The day I moved into my new house, I had a great day. Not only did everything go to plan (and I was done by 6:30pm!) but it was almost the antithesis of the moving day I had when I moved into Prahran almost a year ago. In fact, that night I had too little packet pasta and far too much red wine. This time, I celebrated with dinner for three at Jorg, a mere 2 minute walk away from the new digs.
Fitzroy North may be only 7 kms away, but it may as well be the other side of the world – not just the river. And naturally, I love it. There are a million culinary delights within walking distance, nothing pretentious (well, not so far) and good value for money. That’s important.
So, Jorg! We have at the helm the ex-head chef of Jacques Reymond, Michael Smith (my experiences there I shall blog about at a later date), and Bryce Bernhardt, ex sous chef of Church Street Enoteca. I didn’t tell my dining partners this, hoping it wouldn’t bias the experience, but in fact, pretty much explains why it is THAT GOOD.
I had already taken a sneek peek of the menu before walking over, but it’s always nice to be surprised by the range of the menu – it’s Modern Australian/Modern European with a good focus on in-season produce (most amazing was the Fig Carpaccio dish, more on that in a minute) and “a healthy wine list”. They also offer degustation (not really my thing unless it’s a special occasion) which the table beside us had. It’s also a very comfortable atmosphere, the interior is spacious and neat (with lovely walnut detailed walls).
We ordered a few sharing plates to begin, starting with Bacalla Fritters (amazing and not as fishy as I’d anticipated – it’s probably sacreligious to say this, but it felt like very fancy fish fingers!) and Hot and Sour Chicken Ribs (we’d read good things about these, the other two weren’t so keen on the sour dipping sauce, which was very citrus-y, but I thought it was extremely fresh and quite different. Tasty)
Next photo is the Terrine of the day (Rabbit) wrapped in prosciutto (I’d give it a 7/10 for good flavours and nice execution with some salsa and toast) with the aforementioned Fig Carpaccio, with blue cheese (forget which type), micro greens, drizzled with honey and candied walnuts. This was by far the most impressive dish I’ve had in a while – simple and elegant but incredibly delicious. Unfortunately it was on the specials menu, but it is definitely one to watch out for.
It was so good, in fact, that we tried to replicate it a few days later (not to the same spectacular effect, but you get the idea). This is actually a really good summer dessert. Slice the figs thinly (ours were a little mooshed so didn’t quite work as well as I’d hoped), top with cheese (I’d use blue next time instead of ricotta), drizzle with honey and top with candied walnuts (I’d candy pecans next time – google for a quick recipe, it isn’t hard)
Anyway, back to Jorg. So imagine we are sitting there, enjoying our very delicious and impressive meal so far with a couple of glasses of red (Spanish, can’t recall the name) when the waiter comes with our mains. As he goes to lay them on the table, he knocks over S’s red wine, all over the table and the glass completely shatters. What a disaster… or so you would think! I nipped out of the way of the oncoming wave of red, just as a couple of waiters descended on our table, whisked away S’s meal (to re-plate it to ensure no fragments of glass were on the sides of the plate) and sopped up the red mess.
The apologetic waiter, who was in fact the maitre’d, promptly ordered another bottle of the (rather expensive) red and instead of just refilling the glass (it was the last one of our original bottle) he gave us the whole thing. He also included some tipples of sherry at the end while we were having dessert. To the restaurant’s credit, I love how he handled the whole situation and how well we were looked after. The service was impossible to fault.
So what did we have for mains? I tried the leek and nettle ravioli special (lovely – looks small but has a punch with some sweet and savoury flavour), S had twice cooked roast duck and L had the pork loin. Witlof salad was perfect to accompany the rich flavours of the food.
Didn’t taste the pork, but the Duck was incredibly tasty – with cherries and couscous – I’d give that one a 9/10 and was probably the most impressive dish next to both the fig carpaccio and the sweet and sour chicken ribs.
But no great dinner would be complete without a look at the dessert menu. I ordered the Vanilla bean panna cotta with blood orange and campari jelly. The jelly was so tart and the panna cotta was very subtle and soft. Not a favourite dish but I would definitely have it again. It even looks like a lot but was gone very quickly with 3 spoons attacking.
Service 10/10 – not only the wine incident, but waiters brought water to the dog tied up outside in a special dog bowl, I have a feeling this is pretty normal for the weekend breakfast service.
Food 9.5/10 – to pull out a new favourite dish (figs), impress me with duck skills and leave me wanting more tasting plates, this is surely an amazing achievement.
Value for Money – I know you’re interested in this. I’d give it a 8/10. Worthwhile but, of course, not cheap.