Located in North Fitzroy, Matteo's is known for its Asian-European fusion cuisine and is also quite a favourite spot for wedding receptions. Having seen photos of some of the food that's served at Matteo's, we were all very keen in trying out the food ourselves.
For a double whammy family celebration, we rocked up to try its lazy Sunday lunch menu. For $79 per person, it was great value and, boy, we all rolled home afterwards and either had a light meal or no food for dinner.
The Asian-European fusion thing is evident from the start. First, bread, butter and some Japanese seaweed sprinkles (I'm not sure what it was called exactly).
There are four starters, which are served as shared plates for the table. I use the term starters lightly, as these were all pretty big serves. So much so that I already had to pace myself if I wanted to eat both my main dishes and desserts.
The scorched Mooloolaba cobia sashimi w shisho-ponzu dressing was my favourite of the entrees. Even though I am squeamish about raw fish, I didn't mind this at all... I really didn't mind it! Sweet, succulent and not a hint of fishiness whatsoever. The dressing imparted a savoury flavour and the bonito flakes gave the dish a nice umami depth, while the smooth avocado mousse gave the dish a lovely silky texture.
The panko crumbed goat's cheese was my next favourite - hefty orbs of smooth, semi-molten, salty cheese with a thin crisp crust. Given the size, they were truly decadent, and I loved the golden colour.
The next two starters were quite meaty, and I think most of us either liked them (but not as much as the other two) or thought they were rather ho hum. The spicy veal, wombok and salted beef bresaola rolls was my least favourite starter. It was really quite meaty, and I'm not a fan of veal. While the pungent cabbage aromas from the wombok and the strong scented bresaola competed against each other and didn't really marry up with each other.
We all wished the Peking duck rillettes were actually the proper Peking duck w pancakes. Cute presentation with the slice of fried lotus root and pickled ginger. However, the shredded duck and the rather thick spring onion crepe (more of a pancake then crepe) just didn't do it for me. Plus, one of the best bit of Peking duck is the wafer thin, crispy skin, which was lost in translation.
By this stage, I was actually starting to get full. For the two main courses, there are two options each. So between us all, we ordered one of everything. The first main course was a choice between crab and cod. Both were excellent and we couldn't decide which one we liked more.
The spanner crab wonton ravioli was served with Asian coleslaw w beanshoots and choko and a tom kha galangal sauce. The gorgeously delicate sweet crab went really well with the creamy sauce and the refreshing salad. A really classy ravioli!
The miso-baked black cod fillet w broad beans, heirloom carrots and taramasalata was heavier but equally delicious. Very fresh fish that was succulent and the firm flesh could hold its own against the the utterly perfect taramasalata - smooth, creamy and oozing with umami. Great pairing of flavours.
The next course was a choice between chicken and pork. Thankfully the spatchcock chicken was smaller than I was expecting (I was fearing the a whole chook). A lovely golden crust on the Maryland. It came with grilled baby corn (still in its husk), sugar snap peas and a mild Balinese yellow curry sauce. If this dish wasn't part of the lazy lunch menu, I'd happily eat it with a nice bowl of rice (although, I'm not sure they have rice as a side dish).
The roasted Golden Plains pork hock roulade was quite yummy except that we were getting really full. A lovely thick pan fried crust on the roulade contained the slow-cooked pork on the inside. A lovely fat-to-meat ratio going. Another pleasant surprise was that I liked the macerated prunes that was served with it. It was unusual but worked well with the fatty pork - the soft squidgy texture of the prunes closely matched that of the fatty pork hock. It also came with cider braised cabbage, cauliflowers and a ginger wine glaze.
A trio of desserts soon followed. The chocolate fondant (top) was okay but nothing memorable; the rum and raisin ice cream was suitably boozy and served on a bed of crumbled biscuits (which was surprisingly my favourite of the desserts given that I tend not to like this flavour combo); while the passionfruit trifle w red velvet cake and pineapple wasn't as nice as I had hoped - while I liked the tart trifle it didn't go well with the drier cubes of cake and the juicy pineapple.
Instead of the dessert plate, a few of us asked for a cheese plate. Three types of cheese, a fruit paste, a savoury chutney, crackers and a very nice apricot and nut bread.
Because it would have been rude (and I hate to be rude), I also tried some of the warm sticky date pudding that was complementary. Warm, sticky and a mellow sweetness, it was nice but we were simply too full to enjoy this (or even finish it). It was served with roasted bananas and some mousse. While tasty, it was perhaps not the prettiest dish.
Tea and coffee is not included in the lunch menu, but we definitely had to order some to help us savour the desserts. I liked how they came with a macaroon.
Food - 8.5
Ambiance - 8
Service - 8.5
Price - 8 .5
Wow - there's a lot of food for $79! Interesting fusion cuisine, although, some the flavour combinations for some dishes were executed better than others (but you gotta give them points for being creative). I would have liked more veggies featured on the menu, as it is quite meat-based.
Service is professional and friendly. A great place to go if you want to impress and try something a bit different.
533 Brunswick St
Fitzroy North 3068
Telephone: 9481 1177