Yeah, I know, not a very original post title, is it?
One evening before a gig at the Northcote Social Club, the plan was to grab a bite to eat in the area. As usual, Urbanspoon provided many options. Pizza Meine Liebe came up. We went in, the lovely waitress said they were fully booked out but told us to go next door to Joe’s Shoe Store as they would let us eat there even though it’s a bar. We took the lovely lass’ advice and were warmly greeted upon entering Joe’s Shoe Store which was bursting at the seams. No seats meant no food.
High Street in Northcote has a myriad of dining options and walking towards the NSC, we happened upon Chowhound which looked suspiciously empty and trendy. What a fortuitous find it turned out to be.
It was quite difficult to choose what to have – there were so many yummy things on the menu. I was tempted by the beef bourguignon special, but thought it might be too filling, so decided to have a meat-free dinner.
I convinced Tristan to share a starter of soft shell crab with wasabi mayonnaise for dipping. The batter was feather-light and there’s easily enough for two people. If you’re not too hungry, I’d say it’d be adequate as a small meal. I want to go back just to have this again!
After agonising over mains, I went for the flat rice noodles topped with vegetables, woodear fungi, mushrooms and presented with massive cubes of tofu. So much vegetarian goodness happening in this dish with the textures and tastes. As you can see, there’s dried shallots, beanshoots and baby corn. The menu did mention that there were water chestnuts and my only criticism was that there were only two of them in the entire dish – would have loved more. A minor quibble, however. I apologised profusely for not being able to finish my rice noodles and the affable waiter told me not to worry – it’s a big dish.
Tristan went with comfort food incarnate – macaroni cheese with bacon, caramelised onions and a crispy topping. Grown-up comfort food! Makes me warm and toasty just thinking about it.
Both of us forwent our beloved beer that night and I had a glass of pinor noir and Tris had Kanga shiraz. Alas, the wine list was taken away too quickly for me to covertly snap a photo of it, so I can’t tell you exactly what I had – but I promise I’m paying more attention to what wines I drink.
By the time we left, fortified for some serious gig enjoyment, the place was full. It’s not hard to see why – it’s a beautiful space and the menu is chock-full of slightly jazzed up standards, borrowing liberally from different culinary traditions. The fact that I had so much trouble choosing what to eat means I’m planning a repeat visit.
Looking at the photos reminds me of the om nom nomness of the food, as well as the generous portions.
Your dish looked gorgeous, and I must say sitting across from you while you chowed down (yes, terrible pun intended) on all those delicious mushrooms without stealing any was quite difficult – I’ve been quite the funginator in recent times 🙂
Next time we can order the dishes we had again and swap!
I love this place too! Will have to try the soft-shelled crab and the mac and cheese next time I’m there. Perhaps not both at once… 😉
Didn’t stop Tristan from having both at almost same time! Was quite a serendiptous find really, I want to go back too. I saw your review and you had one of the dishes I was keen to try 🙂