Beginning today and continuing for several weeks, I am going to trial posting twice a day. Since the start of 2008 I have been posting daily, whereas previously I was posting on average 3-4 articles a week. I have such a backlog of content that it may lose its value if it is delayed further.
St Jude’s Cellars on Brunswick St has been open for some time now and I have finally eaten there. I’ve been interested in whether the restaurant would work, as previous cafes in the same building have not worked. Read my previous post on why do some spaces not work? In contrast, St Jude’s seems to be working very well. My girlfriend and I dropped in on a whim on a Tuesday night without a booking and were able to get a table. We were relatively early and as the evening progressed it became quite full, so we were lucky.
Although we wanted to try all of the amazing sounding share plates, we also wanted to try the mains, so we selected two entrees to share then ordered mains. Below are the gremolata crumbed sardines and the beetroot and lentil salad with (shaved) salted ricotta and hazelnuts (allegedly, I could not see or taste any). The salad was good and the sardines perfect.
For mains I had the pork cutlet, confit belly and sherried peppers and my girlfriend had a wonderful fish dish that I can remember nothing about (it’s not on the current web menu so I cannot describe it). The pork was magnificent, and I matched it with a Spanish tempranillo from the brief but well chosen wine by the glass list. You can also buy any bottle from the shop and have it with your meal. The cauliflower cheese is already legendary and we had that on the side.
There was no room for dessert after this filling meal so I will have to review the desserts another time. St Jude’s Cellars is a serious contender in the relaxed but fancy dining scene, which is becoming more popular as the old fashioned stuffy manners and snobby attitude of established fine dining restaurants becomes a relic of a previous age. The service is appropriately attentive but not obsequious.
St Jude’s is more expensive than The Commoner, and similar in price to Griff’s wine pub. The biggest difference between these is the wine: at Griff’s there are about 50 wines by the glass, and you can also choose to buy a 500ml carafe of any of these, and at St Jude’s you can drink anything from the bottle shop in the restaurant. Choosing where to eat and drink in Fitzroy is becoming more and more difficult.