Friday, August 23, 2013

Auction Rooms, North Melbourne by Bureaucrat

To mark a major milestone at work, we had one more team lunch to celebrate everything we had acheived in the past year.

Because this was a special lunch, we decided to go further afield than the CBD.  Rather fittingly, Ms U suggested that we go to the Auction Rooms in North Melbourne.

From the outside, ARs looks rather promising - it exudes a hipster, eco-ish vibe.  It's like a blend of Scandanavian design plus a smidge of industrial accents.

This used to be an old factory (I think), as inside, it's renovated but you can still see the original brickwork and beams, and I loved the ambiant lighting with the natural sunlight streaming in.

To start off, a few of us got some alcoholic drinky-poos and a retro looking Gingerella.

I got a pot of soy chai. This was a lovely, earthy chai. I liked how it was made in such a way that it was actually quite creamy in mouthfeel.  Proper chai and real good.

On to the eatin'. Quite a few of us got the pulled bbq pork on house-made miso bun w remoulade and pickle. While everyone loved the juicy, tender pork, they weren't impressed with how the bottom half of the bun practically disintegrated by the sauce.  It made it almost impossible for them to eat the burger with their bare hands. Also, the guys weren't sure where the miso was in the bun. It wasn't a sauce that was spread onto the bun, but they couldn't taste in the bun itself.

Mr U got the quinoa salad w "Pat's veg organic cultured veggies", fennel and berbere spiced carrot puree, which he really liked.

Mr T got the slow braised beef cheek w horseradish, roasted parsnip puree, fried egg and heirloom beetroot salad. This was pretty generous serve of beef - a whole cheek! Mr T loved his dish - he said the beef was tender and very flavoursome and everything was spot on.

I got the tea-smoked salmon on quinoa, potato hash, braised greens, poached egg and bearnaise sauce. This was also very yum.  I had read reviews and seen photos of this dish, and it didn't disappoint.  A fairly decent serve of salmon.  The tea flavour was a bit faint but the salmon was perfectly cooked.  I loved the quinoa and potato hash, especially the individual grated strands of the potato, which were also perfectly cooked so that it was al dente and gave a golden crunchy crust. The quinoa added a nice nubbly texture to the hash. Glorious rich bearnaise with a perfectly poached egg.  The greens were a tad tough, but that's a minor quibble.

A few people got the chestnut and roasted garlic ricotta gnocchi w baby peas, mushrooms and grana padano.  In this photo, Ms C opted for the extra kaiser bacon. This seriously looked good, and everyone who got this dish agreed that it tasted just as good. Fluffy, light gnocchi, deep flavours and lots of cheesy goodness.  Mental note - I have to try this next time.

For those who still had some space in their tummies, they got some coffees.  Ms U taught us her new discovery - a piccolo latte (left), which is a mini latte (a single shot w less milk than a normal latte).

Food - 9
Service - 8
Ambience - 8.5
Price - 8.5

Loved the food. The generous serves, the wonderful flavour combinations and the fresh ingredients.  Service was friendly and prompt.  The place has a nice airy feel to it, and even though it was packed full, it wasn't too loud inside. I can see why AR is popular.  I'd definitely come back again when I'm in the neighbourhood.

Have a gander at Snooze's review of Auction Rooms' breakfast menu back in July 2010.

Auction Rooms
103-107 Errol Street
North Melbourne VIC 3051
Tel (03) 9326 7749

Auction Rooms on Urbanspoon

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