Albert St Food & Wine Brunswick is a restaurant in Melbourne that was recently awarded one hat in the Age Good Food Guide 2013 (the first restaurant in Brunswick to receive a hat). Housed in a former bank building, the interior is modern and minimalist – timber floors, white walls, and a high ceiling.
The food is modern Mediterranean, and is focused on local, seasonal ingredients. As such, the menu does change. The executive chef, Philippa Sibley, is famous for her dessert and pastries (her previous roles include stints at Harvey’s in London and the 3 Michelin starred La Cote Saint Jacques in Paris).
All of the food at Albert St is great, however Sibley’s experience with desserts is plain to see, and they are without a doubt the highlight of the menu.
The wine and beer list includes a focused collection from, France, Italy, Spain and Australia.
There is also a small section to the side of the main bar area that sells a selection of produce and wine.
Service is attentive and friendly, and the vibe is very casual and unpretentious. This was my 3rd visit, and I am sure I will be back again.
The butter that comes with bread at the start of the meal has been dubbed ” Pip’s whip”, and is a Belgian butter, tinted green from the basil that’s been blended with olive oil and emulsified through it. It’s a subtle touch, and provides something different from the usual. In fact, “Pip’s whip” provides a good summary of what the food at Albert St is all about – familiar, but with subtle, unexpected twists.
Charcuterie board “A variety of Fuet anis, guanciale, morcon, proscuitto, salchichon, salami all with grissini, house made watermelon rind pickle, giardiniera” ($20)
Very simple and tasty. You know what you’re going to get. The rind pickle had quite an unexpected flavour to it.
Heirloom gazpacho, spanner crab, avocado, olive oil sorbet ($20)
This was my favourite dish of the day. The flavours were so fresh and the colours so vibrant. The dish screamed “summer” and the olive oil sorbet just added that extra layer of subtlety to it.
Portuguese sardines, caper, currant dressing, pinenuts ($16)
I’m not generally a fan of sardines, however they were not over-salted as is often the case and tasted really good.
Green beans, red wine onions, almonds, goats curd ($12)
This simple side provided the biggest surprise for me. I can generally leave or take beans, however these beans, while not raw, were very crispy, in a good way. I really enjoyed them.
Pizza – Albert St special – roasted peppers, pork & fennel sausage, smoked mozzarella ($18)
This pizza was great. The sausage was the definite highlight, with a beautiful taste and texture and a very subtle taste of aniseed.
Meyer Lemon Tart ($16)
While not as fancy looking as some of the other desserts, the Meyer Lemon Tart is Albert St’s signature dessert, so I thought it was about time that I gave it a try. It might look basic, but it’s unlike any tart you’ve ever had. The filling has the texture of a very light custard, and is not overpoweringly sweet, but perfectly balanced. The base has a very airy, light quality to it and was completely unexpected. It was definitely the right choice to end the meal.
Albert St Food & Wine
Corner of Albert St & 382 Sydney Rd
Telephone: (03) 8354 6600
Fax: (03) 8354 6611
Tue – Fri: Lunch & dinner, 12pm to late
Sat – Sun: Breakfast, lunch & dinner 9am to late
Bookings can be made, but it’s not essential.