Matteo's, Fitzroy North

Dining Out: Matteo’s MFWF Restaurant Express Lunch

by April@MyFoodTrail on March 10, 2012

in Dining Out, Express Lunch, Fitzroy North, Modern Australian

533 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy North VIC
(03) 9481 1177

My weekends are always jammed packed with things that need to be done – running around doing errands, weekly shopping, housework or catching up with family and friends. My weekdays however, are very routine – go to work, come home, have a simple dinner and then chillax. Have I got it round the wrong way? Should I be chillaxing on the weekends instead?

This weekend in Melbourne is Labour Day long weekend and all I want to do is (try to) sleep in and do nothing, but instead I’ve got a list of activities planned. Not that I’m really complaining because most of them are fun activities, but I think it’s a note to self that I’ve got to plan a weekend where I have nothing planned!

Last week we went to our first Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (MFWF) Restaurant Express lunch for the year, and this weekend, we went to our second. I’ve got two more MFWF Restaurant Express lunches booked so keep an eye out for those posts too. The MFWF Restaurant Express lunches are $35 for two courses, plus a glass of wine and tea and coffee at a selection of well known restaurants around Melbourne and country Victoria.

Matteo’s is another restaurant we have been meaning to go to for some time, but never got around to until now. Matteo’s is located on Brunswick Street, but on the north side of Alexandra Parade. It received two hats in the 2012 Age Good Food Guide and has been “hatted” since 1996. The website calls the food contemporary Australian, but there is definitely an Asian fusion element to some of their dishes.

Even though it was lunch time and there was light streaming through the large windows at the front of the restaurant, it still felt quite dark, due to the dark colours of the floor and walls. The restaurant exuded an old world charm with the elegant fit out.

Matteo's - Inside

Inside Matteo’s

The MFWF Restaurant Express menu at Matteo’s had a choice of 4 entrees, 4 mains and dessert of cheese. There were also 3 sides available for $7 each. You can add on an extra course for $15.

We started off with a glass of wine each, one red and one white.

Matteo's - Red wine white wine

Red wine, white wine

We decided to split the entrees and the mains 50/50 this time. Sometimes we do that when we both really like both dishes. Other times we will just try some of each other’s dish and swap back!

The first entrée we chose was the tartare of Hiramasa kingfish, Yellowfin tuna and Atlantic salmon. It came presented in three small rounds, with each fish coming with a different dressing. The fish was very fresh and I liked the three different flavours of the fish and the dressings.

Matteo's - Tartare of kingfish, tuna and salmon

Tartare of Hiramasa kingfish, Yellowfin tuna & Atlantic salmon

The second entrée was a deep fried and tempura battered baby squid filled with red rice and shrimp, topped with a crunchy heirloom carrot salad and accompanied with a sea urchin butter sauce and a pea puree. All the flavours worked well together and the baby squid was tender.

Matteo's - Filled deep fried baby squid

Deep fried baby squid filled with red rice & shrimp, heirloom carrot salad, sea urchin butter sauce

It was a difficult choice for the main because we were deciding between three equally yummy sounding dishes. In the end we decided to forgo the karaage Japanese lemon fried chicken and go for the slow braised lamb shoulder and the fish of the day.

The fish of the day was a trumpeter fish fillet, pan fried and served with a rice paper roll. The fish had quite a firm, flaky texture and the rice paper roll was an interesting accompaniment.

Matteo's - Fish of the day

Today’s fish – trumpeter

The slow braised lamb shoulder had a delicious, sticky glaze and was very tender. It was sitting on top of crushed peas and was served together with a miso glazed eggplant with a spicy lamb mince topping and a small turnip fondant. The lamb mince was lacking in flavour but everything else on the plate made up for it.

Matteo's - Slow braised lamb shoulder

Slow braised lamb shoulder, nasu dengaku miso glazed eggplant with spicy lamb mince, Tokyo turnip fondant, citrus pepper sauce

You could choose a dessert platter or cheese for the final course. We chose dessert to share, which was an extra $15 as we already had our two courses. There were three miniature desserts that arrived on a plate: a berry tartlet with white chocolate mousse, a warm dark chocolate fondant pudding and a pistachio nougat and candied fruit parfait. Surprisingly the parfait was the sweetest thing on the plate. The chocolate fondant was perfectly gooey in the centre, but a touch too bitter for my liking. I enjoyed the berry tartlet with the white chocolate mousse the most.

Matteo's - Dessert platter La Dolce Vita

La Dolce Vita – Warm, dark chocolate fondant pudding; Berry tartlet with white chocolate mousse; Chilled pistachio nougat & candied fruit parfait

We finished off with a hot chocolate for me and a flat white for hubby.

