Thursday, 26 June 2014

The Clever Girls at Clever Polly's

Ok ... without giving too much away it was an evening when we needed to clear the air and find some sort of polite distraction in the hours between closing for the day and opening for the night.

I had read about this newly opened establishment on Broadsheet and suggested we have a quiet drink to lift our spirits. So that's how we ended up at Clever Polly's.

Situated on the border between West and North Melbourne, this is the less travelled end of Victoria Street, which in my opinion makes this wine bar cum store that little bit more special.

The wine list here is carefully curated as is the selection that can be purchased in the store. The staff here are knowledgeable and suitably enthusiastic so don't be afraid to ask and discuss. You can also refer to the Field Guide that they supply you with along with the drinks and food menus.

I absolutely adored my glass of La Distesa Verdicchio (2012) from Marche, Italy. Imagine a honeyed Chardonnay mixed with a crisp cider (yes you got that right!). I loved it so much I had it again on a subsequent visit.

M got to try the Vinterloper UWP Red # 1 (2013). This is a wine produced as a result of the Urban Wine Project and the grapes have the dubious distinction of being crushed by the feet of the wider community in Fed Square! For a bit of a hotch potch blend this was surprisingly delicious and imminently quaffable.

If you are a little peckish there is a small selection of vittles to be had. Again you can consult with the staff as to which wine to pair with what food. We had the selection of Cured meats from Salumi Australia ($22) which is a good way to start.

We also tried the Brioche soldiers with cumin and ricotta ($7) which almost burst the banks, rich as it was - the brioche came in unexpectedly thick slices.

On a subsequent visit we sampled a bit of the Comte on offer. Again I encourage you to ask which is the best cheese for the wine you're drinking or vice versa.

I love Clever Polly's and look forward to many impromptu and perhaps not so impromptu drinking dates there. Go go go!

Clever Polly's on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Mozzarella Bar - memories of Florence in downtown Seddon

Ok ... I'm working my way through the pile of unfinished blogposts and I've decided to  dispense with chronology entirely because ... well frankly the bitch is tired ... so like Tamar Iveri, you just need to suck it up ... 

Anyhoo, its always a pleasure to review an eatery in the local hood, particularly one that has finally broken the run of less than satisfactory recent CBA Friday nights.

Covering a fair bit of frontage on Victoria Street, Seddon, Mozzarella Bar a recently opened Italian eatery is already in full patronage swing.

There are no design surprises as far as the fitout is concerned, although I feel that underneath all that wood veneer lurk the ghosts of neon, chrome and steel pasts. Still, they do have the prettiest wood fired oven all covered in shiny milky blue tiles.

And I pray to the gods of intellect and sophistication that the accents promulgated by the friendly staff here are genuine as the alternative is a look too far into the abyss.

But lets turn our attention to the food, because at the end of the day, thats what we're here for.

The Pizzas coming out of the oven looked and smelt delicious, but as we were both not in pizza munching mode we approached the menu in the same way we did in Italy when we holidayed there last year - i.e. a Primi (shared), a Pasta (each but this time we weren't that hungry so we shared) and a Secondi (shared).

As a Primi we ordered the Gamberini ($14) described on the menu as "Crispy Freshwater Prawns, Spiced, Lemon Rocket & Chilli". There is something about the smell of charring prawn shell ... so wonderfully evocative of holidays by the sea ... or seafood at pre-developed Punggol, embedded clam shells in the dirt crunchy under your feet ... aah ....

But then there's something rather disheartening about Prawns that are overcooked or burnt ... much like the Winter's day outside the window waiting to nip at my extremities as soon as I step outdoors.

Mozzarella's offering is teetering on the burnt side. I had to brighten the photo above considerably and still you can see how brown and dark the shells are, instead of the enticing pinkey orange we're more accustomed to (crispy school prawns being the snack de jour at the mo!). Having said that, there was not a feeler or leg left on the plate by the time we were finished.

For our pasta we shared the Filei di Mamma ($18) - Pine Nuts, Pesto. This simple dish of Florentian styled pasta was simply wonderful. A definite highlight of the meal, and a dish I hope to return to on future visits. I think that with pasta, the simpler it is, the more satisfying. You should definitely check this one out when you go.

Our Secondi was equally impressive. We had the Agnello ($28) - Chargrill Lamb Cutlets, Roasted Potatoes, Red Pepper & Eggplant Caponata.

The lamb cutlets and potatoes were cooked perfectly. The potatoes tasted like they were cooked in a stew and then roasted to finish them off. Delicious! And the Caponata was well balanced and a perfect foil to the rich meat. Also another dish I would recommend and hope to have again sometime in the near future.

All in all, Mozzarella Bar is a welcome addition to the culinary pantheon of the West. Keep 'em coming world!

Mozzarella Bar on Urbanspoon

Monday, 23 June 2014

Facts are fact and Fiction's fiction - Watching the Liars at The Corner Hotel

Ok ... with that motorik shout out the crowd loses it shit ... and I am in very present danger of losing my head as arms flail and bodies thump as hardcore dancing ensues ...

I forget that Liars was born out of the fetid swamp of thrash metal and the band has shouldered that sensibility along with some of its fans on its journey into the uneasy world of EDM ...

Angus towers above us in his technicoloured woolly balaclava, removing it only to uncover cobain styled root bound blonde tresses (not real) that hides all expression from view ...

Julian mans the skins with pithy concentration, his dark bearded looks making me feel all funny ...

Whilst Aaron gives off some Nick Rhodes realness as he twiddles knobs and punches keys ...

My body spasms involuntarily in time to the relentless beat and in my mind I am the coolest of the cool ...

Meanwhile the hipsters have stayed at home ... aha aha

Darkness Darkness - A Random update

Ok ... 

In darkness
Where my dreams are all too clear

Darkness, darkness

Filled with all the sounds of fear

I hear voices (don't turn out the light)
Calling faraway

I see shadows (don't turn out the light)
Moving, changing shape

(An Excerpt from "Darkness" by The Human League)

Not too long a wait for what comes next ... 

*Photos taken at Little Lon - Melbourne Museum
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