Sunday 25 April 2010

Five fabulous flavours from the last fortnight I feel compelled to share with you

Pierre Roelofs Black Gold

It's been a busy couple of weeks for me at work, but I wanted to write a few short paragraphs about five dishes I've been lucky enough to have over the last fortnight that have been just a little bit special.

One: the elotes callejeros at Mamasita.

Level 1, 11 Collins Street, Melbourne (map)
9650 3821

Elotes callejeros

Lunch last Tuesday was at Mamasita with the beautiful KT. I wrote about Mamasita when it first opened in February, but on that visit I neglected to order what has now become my favourite Mamasita dish, the elotes callejeros ($3.80 each). Chargrilled corn with queso, chipotle mayonnaise and lime. DROOL. If you don't like these... I don't think we can be friends any more.

Two: the primo piatto of pickled green tomatoes and burrata at Ladro.

Ladro (Gertrude)
224 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy (map)
9415 7575

Pickled tomatoes and burrata

Best-friend-K and I went to Ladro on Friday night. While we were sipping negronis and waiting for our pizze to arrive, we shared an exquisite entree of pickled green tomatoes served with burrata and drizzled with olive oil ($12.50). Burrata (a mozzarella cheese with a gooey mozzarella-and-cream centre) seems to be everywhere at the moment. Served with mouth-watering sweet and sour pickled green tomatoes? Perfect.


Three: my mother's pasta al forno con funghi, spinaci e sugo di carne.

To taste this one, you'll have to cajole your way into my family. On Wednesday night we facilitated a birthday face-to-face Skype chat between my Nonna and Nonno in Melbourne, and Nonna's sister Zia Clara and Zio Mario in Italy ("Che meraviglia, questo Skype!" my Nonno kept exclaiming). For dinner afterwards, Mum made her special pasta al forno. To stop it from being too heavy or stodgy, she alternates pasta layers: one with Nonna's fresh sugo bolognese and mushrooms sauteed with her secret ingredient (a quarter of a Star funghi porcini stock cube, shhhhh), and then one with béchamel and spinach wilted with smoked garlic. Parmigiano between every layer, natch!

Pasta al forno

Four: the grass fed steak tartare at Cumulus Inc.

Cumulus Inc
45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne (map)
9650 1445

Steak tartare

I know I've waxed lyrical about Cumulus several times over, but as I was on my way there last Thursday to meet the lovely Emily from ...It Pleases Us, I realised this would be the first time I'd ever visited for lunch. I ain't gonna lie: I was nursing a hangover. A hangover that called for something drastic. Hmmmm oh I don't know, how about the GRASS FED STEAK TARTARE?

My fuzzy logic told me that if raw steak ($21) couldn't make me feel better, nothing would. And oh it was good, people. We also shared one of my favourite Cumulus dishes, the wagyu bresaola with fresh horseradish ($14, alas sadly no longer served with remoulade) and Em's favourite, the crispy school prawns sauteed with chilli and garlic ($14). Be sure to eat those suckers in their entirety, as they were intended.

Wagyu bresaolaSchool prawns

Five: the dessert sticks (hell, and everything else) at Pierre Roelofs' dessert evenings at Cafe Rosamond.

Cafe Rosamond
Rear 191 Smith Street, Fitzroy (map)
9419 2270

Pear, couscousPierre Roelofs Black Gold

Count me in as a member of Pierre Roelofs' enthusiastic cheer squad. His are the most creative, exciting desserts currently on offer in Melbourne. Last month I wrote a loveletter to the event he and Raúl Moreno Yagüe held at the MFWF, and I mentioned his forthcoming dessert-only Thursday evenings at Cafe Rosamond. They started this week, and I trotted along with Jess.

I'm telling you, if you're anywhere near Smith Street on a Thursday night, you HAVE to drop in to Rosamond for dessert. There are no bookings, so just rock up between 7 and 11 and hopefully manage to snare a seat (there are only 25). Order tea or coffee and either one, two or three dishes ($20/$30/$40 - great value considering the number of elements, quality ingredients and time-consuming techniques involved in the creation of each dish).

