On Tuesday I had dinner with a small group of colleagues to celebrate the end of the year. After the drama of finding an evening that worked for seven people in December – almost an impossibility but I managed to find one date – the next question was where to go. It couldn’t be too expensive (no Vue de Monde), but not too cheap (no $5 dumplings). No one was fussed on the kind of cuisine, but there was a specific request for no restaurants in the Casino.
I spent AGES racking my brain trying to think of somewhere suitable. Why is that there are so many restaurants in Melbourne, and yet it’s so hard to find somewhere to eat?! So when one of my colleagues suggested The Smith, I just went ahead and booked a table. It was a bit of a risk considering none of us had eaten there before, but it saved me hours of thinking time!
The Smith opened in Prahran on High Street a few months ago and it apparently used to be a dodgy pub. It’s dodgy no longer – after a pretty slick fit out, it’s smart and a bit cool: the front room has a bar and eating area with an industrial looking ceiling with exposed white beams and brick walls. The back room has another eating area, plus an open kitchen and an entrance to the uni-sex toilets via a sliding door.
Food wise, the menu is like a world tour.
You can visit France: terrine, foie gras parfait.
You can visit Japan: tempura prawns, tuna tataki, kingfish sashimi.
You can visit Mexico: fajitas, tortillas with avocado and jalapeno.
You can visit Thailand: papaya salad, betel leaves with fish salad.
You can visit China: silken tofu, prawn and pork dumplings, lup chong.
You get the idea.
To start with I had the pork belly with seared scallops and red chilli dressing ($20). Super sticky and soft, the pork belly didn’t have any crackling, but the sides were slightly crisp. Even without crackling, this was a delicious dish.
And for my main I had something a bit lighter, and choose the barramundi with tomatoes, black beans, corn and school prawn salad ($34). The fish was cooked perfectly and had a great crispy skin.
I didn’t have dessert, and instead shared a cheese plate ($23) with my colleague. We received three cheeses, a few nuts, grapes, pear slices, quince paste, crackers and fruit bread.
The portion sizes are pretty good – not too big and not too small, and I thought prices were reasonable. All my workmates enjoyed their meals, and between the seven of us we sampled a fair bit of the menu. The all encompassing range of the menu did give me a brief concern when I saw it, but it was all done well and that’s all that matters really.
So: random venue suggestion – win!
For more on The Smith, check out these blogs:
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213 High Street
Phone: 03 9514 2444