The Drifter’s Table Melbourne is a popup restaurant run by three chefs who are trying to do their bit to help the popup restaurant scene in Melbourne mature. Once every month or two the chefs and their team go to a venue in Melbourne and take over the kitchen for the night with the aim of providing “well-cooked food and a value-for-money restaurant experience”.
The “drifting” chefs have some solid pedigree behind them. Robbie Bell (currently at Rockpool Bar & Grill Melbourne) has worked at Michelin starred restaurants, including a stint at the Fat Duck, Keelan Gallogly (currently at Rockpool Bar & Grill Melbourne) has worked at Tetsuya’s, Quay and Sepia, and Rodney Mom (currently at Hayman Island Resort) has worked at Leichardt and Rockpool Bar & Grill Melbourne.
The philosophy behind the food at the Drifter’s Table is simple. The best local produce, cooked well. $65 gets you the four course tasting menu at $100 gets you the menu plus matching wines. All of the wines and beer are Victorian and wine is available by the glass.
When I visited a few weeks ago in October, the venue was Crabapple Kitchen in Hawthorn.
Scallop Ceviche and Squid Grilled with Chorizo and Peas
Both of these starters were really tasty. The scallop was cooked perfectly and was very light and the squid, served on a pork cracker of sorts was even better – the crunch balancing well with the softness of the other ingredients.
Smoked Eel Agnolotti with Cauliflower, Apple and Watercress
This dish was very tasty, and the little apple cubes really helped finish the dish adding just a little sweetness where needed.
Grilled King George Whiting, Spring Garlic, Asparagus and Romesco
Both my wife and I agreed that this was the highlight of the meal. Nothing fancy, just a beautiful, soft and flaky piece of fish cooked well with some very tasty vegetables.
Baked Potatoes with Sea Salt
These potatoes were a real surprise. One would think that potatoes with sea salt are going to be pretty predicable but these were really tasty, more so that I thought they would be.
Burnt Butter Cake with Crème Caramel Ice Cream and Almond Brittle
This dish was not what I’d normally order for dessert but it was still very enjoyable. The burnt butter cake had a really nice crispiness on the outside and the creme caramel ice cream was delicious – it was super creamy and really did taste like creme caramel.
I really like what the guys at the Drifter’s Table are doing. Apart from the fact that the popup concept is really fun, the thing that really matters is being delivered upon – great food and great service at a reasonable price. I know I’ll be keeping my ears out for the next one.