Trunk

275 Exhibition St
Melbourne VIC 3000
+61 3 9663 7994

I attended my first Body Pump class this evening and despite my initial apprehension, I found it to be a pretty cool class once I got the hang of it. My only whinge is having to spend a LOT of the time setting up, switching between different weights and dismantling the bits and pieces at the end. Naturally, I was extremely hungry afterward so I met up with Adam and Martin (who is still in Melbourne after his boss in Queensland told him that he can have a longer holiday) for some Italian food at Trunk. Having been around for just under two years now, Trunk has been receiving good reviews from critics and diners ever since its inception. The site began as a synagogue in 1859 before becoming a state school and then another Italian restaurant so it clearly has a lot of history behind it. In order to acknowledge that particular bit of history, the  owners of the restaurant have cheekily put that “If I Were A Rich Man” tune from Fiddler On The Roof as the background music for their website’s intro page which I thought was cute. The winning point for us in coming here, however, was hearing everyone talk about how they served THE best pizzas in the CBD. Awesome pizzas in a former synagogue? Sounds good to us!

We originally had a booking at 6:15pm but Martin, who was still operating on Queensland time, rocked up late so we didn’t get there until 6:40ish. We rang them to tell them so and they seemed pretty cool about it. The site, which is on Exhibition Street, houses the original synagogue which is obviously the restaurant as well as pretty cute courtyard dining area decorated with flashing Christmas lights. Now, the courtyard would have been the PERFECT place to have pizza and beer on a balmy Summer evening but alas, it was Winter and so we could only sit inside and count the days until Summer arrived.

Now, the dining room itself has a warehouse-feel that still felt cozy which would have looked really great… HAD THE LIGHTS BEEN ON. For some reason, management decided that it would be cool to have the lights so dim that one could hardly see the food they were eating, let alone their dining companions. Fair enough, they want to appear young, hip and modern to the predominantly yuppie dining crowd that sat on the tables tonight but c’mon, old people with bad eyesight like need to be able to feel comfortable too!

Okay, so we sat down and received ONE wine list between the three of us which meant that it took us a long time to get our drinks organised. Then we had to ask for our waters twice before we even received the food menu. Finally, everything was settled and we were then able to order. We figured that rather than each of us having one main meal each (the mains hovered around the mid-30 mark), we could grab a few pizzas and some other little dishes to share.

My somewhat unusual drink, a “hot apple pie” ($15) which came in a teapot. It’s basically like drinking an alcoholic apple pie from a teacup which sounds a bit strange and while it’s not something I could order again and again, it was nice to try something different such as a hot alcoholic drink. From memory, it was a mixture of hot apple cider, cinnamon and tuaca (which is some sort of brandy) and according to Martin, tasted like “that syrup you get in canned apples.”

Meanwhile, both Adam and Martin ordered some drink which I can’t remember the name of, except that it had a glace cherry in it (yeah, that helps). I was amused when the waitress came bearing pink drinks in a martini glass and seeing their shocked faces when they discovered that said pink drinks belonged to them. I was even more amused later on when I glanced at the boys who happened to be sitting across each other so it looked like they were on some kind of gay date, sipping their pink drinks. Despite both boys calling their drinks “pretty gay”, they bought enjoyed it and Martin even asked for another one… “but in a less flamboyant glass.”

 We waited about 15 minutes for the first edible thing to arrive on the table, which was our bread and olive oil. While I admit that the warm sourdough bread (which was cut up into slices) was delicious, I thought that it would have been better presented to us straight after we had placed our orders so that we could have something to chew on.

Our appetizers then took another 10 minutes to arrive. We started off with some tarragon pickled cauliflower ($10) which Martin was keen on ordering just so he could, once again, mention the fact that he was born in Serbia (haha, only kidding). The first time I tried this was at Hellenic Republic which made a fine version but Trunk‘s was a little bit tastier, probably thanks to the addition of toasted mustard seeds in the dressing.

