A walk on the wild side: Seven Deadly Sins at Prix Fixe
One year ago, Phillipa Sibley (formerly of Albert St Food & Wine) joined with café entrepreneur Jason M Jones (Friends of Mine, Porgie & Mr Jones, Snow Pony and Mazzitelli) to shake up Melbourne’s dining scene. The result was Melbourne’s first ticketed restaurant, a concept that came about due to Phillipa’s frustration with the rise of the ‘no-bookings’ restaurant; along with some amazing prix fixe menu experiences Jason M Jones had in Parisian bistros and Italian osterias during his travels.
In the beginning, it took me a little while to get my head around the concept. Today I am now one of the converted. The basic concept: jump online, choose your date and how many you will dine with (tables of 2, 4 and 6 available) and pay upfront. A four course dinner will set you back $89 per person, while a 2 course lunch is just $49.
The concept is a win-win situation for both the restaurant and the diner. The restaurant experiences less food wastage and diners are guaranteed of a place when they require it.
Menus are themed with the seasons to take advantage of the freshest produce and can cover anything from literature to theatre. Over the first year Midsummer Nights Dream, Les Miserables and The Nutcracker have all inspired menus. Themed cocktails and a stellar wine list, as well as an optional wine match complete each menu.
Perhaps one of Prix Fixe’s greatest strengths is the ability to encourage repeat patronage due to an ever-changing menu. Melbourne is awash with amazing restaurants and those that are to survive must be innovative and offer something new to entice diners. The dining room is simple with exposed pipes, crisp white tablecloths and copper light fittings creating a spotlight over the real star- the food.
This month, Prix Fixe encouraged diners to explore their devilish side with a menu themed around the seven deadly sins. Our meal begun with a signature cocktail and some freshly shucked oysters before delving into the first course ‘Envy’, which explored the idea of the grass always being greener. Envy came in the form of a refreshing Stinging Nettle soup with young greens, goat’s cheese and a pine nut and nigella praline.
The next course offered a choice between Sloth and Wrath. There wasn’t any contest for me as an unassuming piece of toast was placed before me and I was delighted to find a rich foie gras parfait and large juicy, drunken raisins hidden within its toasted folds. Rich, decadent and just plain delicious.
Main course explored the sins of greed and gluttony. Greed came in the form of a fillet of John Dory, diamond clams, translucent pearls of rich tapioca, oyster mushrooms and flecks of gold. Gluttony was a dish with all my favourites: a chubby, perfectly pink lamb cutlet resting on a bed of risotto that had been braised in white wine and lamb juices, garnished with tarragon, tomato and loads of garlic. This dish was everything one would expect: tasty, satisfying and hearty.
For me dessert was always going to be ‘lust’, a risqué caramel parfait, with dark chocolate mousse, salted macadamia crumble, juicy cherries and thick vanilla bean flavoured cream. This was Phillipa Sibley at her best and a true celebration of love in all its forms.
The whole evening was fantastic with impeccable service, lots of laughs and more importantly extremely delicious food. Autumn brings more fun with a trip down the rabbit hole and a menu celebrating all things Alice in Wonderland. Expect even more fun and frivolity.
Interested in joining the party? Book your place online here
Alfred Place, 90 Collins St
Melbourne VIC 3000