Restaurant reviews Taxi Kitchen

Great interior, great view

Melbourne is humming this time of year. The full heat of summer has dissipated and it’s generally great eating and drinking weather. Unsurprising then, that March is chosen to host the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.

It’s festival city at the moment. The second Monday in March is when Melburnites celebrate Labour Day, also known here as the Moomba festival, which consists of a city parade and fairground attractions on the banks of the Yarra River.

Moomba is an aboriginal word that every Melbourne child of Greedy Girl’s era is raised to believe means ‘get together and have fun’.  In recent years, some linguists have begged to differ with an alternate translation proffered. They say it’s more likely to mean, ahem, ‘up your bum’. But Greedy Girl digresses.

Given the prevailing weather and the excuse to have another day off from work, Greedy Girl and gluttonous husband decided to celebrate the foodie aspects rather than debate what may or may not be lost in translation, and headed to Taxi Kitchen at Melbourne’s Federation Square for their special food and wine festival lunch deal.

Basically, the offer is your choice of two courses, plus a glass of wine for A$40. Gluttonous husband perused the menu and found much to his liking. Greedy Girl spied a few dishes on the menu proper she’d prefer. All good.

One of us took the lunch deal and we supplemented from the main menu. Aside from appealing to our tastebuds, it was a great way of sampling more of chef Tony Twitchett’s food and providing the opportunity for more thorough restaurant reviews.

Taxi Kitchen is in a revitalised phase of its existence. It began life well over a decade ago as the rather more upmarket Taxi Dining Room. Greedy Girl and gluttonous husband were regular patrons, enjoying the extraordinary Asian fusion going on. The restaurant, in this more casual iteration, certainly doesn’t look any different. The industrial-chic mesh, metal and timber are still well in evidence and the room is a great spot day or night for dining with a view over the river and the Southbank precinct of the city.

Settling in, gluttonous husband chose a main course and the restaurant’s ‘signature’ passionfruit soufflé, while Greedy Girl opted for a starter to share and a risotto (the amazingly hued dish featured at the very top of this post) but more on that later. His ‘lunch deal’ glass of red was a very drinkable 2014 Shiraz from Mister Fox (the menu says the wine is from central Victoria) which he generously passed to Greedy Girl and ordered his favourite Little Creatures pale ale, which was available on tap. The shiraz had a big bouquet but was exceedingly light drinking. It went exceptionally well with the food.

Restaurant reviews Taxi Kitchen

A generous pouring of Mister Fox Shiraz

First up were steamed buns with spicy lamb and ‘Szechuan’ cucumber. The buns themselves were a bit doughy and they’d started to sweat a little on the bottom and become slightly soggy but this was a very minor quibble. The lamb and cucumber was a great combination. The level of spice was a bit warm but they worked very well with the first sips of our drinks. Greedy Girl even enjoyed the soft lamb texture – something she’s not noted for.

Restaurant reviews Taxi Kitchen

Mmmm, buns …

Next up was our choice of mains. Gluttonous husband took the salmon, which had been seared and served with a fennel and onion salad, black garlic oil and a slick of cauliflower puree. Happily, the skin was crispy and the fish still somewhat underdone inside. In short, a triumph. Gluttonous husband was delighted with the way all the elements went together.

Restaurant reviews Taxi Kitchen

Seared salmon

Greedy Girl was torn between choosing an angel hair pasta dish and the risotto. She was very pleased she took the latter. It was, arguably, one of the best risotto dishes she’s ever had. The rice was cooked to perfection, and the combination of various types of beans as well as the liberal quantity of asparagus spears (and shaved ribbons of asparagus) was delightful. Four little scallops dotted the dish (perfectly done, a nice caramelisation on the outside without being overcooked) and the red item you can see in the photograph (at the top of this post) is harissa paste. It was an unqualified yum.

And so to dessert, which on the standard Taxi Kitchen menu comes with a scoop of banana ice-cream, but was served solo here. We asked for it to be delayed while Greedy Girl drained her wine. Gluttonous husband was in the mood for a dessert wine as well and chose a Di Giorgio ‘Lucindale’ Botrytis Semillon from the Limestone Coast of South Australia. Greedy Girl doesn’t often get into dessert wines but thought it worked very well with the passionfruit and caramelised white chocolate centre. The soufflé itself was light as. Clearly the kitchen are on their game.

Restaurant reviews Taxi Kitchen

The restaurant’s signature dessert.

This was an excellent experience, with prompt and friendly service, and although we deviated from the set lunch, it wasn’t a hugely expensive day out. Greedy Girl would be very happy to return to sample more from this team.

Taxi Kitchen

The Foodie World star rating

Federation Square, corner Flinders and Swanston Streets, Melbourne

Taxi Kitchen Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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