Food bloggers have been swearing by the arancini balls so we ordered a serving of them (3 for $12). I was clearly expecting them to be mindblowingly good but they were actually quite boring to eat. While I give props for the amazingly crispy skin, the rice inside was a little undercooked and the filling (taleggio and cauliflower) a little bit bland.

Okay, I would like to mention here that we had to wait half an hour for our pizzas to arrive. While we were okay with just sitting around and talking, half an hour is still way too long a wait especially seeing as the restaurant wasn’t buzzing. Plus, the longer we waited, the more full we got and so we struggled to finish off our three pizzas and our pastas which weren’t actually huge (we left about six slices of pizza).

The Number 2 (Pomodoro “Plus”, $15). Although the name of the dish literally translates to “Tomatoes Plus”, it was the chorizo that dominated the plate. Thick slices of salty-but-not-at-all-spicy chorizo dotted the crispy but airy dough which was also covered with buffalo mozzarella, tomato, basil, olives and according to the menu, capers (though I couldn’t taste any).

The Number 6 (Prosciutto, $18). Again, a solid base with tomato, basil and buffalo mozarella … and a crowning of freshly sliced prosciutto. For some reason, the prosciutto was awesome enough to eat on its own but tasted a little flat when eaten with the rest of the pizza… hmmmm….?

The Number 7 (Funghi, $15). I think I liked this one out of all the pizzas. It was smeared with only the slightest hint of extra virgin olive oil and porcini pesto before being covered with sauteed field mushroom and mozzarella. While I would have liked the porcini pesto to have a little more flavour, it was nevertheless a decent-tasting pizza thanks to the intense earthy flavour of the field mushrooms.


We also shared a main-sized serving of pappardelle with rabbit ragu ($28) which I found a tad disappointing. While I give props for a textbook perfect pasta (chewy, al dente, yada yada yada), I found the ragu to be a little too salty for my liking and way too watery. In fact, it was so watery that I felt that it could have passed as a soup. Hence, you could imagine the three of us trying to grab some pasta only to have all the sauce and rabbit meat fall off each strand of pasta and land with a kerplunk back onto the plate it came from. Fail.

Were these the best pizzas in the CBD? Not by a long shot. Sure, they didn’t suck completely but I felt that they could have made a bit more of an effort as they all lacked that little something. Back when Trunk had only just opened, Nicky Riemer (who apparently knows how to cook mean Italian food) was the head chef but she has since left to work elsewhere so perhaps that’s why I wasn’t feeling anything tonight. We paid $156 for the three of us, including drinks which, given the satisfaction factor this evening (food, waiting time and ambience) was rather expensive. Give me +39 for artesan pizza in the CBD any day!
I eat too much.

5 Comments

  1. chaoness
    July 14, 2009

    Was Paul teaching Pump at MC again? It looks so good, but it looks like such a hassle to set up, so I just do 45 minutes of weights…. Italy 1 is supposed to be good. From memory it’s in the alley behind Hermes…

    Reply
  2. icesabre
    July 14, 2009

    Mmmm Pizza!

    Reply
  3. funky_ass
    July 14, 2009

    i need to get back to gymming.. i went once last week…but… errmmmmm….how come we never go out to eat together at different places??? >_<

    Reply
  4. SNSAZN
    July 15, 2009

    @chaoness – If by Paul you mean Paul M, then yeah. I had him for my first Body Attack class (the one which I run out crying after two songs) and he seemed alright but I really did enjoy his Pump class, he’s so enthusiastic! I think it’s a good class for me because I’m not really good with weights so it serves as a bit of an into for me.Speaking of gym classes, I’m no longer going to the Thursday afternoon balance classes because my uni classes are on Thursday this semester and so I won’t be in the city on Thursdays 🙁 Need to find another timeslot…Yep, in the same alley as Fifteen I do believe… I plan to give that one a try later this year…@icesabre – I’d rather have Rockpool than pizza at Trunk!@funky_ass – We totally should! It’s a shame you don’t work in the city anymore but we’ll work something out. Text me your new work email so I can start spamming you again!

    Reply
  5. […] literally right next to Trunk proper, the diner is essentially a marquee-like structure that houses a simple lay-out of concrete floors, […]

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