Newly opened Transformer on Rose Street, Fitzroy, gives new meaning to modern gastronomy. Located just behind Vegie Bar, who are the same owners, the food here is appropriately vegetarian and in terms of marriage of flavours, totally phenomenal. The menu is exciting to contemplate and thankfully we were cashed up enough to order a number of dishes to share to get a decent sample of the interesting arrays of vegetarian delights. This modern take on vegetarian food is not only disclosed in the interplay of flavours, but in the appearance of the food itself which is quite literally transformed. The venue has also been transformed into an aesthetically pleasing, comfortable, and perfectly lit establishment, fittingly matched to enjoy some of the finest vegetarian food I've ever had the privilege of indulging in. This old factory has been renovated to show off pitched ceilings with beams revealed and partitions adorned with creeping vines, making it feel industrial, yet artful and elegant. Very Fitzroy.
Grilled pear with goat's cheese, hazelnut croutons and aged balsamic
My date and I simply stared in awe at the arrangement on the plates, identifying the interesting ingredients in front of us before tucking in. The thing is the food is so damn good that a non-vegetarian would not be missing their meat dish at all. Let me give you the lowdown of our evening dishes. First up was the ricotta and rye gnocchi, beautifully presented with organic sprouted lentils, pumpkin mousse and blueberry compote. Absolutely delightful. Then it was grilled pear with La Luna goat's cheese and hazelnut croutons, with textures and flavours that complemented one another superbly. Three more dishes included grilled king oyster mushrooms with garlic and pine nut puree with smoked shallots, which was to die for, and a salad dish of organic soba and kelp noodles with nori, arame, silverbeet, wasabi cashews and goji berries. Delicious and healthy. The final meal consisted of roasted Jerusalem artichokes, parsnips, onion puree and parsley oil, which was outstanding. It was hard to pick a favourite as they were all delectable and unique. Every mouthful was pure joy.
King oyster mushrooms, confit garlic and pine nut puree, smoked shallot and porcini salt
The cocktails menu is also pretty daring, with the best of the four we ordered being the 'Kawaii Five 0', made up of green tea ume, mandarin and lemongrass sherbet lining the rim of the glass, cucumber, matcha and lemon. An unusual, but exciting mix. Transformer also has an impressive menu of wines, crafty beers, and sake to choose from. For those wanting alcohol-free, there are plenty of choices of tonics and juices, elixirs, tea or coffee. They also stock Goodbrew Kombucha, one of my favourite non-alcoholic drinks, which is healthy and full of antioxidants and delicious flavours.
Although not cheap, everything we ordered was worth every cent. In fact, I will have to head there again to try more of their amazing dishes. Make sure you book, as this place is popular and with innovative ideas like these going on in the kitchen, the popularity will only grow. Highly recommended.