have also gone but that doesn’t mean the food at Taxi Kitchen isn’t interesting and adventurous. Take the starter of “scorched oysters” served on salt and vinegar pork crackle ($3.50 each). Hot, salty and crunchy they were addictively good.
Other highlights included the thinly sliced poached veal ($18) and vibrant red tuna marinated in sake ($22) and served with a tangy but creamy kohlrabi remoulade.
The must order dish is the spicy salt and pepper quail ($23). It’s great drinking food and the perfect way to eat quail which is often annoyingly fiddly. I also loved the crispy skin cod ($34) which was served with a creamy, rich risotto which was a perfect foil to the fish.
I wasn’t as impressed with the crispy confit duck ($36) which lacked impact and didn’t really work well with the accompanying beetroot. Of the desserts the frozen lemon meringue pie ($13) was probably the most visually spectacular but it could have done with more meringue. The passion fruit souffle ($15) won the taste test – a tangy fluffy cloud of eggy sweetness.
Service was spot on with the same team staying on from Taxi. Our waiter Adrian charmed us throughout dinner and Taxi Kitchen’s sommelier Aaron recommended a great bottle of shiraz, the Bellarmine Pemberton 2010. Spicy but not too heavy, Aaron described it as “starting off masculine and becoming more feminine”.
Taxi hasn’t lost any of its wow with its revamp. But it is worth bearing in mind, although prices are cheaper than they were, Taxi is certainly not a “cheap” restaurant. You can still cause some serious damage to your wallet here.
Gourmet Chick was invited to review Taxi Kitchen.
Details: Taxi Kitchen, Transport Hotel, Federation Square, Melbourne (Ph +61 3 9654 8808).
Damage: Pricey. But on this occasion I did not pay.