Saturday, September 22, 2007

September 10, 2007: Markov Place

We were overwhelmed with Brisbane visitors over the weekend. After hanging out with Jack and Emma for a few days at the Prom, we returned to Melbourne on Monday evening to meet up with Beth and Ryan, who were setting off on a Great Ocean Road drive on Tuesday. We all sat around at home for a while chatting, but once I started kicking red wine glasses over, we decided it was best to head out and get some dinner. Jack and Em wanted some Italian treats and wandered off along Lygon Street, while the rest of us headed to Markov Place.

Tucked down its laneway, Markov Place was looking moodily lit and very hip - there was some concern that our lack of style would see us barred from entry. Luckily, the staff seemed not to notice our unhipness and ushered us straight to our table. We started off with cocktails - the boys diving into 'Tuscan Mules', a combination of Tuaca (a vanilla and citrus flavoured spirit), ginger beer and lime, while the girls both had Cariel vanilla vodka with pomegranate. Both were delicious, and we greedily slurped them while perusing the food menu.

The options have changed somewhat since we last visited - the focus these days seems to be on tapas-y things. Beth and Ryan happily agreed to share a range of the vego dishes with us, which made ordering easy. We started with the vegetarian tapas plate (fried piquillo peppers, croquetas, olives and manchego cheese, $20), and added a couple of salads (Young broccoli with pine nuts, sultanas and queso Iberico ($11) and a spring salad of asparagus, herbs and fromage frais ($15)). Of course, Cindy insisted we add Markov chips (with Murray River salt and aioli, no less, $7) to the list.

The tapas plate was fantastic - particularly the croquettes and the fried peppers. But the whole lot was great - it's hard to go wrong with olives and fancy cheese. The accompanying salad in the photo above is the asparagus and fromage frais one - it basically convinced Cindy that spring was here and it was time to start eating asparagus again (as I type, she's gearing up for a trip to the markets to load up on fresh asparagus).

The chips were chunky and crispy although, as always, there were too many chips for the amount of aoli. The baby broccoli salad was delicious as well - particularly the slatherings of queso Iberico cheese.

I think we ended up with almost all the vego options on the menu, and it turned out to be the perfect amount for the four of us (particularly with a trip to Brunetti to follow). The service was friendly and efficient and the atmosphere was as hip as any place we've gone. The prices are probably a little bit higher than we can justify on a regular basis, but as a slightly fancy night out with friends, it's pretty good value really.

Read about our previous visit to Markov Place here. They've since added a (largely useless) website here.

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