18th February 2016
Level 1, 66 Flinders Lane
Melbourne, VIC 3000
You know the saying ‘third time lucky’? Well the third time wasn’t very lucky for me. I switched from an iPhone camera to a proper DSLR almost 4 years ago, but managed to almost lose it after just 3 meals out. I have never forgotten the Awful Sinking Feeling Of Sheer Terror, and I’m reasonably glad to say that this has only happened on one other occasion in the last 4 years.
Clearly, I wasn’t the only one who found this occasional memorable. When the folks at Tazio emailed to tell me about the soft launch of their sister restaurant, Little Flinders Upstairs, they first thing they asked was if I remembered the incident. I definitely did, but I also remember enjoying my meal at Tazio very much, and I was eager to give their new venture a go.
Climbing up the stairs, Little Flinders proved to be worlds away from Tazio. If Tazio is dark oiled Italian leather, then Little Flinders is crisp linen spread over the garden table. Bright but still with a certain weight to it, Little Flinders is Modern Australian through and through.
Fitted out with a 14 metre long Tasmanian oak bar and several separate dining areas, Little Flinders is the brainchild of Ray, our host for the night. He has big plans for the place; he envisions a restaurant where you could drop in for a coffee, after work drinks, or a party for 20. Where hospitality is king and the food is always top notch.
Although we could order from both the upstairs and downstairs menu, for the sake of research, we decided to stick with just the Little Flinders menu. We kicked things off with a couple of cocktails; well, a crisp and refreshing Mojito ($17) for me, and a fruity non-alcoholic Safe Sex On The Beach ($9.5) for Chris. Yes the name made me giggle way more than it should; imagine if they had named it The Dry Hump has they had initially wanted to.
It’s been a while, but I decided to continue with my attempt at oyster appreciation. The Oysters ($4ea) here are shucked upon ordering, then smelt by the chef to ensure that it is fresh as can be. This is the first time I’ve ever enjoyed an oyster so much. Sitting plumply in a clear pool of brine, these were rich and creamy, and outstanding with a dash of the tangy mignonette sauce.
When there’s something on the menu called Macaroni and Many Cheeses ($9), there’s really no choice but to order it. This cheesy pasta dish touts a combination of parmesan, old English, scarmozza, and fontino. But digging past the delicious herby crust on top, I had trouble finding much cheese at all, never mind many cheeses. Call me disappointed.
Chris has this thing with parmas, so there was no way he was going to have anything other than the Big Parma ($26.5). This was definitely one of the best I’ve had, the moist chicken breast coated with a herbed crumb, two chunks of buffalo mozzarella melted over the top. The sides were equally as good, the salad crisp and lively, and the chips golden and fluffy. Chris complained that this wasn’t the size of his face, but for everyone else who has a reasonable idea of portion sizes, this should be just right.
I on the other hand went for the Tailor Made option, and ordered a 220g Eye Fillet ($31.5) with a side of Seasonal Vegetables ($5.5). The steak was thick and juicy, almost as tall as it was wide, and with some delicious charring on the outside and a gorgeously pink centre. The greens of the day were some snow peas and green beans, crisp and sugary, tossed lightly with olive oil and mint.
I finished up with a Flat White ($3.5). Made with a double ristretto, the brew is strong but not overbearing; good for clearing the head after a meal.
When it comes down to it, Little Flinders is a good place to pop in for an easy, relaxing meal. Although there is nothing groundbreaking on the menu, there is bound to be something for everyone regardless of what you’re after.
Rating: 13/20 – little know it all.
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit.
Sweet and Sour Fork dined (partially) as a guest of Little Flinders Upstairs