Merricote. Not a bordello (thanks Ren, for the analogy. I did downgrade it from “whorehouse”, however).
You could be mistaken for thinking it, after 10 bawdy mums took Merricote on for lunch with ample cleavage and blue steel abounding. These be my biatches. Every mum needs a posse of like-minded chicks who dig you (and who you dig!), make you laugh and force you to reach for another bottle of wine. It’s a necessity. Much like wine.
If you ignored the group of busty wenches in the middle room, you would see an otherwise classy (even “posh”) establishment. Merricote is a “modern french” restaurant, unassumingly positioned on High Street in Northcote (a tipsy stumble home). The food I ordered – warm potato and goats cheese terrine for entree and confit of duck with apples and roast kipflers for main – was divine.
I didn’t order the smoked “egg yolk” though.
The odd dish came out in what I could only describe as a salsa jar with the lid on. The egg was “smoked” (hence the title “smoked egg”) so the jar was filled with a hickory mist that you couldn’t see through. I was a bit scared that a lizard would jump out when the lid came off (mind you, I had had a glass of chardy by the stage and was feeling a little loose). Once you plucked up the courage to lift the lid, there was an egg yolk sitting on top of some salted ham and peas, which then rested on some puffed rice. A concept piece, certainly, and a nod to molecular gastronomy, but I couldn’t help but think they were trying too hard to chuck-a-Heston. The two ladies who ordered the smoked egg said it was “interesting”. I probably wouldn’t have eaten it. It’s not really my thing.
The duck and the terrine were amazing, though. REALLY good. I was impressed. The wait staff were a wee bit snooty, but they were dealing with 10 child-free mums who clearly don’t get out enough. So. Kudos and shit. Meals came out really quickly. The bread was endless. The bill came out with wooden pigs. A message concept, perhaps.
Restaurant Express is part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (which finishes tomorrow for 2013, but happily, the restaurants don’t close down then). It showcases some 100 Melbourne (and surrounds) restaurants that may have otherwise been inaccessible for a bevy of Stay at Home “Beauties” (SAH”B”). For $40, we had a 2 course lunch (entree & main or main & dessert), a glass of wine (extras were accommodated for an extra $$$) and a tea or coffee. The menu was abridged, with 2 choices per course (including the wine). Pretty good value all ’round.
I think next year, I’ll organise an out-of-town ladies lunch, though. Biatches be mine. Seriously.