Ela Carte Reviews The Recreation in North Fitzroy

Date

ELA CARTE

Eggplant

Eggplant

The Recreation – 162-170 Queens Parade North Fitzroy – www.the-recreation.com

I have to return to Ross' idea of villages. That notion that eventually we'll all live in our self-contained communities because it'll be such a nightmare to cross town to explore the other side of the city. It means we'll need lots of fabulous, neighbourhood eateries – and the Recreation is one of them. 

Part bottle shop, part wine bar, part restaurant – it feels perfect for a quick wine and a snack out the front, but stylish enough for a date to impress.

While the vibe is relaxed, there's a marked professionalism – co-owners Joe and Mark worked at Grossi Upstairs, they know their service – but it's punctuated with a genuine warmth.

It's a brilliant menu – I could have ordered just about everything on it. It's closer to a traditional bistro layout. There are some snacks; but other than that you could definitely do your old school entrée, main dessert. 

From the snacks – I'm a sucker for eggplant these days. Here, a crumbed, fried disc of eggplant is topped with a slow-cooked, smoked eggplant puree, roasted beet, goats cheese mousse and a crunchy apple chip.

Pear Tarte Tartin

Pear Tarte Tartin

But the showstopper was easily the black pudding and pear tarte tartin. That classic puff pastry base, thin sliced caramelised pear, and house-made black pudding slices. Perfect balance between sweet and savoury – it's a cracker! 

Calamari

Calamari

We shared a couple of entrees between three. Calamari hoods are grilled over wood and slicend, the tentacle dusted and friend. They're served with lemon aioli, peas, kipfler potato, dried lemon and bayleaf – it's a gorgeous, light, fresh dish. 

Spaetzle

Spaetzle

Strangely, this wasn't the first time I've tried spaetzle - a traditional Alsatian pasta style noodle – it's also on the menu at Copperpot in Seddon. This one is sauteed with charred broccoli, cabbage and top with a rich, gooey gruyere fondue sauce. The pasta is perfectly chewy, I loved it.

Lamb

Lamb

From the mains, there was a lamb bonanza for me. On the plate, some roasted lamb loin, smoked shoulder and a big chunky croquette of slow cooked lamb neck, served with a warm salad of charred pumpkin, zucchini and goats cheese.

Suckling Pig

Suckling Pig

For my mate Zola, slow-roasted suckling pig; topped with a slice of specially crisped skin, and accompanied by baby carrots and pommes dauphine (small potato and choux puffs) and a sauce made of the pig bones and tamarind.

I loved the wine list here. Long, interesting, creative, and surprisingly good value. Plenty of options for us between $40 and $55, which isn't often the case in a place that takes its wine list seriously. Believe it or not, you can actually BYO, these guys will charge a $20 corkage (fair enough given that they'd much rather sell you what they've got).

These guys wanted to create a watering hole for locals, but it's one with a seriously good food offering. What a lucky village.

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