The owner of Albert St Food & Wine says superstar chef Philippa Sibley is “still involved” in the restaurant but she has officially left the building and set up shop at Prix Fixe Dining. In her place she’s left chef Jason Rodwell and I was invited along last night to try out his cooking.
Some things have stayed the same since my last visit like the beautiful old bank building which houses the restaurant and signature menu dishes like the grilled haloumi with zucchini pickle ($15). But a lot has changed, including Rodwell putting his own stamp on the menu which emphasises seasonal produce. One of the simplest starters was my favourite, the warm potato salad which teamed baby potatoes with wedges of avocado and a walnut sauce. It’s a combination of flavours that really delivers unfortunately it isn’t listed on Albert St Food & Wine’s permanent menu – but hopefully it will be soon.
A piece of tender quail served with earthy enoki mushrooms and a rich broth made from artichokes should also be added to the do not miss list.
Of the mains, the grilled lamb breast ($33)worked well with the classic flavour pairings of eggplant and a smoky yoghurt. But better still was the chicken teamed with “smashed” cucumber and grilled lettuce. I’m still not sure what was smashed about the cucumber but the chicken was so juicy and delicious it made me regret ordering the lamb.
Sibley is known for her way with desserts so I did feel a little sorry for Rodwell (or his pastry chef) having to step into her shoes at the tail end of the meal. A pudding of caramelised apples and quinces was rich and sticky but no match in the wow factor for Sibley’s deconstructed Snickers bar or the Poire Belle Hélène I had on my last visit to the restaurant. The food is still brilliant at Albert St Food & Wine but under Rodwell’s guidance the emphasis now is very much on the savoury courses rather than the sweet.
Gourmet Chick was invited to review Albert St Food & Wine. She has reviewed the restaurant anonymously previously.
Details: Albert St Food and Wine, 382 Sydney Road Brunswick 3056 (Ph 03 8354 6600)
Damage: Pricey. On this occasion I did not pay but on my last visit our bill came to $375 for four.