Kate reviews: Miss Kneady — ‘My favourite suburban meal this year’
By Kate Stevenson
124 James St, Templestowe
Click PLAY to hear Kate’s on-air review with Ross and John
Here we go. I’m gonna say it. This is probably my favourite suburban meal for the year.
Let’s be honest, I had no idea where I was. I feel like I’m pretty good on Melbourne’s suburbs, but Templestowe is a bit of a black hole. This shopping strip on James Street could be anywhere, nothing to suggest it’s going to turn out such an impressive feed.
Miss Kneady is bright and brash. Pink neon abounds. It was busy and became a little rowdy later in the evening – on this Wednesday night it was PUMPING by 7pm. But, that all paled into insignificance once the food started rolling out.
The menu is pretty compact for lunch, but it blows out at night, a great selection of snacky starters, some veg and salad plates, pizza, pasta, mains and sides. We ordered to our hearts’ content.
Starters were a sign of the joy to come. Octopus is an absolute litmus test dish for me, when it’s good, it is brilliant, when it’s not, it is devastating. This was phenomenal. The tentacles are first poached, then seared and finished with nduja in the wood fired oven. So. Very. Tender.
Grass-fed lamb ribs were fall-apart-good – juicy, fatty, with a subtle Campari glaze – wasn’t hard to encourage the meat off the bone with these. I think I just looked at one and it came a cropper.
For my main, the rigatoni itself was house made by “Nonna” Rosa, a Templestowe local who comes in weekly to hand-make pasta, meatballs and arancini for the Miss Kneady team. It’s paired with a fabulous, rich, 36 hour braised beef shin ragu. Tomato, chilli, oregano, reggiano. Just the right sauce-to-pasta ratio. It was one of those dishes I kept saying I couldn’t possibly finish, until I did.
The other half went for the wood-roasted porchetta. The meat is hand rolled in nduja and seared in the wood fired oven. I’m a sucker for that spicy, spreadable salami, but I fear it gets a little lost here, can’t say we could really tasted it after the cooking process. It comes with gorgeous, smooth parsnip mash, charred broccolini and salsa verde. A hearty dish.
And I’m almost embarrassed to say we squeezed in dessert, but man it was worth it. I’ll quote Simon – “the best doughnuts I’ve tasted”. They’re advertised as “doughnuts” with Nutella and salted caramel sauce, but really they are ricotta zepolle – crisp, light, fluffy, donuts made with ricotta cheese and dusted in cinnamon sugar. They were a revelation.
Service was brilliant early, friendly, efficient, fun; things did get a little slower later as the place filled up. It clearly has a dedicated following already so staff were understandably stretched, but always affable.
No doubt Miss Kneady is popular with those who have dietary requirements or intolerance – these guys proudly advertise that they make their own gluten free pizza dough and offer gluten free pastas, as well as plenty of other gluten free dishes and options. And four of the seven pastas on offer are vegetarian.
It’s no surprise that the team behind Miss Kneady have pretty substantial hospitality experience and pedigree – the group of owners linked to solid performers like The Last Piece, Weirdoughs, Matcha Milkbar and the Italian Corner.
There’s a lot to like about Miss Kneady, now it’s just a matter of securing your booking, the locals are clearly already making the most of their new neighbour.