Saxe, Melbourne

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MELBOURNE | Saxe is the first solo venture from owner/chef Joe Grbac (ex St Crispin, Press Club), and sees Queen Street graced with an intimate venue two storey venue that prizes simple, produce driven food, and thoughtful flavour combinations. Downstairs is the recently refreshed Saxe Kitchen, a no bookings required wine bar with a small, simple menu (think pork ragu gnocchi, beef cheek noodle soup and coq au vin), and upstairs is the restaurant proper, which has been winning plaudits since opening in October 2017.

The upstairs space is elegant and relaxed, with a “Saxe-blue” banquette on one side and Victorian-era bricks on the other. Service up here matches the decor – formal but not stuffy, confident, and friendly. Up here, you can order a la carte, or opt for a five or seven course dinner degustation. During lunch a two or three course set menu is available. The food at Saxe is contemporary Australian, and reflects Grbac’s passion for seasonal Australian produce.

We opted to choose a few things from the menu rather than go for one of the set options and were thoroughly impressed by everything that we ate. Snap, crackle and pop is Grbac’s lightly seasoned version of pork crackling, and is a great way to start proceedings. It’s quite a large serve, but before you know it you’re done with the very moreish bites.

For entrees, we opted for the Atlantic salmon with arrow squid, creme fraiche, cucumber, and wasabi. It’s a wonderfully light dish, with some of the most unctuous salmon we’ve ever tried, balanced perfectly with the other ingredients for a cool, refreshing dish. We also went for the tartare of kangaroo with macadamia cream, hay ash, and cornichon. Another winner with soft and crispy, gamey and salty textures and flavours working wonderfully in unison.

Moving onto larger dishes, the Humpty Doo barramundi with carrot XO sauce, soy kohlrabi, and wombok is one of the highlights of the menu. The flaky, soft barramundi works wonderfully with the Asian flavours to create a dish that’s rather fantastic. It pairs wonderfully with the fried duck fat Hawkes potatoes, which are sprinkled with cornichons and shallots.

Moving onto the dessert, and it’s hard to choose what to order. There’s the Imperial mandaring and blood orange yoghurt dessert of Masterchef fame that’s been on the menu since day one, and three other rotating options. We didn’t go for the signature dessert due to Lauren’s nut allergy, and nuts being an integral part of it, but the two desserts we did choose left us with zero regrets.

First is the Brillat-Savarin and mango cheesecake with milk crumb, fig cream and tapioca. This is not your typical cheesecake, and is served deconstructed with wonderful mounds of indulgent 72% fat triple cream Brillat-Savarin. The textures, the flavours, it all works so well. We also opted for Grbac’s take on the Brooklyn black out cake. It’s a rich and moist 70% single origin chocolate cake with fudge, coffee soil, and gel. Less complex than the cheesecake but equally delicious.

For drinks, there’s a small beer and cocktail list and an easily navigable wine list that sorts wines by “weight”. E.g. light bodied whites, full reds etc. Saxe works with producers of hand crafted single vineyards, and has an assortment of traditional and minimal intervention wines on offer. The wine list is written completely with the cuisine in mind, and almost everything can be paired with something on the menu.

Dining at Saxe is an absolute pleasure. It’s classy, relaxed, and puts the focus squarely on amazing produce and flavour combinations.

Saxe

211 Queen Street
Melbourne
Victoria 3000
Australia

Telephone: (03) 9089 6699
E-mail: [email protected]
Website

Open
Tue – Fri: 12:00pm to 12:00am
Sat: 5:30pm to 12:00am

Saxe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Paul
Paul
Paul founded The City Lane back in 2009 as a place to share photos of his travels around Europe with friends and family. The City Lane might have changed quite a lot since those early days but one thing that’s remained constant is Paul’s passion for food, travel and culture, and a desire to photograph and write about his experiences. Paul has a strong inquisitive nature that drives him to look beneath the surface in order to discover what really makes a city and its people tick, and what better way to do this than over a good meal or drink, with a city’s locals, at places that people who live in that city actually frequent. Paul is also a co-host of The Brunswick Beer Collective, a podcast that may or may not actually be about beer.

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