35 Dukes Walk
South Wharf VIC 3006
+61 3 9245 9800
My shares are performing poorly at the moment. What genius told me to invest in retail and banking shares two years ago? Oh yeah, my ‘stockbroker.’ But if said stockbroker had a bit of hindsight and if South Wharf’s Sharing House were listed on the ASX (TSH, SRH?), then it’d definitely be a company I be wanting to buy into.
South Wharf is only a short walk from the Melbourne branch of the ASX. You then need to stroll along the wooden bridge from Spencer Street – and past the black swans nesting – before reaching your destination. There are a handful of new restaurants along South Wharf but just look for one with the colourful LEGO bar and you’re there.
Apparently Sharing House owner Paul Matthis loves this LEGOs so much – this bar was made up of $12,000 worth of LEGO blocks. Very cool.
The dining room was really dark when Dave and I rocked up after our pre-dinner snack session at Akachochin. We were given a table next to the window which meant that we would have had great views of the water – if it wasn’t pitch black both outside and inside. Ah well. Maybe this summer…
Sharing House’s menu is designed for, duh, sharing. The waiter suggests that we order several small dishes and one large dish to share – and maybe a dessert if we’re craving something sweet at the end. The consensus around the Melbourne blogosphere is that the rabbit and cauliflower popcorn is Sharing House’s signature dish so this was the first thing we looked for on the menu. Unfortunately (and much to our disappointment), it wasn’t on the current menu. I guess it must have been duck season.
Instead, we started off with some corned beef croquettes with HP sauce ($3 each).
Dave made a comment about croquettes being on every second Melbourne restaurant’s menu. He does have a point but I do like my croquettes and they were only $3 each so why not, I thought. The croquettes were very crunchy on the outside but the filling wasn’t tasty for they skimped on the corned beef. They did taste better with the smoky and sweet HP sauce that came in a little makeshift jar paired with a cute little spoon.
I love nothing more than trying new ciders, especially locally produced ones. The Lucky Duck apple cider ($8) that I ordered was created by an osteopath and a marketing manager duo. They used the very best Braeburn apples to ensure that the end result was a cider that was sharp and bold, with a beautiful crisp finish.
We got bread. It was beautiful, but we didn’t touch most of it for we needed to save our stomachs for the rest of the food.
The gravlax ($16) arrived next, an ugly name for such a beautiful dish. Fresh pieces of ocean trout were cured with apple vodka and as a result, each piece tasted piquant, smoky and slightly salty with a hint of apple flavour. For some reason, the ocean trout was also slightly gamey and Dave agreed, saying that it tasted like a cross between sashimi and prosciutto.
I also liked the various ‘textures of apples’ that adorned the trout pieces all over. There were Granny Smith apple balls, apply jelly cubes and compressed apple pieces that disappeared into a cloud of nothing into your mouth. All this was held together by a lovely mustard crème fraîche, which provided a nice kick.
We got into heavier territory with the scampi mac n cheese ($22). I wouldn’t normally pay more than $20 for a mac and cheese dish but when the sauce has been made with taleggio and infused by an aromatic broth made with scampi shells, with a generous amount of baked scampi tails shattered all over, well, that’s a no brainer. It may have been a deceptively tiny serving but man, was it filling!
I once made a Moreton Bay bug mac and cheese but even that had nothing on this!
The porcini pizza ($15) was the dish that really filled us up. Like the mac and cheese, it wasn’t overly big (six inches) but the dough base and the generous amount of farmhouse goats cheese ensured that we could only eat one slice each before going, ‘OH MAN, SO FULL!’ Still, we persevered. We couldn’t help but like the lovely flavour contrast between the earthy porcini and wild mushrooms and the creamy cheese, with bits of lemon thyme to break things up.
I like how Sharing House give their mains one word names such as ‘beef,’ ‘mussels’ and ‘tomahawk’, the latter being a 1kg rib eye. Dave and I tend to have beef with certain people so we decided the ‘beef’, which was a Beef Wellington, was an apt main course.
For a Beef Wellington to come with a $58 price tag, it needed to be spectacular. Unfortunately, we had consumed all our pizza (yep, we still soldiered on after that first slice) so we struggled to fully appreciate the awesomeness of this dish.
The beef tenderloin was soft and juicy, and the pâté so creamy. Meanwhile, the pastry that covered the beef was awesomely golden and flaky, like a Gold Coast slurry. The Beef Welly was accompanied by some sweet heirloom carrots and crispy artichokes too. We could only manage one slice of Beef Welly each before declaring defeat. The waiter, however, was more than happy to doggy bag the Welly for us in separate containers. I enjoyed my microwaved Beef Welly the next day for lunch while Dave and his brother had theirs for breakfast.
After all that, it would have been crazy to order dessert. We may not have had enough room for another bite of beef but for some strange reason, we decided that we could squeeze in some dessert. We ordered an ice cream man ($14) to share, essentially a test tube holder-like thing that held six mini Cornetto-style cones.
The flavours we enjoyed were wild strawberry and limoncello, mint chocolate chip, armrena cherry, pistachio, Pedro Ximenez and cocoa nibs. Although they weren’t the best ice creams I’ve ever had, it was nevertheless a fun dessert to consume.
The bill came in a, yep, mini-LEGO house and was something like $140-150 but thanks to a 30% discount from Agenda, we (or more accurately, Dave) paid just over $100 which was pretty good given the amount of food we ordered.
I will definitely be back when the weather gets warmer and hopefully by then, the rabbit popcorn will return. After all, reinstating this dish could only ensure that Sharing House’s market value will increase in the long term.