Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Punch Lane

Friday 8 June 2012
43 Little Bourke Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9639 4944

Punch Lane on Urbanspoon

Food 8/10
Service 9/10
Atmosphere 8/10
Cost Entrees $10-20, Mains Small $20-30 Large $30+ea


Cheese Fritters
Braised leek, roast pumpkin purée, vanilla salt & Jerusalem artichoke chips
Cassoulet of 24 hr. braised short rib, chorizo, white bean & garlic crust (entrée size only)

Roasted veal shoulder, Puy lentils, hazelnut dressing, roasted king brown mushrooms
Pork cutlet, pearl barley, roast cauliflower, apple compote & red wine jus
(sides) Sugar snaps

Chocolate & hazelnut brownie with cognac vanilla prunes & salted caramel ice-cream

The mystery red – a Malbec (Mendoza, Argentina)
1985 Toro Albalo Gran Reserva Pedro Ximenez (Montilla-Moriles, Spain)    

Well it’s been a while since I wrote a review of a restaurant, but this one was so good, I felt obliged to. It’d been a while since my last visit, possibly a couple of years back, and it was certainly a most enjoyable return. It’s a cozy and comfortable venue, sitting on the corner of a little laneway at the top of Bourke Street. We were looking for some quality food, not a fancy ordeal, not a casual pub meal, but somewhere in between, and this place is the perfect fit there.

The service was magnificent, the staff were very helpful with our wine selection, recommendations, and assistance. They were genuinely kind and enthusiastic, especially that lady helping us pick a wine, without ever being pushy. On the topic of the wine, my only regret is not recording our pick of the evening, which turned out to be the best red I’ve enjoyed to date. All I can say is it was probably around $55 and from Argentina, the rest will live on forever on my taste buds. In my desperation I’ve browsed through the online wine list, alas, nothing listed from Argentina. The thought of never tasting this red again brings tears to my eyes.

I digress, enough about my long lost love, the mysterious red wine aside, the food was also a real treat from starter to desert. To start, we enjoyed a couple of crispy cheese fritters, along with Braised Leek and a Beef Cassoulet. The Cassoulet was particularly tasty; a French-style casserole with crumbed couscous, and beans and chunks of beef beneath. Delicious! Along with our mains, married perfectly with that delicious red wine…

All the mains come in two sizes, a tasting (smaller) size for around $20-25, and a main (larger) size for around $30-40. We elected to share a couple of tasting portions of the Roasted veal shoulder, along with a Pork Cutlet. A mini serve of crackling was also provided! The serves were just right, and left just enough room for desert. The decision here was unanimous – It had to be the chocolate brownie, infamous according to staff. It wasn’t hard to see why, it came in a Sundae-like glass, with caramel crisp, and that chocolate that crackles against your tongue. Hit the spot with a glass of Pedro Ximenez desert wine.

Overall, a great experience, and I look forward to getting back there to be re-united with that my mysterious red Argentine friend. Also, worth noting this restaurant appears in the‘Entertainment’ Book, to allow you to squeeze more fun and food in and keep within your budget. Highly recommended.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your kind words and comments about Punch Lane - it is heart warming after 17 years to hear such postive feedback ... The anwswer to your question is 2009 Bodegas Catena Zapata 'Catena' Malbec Mendoza, Argentina