Friday, June 17, 2011

RESTAURANTS: Perk Up / MoVida / Becco / Mrs Parma's [Melbourne]

We woke from the late night before, brushing the sleep from our eyes to reveal a dilemma. We had a lunch booking at 12, which didn't leave enough time for a big breakfast.

We left the hotel and hit up the first place that appeared to contain coffee and light food: Perkup, a pretty no-nonsense cafe/food thing near Southern Cross station.

The food was okay. The coffees okay. The spot was hit.

Perkup Expresso Bar on Urbanspoon

The lunch booking in question was the ubiquitous tourist journey to Movida. I've heard that if you're a tourist in Melbourne and you have a blog and you don't go to Movida then YOU PROBABLY WILL DEFINITELY DIE.

I went here last time I was here and a return was a no-brainer. This time I enjoyed the hell out of the Pyrenees wet roast (braised?) lamb breast, the duck liver parfait with pedro xim foam, pork neck in prunes, wagyu tartare and the legendary beef cheek in pedro xim with cauliflower puree.

Disappointed that some of my favourites from last time (namely the air dried wagyu with egg and the morcilla) were missing. But onwards and upwards I guess.

Service was friendly, though they did get one of the dishes wrong. I won't think less of you if you write my order down. Seriously.

For mine, I still think that Sydney's Bodega has the edge over it as the best modern tapas I've had, however slight that edge may be.

MoVida Bar de Tapas on Urbanspoon

Our dinner was going to be an interesting one. One of my travel companions work colleagues recommended Becco as the best meal she'd ever had in Melbourne, despite it being something like five years ago. Despite me mentioning that I'd heard nothing but "okay but not great" from people that have been there recently and trying to compromise by suggesting a quick lunch or a plate before moving on to somewhere else so we don't "burn a meal" there, I got overruled and Becco was the destination.

What can I say? It was okay, but definitely not great. It wasn't current. The selection of antipasto as an entree gave me a selection of 3 bites, all more boring than the last. Someone opted for the stuffed olives and for nearly $20 only got a few stuffed olives in a tired cup. They weren't blown away by the flavour. It was a similar reaction from the one that ordered the 2 small pieces of lambs brain.

Mains weren't much better. I enjoyed the abundance of quail in my casarecche with quail ragu but the superfluity of olives put the ragu off balance. Eggplant tortellini looked fresh on the plate and ate okay but didn't blow anyone away. And for over $40 the spaghetti marinara was fairly par for the course. Desserts didn't look like anything special.

Becco looks like a nice and promising restaurant, but the food--while pleasant--is a total snoozefest. We all agreed that the co-worker dropped the ball on this one.

RATING: Will probably not return to [?]

Becco on Urbanspoon

The night finished with a walk around the corner to Mrs Parma's for some drinks.

While it seemed like a fairly unassuming schnitzelhaus, this place single-handed gives the middle finger to Sydney's appreciation for craft brewing. We've got nowhere like this where a normal sort of restaurant is dedicated to having local craft brews on trap, as well as a very solid local craft list in the fridge. Kudos.

Mrs Parma's on Urbanspoon

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