Disclosure: Alastair and I attended courtesy of Smith & Daughters.
Smith and Daughters is a new restaurant on Fitzroy Street, serving latin plant based food.
Plant based? Yes, it’s another way of saying that it’s a vegan restaurant, with no animal products used in any of the food or drinks.
The restaurant is near the Gertrude end of Fitzroy Street (the old Los Amates) and those who remember that restaurant will easily recognise the corner building. The interior has been brightened but the beautiful bluestone walls and the bar in the front corner have remained, with interesting artwork, neon signs, and knick knacks decorating the place.
The meal started with drinks, and I really enjoyed the Margarita with cucumber and jalapeno – tangy, salty and surprisingly spicy – very, very moreish.
I wasn’t quite as enamored of the Sangria. The jug that we had needed more fruity sweetness.
The meal consisted of several tastes off the menu – I haven’t included prices because they were tasting portions, but prices of small dishes range from $7-$14 and larger dishes from $16 up to $35 (paella for two).
First was the twice fried smashed plantain chips served with a glass of oyster mushroom and white bean ceviche. If you’ve eaten fried plaintain before, you’ll know it’s a crunchy, neutral – almost bland – deep fried snack. Which makes sense to pair it with the ceviche, except I found the ceviche too sharp and vinegary and lacking balance.
But I did enjoy crunching on the salty plaintain chips.
The tuna and green pea croquettas were much more impressive, and were my favourite thing of the night. They were made from Spanish bechamel folded with tuna and green pea, and served with caper aioli and fresh lemon wedges. Okay and technically it’s “tuna” buuuut honestly it was hard to tell that it was mock meat.
The tamales were excellent. These are made from corn, so the bulk is a thick mash, and they were filled with mushrooms, nopales (prickly pear) and grilled corn, and served with fresh lime and hot sauce. The hot sauce had a decent kick and really made it for me.
The chiles rellenos were fantastic – a Mexican chargrilled pepper stuffed with cream cheese and chorizo, then battered and deep fried. They were topped with a spicy tomatillo sauce. They know their hot sauces at Smith & Daughters, because this was another good one, though not as spicy as the one on the tamales.
Small bowls of pazole – a Colombian hominy (maize) soup was hearty and tasty and filled with beans, oyster mushrooms, pickled purple cabbage and topped with crispy tortilla chips and fresh lime.
Paella was cooked in large pans at the front and was really good, ending up with with smokey, crispy bits of rice. The only thing that let it down was the pieces of mock meat shaped like prawns – they were obviously faux meat and IMO the paella would’ve been better without them.
There were a couple of small sweet things to finish the night – a pretty incredible, deeply dark and rich chocolate Aztec tart and little quince filled Spanish donuts.
The food at Smith & Daughters was – even to a meat eater – pretty satisfying. Most of the mock meat was very convincing, with the exception of the paella meat, and I like it when restaurants don’t hold back on big spicy flavours. However, while enjoyable overall, it did feel like we ate a lot of fried food, and perhaps it would’ve been good to see some fresh dishes that really showcased vegetables.
I’m certainly not an expert, but I have a feeling that Smith & Daughters could be the hippest
vegan plant based restaurant in all of Melbourne.
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Smith & Daughters
175 Brunswick Street
Fitzroy VIC 3065