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Ela Carte strips down Naked in the Sky
Naked in the Sky – 285 Brunswick Street Fitzroy – www.nakedforsatan.com.au
I’ve never re-visited a venue before, and strictly, this isn’t exactly a return because Naked For Satan have built something new for us to play in. The first time round, we got one of the biggest reactions we’ve ever had to the review on Naked for Satan, a vodka and pintxos bar on bustling Brunswick Street. A combination of the mere mention of nudity, unbelievably cheap food, and quirk factor were probably behind it.
Now, you can add an unbeatable view. The team have constructed a new addition on the NFS rooftop, aptly named Naked in the Sky. This is a stunning space, all new with the same eccentric feel to the décor, a 15 metre bar and dining tables inside, and then a beautiful outdoor timber deck on three sides which boasts vistas of Carlton, the city, Fitzroy and beyond. I can’t think of an eating/drinking spot with a better view.
If you want to enjoy the fresh air, you’ll be limited to a fairly small bar menu, for some bigger bites like slow cooked cider beef cheek or roast pork knuckle with clam sauce, you’ll have to venture indoors to dine.
The Basque theme continues in the kitchen, but rather than the bread-heavy pintxos downstairs, there’s some more creative finger food on offer here. It ain’t the healthiest of cuisines, you probably need to know that from the start - the fryer gets a bit of a work out in many parts, but you can’t deny it’s tasty stuff.
They are small dishes, so this isn’t the place to come for a hearty meal, but if it’s tasty bites to soak up some decent brews that you’re after, then you’ll be more than happy here.
The smallest stuff includes some simple roasted nuts with smoked paprika and garlic (at $6), or those Basque staples, the Gilda – a toothpick with green olive, pickled green peppers and white anchovy ($9.90).
Straight into the fatty stuff, we couldn’t go past crumbed, fried, long eggplant chips, that were drizzled with honey and a blue cheese sauce. Yep.
And even naughtier were the fried cheese and walnut wedges, really a “Naked” version of the traditional croquette, it’s made with a classic béchamel mixture into which fontina, Danish blue and Parmesan cheese are folded, they’re then rolled in chopped walnuts, then crumbed and deep fried. Presented on a dollop of quince aioli – it’s an awesome combination of flavours and textures.
Skewers were excellent – chargrilled prawns with thin, fatty bacon and red salsa; or big chunks of tender beef, beautifully seasoned and paired on a stick with bitey pardon peppers.
Txistorra were little Basque sausage rolls – crispier pastry, and tastier, spicier meat in the form of a traditional basque sausage not unlike a chorizo – they were flavoursome as hell, but the Aussie in me wanted some sort of sauce to go with them.
Also missing a dipping opportunity was the “Pan Frito”, literally fried balls of bread dough, flavoured with either garlic and anchovy or paprika and onion. They were just a little plain for my liking, and either needed more filling, or an accompaniment.
During the week, you can book for lunch at Naked in the Sky, but in the evenings and on the weekend it’s every man for himself – I reckon night time would get particularly hectic. If you’ve got an emptier stomach, sit inside and go for the chunkier menu – recommended to me were the mussels in gazpacho, slow cooked beef cheek, and fish in pil pil sauce.
If you didn’t get to Naked for Satan last time round, give this one a go – it’s one of those places you want to take a visitor, showing off the best of Melbourne’s cuisine and scenes.