Tuesday, September 15, 2015


September 6, 2015

September 6 is the anniversary of our first date (now some fifteen years ago) and also our registry office wedding (ten years ago). This year it fell on Fathers' Day, so it was a day of celebratory lunches for many. We had ours at Matteo's, a decades-old fancy Fitzroy restaurant that we'd not visited before. We were constrained to their Fathers' Day set menu (3 courses for $95), but happily found cute little eggplant symbols marking vegetarian options across every course.

We played swapsies on the two veg entrees. I started on the zucchini flowers, which were stuffed with fetta and tempura battered, and set against a rainbow of heirloom beetroots. Under the whole and shaved beetroots was a beetroot puree with a surprising horseradish kick.

The other entree featured cubes of eggplant fried in a thick crunchy batter and glazed with Sichuan pepper and black vinegar. It was set on a basil silken tofu sauce and covered in a cacophonous collection of fresh herbs.

While Michael enjoyed a cocktail and couple glasses of wine from the drinks menu, there were no non-alcoholic options spelt out. With a nudge from Michael, though, one of their staff mocked up a Moscow Mule-inspired soda.

The vegetarian main was very rich and European, and arrived at our table with a heady waft of truffle oil. The dish centred around a brioche moulded charlotte stuffed with truffled mushrooms. It sat atop wilted water spinach in a pool of porcini sauce, with three bafflingly-peeled cherry tomatoes. On top was a poached egg and fresh snow pea shoots.

For dessert, Michael and I went our separate ways. He had a generous board of cheeses with figs and fruit bread, washed down with a glass of muscat.

Meanwhile, I took on the plate of three (really four!) small desserts. They were safe dishes very well executed: a diamond of flourless orange cake topped with burnt orange curd and a candied mandarin; a small pot of vanilla creme brulee garnished with poached apple and rhubarb (my surprise favourite); a dark chocolate fondant; and a spoon of Medjool date icecream.

On its website, Matteo's fancies itself as the "dapper, slightly eccentric aristocrat of Melbourne fine dining". It's modern Australian, but not up-to-the-minute trendy - the heavy tablecloths, plush furnishings and formal service style are quite traditional and this 'fusion' approach has been kicking around a long while too. While our entrees were brightly coloured and flavoured, the mains and desserts were more staid, and the $95 price tag felt a little steep. But this is probably the lot of the Fathers Day set menu, and I remain interested in experiencing their regular vegetarian options.



533 Brunswick St, Fitzroy North
9481 1177
Fathers' Day special menu

Accessibility: There is a small step on entry. Tables are quite densely packed. We received full table service. Toilets were gendered, relative narrow, and located up a narrow set of 4-5 steps.


  1. Congratulations! Certainly looks like a meal to celebrate with. Everything looks very neat and pretty :)

    1. Thanks, Little Vegan Bear! Yep, we got a nice spot by the window to enjoy well-lit, pretty food. :-)