There’s only one thing Melburnians like doing as much as they like eating food, and that’s talking about food. And while some new openings are everything you hoped for, there are always going to be the places that crash and burn due to their inability to live up to the expectations and hype that surround them. In light of this, we present to you the places we were unable to foodgasm for.
Dead Man Espresso, South Melbourne
We arrived in Melbourne at the start of this year and proactively started researching the places most highly rated in the previous year – and this cafe kept popping up. Yes it does good coffee and the fit-out is ‘very Melbourne’ – but the food really lets this place down. I visited by myself and as there was a ‘deconstructed’ pork belly sandwich I jumped at the chance to give it a go. What the chef was trying to pull off was lost in translation completely. I enticed WordMonkey a few months later to round two to see if it worked for her. Again the food couldn’t compete with what other Melbourne brunch locations were doing. Unfortunately I don’t have time for three strikes – so they are out.
Poor old Coda. Having spent three months travelling through Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos we tried this upmarket restaurant that, from all reviews, should be able to pull off this simple yet tasty cuisine. Sadly this is another place we tried and tried again, but each time it was never able to raise to the occasion. And there’s Chin Chin almost next door pulling off a similar cuisine with far better results and change for $50.
Wowsers. Movida closes Terraza for a new fit out and reopens as Paco’s Tacos serving something so on trend that the venue could be termed #Occupyhipsters. The words of one of our favourite commenters ‘Mel’ sums up the situation perfectly: “I have the feeling that they were just like ‘hey Mexican is cool, let’s open a Mexican place without bothering to learn how to cook Mexican food from professionals elsewhere’”. Don’t waste your hard earned time and money here – head down to the newly opened Fonda on Swan Street where they outshine Frank Commora’s Movida offshoot by a Mexican mile.
When a ‘foodie’ picks a restaurant to celebrate their birthday, a weight of expectation is put on the establishment to come through with the goods. With a well-deserved love of both Cumulus Inc and Cutler & Co – how could Golden Fields put a food wrong? Well it did. The service was less attentive than expected, the food had no pizzazz and don’t get me started with whether a small bun with a few slivers of lobster is really worth $15 (aka you will need one per person so this adds a min $30 to the bill – no it’s not worth it). For food wow factor – head to the first two, save your pennies and give this a miss.
Housed in an old bank with a sake master on hand to assist in your choice of over 50 bottles of tipple, this Japanese izakaya is sleek and stylish, and keen to see you get to grips with plenty of rice wine. Our issue? Cost versus what you get on your plate. As a food blogger there are some things that are certain in life – and one is that you will over order. What surprised me was that we went above and beyond, yet at the end of the meal still felt hungry (after a few somewhat underwhelming dishes – although to be fair some did hit the spot) and were slapped with one of the highest priced bills we have encountered here so far.
So where were your biggest disappointments of the year?
Sharking for Chips & Drinks 2011 End of Year Awards
Melbourne’s Best Brunch 2011
Melbourne’s Best Bars 2011
Melbourne’s 2011 Hot Openings
Melbourne’s Best Cheap Eats
Melbourne’s Top 5 Dishes of the Year
Melbourne’s Most Anticlimactic 2011
Sharking for Chips & Drinks 2012 Most Anticipated List