Matteo’s – dinner in Fitzroy North
It has been more than 6 months since I first set foot “through the unassuming glass doors” of Matteo’s. This time I return as part of a sponsored 3 course work dinner, which I may add come few-and-far-between. *cough *cough. I was hopeful that I would be able to experience a little more of the much lauded Modern Contemporary cuisine – receiving Good Food Guide awards from 1996 to 2012.
As you walk through the entrance, letting your eyes wonder for just a moment, you will notice the dining space is quite an opulent affair with teardrop chandeliers, floral fabric wallpaper, to the heavy drapery and crisp white sheets.
Tartare of citrus-cured salmon, cucumber and avocado, sesame dressing
Pan seared asparagus spears, fried ‘son-in-law-egg’ with chilli jam
Warm air-dired wagyu beef breasola rolls with enoki mushrooms, daikon radish and garlic shoots
From the cool cleansing citrusy notes of the salmon, to the lighter rendition of son-in-law-eggs that melted away with three different textures of seared asparagus, to finally the lightly seared wagyu bursting with umami, juices and crunch – the complexity and delicate charm of this opening act was an incredible show stopper.
Cantonese style, seared eye fillet of beef, steamed coconut rice, Chinese broccoli, black bean sauce [alternate option – not tasted]
Crisp gold band snapper fillet, inari bean-curd with wakame seaweed salad, heirloom carrots with yuzu citrus butter, daikon fondant, lobster bisque sauce
The snapper was juicy and fall-apart tender – with a brittle golden crispiness sitting atop – and does well to draw in the buttery and incredibly fragrant bisque of lobster. If there was a menu item with lobster bisque, I would order it on its own! Cuts of daikon, carrot and seaweed add textural contrast. The only fault I could find would be in the rice filled inari – somehow neither here nor there. To be honest, I found the main act has been overshadowed by the preceding success.
Black sesame crème caramel
Burnt navel orange curd, blood orange jelly, drunken lady fingers with mango liqueur
I hate to sound crude, but this simple looking dessert would have to be the best crème caramel I have had in a long time. The impeccable balance between the earthy sesame with the light creamy texture and not too sweet syrupy-caramel – was an absolute delight. Every mouthful was a dance of flavours.
Fairy-like display on the opposing dessert stack, mistakenly leads one to assume it will be simply sweet. How wrong are we, when the first bite unveils a mouth seeping with a boozy concoction of mango liqueur and chunky bits of drunken lady fingers, and the tiniest hint of burnt-bitterness. Sweet, fluffy, alcoholic, crunchy, smooth, citrusy are all words that could describe this dessert. Love it!
Following this revisit, I am obliged to make an amendment to my last review, and give Matteo’s a new rating…
Rating: Yummy+2 – Extremely well-executed contemporary cuisine with a strong Asian presence. It is elegant, balanced and there is a serious attention to detail to the food it brings to the table. Need I say the desserts are to die for!
Where: 533 Brunswick St, North Fitzroy
Phone: 03 9481 1177