Friday, 17 July 2009


It’s a bit like opening up a Mars Bar only to find a Snickers. Or opening up the cover to “Debbie Does Dallas” but instead it’s the Hi-5 ALIVE. Not exactly what you were expecting right? And I really have to keep those goodies locked up away from young nephews.

Which brings me to Matteo’s. Just like Taxi and Ezard, there’s no indication whatsoever that these well regarded restaurants are even remotely Asian influenced. Matteo’s certainly doesn’t look oriental either, definitely more European chic class if anything.

Oysters come in a shot of mirin & sake gains inspiration from Teage but it’s the Tom Yum jelly with the natural that’s a highlight. Smoked eel glazed with soy and a pickled plum and bonito mayonnaise takes unagi to a different level.

Taking a technique usually employed for veal, thinly sliced and very quickly cooked Petuna ocean trout is delicately layered, shiso breadcrumbs, fennel and avocado salad sits on top dressed by a citrus ponzu dressing. Showing as much competency with animals on the land, the perfectly pink roasted duck breast is flavoured with five spice, sliced and fanned slightly with a BBQ duck sauce that provides sweetness, a Peking cabbage and leek block of okonomiyaki pancake an inventive filler side.

If there’s any room left, the desserts are sure to fill you up. The tasting plate of 5 a great way to sample most on the menu that does away with the Asian inspiration and thankfully no green tea, red bean or black sesame ice-cream in sight. A vanilla bean crème brulee with toasted walnut contrasting the custard and Medjool date paste adds a fruity dimension is the pick of the bunch.

The cover might not be what you were expecting, but you’ll find the surprise rewarding. In full Hi-5 tradition, it’s that Asian accent that makes things extraordinary.

3.5 / 5 yums!
Where? 533 Brunswick Street Fitzroy North, VIC
What? Degustation $100

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