The Brix Café & Bistrot
The brix has closed down in Aug 2012
Rear of 412 Brunswick Street
Fitzroy, VIC 3065
03 9417 6114
Sometimes, the more you like a place, the less you want to talk about it.
Maybe I’ll let you gather all the essential bits and pieces about The Brix from other blog posts and sites…
…this way, you can just enjoy the painfully beautiful pictures of the food here.
Loved the fit-out and ambience of the place. Small, cosy, elegant and modern…
…with little touches here and there, and smiling, friendly, quirky staff.
We came here for the $80 five course set menu, but first…
…we shared a platter of Tasmanian Duck Bay oysters w red wine and shallot vinaigrette.
Not too bad, but one word of advice, don’t eat the sand that the oysters were sitting on. *blush*
All good restaurants will ask if any of us have allergies before starting a set menu.
Hence this thoughtful bread platter. Sourdough and rye for Fakegf and I.
Gluten free bread, specially for Ashley.
I only grew keen to visit The Brix after I-Hua and Agnes instagrammed a string of exquisite food photos of its dishes.
Yes, I’m a food blogger, but I also like to think of myself as a food photographer. I feel a wonderful sense of satisfaction when I’ve managed to capture the feel of a venue…
…and the hidden beauty and language behind each plate of food.
Smoked tuna, avruga, seaweed
Just perfectly beautiful.
Smoked tuna jelly, tendrils of enoki, Avruga caviar, crisp snapper skin, puffed rice, and coastal succulents…
…everything just worked, awash in a marriage of flavours.
We tasted the sea. In fact,
it almost felt like we were walking
along a rocky Australian coast.
Wow… so just who are these chefs? How do they make food look and taste so winsome?
Love the use of tweezers… since when did food become so intricate?
We kept observing the flow inside the open kitchen. They seemed to work together with a seamless effortlessness.
Each time a course arrives, it is presented with a brief, almost cryptic, description.
For instance, plates would float onto our tables, and with a breathy sigh, the floor staff would coo dreamily:
“Beef… and oyster…”
*floor staff walks away…*
Umm, yep… there’s much much more going on there than just beef and oysters, lol.
Some may think it pretentious, but I see it as a teasing way to be surprised with what’s on your plate. Isn’t art all about enquiry, subjectiveness, extrapolation and discovery?
With food looking so exquisitely pretty, I’ll just let my tongue be curious. Although, I almost did not want to eat this dish because it actually looked too pretty to eat!!
On first bite, I was transported into the Australian outback, with the lonesome baked oyster as the only figment of the sea left behind…
I could almost taste sun-seared native herbs, with paradoxical bursts of black sesame. The beef came both raw and slow-cooked, both wonderful. And till now, nobody still knew what that those white, seaweedy, thready ribbons were.
And what I thought was a cooked scallop turned out to be a blob of beautiful, buttery marrow… Amazing.
The set meal was paced out very nicely, over three hours.
In between dishes, we got into a fun chat about how to pronounce “Laguiole” knives.
Singaporean me would say “la-gwee-ole”, but I remember Mr Frenchman calling it “lye-yool”.
Next, we walked into a Summer glade, and found…
venison, roast onion and clove…
…rife with flowers.
Hints of clove were hidden inside the white powder.
Once again, such exquisitely unusual flavours.
I mean, look at those little white flowers. Who’d think that they can be edible?
The sous vide venison tasted smoky, with tenderly soft blushing flesh.
Dusk settles in, as we chatted and waited for the last two courses to arrive…
“Lamb, lettuce… and mace”
I assume the mace was hidden within the brown soil, but it actually tasted more earthy-sweet and aniseedy to us. It takes bold confidence for a chef to use such robust tasting spices inside a main dish.
If you imbibed some spiced soil with the unctuously fatty slow-cooked lamb, it sort of worked. Still, we weren’t all that keen on that combination.
The dish also had battered sweetbreads (thymus gland) that reminded me of bouncy fried chicken. Never had this before.
A common thread in the food here involves some molecular gastronomy, with powders, soils, ribbons and jellies. But there’re also elements of a forager’s and artist’s touch here, with wild herbs and edible flowers skilfully scattered across magnificently tweezered dishes.
The staff all wear suspenders, they look like skinny humpty dumpties. Very cute, and juuust a teensy bit kitsch. ^.^
And the meal ends splendidly, with blackberries, beetroots and basil. An arrestingly musky, masculine dessert.
A scroll of ginger, sticks of warm spices, hand-picked blackberries, dark crumbs of cake, beetroot ‘roe’, and an amazing yoghurt foam. Boldly executed flavours, that somehow just simply worked.
For just five courses that all looked smallish, the amount of food still turned out just right. We were surprisingly satiated with the set menu. But for those of us who were still a tiny bit nibbly, cute madeleines accompanied the bill.
You can tell I enjoyed this meal. I liked the brave conflict of flavours, it made me keep thinking and pondering as I ate. And don’t get me started on the wild and exquisitely random presentation of every dish. I think it takes much artistry to tweezer-craft such wonderful looking plates of food.
But the bottom line is, the food here actually tastes as beautiful as it looks, and that’s why this place will stand as a winner in my heart.
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