Where to eat Melbourne: 25 Toorak Road

A bucket of frites … good show!

Greedy Girl and her long-time friend Pucci Girl have been eating out in restaurants around the world for, ahem, several decades. Early on in their journalistic careers, they were lucky enough to frequent what was – at the time – arguably one of Melbourne’s first ‘celebrity chef’ restaurants – Hagger’s.

Dennis Hagger was, if not quite a bona fide celebrity, certainly well-known in Melbourne society. His restaurant, in a little alleyway off Flinders Lane in the city, was a haven for very classy French cooking. Our offices being very close by, we availed ourselves of his butter and cream-laden treats on a fairly regular basis. The restaurant went through a few iterations and then it, and the chef, disappeared from view – until earlier this year.

Greedy Girl was delighted to get an urgent email from her friend about 25 Toorak Road. Handily, it’s both the restaurant name and address in the upmarket inner-suburb of South Yarra. Immediately, Greedy Girl rang to book for the first available booking that suited all parties. She was about to embark on her Russian and Italian adventure and the well-travelled Pucci Girl was in Bangkok. The man on the end of the phone didn’t seem fazed by the booking for more than two months into the future.

And so, on a coolish Friday night, we presented ourselves at the double glass doors to a predominantly white room chock-full of tables. A mixture of standard French bistro chairs and some more sumptuous upholstery, we waltzed up to the man himself, now working front-of-house and announced our booking.

Nope. Sorry. When did you book?

Hmmm. Words Greedy Girl isn’t fond of hearing. But, huzzah, there apparently had been a cancellation. We were shown to a table and, when Pucci Girl arrived a few minutes later, we immediately put the slight hiccup behind us and got down to the serious business of selecting food.

Given Hagger’s history, it’s hardly surprising that the food here remains overwhelmingly French, with a few other influences. It’s a gutsy move to open up a handful of doors down from one of Melbourne’s most long-lived and loved purveyors of Gallic cuisine, France Soir, but the two don’t seem to be cutting each other’s lunch as it were – both venues were absolutely jumping.

Unlike France Soir, which has a rather large menu, 25 Toorak Road offers six choices for each course – starter, main and dessert. After a bit of negotiation, we managed to choose a lot of different courses and sat back happily sipping champagne to await the food.

First up, gluttonous husband, who wasn’t going to let the girls have all the fun, chose a French classic – escargot. Two puff pastry-topped ramekins appeared with the delectable snails inside, cooked with garlic, white wine and tarragon. It was certainly a hearty start for a cool night and gluttonous husband enjoyed the dish but said it didn’t have a huge depth of flavour.

Where to eat Melbourne: 25 Toorak Road


Pucci Girl ordered the dish pictured at the top of this post, a special for the evening, onion soup. It made for a very pretty plate, with a deep, luscious broth colour and the gratinéed croutons on top. Pucci Girl professed herself very happy with the dish.

Greedy Girl took the scallops. This was an alluring combination – served with cauliflower puree and a truffle pangrattato. The scallops were cooked perfectly and a few fronds of watercress around the plate were also welcome. Flavour and texture-wise it was a hit. A good start.

Where to eat Melbourne: 25 Toorak Road

Perfectly seared scallops

It was time for mains, although the girls (Pucci and Greedy) both took another starter, the beef tartare. This was hand cut steak, served with horseradish creme fraiche and thin slices of toasted sourdough. It was perfectly edible; it seemed to be missing the usual tabasco hit and the amount of horseradish in the slick of cream on the plate didn’t compensate for it enough in Greedy Girl’s opinion. The texture of the beef was also a bit too chunky for her liking, preferring a finer chop.
Where to eat Melbourne: 25 Toorak Road

Beef tartare

Gluttonous husband had the duck confit, which sat on a bed of lentils, with savoy cabbage and crisp pancetta. He was wowed with this dish, pronouncing it one of the best confit ducks ever, which is a big call because he’s eaten plenty of them over the years. Everything was delicious – the duck’s skin was crispy, the meat moist and tender and the accompaniments just about perfect. We chowed down heartily – Greedy Girl supplementing her champagne with a glass of Shiraz, and little remained – especially from the bucket of frites that also came with the mains. Delish.
Where to eat Melbourne: 25 Toorak Road

Confit duck

Greedy Girl would have been happy to leave it there, but Hagger was always noted for his desserts, especially souffles. Pucci Girl put her hand up first for the lemon souffle, served with lemon curd ice cream. Sadly the photo doesn’t do justice to the lighter than air cloud that arrived on the table. De-lic-ious. The dessert tradition clearly continues …
Where to eat Melbourne: 25 Toorak Road

Lemon souffle

Greedy Girl admitted to being intrigued by the chocolate tart with salted caramel, served with a scoop of hazelnut ice cream on the side. Salted caramel has been riding a rather big wave in dining terms and Greedy Girl admits she’s not the hugest fan of caramel on its own. This was a nice dish but became very heavy on the palate. It doesn’t help that Greedy Girl usually passes on ice-cream but even gluttonous husband said he was struggling to finish the tart, which was seriously rich.
Where to eat Melbourne: 25 Toorak Road

Chocolate tart

Gluttonous husband decided to treat himself to an affogato with amaretti and frangelico. The presentation at the table made him smile – three pots to mix as he desired. He pronounced the vanilla ice-cream very good and thoroughly enjoyed the little spoil.
Where to eat Melbourne: 25 Toorak Road


And we were done. All that was needed was to rescue our coats from the hooks by the front door (always a challenge given that everyone in Melbourne tends to wear black) and head into the night.

While there are some signature dishes here, the menu does tend to vary, depending on what’s seasonally available. The restaurant was quite full and it seemed to appeal to a particular demographic – perhaps those people who were, cough, old enough to remember Dennis Hagger’s earlier stint in front of the hobs.

It’s certainly a comfortable spot and a haven for some classic French cuisine. You could do a lot worse.

25 Toorak Road

25 Toorak Road Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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