Matteo's - Hot chocolate & flat white

Flat white in foreground, hot chocolate in background

Overall: The $35 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival Restaurant Express lunch at Matteo’s was fantastic value, considering the mains at Matteo’s are normally in the $40 plus region. Yes, the serves are smaller, but I was very impressed at how interesting the dishes were and how many elements were on the plate for a 90 minute express lunch. There were no stand out dishes because everything was very good!

Over & Out, April xx

Matteo's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle chin March 11, 2012 at 6:44 am

the hot chocolate looks a little too milky. 🙁


April@MyFoodTrail March 12, 2012 at 1:33 pm

Yeah, it was definitely more milky than chocolatey 🙁 Good spotting hehe


Hannah March 11, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Considering my often obsessive need to schedule my day in my mind, I like the idea of a 90 minute lunch. 😛 The tartare gets my vote!


April@MyFoodTrail March 12, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Haha, that’s cute! Do you also schedule in toilet breaks?! 😛


Thanh March 11, 2012 at 2:57 pm

You should definitely plan a weekend of no activities as it’s really chillaxing to just stop sometimes.

Food looks great, especially the food platter.


April@MyFoodTrail March 12, 2012 at 1:36 pm

I know, but so far the next few weekends are all busy 🙁

I get what you are saying about the dessert platter photograph. It was bad composition because the parfait that was in focus is cut off. It was relatively dark in the restaurant… gotta make sure my shutter speed doesn’t drop too low.


Cara @ Gourmet Chick March 12, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Ok this looks amazing and now I really, really have to book a MFWF express lunch. Haven’t been to Matteo’s in years so it could be a good option.


April@MyFoodTrail March 12, 2012 at 8:03 pm

I think this one was better than La Luna, not that La Luna wasn’t any good, but the dishes here were more interesting.


Flower@Nevertoosweet March 12, 2012 at 7:04 pm

Definitely great value for $35 🙂 A shame that there were stand out dishes but it still looks wonderful ~ my sister says the same thing that she’s more relaxed at work because she doesn’t need to take care of her little boy and worry about things in the house.

Hope you still enjoy your weekends and still have the chance to rest up!


April@MyFoodTrail March 12, 2012 at 8:11 pm

Thanks Daisy! Hubby ended up sick so we had to cancel a lot of our plans so I ended up resting anyway 🙂


Agnes March 12, 2012 at 9:02 pm

APRIL. What is going on? Two posts in a week?!

1: yes, you should definitely chillax in the weekend. 🙂

2: Yay, Haz and I are going to Matteos next Saturday. Woot.

3: Umm, there is no 3. Maybe I’ll think up a 3 when I read your next post. 🙂


April@MyFoodTrail March 21, 2012 at 9:16 am

Haha, and now the drought has started again as I’ve been so busy. So many events to attend, not enough time to blog them all! 🙂

Good to see you enjoyed Matteo’s too!


Adrian (Food Rehab) March 13, 2012 at 2:22 pm

I’ve fallen for the lamb shoulder. The glaze does look good enough ti lick the screen. I want@!!!!


April@MyFoodTrail March 21, 2012 at 9:19 am

Matteo’s was probably the best Express lunch I went to this year. You should go check it out!


msihua March 15, 2012 at 8:36 pm



April@MyFoodTrail March 21, 2012 at 9:20 am

I know…now that it has past Saturday! Glad to see you ladies enjoyed it!


Winston March 17, 2012 at 6:35 pm

My goodness, everything here is FANTASTIC. So, so, so want to try this place out. I’ve been meaning to try Matteo’s for a while because my friend’s brother is working there as a chef, so I’d love to show my support but have never gotten around to it. Man you’re making me feel like I want to become part of “your food trail” for the MFWF hahahha… Sorry for hitting you with my lame stick ;p Yumminess all the way lol


April@MyFoodTrail March 21, 2012 at 9:24 am

Hahaha, that wasn’t a lame stick comment 🙂 Maybe next year you can join me! You should go check out Matteo’s though, I really enjoyed the food at the lunch.


Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella March 19, 2012 at 7:08 pm

What a great deal that is indeed! And hehe I laughed when you mentioned your weekends because ours are the same! 😛


April@MyFoodTrail March 21, 2012 at 9:25 am

Thanks for coming to comment on my blog! I can’t believe even after how popular you have gotten over the years, you still take the time to visit and comment on people’s blogs who have commented on yours! 🙂


EatPlayShop March 26, 2012 at 9:56 pm

I miss sleeping in!!! Once kids are around there is no sleeping in any more!!! Although weekends jam packed with fun activities that YOU want to do is pretty cool (as opposed to work, blah!). The dishes all look delicious, what a great incentive the $35 express lunch is to try new places!


April@MyFoodTrail March 27, 2012 at 8:42 pm

Haha, yes I’m making the most of my kid free time. I’m sure once kids come along I’ll be complaining about other stuff!

If you have restaurant trained kids, Matteo’s actually allows them. There was two different tables while we were there with kids.


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