Food adventure @ The Town Mouse
The first 2014 food adventure for Dr. V (who’s actually a doctor now, congrats!), K and myself took place at The Town Mouse a few weeks ago. Labelled by many as one of the best newcomer restaurants of 2013, I was quite excited about our dinner.
The trendy interior.
Complimentary sourdough bread, with fennel butter.
I’m not usually a fan of anything that tastes remotely like liquorice, but the fennel butter rocked my taste buds. The fennel flavour was very upfront, pairing sensationally with the sourdough flavour of the bread. Not only was the flavour great, but the texture of the butter was spot on creamy and light.
Smoked duck liver parfait, pickled cucumber & crisp potato.
When I first laid eyes on this dish, I was a little taken aback by the giant blob of pate that rested on the potato crisp. And with good reason. While the pickled flavour of the cucumber teased at the palate at first, an overwhelmingly strong gamy flavour soon started to kick in, and lingered. The potato was eclipsed by the pate, and its presence only detected by the crunch. Despite the non-agreeable taste of the pate, the airy lightness and silky smoothness of the texture was unrivalled.
Poached chicken, king oyster mushroom, ricotta, avruga & salad burnet.
The chicken was surprisingly succulent. Taste-wise, it relied on the accompanying melt-in-the-mouth risotto ball, aroma from the crispy parsnip, creamy ricotta and earthy tender mushrooms for flavour. The coriander brought much aromatic freshness.
Bass groper, buttermilk, spring peas, pistachio, caper & verjuice.
With so much green on the plate, the dish had a very fresh and natural appearance. Lightly cooked, the greens possessed a sharp rawness that underscored each bite, tasting quite similar to raw bean shoots. The fish was well-cooked, and its flesh tender. Its natural sweetness contrasted perfectly with the veggies, pea puree, nutty pistachios and sourness from the buttermilk.
Charred pork loin, boudin blanc, caramelised savoy cabbage, mussel & caraway.
Much as we had suspected going by its heavy-on-the-white appearance, a good portion of the pork was not eaten thanks to the huge chunks of fat. Were it not for the herbed and flavoursome mussel loaf, the entire dish would have been a disappointment.
Heirloom kales, slow cooked egg, rye, comte & mustard.
Served with a comte cheese foam and slow cooked egg, we were directed to mix the two together to form a sauce for the crispy kale.
Deep-fried, the kale was very delicately crispy. For lack of a better description, the superfood just tasted like fried oil, with a very slight hint of bitterness. The comparatively light sauce did help to counter the oiliness at first, but with the sauce also quite rich itself, the dish grew tiresome quick.
Ricotta doughnuts, bergamot & apricot curd.
Served warm, the doughnut shells were delicate and coated in a tasty layer of powdery sugar. The insides were filled with a creamy light ricotta. The accompanying curd sported a great balance between sweetness and tartness, and brought along the wow factor for this dessert.
Lemon & yuzu curd, white chocolate, burnt coconut, spiced rum & coconut sorbet.
Between the crispy Italian meringue tube, chocolate biscuity crumbs, desiccated coconut and light sorbet, there was much that went on with each bite. I wouldn’t have picked it, but the creamy citrus curd balanced out with the coconut.
I’m in the mindset that we’ve saved the best food adventure for last (or some time towards the end of 2014) because this first adventure at The Town Mouse failed to hit the heights we had expected. With at least some hits amongst the misses, and a very memorable fennel butter and bread pairing, I suppose we could’ve chosen worse.
The Town Mouse
312 Drummond St,
Carlton, Victoria, 3053.
(03) 9347 3312