The Moat

Wheeler Centre, State Library Basement
176 Little Lonsdale Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000
I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned that I love books, but I seriously love books. The way I talk about them can only be eclipsed by the fervent manner I talk about food, and I smell my novels before I devour them. And that was why The Moat was such a no-brainer of a choice for birthday meal number two. 
And why is The Moat so perfect? It is actually located right under the State Library, and the vibe of knowledge carries through. The dining room is elegant and sophisticated, even without the poetry reading that was going on the night we visited for dinner. The crowd is predictably older and classier (the younger ones are sitting outside with a beer or two), but we were made to feel welcome with service that was warm, if not a bit slow. 
Cheese Fondue with Seasonal Vegetable Plate ($18)
Cheese Fondue with Seasonal Vegetable Plate ($18)
I’ve always wanted to try fondue, but have been a bit intimidated by the reportedly very alcoholic version offered at The Swiss Club. Thus, the Cheese Fondue with Seasonal Vegetable Plate ($18) seemed like the perfect way to dip my toes. The cheese was indeed a little alcoholic, but the sweetness of the alcohol mingled well with the salty Swiss cheese, resulting in a luscious dip for the garden of crisp autumn carrots and soft beetroot. 
Chipotle Spiced Chicken Ribs ($13)
Our second entree was a plate of Chipotle Spiced Chicken Ribs($13). Though nothing special, the ribs were delicately flavoured with a faintly smoky chipotle rub, which went well with the drizzle of creamy aioli.
Soft Polenta with Wild Mushroom Ragout ($18)
To leave room for dessert, we decided to share a main and a side. The Soft Polenta with Wild Mushroom Ragout ($18) was the ideal comfort food for nights that are rapidly getting chillier. The slab of polenta was smooth and buttery, soaking up the pool of lightly earthy mushroom broth. The tumble of assorted mushrooms varied in texture and flavour, and was simultaneously robust and elegant when paired with the gossamer of herb salad. 
Roasted Kipfler Potatoes ($8.5)
And of course, potatoes. These Roasted Kipfler Potatoes ($8.5) were unlike any we’ve had before, favouring a chewy crispiness over the usually preferred fluffiness. And whilst the difference in texture made the potatoes less hearty, they were generously flavoured with rosemary and whole cloves of garlic, imparting their pungent fragrance to the crunchy slices. 
Crema Catalana ($14)
Crema Catalana ($14)
It is well known by now that I can never turn down a crème brulee, especially not my favourite variety, the Crema Catalana ($14). Though a smidge grainy, I couldn’t fault either the eggy creaminess or the faint hint of citrus, and the light toffee shell was caramelised to perfection. The accompanying fingers of airy house-made biscotti dissolved on the tongue.
I’ll be up front and say that the portions at The Moat are quite small, and if it weren’t for my appetite being somewhat AWOL, we probably would’ve needed another medium-sized dish to be full. As it stands though, The Moat is a fantastic place for a quiet dinner; the food is seasonal and simple, but beautifully made, and the setting undeniably charming. Because of the price tag associated, I probably wouldn’t come back in a rush, but I know that when I do, I’ll be guaranteed a wonderful evening.
Rating: 15/20 – a very very unbirthday!
This rating reflects my personal experience at the time of visit. 

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1 Comment

  • Reply Eatandbemerrycrew 18/06/2014 at 10:29 pm

    Tip – If you are looking for excellent muffins in the city for that mid-morning snack, this is the place to go.


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