Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Look in the Tunk

275 Exhibition St (cnr Lt Lonsdale St), Melbourne (map)
9663 7994

Friend M left Melbourne a few weeks ago, heading to the 'Berra and the glamourous legal position awaiting her there. We wanted to catch up for a final dinner in the CBD, ideally somewhere up towards Carlton way. I wanted to try somewhere different, so spent some time browsing the excellent map function on yourRestaurants and came up with Trunk. In the formal restaurant the mains are around the $32 mark - we ended up eating from the cheaper bar menu.


Despite its very fetching interior and general air of fabulousness, I've heard strangely little about Trunk on the grapevine. Lethlean wrote up a favourable review and Jon posted up photos on Melbourne Foodie of a Gourmet Traveler Readers' Dinner he attended there (still waiting for the review you promised would follow the pics, Jon!)... but that's about it. Maybe it's a geography thing? For me at least, Exhibition and Little Lonsdale is a pretty out of the way corner of the CBD, unless I'm heading to Troika for drinks. Or maybe the site is fated for perpetual reincarnation - originally a synagogue and then a kindergarten, I can remember the building housing Seoul Garden (a Korean BBQ grill) and then Sillitto. Whatever the reason for Trunk's quiet presence on the grapevine it's a shame; I really enjoyed our dinner and intend to head back there soon to try out the full menu.

M and I just wanted to keep things simple on the Wednesday night we visited, but we couldn't resist a starter of crostini with agrodolce anchovies ($9.50). I LOVE sweet and sour mixed together (just thinking agrodolce makes my mouth water), and the sour/saltiness of the marinated capers and anchovies resulted in a carnival ride of flavours. Good sourdough too.

Crostini with agro dolce anchovies

We shared two mains: spaghetti with garlic, chilli, breadcrumbs and lemon ($17) and the Pomodoro 'Plus' pizza (tomato, mozzarella, basil, olives, capers and chorizo - $18.50). Both were great - I especially liked the texture of the breadcrumbs and the lemon and chilli flavour combo.

FYI, Trunk is one of only two places in the CBD that does take-away pizzas (at lunch, Mon-Fri 12-3pm, and dinner Mon-Sat 6-10pm). There are 11 pizze on the menu ranging from $16.50 to $21.50, and with the Corporate Special you can buy 9 and get the 10th free. They reeeally should include the take-away menu on their ultra-minimalist website!

Spaghetti with garlic, chilli, breadcrumbs and lemonPomodoro Plus pizza

To finish us off, we shared the chocolate Valpolicella custard which was served with 'ossi dei morti' biscotti ($13.50). Really great dessert - the red wine and chocolate made the custard quite rich, but the not-very-sweet biscotti balanced it out.

Chocolate Valpolicella custard and 'ossi dei morti' biscotti

Anyone else been to Trunk? Was I the only one left in the dark with this one?
(***Edited to add: no Mum, "Look in the Tunk" is not a typo. It's a Simpsons reference - I was in a silly mood when I wrote this post***)

Oh, and another emailed reader request:
Just wondering if you could recommend any really good places for Tiramisu? It's not something I eat since I can't stand coffee but a visiting American friend is dying for some.
What d'you reckon? I only occasionally order tiramisu and have no fixed opinion on where to get a good one. Brunetti? Pellegrini's?


Anonymous said...

*grins* oops, I've had a Trunk post sitting in my drafts for about six months! It is very close to my work, and has been a great spot for a lunchtime pizza, or after work drinks. I think it's fab! And their pizza's really are fantastic.

I haven't eaten in the restaurant yet though.

MelissaS said...

Hi, I don't like tiramasu but the boys I work with swear by the tiramasu at Grossi Florentino....

Anonymous said...

Literally 2 mins from my work so have had a few catch up lunches there. The pizzas are great! And its a nice enough spot outside in warmer weather. If you're in the area lunchwise, also try Sally's Kitchen a little further down. (oh and George at Pik N Pasta on Lt Lonsdale street does a killer coffee ... but only George!!)

Cindy said...

For tiramisu, I'd recommend Cafe Italia over Brunetti. Admittedly, Brunetti does have two things going for it: its staggering size and variety is very visitor-friendly, and you can pop in for dessert only.

Agnes said...

Ahh, we thought about going to Trunk last weekend (ended up going to Gills Diner instead). Will definitely have to try it now!

Anonymous said...

i think the florentino version is one of the best around and it will be the same in the cellar bar as upstairs so good value also

Thermomixer said...

Agree that the tiramisu in Grossi's Cellar bar is always excellent - and you can show the yanks some history at hte same time.

Great new look with the banner too!

cp said...

Love the new look! And Trunk sounds great, especially seeing as I'm always milling around that part of the city on the way to Bennetts Lane.
The best tiramisu I've had has always been homemade, but there is a gorgeous one at Living Room in Templestowe if you find yourself out that way.

jfox said...

oh, we ended up at trunk one night after work...from a vague memory: the drinks seemed a little pricey but we did share pizzas which got the overall thumbs up.

i agree with temasek, trunk will be a good spot come summer time!

claire said...

Thanks heaps for all the tiramisu suggestions, everyone! :)

Let me chime in and agree that Trunk's courtyard will be awesome come summer. It's also comforting to know you can get decent pizze in the CBD...

Mellie, share your Trunk post with the world!! :)

Thanks for the comments re: the new look, Thermomixer and Cathy! I'm much happier with it now.

Anonymous said... dragged it out of me ;-)

By the way, I forgot to comment how gorgeous the chocolate Valpolicella looked. I must try that myself next time.

Anonymous said...

I'm off to Trunk next Monday. I'll definitely be writing a post on that one!

Lucy said...

Hi Claire... just discovered your blog.. what a find! (I was googling Auction Rooms in North Melb and you popped up) anyway I have a Melbourne design blog called The Design Files... I often write about Melb places including restaurants but mainly from a design angle... (ie architecture and fitout etc).. anyway I have bookmarked you and will add a link to you from my site! (ps St Judes is fancy huh? I felt like I was in NYC when I visited - seems so international! actually my partner worked on the interior fitout...) - Lucy x

claire said...

Hi Lucy... thanks for your kind comments about Melbourne Gastronome and the link. Glad you like it! I must say I'm very taken with The Design Files - love the way you look at all sorts of different things from the design angle. If I had the time I'd love to write something similar but I barely manage to write the food stuff as it is! :-)