Thursday, December 6, 2012

Hell of the North

Have you guys ever done a reverse parallel park on the other side of the road? Down those one way streets where you can park on both sides of the road? It's super awkward. I'm pretty convinced when I do it, especially in my big ol' 4WD, that I'm going to just randomly destroy the car behind me and probably the wall of the closest building.

But this time, right in front of Hell of the North, the devil must have been on my side, as I did one quick smooth turn into my spot. Oh yeah. It was going to be a good night.

The bright sunny door of Hell of the North does not giveaway any hint of what you might discover within it's grey slate stone walls, but step inside, and you are whisked away into a cool little spot. It's surprisingly big, with a pared back front room, dark blue walls (which I found rather soothing) and simple furniture, with a bar in the middle. There was also a rather cosy looking library-esque room, perfect for a function, and a couple other spaces that they could fit people into. 

Although I was going to get a gin and tonic, I couldn't resist trying out their 'Fade to Grey' cocktail, with Westwinds gin, ginger, lemon and earl grey. Mmm. Trouble. 

Heirloom tomato gazpacho with anchovy, chevre and tomato sorbet, light and elegant. Sweet. the tomato sorbet in there was just genius, adding a surprising texture and temperature element. It just kind of snuck up on you, it was so well camouflaged! There were a lot of flavours in this, making it quite bright and exciting.

Chicken liver parfait, with madeira jelly and perfect brioche. It's not written on the menu like that, but I feel that strongly about the bread. Light, crisp, buttery. Was the perfect partner to the rich chicken parfait. Sure a dark brown pan is not the sexiest looking thing, but you just have to dig through the jelly to the smooth parfait underneath. I'm officially a chicken parfait fiend. 

Bruce made the comment that Melbourne was turning into Portland and that to apply for a restaurant in a hipster area you needed a beard. And not just a beard, like a full bushy beard. I lifted my head up and couldn't help but laugh at the 2 or 3 waiters walking around with…well, pretty full on beards. We are turning into Portland...

John Dory, with prawn mousse, fennel salad and crab fumet. It hit the table, filling our noses with aroma. I was smitten with the rectangular slab of prawn mousse with just melted away in your mouth. Sitting in the crab fumet, it tasted of the ocean, a spicy ocean, it made me think of Malaysian otak otak. I honestly felt that the prawn mousse was the bigger star for me, as I found the John Dory slightly dry. 

Milawa duck breast with saucisse, braised endive and sauce agrumes. Ah, such beautiful duck, still with a gentle flush of blush, the serve modest but the tender meat prooved very satisfying. Also loved the braised endive, it didn't look like it, but it was soaked in sauce, making it rich, soft and tender and just a delight. A lovely and earthy dish, which was deceptively heavy...

The red cabbage coleslaw was recommended by our Portland-esque waiter, and really as the perfect side to go with the duck. A bit of mayo, a bit of crunch, it just added that contrast needed to lighten up the meal. 

I don't think Bruce and I have ever skipped dessert, and in Hell, it was a passionfruit parfait, with coconut, lime and palm sugar sorbet, praline and mango. I spose going down the tropical path for dessert makes sense in a hot place like hell. Yeah? It was a nice tidy size, just enough for both of us to get our sugar hit. All the elements on the dish were light, but with a bit of crunch from the parfait to add a bit of fun. 

Overall, Hell of the North impressed me. The interior is cosy, the service is courteous and the food menu is limited, but pretty sexy. 

If this is hell, I've been a bad bad bad girl. 

(Maybe I should have hit the car behind me doing my reverse parallel park earlier...)

135 Greeves Street

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  1. I went to Hell of the North in the first week of opening and it was fantastic! Good to see that the standards are still up there. I just wish more people knew about this little gem :)

  2. ooo looks like menu has changed. time to test out the new items!

  3. Double Trouble! Def likin' the Fade to Grey cocktail and yes...the prawn mousse does seem way tempting. Oh and Hey, I can finally comment here!!!

  4. Ohh I love the name hehe :) I haven't heard of Hell of the North but the dishes sure look good! especially that fish so well cooked! And SO glad you never skip desserts that would be a SIN in my books :P

    1. only 1 dessert item though. that's already a fail =P. i tried all the spring menu desserts when i went.

  5. It looks like such a cosy, intimate place!

    I remember reading this post, but could not comment then for some reason, think its got to do with Google Chrome stupidly not allowing pop-ups w blogger blogs, arrgh!

    But I'm with Allan, only one dessert?? Nooooooo!!!

    Gee I've become such a dessert fan lately...!