Greedy Girl is firmly of the view that the best thing about travelling is the food – and given she’s lucky enough to be based in Melbourne, she could dine out every night on national cuisine and not repeat a particular style for months.

But still, she harbours memories of certain dishes, aromas and sights from around the world – some of which she’s more fond than others. Buying frites from the street carts in Amsterdam, topped with lashings of the yummiest mayonnaise makes Greedy Girl sigh with nostalgia. Sadly, it’s a rather long way to go when one craves a chip fix, as well as a range of other unique Dutch delights.

Now, of course, all she needs to do is hop in the car and head for the inner-city suburb of Northcote, fast becoming a foodie enclave. Dutch chef Rob Kabboord presides at Merricote, a bright and light dining room housed in a little shop front on High Street. On a rather warm summer’s night she, gluttonous husband and a dear friend took a table for three in a corner near the air-conditioner and surveyed the scene.

Merricote has a considerable range of snacks and starters and a smaller selection of main courses and desserts. It’s possible to have a degustation here, devised for your table. We opted to order a few starters, two mains and a couple of sides, intent on sharing each dish. Not a problem, said the friendly staff. We settled in with a glass of rose from Provence for Greedy Girl while our friend close a Lillet – a cocktail made from rose or white wine, citrus liqueur and garnished with a slice of fruit. It was cold, refreshing and dangerously easy to drink.

Given Greedy Girl and her friend were earnestly discussing The Goldfinch, a book they’d both recently finished, with part of its central theme the Dutch art masterpiece of the same name, it seemed only appropriate that we started with another Dutch classic – Bitterballen. These were deep-fried chicken and mustard fruit croquettes, liberally sprinkled with salt and served with a light mustard. Delish. Our only qualm was the number in the serving – five pieces divided by three people. Tricky.

Merricote, Northcote


Next was the OMG dish of the night. Prawn cigars. Presented at the table in a cigar box (as you do), these were light, crisp, salty fingers of pastry again deep fried but without any greasiness whatsoever. Another light sprinkling of salt and they were absolutely perfect. Greedy Girl would have loved to eat the entire box.

Merricote Northcote

Prawn cigars

We then had some cold plates. First up was the chicken liver parfait served with Dutch suikerbrood (pictured at the top of this post). The bread, a Dutch take on brioche, is made with granules of sugar that give the bread a very distinctive crunch. It was a little too sweet for Greedy Girl’s tastes but her friend slathered a piece with some of the leftover mustard from the Bitterballen and it was rather enjoyable. The chicken liver was very soft and tasty with a lovely counterpoint of cornichons, a savoury jelly and greens.

Merricote Northcote

Dutch suikerbrood

The final starter was ‘stolen salami’ – the story is apparently that the chef forgot about a salami that had been purchased for rather a long time. When discovered at the bottom of a shopping bag and sampled, it was proclaimed to be the ‘best salami ever’. And so, a new treatment of salami had been devised. There were some marinated grapes on these dishes which gave a lovely little hit of sweetness. The salami itself was perfectly edible although we didn’t necessarily agree it was ‘the best ever’.

Merricote Northcote

‘Stolen’ salami

And so to mains. We chose pan-fried John Dory, paired with celery, apple, grapes and chamomile. The skin on the fish was amazingly crisp and the flavour of the flesh quite a bit more pronounced from the John Dory Greedy Girl has usually eaten. Three large pieces adorned the platter, most hoovered up by gluttonous husband.

Merricote Northcote

Pan-fried John Dory

We also shared lamb which was presented in a number of ways. A cutlet, sliced, a little rissole patty and some lamb ‘prosciutto’. The meat was spectacularly tender and moist and the prosciutto was particularly good. We gulped these down with sides of green beans with bacon and croutons and a dish of potatoes ‘Provencal’.

Merricote Northcote

Lamb three ways

While Greedy Girl would have been content to down her Lillet and head into the balmy evening. The others needed a sweet hit and opted for a ‘Dutch mess’, aka ‘an homage to orange’. A variation on Eton Mess this was orange segments with sorbet and fairy floss and what tasted like some almond liqueur although Greedy Girl only had a spoonful to taste. It wasn’t overly sweet and was an excellent choice for sharing being a very generous serving and easy to divvy up.

Merricote Northcote

An ‘homage to orange’

Draining the last of a decaf espresso, we asked for the bill. The way it was presented was very cute.

Merricote Northcote

Barnyard with the bill

Merricote has a lot to recommend. The main dining room is reasonably small (although there is seating out the back) and there are dishes you’d cross oceans for (the prawn cigars). The chef changes the menu seasonally so it will be interesting to see what he comes up with next.


81 High Street, Northcote

Merricote Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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