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The Town Mouse Bar and Restaurant

Home > Melbourne > Cocktail Bars | Dinner | Food and Wine | Restaurants | Romantic
by H. Clare Callow (subscribe)
A die-hard Melburnian who keeps being drawn away by luscious food and drinks. Be a pal and click the 'like' link below if you enjoy my article.
Published March 1st 2015
Ravishing radishes anyone?
There's a scent that wafts through the front room of the Town Mouse. It's tantalising. Meaty and rich, with undertones of tomato.
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Clockwise, from top: creamed corn, stuffed cabbage, potatoes and pork neck.

'It smells wonderful in here,' I say to the waiter as we're seated. He grins.

The Town Mouse is decked out in 1930s splendour. Black tiles, relieved by a green stripe and green moulded tiles near the ceiling, create a glossy den to sit and sup in. The bar, which dominates the front room, also seats around ten diners and created a communal atmosphere in what could have been an austere room.

The courses on offer in the menu are as tantalising as the smell. They're unusual. A goat's cheese profiterole with thyme, caraway and honey. Radishes and pickles with whipped feta. Duck's liver parfait that comes with potato crisps.

The meat dishes are as interesting. Rabbit with feta, peas and chervil. Chicken and burnt sesame. The combinations are unexpected and tempting. My companion went with the smoked pork neck, which came with summer cabbage, hazelnut and pear.

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The roasted, stuffed cabbage.

I couldn't resist making up a meal out of the delectable vegetable dishes on offer. Roasted red cabbage with prunes and apple and creamed corn with crème fraiche and marjoram. These sounded amazing and I had to try them.

The result was a bit of a mixed bag hitting our table. The cabbage arrived first and was a shock. An entire quarter of a cabbage, delicately sprinkled with parmesan curls. The second dish to arrive was the pork, beautifully sliced and arranged on some sprinklings of vegetables; the contrast did make it look like the chef had forgotten to do something.

 

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Radishes with pickles and feta.
The other dishes soon arrived and we were able to dig in. I tried the corn first. Lightly creamy, it also had a bit of zest to it which relieved the cream. The cabbage was decadent. I never thought I'd ever find myself describing a cabbage as decadent, but it was. The leaves interwoven with prunes and apple, the cabbage had also been stuffed with butter and cream before being slow roasted. The outside was almost crispy, while the inside was tender, and the interweavings of prune, butter and apple were sumptuous.

The thing was, there is only so much cabbage and corn you can eat. The same was true for my starter, which was the radishes and pickles. A decent sized bowl with well-presented radishes is nevertheless a bowl full of radishes.

The dishes are meant to be shared at the Town Mouse, we're informed, and I think that's where we made our mistake. An ideal sampling would be five or six dishes, allowing for a blend of flavours and requiring at least four diners to do it justice. We were only two and there was only so much we could do. As it was, it really did seem like I was munching away on a quarter of a cabbage and a bowl full of radishes.

Town Mouse, I will be back to see you again. Next time I will be wise, though, and bring plenty of friends.

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Why? Sharing a meal with innovative dishes
When: Mon-Thur 5pm-12am; Fri-Sun 12pm-12am
Phone: (03) 9347 3312
Where: 312 Drummond Street, Carlton VIC 3053
Cost: $10
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