We celebrated our 16 year anniversary (yeah, I know!!!) at The Town Mouse in Carlton, thanks to some very sweet and kind friends who gave us a voucher to dine there! This hatted restaurant is super cute – with its black subway tiles, bar stools, and cozy little bar – and it’s super small, which I suppose is perfectly sized for all us little mice who want to eat there! 😉
We’re seated at a high round table at the back of the restaurant, so we have ‘pole position’ view of all the joint’s activity. But with all the great food that started hitting the table, we cared very little about what was happening around us, and much more about what we were gonna get into us! Complimentary deliiiiiccccciouuuussssss hard edged & salt encrusted bread with soft creamy butter was the first thing to magically disappear from our table.
I quickly moved onto the Goat’s Cheese Profiteroles ($8.00 for 2), which were light, airy and lovingly stuck to my plate with that in-house honey they produce on their roof. A very light flavour with small punches of caraway and thyme hit my taste buds along with that smooth cheesy interior. Although a nice way to start, these little balls of joy just didn’t last long enough!
So, what did I do with all my spare entree time? I watched Hubby Bear literally gawk over his Tuna Rillettes ($11.00). As he scooped the smooth and moist tuna out from under the pile of capers and hints of lemon zest, he spread the concoction onto a thin slice sourdough which was crisped up to a “T”. And I lovingly listened to the crunch crunch crunch of each bite, in between the “uh muh gawds”, and was thoroughly unsuccessful in coaxing out an adequate description from him other than, “it’s just, sooooooo good!” Clearly a winner and a must have according to my significant other!
After that sort of entree, Hubby Bear had some pretty high hopes for his Rainbow Trout ($23.00). And there was a generous piece of it presented on a large round black plate, encircled with baby globe artichokes, rocket and sunflower seeds. Definitely fresh, nice soft flavours, beautifully presented, but it didn’t hit that “Oh yeah” button like the tuna rillettes did – clearly a hard act to follow!
The next three dishes came out like little vegetarian Christmas presents! The Roast Cauliflower ($12.00) was divine! The half-cauliflower was sandwiched between a creamy bed of broad bean miso and crisp and crunchy almond slivers – heaven in a bowl. My spoon just sliced through the cauliflower, then trekked to my mouth repeatedly, like there was an invisible force making me do it, I couldn’t stop. This is an infectious dish!
The second veg dish was whole Fried Chat Potatoes ($10.00), just sprinkled with some salt and accompanied with a yuzu mayo. Don’t let the simplicity of it fool you, it’s definitely tasty and a nice palette cleanser between the others!
So, can it get much better? Oh yeah. The true pièce de résistance was the Slow Roast Red Cabbage ($15.00), that had juicy, fat, sweet little prunes and apples hidden inside that kinda jumped into your mouth with all the shock of a surprise “taaaddaaaa!!” What a great contrast to the saltiness of all that parmesan laying on top of the near quarter-cabbage slice! It’s somehow I infused with opposing flavours – sweet, salty and a little tinge of bitter! Now it’s key you do not judge this dish just because it’s cabbage. It’s decadent. It’s to die for. It’s one to have again and again and again. And yes, I couldn’t stop eating this one either, making me quite the piglet for the evening!
On a normal night, there’s no way we would’ve ordered a dessert. But celebrating 16 years of marriage, we felt we had to get something to finish this amazing meal with. So we ordered the Goat’s Milk Ice Cream ($7.00) with lavender salted caramel poured on arrival. Mix those suckers together because I can promise that salted caramel is salty salted salt! But DEE-LISH-US bowl-licking flavour!
I see why you have a hat, you little Town Mouse, you. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t be surprised to see you get a big head with all the hats you’re on track to get in future!
I’d like to add one point which didn’t quite “sit well” with us – which was, the seating ! ha! I didn’t give the atmosphere the full stars below because the seating was set up like a bar. No backs on the stools that go along with those high tables, forcing you to lean in and on the table to give your back some relief as you stuff your face and belly beyond the point of no-return.
Perhaps that’s our age? Perhaps that’s a great tactic to turn over tables fast? All I know is, if we were able to lean back a little to relax our ever-increasing bellies from our ever-amazing dinner, it would’ve been a far more comfortable experience – making it an absolute perfect night. Maybe next time 😉
Address: 312 Drummond Street, Carlton VIC 3053
Tip! Get the cabbage. Even if you hate cabbage, get it and be prepared to be – at the very least – shocked at what a talented chef can do to a normally pretty boring vegetable!