Charcoal Lane, Fitzroy

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MELBOURNE | Charcoal Lane Fitzroy is a restaurant with a difference. It’s a socially minded venture (part of Mission Australia) which provides a comprehensive training program for young people that have had difficultly finding work. They focus on helping individuals gain professional qualifications and experience so that they may find long term employment in the hospitality industry. This in itself is a compelling reason to consider dining at Charcoal Lane, but as a further incentive they are one of the few Australian restaurants that specialise in the use of native ingredients. Native ingredients are incredibly underutilised in Australia, which is a shame as there are some really unusual and complex flavour profiles that can be obtained from this produce.

We were invited to come in and try some of the dishes on the winter menu at Charcoal Lane (the food here is seasonal). If you are interested in trying native produce Charcoal Lane’s menu beautifully highlights some of these delicious flavours such as the stunning confit duck and pepperberry terrine with quandong cumberland sauce, whipped eucalyptus butter and native bread. The beautiful rich terrine is complimented by the floral and slightly acidic peach like flavour from the quandong sauce. Quandong or “wild peach” is a surprising flavour which really elevated the dish.

The use of native ingredients is not limited to spices – it also includes items such as kangaroo, emu and wallaby. I am still surprised at the amount of people who have not tried these proteins. When there are spectacular dishes such as braised kangaroo tail arancini, with a lemon tea tree and red curry sauce and noodle salad it gives you a great opportunity to try something new. This kangaroo dish was our favourite course from the evening. The description is a little misleading as they are not in fact arancini balls. Rather they are delicious, tender pieces of kanagroo tail, covered in a beautiful crisp layer of breadcrumbs and lightly fried. There is no rice to be seen in these balls like classic arancini. Nonetheless they are absolutely delicious, with an almost Thai flavour to them.

For mains I would recommend the whole baked trout with congo potato mash, karkalla, roast capsicum and lemon myrtle sauce. This dish is beautifully cooked and de-boned for convenience however if you are uncomfortable with the idea of whole fish coming out of a plate maybe try the chargrilled scotch fillet with caramelised red wine and pepperberry onions with celeriac puree.  It is basically a twist on the classic steak, onion and mash with the incorporation of native flavours. It’s a very solid and a generously sized dish. In fact everything we tried at Charcoal Lane was generously portioned.

Large portions however are not required in all cases particularly when the dish is rich. This was the case when it comes to the brenton lemon myrtle tiramisu. The lemon myrtle flavour verges onto overwhelming and the portion size is to large given the strength of the flavour. On our table there were mixed reactions about this dish however the consensus was that the wattleseed bavouris, chocolat a trois target with strawberry gum sable was the better dessert option. It provides a great combination of flavours and textually diverse.

If you are looking for something a little different, want to try native flavours or just want to eat somewhere where they are trying to make a difference I would highly recommend checking out Charcoal Lane.

Charcoal Lane

136 Gertrude Street
Fitzroy
Victoria 3065
Australia

Telephone: (03) 9418 3400
E-mail: [email protected]
Website: http://www.charcoallane.com.au/

Open
Tue – Sat: 12:00pm to 3:00pm; 6:00pm to late

Charcoal Lane Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Lauren
Lauren
Lauren has travelled extensively, allowing her to experience different cultures around the world. This has fed her desire to travel and try as many cuisines as possible. Lauren's appreciation for food is grounded in the philosophy that food has a unique way of telling a story about family, friends or struggles. She believes food is a way of preserving culture and the stories of the people behind them. This has inspired her to create recipes and design events that ensure food from different cultures is accessible at home.

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