Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mr Tulk, Melbourne CBD by Bureaucrat

Ah, Mr Tulk. It's with a sense of fin de si├Ęcle that I write about Mr Tulk.  Prior to London, Mr Tulk was my favourite cafe - I'd go there quite often...any excuse would do for me to have a leisurely lunch there.  While I was dragooned in London, I used to pine for the food and every aspect of Mr Tulk. I loved its fresh and creative take on the standard cafe fare, the gorgeous waiters and waitresses (they all look like they're models), the lovely hum of chatter from the diners and the overall vibe of the place.

But since I've been back in Melb, I've stayed away from Mr Tulk. Mostly it was because I was worried if any aspect of Mr Tulk had changed while I was away.  I'm a stickler for tradition and slow-moving changes. I didn't want my perfect cafe to have changed in any way.  So a few weeks ago, Big Fil and I went to Mr Tulk for lunch. We sat down and my immediate sense was that Mr Tulk has lost it's magic. It's still a great cafe, but somehow the glow has waned for me.

Based on my recommendation, Big Fil got the chicken and silverbeet pie. This pie is also my favourite. Crisp and flaky pastry, filled with tender pieces of chicken and veg. It's served with the most delicious Madiera jus. Perfect for a wintertime lunch.

One of my favourite dishes was the corned beef and potato patty with poached eggs. The patty used to be a pretty sizeable serve. However, these days, the patty is now a reasonablish-sized croquette. A nice crisp crust with lean corned beef and finely diced potato that has a perfect firm-mushy texture. I love breaking up the poached eggs and mixing it with the English mustard and smearing it onto the corned beef.

I can highly recommend the salads there too. By memory there's a salad with hazlenuts, rocket, fetta and grated beetroot that's really nice if you want a healthier option. I'm not sure if it's still on the menu, but they also had an absolutely fabulous duck confit. The baguettes are simple but have strong, gutsy flavours - they're almost tapas-like in its approach. I'm told that the coffee is good there, but I haven't tried them as I'm not a coffee drinker.

Food - 8.5
Ambience - 7.5
Service - 7
Price - 7

Service is on the slower side but it isn't outrageously slow. Mr Tulk is the place where you've got the full lunch hour to dine. It's not the sort of place where you can eat and leave within 30 minutes (unless you're getting the take away - eg, the very tasty baguettes and pizza slices).

Mr Tulk used to have a range of specials that would be based on the best produce they had at the time. However, at least based on my recent visit, they don't seemed to have the specials anymore.

For me, Mr Tulk has served me well over the years, but I think it's time for this bureaucrat to move on. Mr Tulk is located on the LaTrobe Street side of the State Library. And with the opening of Moat (see Big Fil's review) on the Lt Lonsdale St side of the library, my mind and tummy is designating Moat as my favourite cafe in the city.

Mr Tulk
State Library
328 Swanston St
Melbourne 3000
Telephone: 8660 5700

Mr Tulk on Urbanspoon

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