Eating Out, Melbourne

Matteo’s, Brunswick Street, Melbourne

May 20, 2014
Matteo's front dining room

How I love Sundays, a day when I can be incredibly, unapologetically lazy. In my student days this generally involved lying on the couch and greedily watching the Home and Away marathons, which is slightly embarrassing. Junk food often featured too. Thank goodness that now I don’t have to watch (and ingest) any more junk…our Sundays are often spent enjoying a lazy and leisurely lunch, and this Sunday we spent it with Nathan’s parents at Matteo’s trying out their ‘Lazy Sunday Lunch’ menu, which comprises of four courses and is $79 per person or $109 with wine. Matteo’s while sounding like a purely European restaurant, melds classical European cooking with Asian flavours to produce some of the best Asian fusion in Melbourne.

The first course is a sharing course made up of four dishes, and I think is a wonderful and relaxing way to start a Sunday lunch. The four tastes that featured were a Hiramasa kingfish sashimi with shiso sauce,  tempura zucchini flower filled with chevre, thinly sliced, air-dried wagyu beef bresaola and Spanner crab potato gem. Each plate comes out separately, allowing you to take in and enjoy the tastes at your own pace. I didn’t get a photo of the kingfish sashimi and shiso sauce, but it was lovely and fresh tasting and a great way to start the meal.

tempura zucchini flower

Tempura Zucchini flower, filled with chèvre

The tempura batter on the zucchini flower is fantastically light and the chèvre filling while creamy also adds a sharpness to the dish. They were perfectly cooked and I could have eaten the whole plate.

beef bresaola

Thinly sliced, air-dried wagyu beef bresaola.

The bresaola, has a slight sweetness to it and the beef, while thinly sliced is quite rich so having the herbs and other greens provides balance and helps to cut through the richness. While others at the table enjoyed this, I felt that the beef had an oiliness to it which I didn’t enjoy.

spanner crab potato gem

Spanner crab potato gem.

The spanner crab potato gem, has perfect ratio of potato and spanner crab. From the first bite, the spanner crab melts in your mouth and the sweet chilli sauce that it sits atop of adds a taste of spice that the dish needs.

With the shared tasting over, we have a few moments before the next course which allowed us to sit back and take in the the atmosphere, more diners have arrived and the front of the restaurant is now busy with the chatter of people catching up. Matteo’s is a large restaurant but they use the space well, so that even though the back of the restaurant is not being used it doesn’t feel empty.

Our second course arrives and between the four of us, both options have been chosen (a bonus for me).

dim sum

Scallop & eel dim-sum,
unagi charcoal-grilled sea eel, red miso sauce,
polenta-crusted silken tofu

The three dim sums were substantial and the filling is soft with a good mix of scallop and eel. The saltiness from the red miso sauce adds a depth of flavour while the polenta crusted silken tofu adds a crisp texture. The eel was well cooked and the strong flavours were well balanced with the other elements.


Tempura garfish wrapped in nori with spanner crab,
Tsukemono pickled sea succulents, kipfler potato,
shaved katsuobushi preserved-bonito, smoked oyster aioli.

The tempura garfish is a perfect example of the way Matteo’s blend European and Asian flavours, with the garfish in a light tempura batter and filled with minced scallop. The katsubushi which surrounds the garfish is a dried, fermented and smoked fish and is sliced paper thin and looks beautiful, providing some colour to the plate.

pan-seared quail

Pan-seared quail, shitake duxelle, pickled mushrooms,
Jerusalem artichoke, Sichuan peppercorn sauce.

The pan seared quail is beautifully cooked and the pickled mushrooms add a lovely vinegar sharpness that balances the Jerusalem artichoke and and peppercorn sauce. Overall I found this dish to be quite rich and couldn’t finish it, but that could also have been because the dishes beforehand were quite filling.

beef cheeks

Slow-cooked beef cheek, wasabi peas,
sweet potato mash, black bean sauce.

The slow-cooked beef cheeks were tender and fell apart when pressed with a fork, the sweet potato puree had a sweetness that complemented the dish well. Well the peas were well cooked the wasabi taste didn’t come through which may have been because of all the other flavours in the dish.

By the end of the third course we were all feeling very satisfied and the thought of a last dish was slightly overwhelming. The last course was a dessert plate and some of us opted to have a cheese plate. I didn’t get photos of  the desserts and cheese, but they were again generous portions.

We had a delicious meal at Matteo’s and it was nice to take time out of the day to enjoy a long leisurely lunch and Sunday is a perfect day to do that.

Do you enjoy lazy Sundays or would you rather be busy with some sort of activity?


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