Sometimes we'll be driving somewhere and something will catch my eye to which I make a mental note to look up later. We were driving just north of the city when I saw a few people dressed up nicely milling around in front of a residential looking area. I thought surely it couldn't be a restaurant, until we drove past and I saw the sign 'Epocha' and thus made my mental note. In the experienced hands of Angie Giannakodakis and Guy Holder, Epocha is set in a Victorian terrace in Carlton and opened in late September.
The bread was warm and soft and reminded me of a spiced bread with the aroma of cocoa.
The duck rillettes were seasoned well and with a smooth consistency, they were complemented by the pickled radishes and soft boiled quail egg. There was also a sweetened apricot/peach (I forgot which) type fruit which went extremely well against the salty duck rillettes.
The duck liver pate was rich, smooth and moreish although the crisp biscuits were a touch over-salted for my liking. I much preferred to eat the pate with the bread - delicious!
My favourite dish of the night were the veal sweetbreads. They were tender, velvety and would even sway those on the fence in regards to offal. The onion-based béchamel sauce was perfect in conjunction with the sweetbreads and savoury chicken sauce. This would certainly be on the list of dishes to reorder.
The heirloom carrots were still quite raw and too hard for Mr A's preference but I didn't mind it so much. They were bathed in creamy and honeyed concoction which went so well together.
Pork done three ways, how could we resist? The pork belly was tender with a crisp skin, the pork neck was succulent and rich but the pork jowl was the winner on the plate. It was so tender it could melt in my mouth, incredibly luxurious and delicious. Sorry for the horrible photo, I was rushing to eat!
We didn't want to be overwhelmed with meat so we opted for a main of potato and calcot pie. It was similar to scalloped potatoes inside a buttery and flaky pastry. It was quite a rich dish and had we not been getting extremely full, we probably would have been able to eaten more than half of it.
The space has retained some aspects of its former glory and shows an interesting mixture of old and new.
Our waitress that night was delightful and incredibly helpful. The food at Epocha was superb and the service was the perfect balance of attentiveness so we were well looked after in all aspects. I can't fault a single thing so I would love to come back for another visit soon.
Will I return? Yes, we had an excellent meal!
49 Rathdowne Street
Carlton VIC 3053
(03) 9036 4949
Lunch 12pm onwards Thursday - Sunday
Dinner 5:30pm onwards Tuesday - Saturday