With Matteo’s receiving two hats in the Good food guide and years of praise and recognition, I jumped at the chance to dine there as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. To be honest…I was a little disappointed.
As our wine arrived we happily awaited our entrees. I ordered the Tempura Zucchini Flowers with feta, watermelon, radish, coriander and tamarind dressing.
The tempura was perfectly crisp, and the radish, coriander and peanut salad was nice, yet nothing outstanding. The feta however was a little too overpowering and rich for my liking. As this was the first time I’ve eaten tempura zucchini flowers, I’m not sure whether my disappointment should be put down to taste or delivery.
My fellow dinner on the other hand order the Kingfish sashimi which was accompanied by a prawn remoulade kaffir lime and lemon grass and she told me this was some of the best sashimi that she has ever had.
For our mains, we both ordered the fish of the day, which was a blue eye fillet served with a sweet potato puree and a butter and lemon sauce.
The presentation was beautiful, served with a swirl of puree and a cute accompaniment of fresh herbed cucumber. As I cut into my piece of fish however the first thing I noticed was that it was sufficiently overcooked. A piece of blue eye should melt in your mouth, but on the contrary, this dish was dry and tough. As I looked up I noticed that my fellow dinner was experiencing the same disappointment. The sweet potato puree, while delicious and sweet on its own completely overpowered everything else on the plate and the cucumber accompaniment seemed a little random and out of place. Finally…the butter and lemon sauce was divine and the complete stand out of the meal.
It was a complete shock to me to be served overcooked fish at any restaurant let alone one as well renowned as Matteos.
Finally to dessert.
We both ordered the tasting plate, which consisted of an orange crème caramel, a mango and strawberry parfait and a sour cherry and chocolate mascarpone tart.
The crème caramel was outstanding. It was creamy and soft and topped with rose water fairy floss. The parfait was simple, nice yet somewhat boring and finally the chocolate and cherry tart, which I was expecting to be my favorite of the plate severely lacked flavour. To be completely honest it tasted like store bought pastry was filled with chocolate and cream which they then topped with canned cherries and cherry jelly. Again I found myself surprised.
With such high and long-standing praise I was baffled at what I was served here. It almost felt like an old venue growing tired and forgetting to try. It lacked inspiration and individuality.
On the other hand the staff here were lovely and didn’t miss a beat. They served meals quickly and with a smile and were flawless in their delivery.
Maybe lunch isn’t what Matteo’s does best, but I can’t see myself rushing back.
For more information:
533 Brunswick Street
Fitzroy North VIC 3068
(03) 9481 1177