3

Dinner At Smith and Bellas

Last week, a group of vegan food enthusiasts met up for dinner at Smith & Daughters (currently a.k.a. Smith & Bellas), to try out the new winter menu which is all Italian themed. Now I’ll admit when I first heard the menu was Italian I felt disappointed. I love Italian food, but I’m very used to it either with what I make at home, and that there a million Italian restaurants in Melbourne.

Well, I should have just done a Bon Jovi and kept the faith because some of the dishes I tried were excellent and I’d go back to have them again, despite my personal rule of never ordering the same thing twice when there’s more on the menu to try.

We each paid $55 (or was it $58?) excluding drinks for these plates-to-share. The menu also boasts a number of gluten free options.

First up, the meatballs ($12 for three). I loved these and counted them as an excellent start. I don’t know what’s in them but I would love these on top of spaghetti. The texture was quite meatbally and the napoli sauce lovely.  Low light photos with my phone sorry, I decided to leave the camera at home because I wanted to enjoy the food and not have the hassle of trying to take great pics:

Next was the garlic bread ($8, has a gluten free option), which reminded me there’s standard okay garlic bread but also, like this, bloody good garlic bread:

Next, the carpaccio ($18). House made thin slices of mock meat, topped with horseradish cream, figs, fried capers, shaved parmessan and a mountain of rocket. Another standout for me:

Now moving in to the Big Plates and Pasta section of the menu, we had the gnocchi ($22) with broccoli rabe pesto, cream, chilli and lemon. Gnocchi done perfectly:

I was especially looking forward to trying the ragu on polenta ($24, gluten free), as I’d heard so many positive comments about it. I’m not really in to polenta, but as a shared plate arrangement it’s fine. I agreed with the positive comments on the ragu and it was my favourite of the night. The slow-cooked texture and appearance was wonderful and I loved the red wine flavour. The polenta was very good too. I want to return just to have this again:

From here we had a couple of sides come out. First up the creamed silverbeet with chilli and preserved lemon ($10, gluten free). I liked the flavours but as silverbeet is one of my least favourite veggies, I just had a little sample and passed on the rest. Others at the table loved it:

I’m also not that keen on Jerusalem artichokes, so the slow braised artichoke-leek-fennel Cheesy Gratin ($14) was something else I had a little sample of and left for others:

The silverbeet and artichoke sides came out at the same time as the Milanese schnitzel in a parmesan lemon herbed crumb ($25). The menu says it’s big. I say it’s massive. I wouldn’t recommend getting it for less than three people sharing and even then I’d say it’s perhaps better for four people sharing a number of dishes. While I really liked this, and it was very chicken-schnitzely, there was a bit of a general agreement that it needed something to go with it like a sauce. It’s essentially a huge tasty slab of mock meat, though the sides of silverbeet and cheesy gratin could have added that little something:

Then we were on to dessert. I loved the tiramisu ($16), which is the closest-to-dairy-tiramisu vegan tiramisu I’ve had to date:

Finally, the bomb Alaska style Baked Vesuvius ($15). This was a lovely mix of chocolate sable and ganache, spiced quinces and black pepper ice cream smothered in a quince and amaretto Italian meringue and torched in front of us. Very nice:

I really enjoyed this meal and had my initial disappointment of a new Italian menu totally, and rightfully, obliterated. I’m trying to find an opportunity to go back now because there’s more on the menu that looks great: the braised broccoli crostini, baked eggplant involtini, rigatoni napolitani caponata, cacio e pepe, tubetti in brodo and the limoncello rice pudding.

Cindy and Michael over at Where’s the Beef? have a great writeup on Smith & Bella’s here.

 

Smith & Daughters

175 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

http://www.smithanddaughters.com/

8

Dinner At Smith & Daughters, Fitzroy

smithdaughterstable

Until last night, I hadn’t been to Smith & Daughters for dinner. I KNOW, you guys. I know. I have been for brunch before and did get as far as making a dinner reservation for my birthday last year but unfortunately had to cancel. But with my birthday this year, and with my sister and her partner moving a little ways out of Melbourne next month, I was pretty determined to make it there for dinner (at least the awesome looking autumn-winter menu)!

First up let me apologise for the flash photos of food. It was quite dimly lit inside and fiddling around with my camera settings was causing me no end of grief, plus I was kinda squished against the wall with not much room to move. Then I was holding everyone up by taking shots on different settings and in the end I just went with the auto setting.

