Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Matteo's - Fitzroy - Raymond Capaldi- Portuguese

Name: Matteo's

Address: 533 Brunswick St
Fitzroy 3068 VIC
Phone: (03) 9481 1177

Food: ModOz, European (Portuguese for tonight only)
Average price: Entree: $15-$20, Mains: $32-$39, Dessert: $16
Degustation menu: 7 courses, $85
Set menu: 3 courses, $78

We enjoyed ourselves so much the last time that we couldn't resist coming back for the second round of the Extended Vacation with Raymond Capaldi - tonight's theme was Portuguese.

Complimentary: Bread with butter.

The bread was soft with a chewy crust, although the butter was a little cold and I tore a hole in my bread, so I just cut thick a slice of butter and chewed away happily.

We ordered the 3 course set menu ($60 pp - I had vegetarian one) plus 3 starters and 2 sides :

Starters: Char-grilled eggplant, chilli, olive oil - $10

I have to start off by saying that myself and my family are hopeless when it comes to spicy food, we can't hack much at all before our eyes are watering and our mouths are on fire. I had to mention our very low 'heat tolerance' as tonight's menu was indeed spicy and had a helluva kick, so what we might think hot, others might think is mildly pleasant.

The eggplant had a lovely firm but tender texture and was delightfully tangy - it was also super hot/spicy. We scraped off the actual chilli slices and it was still a little spicy, but we all enjoyed them and finished them off, mouths on fire or not.

Pickled octopus, potato, tomato, red wine - $12

I should have remembered that no one really likes octopus in my family before ordering this for them. The said it was nice, but as they aren't octopus fans they didn't love it.

Braised pork ribs, orange sauce, bay leaves - $16

This looked yum. My family was hesitant to pick them up and eat the ribs with their hands, so they didn't get much meat off with their forks. My dad actually raved the most about the orange, he really liked the orange slices. The proportion was very generous, even for four people.

Entree: Sopa de Pedra - Red kidney beans, ham hock, choriouco, onion, coriander and a piece of 'stone':

The meat eaters on my table all enjoyed this. I love the take on 'stone soup' - the stone in question was actually a potato cooked in squid ink(?). My husband said the soup was full of flavour and thought that the choriuco went superbly with the soup, he didn't love the ham hock as much - my dad was also hesitant about the ham hock, perhaps because he doesn't tend to go for meat he can't identify. This was a great way to get my husband to eat some veggies.

Caramelised cos lettuce with mayonnaise, cheese (Parmesan?) and baby broad beans (?)

I must try to get more information out of the waiters regarding my veggie dishes that aren't on the menu as I am shocking when it comes to identifying food (there's a lot I have never had before, tiny green broad beans being just one example).
As I said to my husband when he made a smart arse remark about my 'lettuce' - this has to be the tastiest lettuce dish I have ever had. I have eaten a few cooked lettuce dishes before and none of them were as tasty as this. The lettuce had a mild sweet bitterness which gave way to
the salty cheese and then the creamy, tangy mayonnaise before the little green beans came though at the end with their mushy sweetness. The flavours and textures were well balanced and it was creamy and tangy and sweet - and not at all greasy.

Sides: Squashed potatoes baked with piri piri seasoning - $8

These potatoes weren't so much 'squashed' - but they did have a lovely, spicy crunchy skin with a soft, fluffy potato centre. Once again I had to scrape off the bits of chilli otherwise they would have been too spicy for me and I wouldn't have tasted the salty, flavourful seasoning and enjoyed them as much as I did. Unfortunately dad missed a piece of chilli and ended up with it hitting the back of his throat - he was too scared to try another after downing two glasses of
water to cool his mouth off (we really are hopeless with the hot and spicy food variety).

Steamed clams, beef and pepper sauce - $8

These were the cutest little things (I don't eat seafood though, apart from the occasional fish fillet). I was told they were hot, but pepper hot, not chilli hot. Everybody was holding their bellies at this stage so not many of these little suckers got eaten.

Mains: 'Bife a Lisbon' - Braised ox, garlic confit, parsnip puree, coffee jus

My husband was a little disappointed at first as he has eaten braised ox a few times recently and he wanted to try something else. However - as soon as he tasted the dish his former complaints of 'more braised ox' were quickly forgotten. As can be expected the meat was succulent 'fall off
the fork' tender. The garlic was soft and sweet and he loved the parsnip puree so much he mistook it for his favourite vegetable, the potato (his palate is easily confused). He couldn't taste the coffee but once again, everyone at the table enjoyed the dish - my dad literally devoured his in seconds despite being 'full' from the previous courses.

Vegetables with malt soil

The vegetables were perfectly cooked - there were potatoes, courgettes, carrots, celery leaves, onions, leeks - a lovely selection. They were covered in a creamy, herb emulsion with a generous dusting of coffee-like (but less bitter) crunchy malt soil. Tasty, interesting and light.

Dessert: Dates, figs, almonds & meringue 'Sighs'

We were all clueless as to what this dessert would be, but when we caught a glimpse of the neighbouring table's plates we suddenly forgot how 'full' we were and rubbed our hands with glee.
As I've mentioned before I find some fruits and vegetables too sweet for me, dates are in that category. The date's sweetness was counterbalanced by the ground almonds, crunchy, chewy meringues and soft cream. I did prefer the figs to the dates though. They weren't as sweet and they had this deep 'redwine-ness'
about them. Ryan professed his love of the 'caramel; sauce about a million times. The dessert was well balanced in terms of flavour and differing textures, everybody thoroughly enjoyed this dessert.

Cost: $329 - four 3 set course meals, 3 starters, 2 sides, 1 Pilsener beer ($8), 2 sweet white wines ($27).

Service: Good - our mains lingered a little long on our table and some didn't say what the dishes were but apart from that everything went smoothly. We were lucky enough to have a little chat with the chef himself, Raymond Capaldi before leaving. He's quite charming and funny, twas a lovely little chat (and who doesn't love listening to a Scottish accent).

Atmosphere: Relaxed. The restaurant is quite dark with wood panelling, Asian gold wallpaper, and dim lighting. There was some colourful artwork behind us which complimented the red lampshades and large light hangings. The atmosphere was quite chilled, with minimal noise and wells paced tables. The main room was a little on the cold side though, perhaps because of the big storm that preceded our night (30 or so people cancelled because of the atrocious weather).

Parking: Ample. We went on a Tuesday night at 7pm, there was plenty of unlimited parking right in front of the restaurant.

Website: http://www.matteos.com.au/

Hours: Sun-Fri noon-3pm, daily 6pm-10pm

Would I return: Yes - to yet another Raymond Capaldi evening held at this restaurant.

No comments:

Post a Comment

We appreciate your comments however spam, abusive or personal attacks will be not be published. Please keep in mind that this blog is just the personal opinions and tastes of people paying for their own supper, it is by no means meant to be a professional review.