We had two each. One had a cube of pear pound cake, toasted couscous, honey cream that was just madness, pear sorbet and toasted millet. The other was the "Black Gold" dish I wrote about in my MFWF round-up: it included poached pineapple and (SENSATIONAL) dehydrated pineapple, rigatoni filled with mascarpone, syphon coffee gel, ground Yirgacheffe coffee beans, gold leaf, coffee meringue, dark chocolate granules and micro leaves.

The dishes on offer will change weekly. If there's one thing you need to try though, it's one of the dessert sticks ($9 each). They are glass tubes the circumference of a cigar, filled with four different flavours, and to consume them you tip them up to your mouth and, er, suck hard for a flavour explosion. The ones we tried on Thursday were filled with dried white chocolate, peach, pistachio and rose... and I have it on good authority that next week's will contain pancake, maple syrup and banana (!!!).

Dessert tubes


Tresna said...

Gosh, a fabulous selection of dishes - I wouldn't even know where to start! Though I think your Mum's pasta followed by that Black Gold dish might go down a treat.

CC11 said...

To a dessert degustation I shall go

Gem said...

I know two other people who are very taken with the Mamasita corn. I thought they were going to claim blood when it was suggested it might not be on the menu anymore!

Also, Cafe Rosamond dessert nights look like BLISS.

Esz said...

You're making me drool - I want that burrata!
And somehow have to make it to one of those dessert evenings before they're all gone - Scrounge some cash from somewhere (goddamn bills grr!)

Anonymous said...

great write up and pics from Pierre's opening night claire! :)
here's a little facebook link for you-

michelle x

msihua said...

OH My.... GOSH.. I'm going for that dessert!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks for writing that up!

Reemski said...

I want a dessert tube!!!!!

Kate said...

I love love love your blog! It will seriously help me set my itinerary for my next trip to Melbourne. Most people head over there for shopping - me? It's all about the food!

Hayley said...

Oooh, I think I've developed a severe case of Mexican food envy (it's a serious condition!) looking at that Mamasita corn. Mmmm.

Temasek said...


Megan said...

Everything looks amazing! I love grilled corn! I never thought of putting cheese on it though.
@Reemski I want a dessert tube too!

Katya said...

ally went to mamasita last night and ordered one the corn cobs after your suggestion. I don't think I would have otherwise (bad memories from childhood of tasteless corn on cob) but they were so delicious.

Simon Leong said...

wow. amazing food. i'm glad i tried the crispy school prawns at cumulus and saw the grass fed steak tartare but didn't try it. next time i will. i had Mamasita on my wish list but ran out of time. i also had Cafe Rosamond on my list but no time to get to it. i wish i had another few weeks in Melbourne to have visited so many amazing places to eat :-)

claire said...

Thanks for all the comments, everyone!

Esq: Don't worry, Pierre's planning on continuing the Thursday night dessert tastings for the foreseeable future. Try to get there earlier in the evening rather than later: I heard a rumour that last Thursday they sold out of dessert sticks!

Aw thanks Michelle, glad you liked it! Was lovely to see you again the other night xx

Reemski: next time you're coming down to Melbourne, make sure your trip includes a Thursday night, and I'll take you to Rosamond. :)

Thanks Kate: have fun planning your next Melbourne itinerary.

Temasek: hahaha, nice cajoling :)

So glad I was able to convert you to the grilled corn, Katya!

Eeps said...

I tried the pancake ones at Rosamund and they were DIVINE. Last week's was lemon meringue. Not sure about this week's selection. Am soooo tempted to go back for MORE.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Claire for all your Mamasita write-ups. Went today (don't get into Melbourne that often) and it was freakin' brilliant. The mole poblano had me practically licking the leftover sauce off the plate.

A suggestion for your next out of town jaunt - pizza at Pizza Verde in Kyneton. Fabulous use of local produce and Istra smallgoods. Then a wander up Piper St to Inner Biscuit for their frangipane and quince tart. MMmmm.

claire said...

Thanks Eeps. I hear the dessert tubes this week are going to be raspberry cheesecake. *swoon*

Hi themoralhighground. Thanks, glad you like. Will bear your tip in mind for my next out of town jaunt!

Anonymous said...

I second Pizza Verde in Kyneton. It was effing AMAZING! Best pizza I've had in my life. I had the diavolo and pumpkin. The diavolo is apparently a staff favourite too :)