Where do you think I am if you were to look at these pictures?
Somewhere in the CBD? Having lunch with David in a cute new little cafe, or perhaps in South Yarra. That yellow upholstery is to die for.
What if I said I was in the heart of little Vietnam in Melbourne, down on Victoria st, amongst the Pho and little Asian grannies?
Yeah I was surprised too!
On Tuesday I took my grandma on one of our semi-regular lunch dates, she never eats a lot and is a bit of a picky eater, but still loves just being taken out every now and again. Which of course, I'm more than happy to do.
This particular day's venture was out to The Aviary in Richmond, appropriately adorned with little red bird motif's all over the raw, grungy stone walls. My grandmother commented she liked the place as it felt 'old fashioned'. Whilst I may not put it in those exact words, I can certainly see where she's coming from, with delicate picture frames and patterns, polished wood tables and bright yellow sofas juxtaposed against broken steam-punk-esque clocks, high ceilings and brick walls.
It was quite a soothing combination, with large windows letting in the softly diffused light of a cloudy day through.
I love that my grandma doesn't notice me taking pictures of her, even when my camera is pointed directly at her!
My grandma decided to just get one of the share entree plates as a main. Black mussels with a hint of chilli, tomato, basil and olive bread. The mussels were quite tasty, but I almost hate to admit, the olive bread completely stole my attention. I broke off a nibble for myself, having briefly forgotten what it was when set down in front of us and was very happily surprised by the rich olive flavour. It was quite intense!
I took advantage of their midweek lunch special, which came with a glass of house wine (or soft drink if that's more your thing) and a small selection of mains. This was the spiced lamb ragout on ciabatta, with tomatoes, parmesan and a generous serving of fries. Again, it was a cold rainy day (as Melbourne seems to mostly be at the moment...) and 'lamb ragout' just jumped out to me. Whilst I suppose the expectation is to eat it much like a sandwich, I just had a wee bit of bread and ate all the lamb on it's own otherwise, was tasty enough to do so! It was very well seasoned, hot and quite delicious, with a good lamb flavour that was balanced out with the herbs in it. So not too heavy. The fries were also made just how I liked them, thin and perfectly crisp, not crunchy hard, on the outside. And they weren't too oily either. So I might've just ended up eating all of them, but hey, you need carbs in winter...right?
As always, I couldn't resist a peek at the dessert menu. My grandma insisted she was full and if I ordered anything would just have a bite, as long as there was no dairy. Well fine I thought and ordered the dark callebaut chocolate fondant, with Grand Marnier creme anglaise, vanilla ice-cream and pistachio floss. Mmm!
Gorgeous isn't it? And well guess what? My grandma got her teeth into one of the chocolate fondants and kept going back at it, leaving me to happily fit just one chocolate fondant and ice-cream in my fairly stuffed stomach. The fondant was so dense and delectably rich and chocolaty. It was an absolute treat with the ice-cream, as it melted over the top of the fondant, wrapping and infusing a cold vanilla tingle into it. I don't personally feel the Grand Marnier creme anglaise really added to the dessert, it was quite weak even when I poured a lot of it over the top and um...what pistachio fairy floss? Maybe the strawberries are there in it's stead...
Regardless, even with the both of us full, we cleaned our plate.
For a midweek lunch, I think The Aviary is just gorgeous, a beautiful relaxing setting, and hardly busy on a Tuesday. I would love to come back sometime with a book and waste an afternoon sinking into one of yellow seats next to the window. Or maybe bring mum, can't let anyone in the family feel neglected now can I?
271 Victoria St
271 Victoria St