The meals are designed to be shared. Aaaaand we shared lots. My mum, sister and I had looked at the menu the day before and instantly agreed on a few things. We loved the kale and leek bake with the crispy garlic bread crumbs on top. We ended up ordering a second. This was my standout favourite, same with my mum:

smithdaughterskaleleekbake

We also ordered the morcilla, which is a (vegan of course) blood sausage topped with chimmichuri. I was expecting it to be more firm, like a sausage, but it was quite soft. We agreed we should have ordered a side of bread as this would have been nice spread out over some nice toasted bread or pita. It was nice but if I was going to order it again I’d definitely get some bread:

smithdaughtersmorcilla

Of course we couldn’t go without ordering the famous tuna and green pea croquettas that so many have raved about. They certainly lived up to my expectations (and I’ve always hated fish so I’d never have ordered a non-vegan version in my pre-vegan days!). My sister voted these as her favourite. We also got a serving of the tortilla, a Spanish potato onion omelette served with garlic aioli. The tortilla was quite cool (as in, not warm/hot like the other dishes) and the garlic aioli added a nice burst of flavour. I have to try and make my own version at home because anything potato works for me:

smithdaughterscroquettastortilla

Speaking of potatoes, my dad voted the patatas con romesco ahumado his favourite of the night. We all loved them and were pretty delighted so see the large serving come out. We saw loads of potatoes being served to other tables (same with the croquettas). The sauce you see is chimmichuri and smoky romesco pepper. Delicious and definitely something I’d get again:

smithdaughterspatatas

My dad isn’t vegan and orders garlic prawns wherever he goes so we ordered the gambas al ajillo ($18) for him. Prawns have always freaked me out and I’ve never had one in my life. I was happy to try this vegan version of course, but felt really weird about eating a ‘prawn’, even though I had no problem with that blood sausage! The prawns are marinated in lemon, garlic, chili and olive oil and served with some toasted bread:

smithdaughtersgarlicprawns

My sister ordered the ‘splash of lash’ drink which was a nice not-sweet mix of coconut water, mint and lime:

smithdaughterssplashlash

Mum wanted to order more croquettas (after we ordered the second kale leek bake) but the rest of us wanted to leave room for dessert. We ordered a serving (five pieces) of the Spanish doughnuts, filled with quince jam. Delicious:

 

smithdaughtersdoughnuts

We shared a piece of the tarta de chocolate Azteca which was superb (and I’m not really a chocolate dessert fan). The avocado icecream was just right for me, not too sweet. I could really taste the avocado but my sister’s partner said he could only taste coconut (I have no idea if it contains coconut!):

smithdaughterstarta

Looking at the menu today, I want to try everything else before the menu changes!

Smith & Daughters

175 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

For bookings please visit the website at http://www.smithanddaughters.com/

For photos and more up to date info, visit the Smith & Daughters Facebook page.

Click to add a blog post for Smith and Daughters on Zomato

smith and daughters

 

6

Finders Keepers Market and Brunch at Smith & Daughters, Fitzroy

Royal Exhibition Building

My sister and I headed down to the Royal Exhibition Building last weekend for the Finders Keepers Market. So much lovely stuff! I didn’t see anything specifically vegan, or at least, there was no obvious ‘vegan’ label on anything I saw. Apart from the Mister Nice Guy’s stand of course. Quick tour and info: The Royal Exhibition Building and the surrounding Carlton Gardens were completed in 1880, for Melbourne’s first International Exhibition in 1880-1881:

Royal Exhibition Building

I loved this bike rack:

Bikerax bike rack

Beautiful textiles and home furnishings:

printink textiles

The Design Court stall

Lots of gorgeous clothing:

The Professor's Daughter clothes

I resisted buying anything at this vintage and retro shop:

vintage store stall

Sometimes I see things, like these baskets, and although I don’t need one I still do the “but it’s so PRETTY” argument with myself:

Zillpa baskets

I didn’t buy anything apart from a couple of buns to share with the family:

mr nice guy buns

When we were done at Finders Keepers, I loaded up Happy Cow to see where we could go to lunch. Smith & Daughters was a very short walk away so we thought we’d try our luck there. Fortunately there were a few free tables and we were able to be seated right away. I was pretty happy that finally, I got to visit.

The brunch menu is served until 3pm. For our late lunch we decided against the sweeter options because we had the cinnamon bun and lemon bun getting squished in my handbag. My sister ordered the breakfast burrito with chipotle cashew cheese ($18 with the chipotle cashew cheese, $15 without). It arrived around the 31 minute wait mark and although it didn’t appear to be a large serving it was certainly very filling. I think I would prefer it without the cashew cheese as I find the sweetness of cashew to be a little too much with savoury dishes:
Smith & Daughters
I ordered the baked Spanish omelette ($16). The description mentioned potato, but I only got one piece in mine which was quite a let down. The omelette overall was tasty, especially the saffron sofrito on top and it was nice to have a sort of gooey consistency but not be grossed out by undercooked egg, something I always hated pre-vegan. I used the bread to mop it all up:
Smith & Daughters

Apart from the single piece of potato in my omelette, my other gripe would be the noise level. The table we had was a smaller one but my sister and I had to raise our voices to hear each other. The music wasn’t blaring but it was still loud enough to be on the irritating side.

Smith & Daughters

These shortcomings would not stop me from going back a second time, as I really want to try their dinner menu and those fantastic looking desserts. I may be tempted to get the breakfast burrito myself in the future, but for now I’ll stick with finding a suitable time to go for dinner.

Smith and Daughters on Urbanspoon

Smith & Daughters

175 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

9939 3293 (check website for Bookings)

http://www.smithanddaughters.com/