Monday, June 18, 2012

Il Solito Posto + A Minor Place

It was a quiet week for gastronomic adventures so I'll just give a brief run down of the couple 'o' places I ventured to.

Il Solito Posto
113 Collins Street (entry from George Parade)
Open: Mon - Saturday, lunch + dinner
BYO: No, but the wine list is huge
Il Solito Posto on Urbanspoon

Following a slightly confusing experience watching Prometheus at Kino on Friday night, Weazelby and I popped into Il Solito Posto for a therapeutic feed. Il Solito Posto has been one of my favourite date, rant, catchup, insert any reason here, spots for a few years now. It's tucked off Collins st on George Parade opposite the late Fifteen restaurant (now The Kitchen Cat) and serves up authentic, medium priced (erring on the bit-too-expensive side these days) trattoria style Italian. I've never eaten in the bookings-only downstairs restaurant out of fear of wallet meltdown, but the general consensus is the walk in cellar-esque bistro area has a better atmosphere. It's nice and dark too, automatically making all of its customers 55% more attractive and sexier. Although there did seem to be some sort of a s**t convention down in the restaurant area (which is a lot brighter I must add).

Anyway, due to the sexifying* (not a real word) lighting the photos I took of our meals are K-R-A-P, so you'll just have to trust how good the meals are.

We tried the single riesling and chardonnay available by the glass, $10 and $14 respectively, and the chardonnay was exceptionally good. If you want to impress someone with some blinging wine you should definitely come here. The wine list is out of control, in that leather bound book kind of way.

We shared some fried whitebait $10 for an entree, served with aoli and a juicy lemon cheek. The complimentary bread is from Baker D. Chirico, a personal favourite of mine, which you may have picked up from previous posts.

I chose the Guancia di manzo (beef cheek) $34 - which was not on either the menu or the special board - upon recommendation of our lovely, charming waiter. YOU HAVE GOT TO GET THIS ! NOW ! GO NOW ! The beef cheek had been braised for 6 hours with a rich cinammon spiced stock, and was served on thyme and parmesan infused creamy polenta with swiss chard.

 Evidence of extreme cheek tenderness, my knife remained completely unused

Weazelby went with the ol' classic linguine frutti del mare $28, a bountiful combination of prawns, mussels, fish, calamari tossed through perfect al dente linguine with chilli, garlic and parsley.

Could be the worst food photo of all time, even a nine year old can do better 

I don't think I have had a bad meal at Il Solito Posto before, and the service is always affable, I was particularly impressed with our waiter for the evening recommending such a winner of a dish when it was off the menu. The only point of deterrence is that the prices have risen quite a bit since my first ever visit.. although that was in 2005, so not that unexpected.

A Minor Place
103 Albion St
Open: 7 days, breakfast + lunch
BYO: No, but they have a short beer and wine selection
A Minor Place on Urbanspoon

A Minor Place opened in Brunswick within seconds of me moving away from Albion St in 2004 so I never had the initial swooning phase that everybody else went through following its conception. I have since visited a number of times although my visits seem to be spaced out by years. I popped in for breakfast on the weekend after a foolish decision to jog up Merri creek from home. If you were wondering who that sweaty, puffing, panting, groaning beast down by the creek on Saturday morning was, well, it was me.

I had the bullseye bagel $12.50 with extra avocado $3.50. A nice neat stack of grilled ham, tomato relish, rocket, and poached egg on a toasted sesame bagel. Not sure how into the grilled ham I am, but as a whole this was a pretty tasty economical breakfast. My friend KH has a bit of a problem with the use of oval plates due to their cafeteria vibe and food slipping attitude. I'm a little less passionate about them. If they bringeth me the food, I liketh. God that was an awful joke, apologies.

I noticed a lot of ragging on the service at A Minor Place on urbanspoon, but I can't say I have experienced poor service during any of my visits there. I hate it when people describe spots as "full of hipsters" and describe poor service being due to "not being dressed cool enough". I turned up in a t-shirt 10 sizes too big for me, runners that looked like space boots from Pluto, leggings covered in lint, a face that looked like a raging bull and was treated perfectly. So there. Now shuttup everyone who insists on using "hipsters'' in their descriptions/criticisms.You were probably being a total asshole to the wait staff anyway.

The coffee is strong point at A Minor Place, with their beans roasted at their new offspring Wide Open Road - located on Weston St right opposite from Barkly Square. I'm a little less enamoured by the food at Wide Open Road after scratching the inside of my mouth with concrete toasted bread, but I think I was a little sensitive/hungover that day. Weazelby has Wide Open Road on his regular coffee + brunch rotation so that is a pretty solid sign of consistent quality.

Quick note on Kino - they have happy hour in the front bar on Fridays from 5-7pm (maybe every day? lets hope so), only $5 for their house wines! How can you say no to that. I love Kino, especially as they were the only cinema in the CBD where you could enjoy a wee tipple during a film prior to Nova opening their bar (sometimes I need this for anxiety management, a bottle would have helped during Snowtown). The sessions rarely sell out so it's a nice change from the epic queues you often have to file in at Nova.

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