December 12, 2013
We backed up from Cindy's birthday dinner at Easy Tiger with another slightly fancy night out. The destination this time - Albert St Food & Wine, purveyor of high class desserts and decent vegetarian savouries. We wound up at one of the high tables this time, which gave the whole night a more casual vibe than our last visit. The service remained exemplary though - helpful and friendly without being pushy or intrusive.
They got us started with some lovely bread, served with a basil and olive-oil infused butter.
The menu isn't amazingly veg-friendly - there's a couple of starters, a pizza, a pasta and some sides. I understand that they're happy to wing it if you ask them nicely, but the basic menu doesn't have you overwhelmed with options.
We ordered a couple of repeat dishes from our earlier visit - the sublime grilled haloumi with pickled zucchini (above, $17) and the equally impressive ancient grain salad with pomegranate, walnut and goats curd (below, $14).
We also branched out into some new dishes - first up the summer greens with chardonnay dressing ($14), a lovely combo of fresh beans, peas and asparagus.
The heartiest dish we tried was the gnocchi with exotic mushrooms, hazelnuts and truffled pecorino, rich with cheese and a nice variety of mushrooms (but barely justifiable at $32).
The key goal of anyone's visit to Albert St is dessert - even if Philippa Sibley has recently moved on. Half our table were too full, but the three of us who knew the score found space to split two desserts between us.
First up, the 'milk and honey' ($20) - different shades of honey, chocolate and caramel with black sesame.
Our other choice was the couer a la creme, with raspberries and rose geranium ($19). The little heart was a rich and creamy mascarpone, set perfectly against the berries and the tart sorbet. These guys really know their sweets.
Albert St is a lovely local option for a slightly fancy night on the town - great food, wonderful service and mind-blowing desserts, all served up in a pleasingly moody atmosphere. We haven't really tested them, but the word on the street is that they're quite competent at serving up vegan food too, so they're a good option for most of our readers.
Read about our previous visits to Albert St here (back when they offered breakfasts) and here. Since our last visit ChopinandMysaucepan and Let Me Feed You: Melbourne have enjoyed their meals.
Albert St Food and Wine
382 Sydney Rd (cnr Albert St), Brunswick
veg dishes $9-$30
Accessibility: Albert St has a ramped entryway and is fairly roomy inside. Ordering and payment happens at the table. The toilets are on the same level and are fully accessible.