Melbourne's serving us a little more summer than any of us have a right to expect. We took advantage of it on Labour Day and strolled down to Middle Fish for lunch. Many bloggers have complimented this cafe's interior design and I wondered what extra appeal could be derived from yet another exposed brick converted warehouse, but on stepping inside I instantly saw it too. Yes, we've seen the high ceilings and polished cement floors before but there's something especially cheerful about Middle Fish and its technicolour touches, so many items seemingly reused or repurposed. I loved it!
On Michael's first visit, veg options were absent from the written menu but available on request. Katya pointed out to us more recently that the menu's had an update, with vegetarian items and adaptations more clearly marked. (Vegan options aren't specified but I reckon almost all the veg dishes would qualify.) Sadly this meant the apple and cherry salad recommended by Wendy was no longer available.
The warm weather called for cold drinks - our icy bowls of coffee with sweetened condensed milk and lemon tea could not have been better.
However, Michael's Pad Puk Satay ($14.50) left much room for improvement. The table-side sriacha enhanced the sauce a little but couldn't distract from the fact that this plate included just two teeny tiny pieces of tofu.
My Thai style omelette ($14.50) was later, uglier and luckily, tastier. Salty and studded with mushrooms, tomato and onion, a few spoonfuls in I realised that it was concealing a mound of steamed rice. Scattered with sriacha, this was splendidly savoury and deceptively filling - something simple to perfect at home, methinks.
Middle Fish's hits and misses were equally unexpected. While the sunny staff and light, breezy atmosphere were a treat, I don't think the vegetarian meals lived up to their cost. I could yet be lured back for a mid-afternoon condensed milk roti, though, and Michael can barely resist those coffees.
Michael previously blogged Middle Fish here. Since then we've barely read a negative word about it! Check out Epicureaddict, Let's Get Fat Together, Flagrant Food Fawning, Peach Water, Like the World, Spatialthoughts, Let Me Feed You and Sharking for chips and drinks.... Reviews are more equivocal on The Chronicles of Ms I-Hua and Gastronomical ramblings.
122-128 Berkeley Street, Carlton
salads $12.50, mains $14.50
Accessibility: There's a flat entry way leading into an incredibly spacious and naturally well-lit dining area. Service takes place at the table, payment at a low counter.