Monday, December 01, 2008

Bursting at the seams

113 Lonsdale Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
ph:9663 6363

looking out into Cohen Place behind Seamstress (thanks jfox!)

Take a peek? We couldn't resist. Seamstress has been on the to-do list for some time, so a birthday seemed like a good excuse to indulge in fine food, company and check out the quirky decor. As the title suggests this 4-storey building (bar-kitchen-restaurant-bar) has seen many incarnations including a sweatshop (in more ways than one!) Having retrospectively read the reviews at off the spork and melbourne gastronome it seems everyone else was on the same wavelength!

While waiting for the others to arrive T & I toasted our rapidly fading youth and hoped for the gain of wisdom with a sparkling 'dyed red'. A last minute addition necessitated moving to another table and the staff were kind enough to accommodate- if they were put out they certainly didn't show it- very impressed!

The complimentary appetizer (chicken broth or miso broth for the vegetarians) whet our appetites and we set to order an array of different plates (small, medium and large) to sample the menu.

Poached jellyfish and cinnamon smoked duck, rehydrated gogi berries
and burnt orange glaze

I was really excited by the prospect of trying jellyfish for the first time. The decision to team it up with smoked duck was a curious contrast. The flavours were good- perhaps a tad subtle and because I associate duck with something rich something didn't quite add up. It was however, surprisingly refreshing.

Baked shitake and turnip cake steamed spring vegetable
salad with mysterious sauce (satay?)

Kaz, elmo & jfox sampled the basement bar and snacks earlier and the turnip cake came with a high recommendation. I wasn't convinced until I tasted it for myself - and was duly converted. The words that come to mind are '(insert expletive) fantastic flavour explosion'

Roast pork belly, stuffed with shitake and powdered shrimp with steamed bok choy

Didn't get a chance to sample this but it looked, smelled and from what I'm told tasted great.

Eggplant with chilli lime pickle and tatsoi mousse

Our friend D was very happy with the selection of vegetarian dishes. The slices of eggplant were covered in a crunchy coating with sweet flesh that melted in your mouth. My only complaint was there wasn't enough of it!

Snake beans with con poy xo sauce

Crispy baby snapper with 'pok pok' (green mango) som tam salad

According to other reviews the presentation of this dish (cubed and fried) is a signature at Longrain- I wouldn't know- haven't tried it. The fish was delicious, moist and sweet and the green mango salad gave a Thai twist to it.

Dumplings from the tailor (pork & prawn with shitake?)

8 treasure box silken tofu, snow peas, green beans, spring onions, king brown,
wood ear, coral, shitake mushrooms, and a broken egg

This was certainly a treasure- the broth was wonderful and savoury and the different textures of the fungi and tofu and vegies were very nice -though I intentionally avoided the egg!

For dessert we shared 3 different dishes which were all tasty, though the overall reception and comparison was mixed.

Black sticky rice in banana parchment, coconut foam and pinapple cubes

Dark chocolate mousse cherry jelly and and yoghurt trifle (?) served with a sour plum sauce

The name of this dessert escapes me-the flavour combination worked well.

Also forgot the name of this dessert but it was very satisfying. My tastebuds ached at the overwhelming tanginess of the lime curd and the grapefruit and tapioca shooter. I think the ice cream may have been lemongrass or ginger but I've since forgotten- must be that aging brain!

The overall experience was very enjoyable and felt very fortunate to be spoilt by such good friends.

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