Moon Under Water is the latest offering by Andrew McConnell, who seems to be gradually taking over Melbourne with his restaurant empire: Cumulus Inc, Cutler & Co, Golden Fields, and The Builders Arms.
Part of The Builders Arms, Moon Under Water is the more formal dining room, and I’m not sure if this is part of the formality but the room is white. It’s white white white. The floor is white, the walls are white, the ceiling is white, the linen is white. You wouldn’t think that white could make such a loud statement but it does. (I’m not sure what that statement is, except for: white!)
Foodwise, it’s a set menu – $75 for four courses (and a couple of additional nibbles) that changes weekly.
We had a couple of little snacks before we begun: an excellent crumbly cheese biscuit made with parmesan and gruyere.
And little toasts topped with chopped raw clams and tomato – crunchy with a bit of onion and spiciness.
When we lifted the lid that the toasts rested on, we discovered bread, butter and pickles. Bread was excellent and I heartily approve of serving it with pickles. More pickles everywhere, I say.
After that we got into the courses. First up was cold poached veal with artichoke, curd cheese, broad beans and peas. It was a pleasant dish: the veal was thinly sliced, tender and mild, and I enjoyed the contrast of crunch from the artichoke chips and the sweetness of the broad beans and herbs.
The second course was fish: King George whiting with sorrel sauce and prawns. The fish was cooked perfectly, but the highlight were the plump prawns that were super sweet and fresh. Those prawns were the highlight of the meal.
The last savoury course was roast duck with turnips, sesame and ginger, which came with a salad of dressed leaves. Kind of Asian inspired with the flavours – it was nice but not that exciting.
Before dessert there was another little tidbit: blueberries and lemon curd on puff pastry.
And finally, dessert was a very glossy chocolate caramel bar with cream. The mousse inside was soft and silky, and as you can probably tell, it was pretty rich.
All in all, I enjoyed the meal at Moon Under Water but I didn’t love it. I’m not sure why! The quality of the cooking and ingredients was evident in the food, but somehow I just ended up thinking, “Yeah, that was okay.” Part of the problem may have been the fact that it was a late dinner on a school night (we started at 8:30pm) and it was a long meal (partly our fault, because Maztech asked for dessert to be delayed while we finished our wine – ROOKIE ERROR).
However, the beauty of a weekly changing menu is that the next time I visit all the food will be different. Perhaps I may love it then. I do love the name already (so poetic!).
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Moon Under Water (Builders Arms Hotel)
211 Gertrude St
Fitzroy, VIC 3065
Phone: 03 9417 7700