The first few months of the year prove to be exciting as there are always festivals to look forward to. With the end of the Melbourne Food and Wine festival comes the start of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Mr A & I had a pair of tickets to Watson (many LOL moments there) on a Friday night so we decided to have dinner at The Town Mouse beforehand. Run by the people formerly behind New Zealand's highly acclaimed Matterhorn, The Town Mouse is actually set in the location where Embrasse used to reside.
I like the sleek black tiled walls and almost quaint pendant lighting they have hanging throughout the small and cosy restaurant. We were seated at the bar and they have bar hooks for bags which is a rarity but much needed for us ladies. Let me tell you, it is a major pain to juggle a bag and my trusty DSLR camera on my lap without dropping my napkin somewhere in between there.
The bread was accompanied by some seaweed butter which had a beautiful roasted, umami flavour to it. Mmm.. Meanwhile Mr A ordered a glass of vino but unfortunately I was still on my alcohol ban.
From the 'To Start' section of the menu which are literally small bites of food, we chose the goats cheese profiteroles. The sharp goats cheese was encased in a crisp profiterole casing and the sweetness from the rooftop honey married nicely.
The steamed barramundi, so delicate and flaking away easily, was complemented by the pickled radishes and turnips while the rich and flavourful chicken broth was mopped by with the extra bread offered by our waiter. An excellent dish we couldn't get enough of.
The combination of the pickled components and spicy kimchi with the tender, melt-in-mouth pork jowl presented us a different flavour combination from what we're typically used to but we really enjoyed it. All my past experiences of pork jowl have been incredible and this was no different.
The crisp beef cheek almost looked like a deep fried onigiri (Japanese rice ball with seaweed) but breaking into it revealed a slow cooked, tender beef cheek. Usually these types of meats can be a touch heavy for me but the whipped white soy cream had a tang to it, so it helped with the richness.
Whenever I see yuzu on a dessert menu, I usually can't help myself from ordering it. Being an Asian citrus fruit which borders a resemblance between a grapefruit and a mandarin, it has a sweet and tart flavour profile to it. With a flurry of textures, from the smooth lemon & yuzu curd, crisp white chocolate shards, crumbly burnt coconut to the the spiced rum jelly cubes and the sweet meringue filled with a light coconut sorbet - all I can say is that it was an incredible yet light dessert to finish our meal.
I'll admit I got embarrassingly excited when I realised that the business card was glow in the dark.
Our visit to The Town Mouse left us raving about each dish and how much we enjoyed our experience. The flavours and the components of the dishes were well thought out and executed perfectly. Throughout the night, service was sensational - interactive and conversational which played a part in our great experience. Looking through the menu, it certainly feels like they are offering something different to the Melbourne dining scene so I look forward to a return visit soon! Good times indeed.
Will I return? Yes, everything was sensational.
The Town Mouse
312 Drummond St
Carlton VIC 3053
(03) 9347 3312
Wed to Sun 12pm - late