I guess if you name your restaurant after the street you're in, it's easier to remember? Even better if the street is a inconspicuous one like Peel Street is (between Hindley St and Currie St). "Peel Street? Where's that?" "On Peel Street!" "But where's Peel Street?" "On Peel Street!" ...........Moving on. The unexpected thing about it though is that the restaurant is nothing like the small, old alley. On the contrary, it has a very snazzy layout, upbeat tempo and fresh menu to draw in the crowds.
The day I came also happened to be the Melbourne Cup, which meant the only available seating was at the bar since everything was booked out. That wasn't such a bad thing since we could see into the open kitchen and watch the chefs prepare the masses of food for Melbourne Cup luncheons, but the chairs were a little too low for both of our vertically-challenged selves.
|Bang Bang Chicken Salad with rice noodles, cucumber & coriander: $22.50|
Besides the fairly high price for a salad, there wasn't much to fault with this dish. The chicken pieces were soft and juicy so cutting was a breeze. Everything was extremely fresh and there were other ingredients which weren't mentioned in the menu: chopped up chilli (very hot), peanuts, a vinaigrette sauce and a lot of parsley and spring onion, all which meshed well together. To be honest I was expecting something new to be done with a chicken and noodle salad, but there wasn't much to it. I could easily make this at home.
|Armenian Lamb Soldiers with tomato & pomegranate salsa, garlic yoghurt & toasted pinenuts: $19.50|
This came out very different to our imaginations. I hear 'soldiers' and I'm thinking eggs and soldiers - toasted breadsticks and the like. Minor point aside, the lamb mince was really flavoursome and had a great sauce going with it. The salsa had tons of tomato but I couldn't see nor taste any pomegranate, while the garlic yoghurt was pretty sour and non-garlicky. The mint leaves were an interesting addition - my friend doesn't normally eat mint on it's own but thought the herb went well with the lamb.
I can see this place filling up fairly quickly during the summer. It has a semi-underground vibe going on despite it being very above the ground. Service was fairly friendly although some waitresses seemed a bit snotty towards us. The food came out in decent time given that they were busy preparing for the Melbourne Cup lunches (which weren't on their regular menu but looked so yummy). Prices are high for lunch but reasonable for dinner.