Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cookie, Melbourne CBD by Snooze

If you're looking for a beer hall with a modern take on Thai and a sampling of Italian, then you can't go far past Cookie.

It's not necessarily the easiest place to find. If you didn't know what you were looking for, you'd be forgiven for walking past the entrace. It's not an "in your face, here I am place" but hidden inside a funky vintage building and up the stairs to the first floor.

This wasn't my first visit to Cookie and my first glimpse didn't let me down. I'm a total fan of vintage and Cookie does it well. I love the dark, pared-back interior contrasted with the light that floods through the tall windows onto the street. I especially love the vintage Melbourne feel to the decor ... mini table cloths, doilies and 70s napkins. And when the food arrives the bowls are only what I can call 70s nursery melamine. And don't get me started on the bill ariving wrapped in a Sesame Street Little Golden Book ... totally cute.

The group was well spread in terms of its favourite meal.

Some favoured the coconut yellow curry with steamed egg & pork ordered by me. The curry itself was very mild and tasty, with the egg exactly as I like it ... runny. But for some reason the pork was a little hard and dry on the outside and that took away enough from the overall feel of the dish to leave me dissatisfied.

Another favourite was the penang lamb & eggplant curry. The curry was a little warmer than the coconut yellow curry, but still mild, with a light sauce and meltingly tender lamb. One of our party went back more than once for a little more, and I admit I did the same thing.

Probably the firmest favourite was the stir fried pork belly with red curry, kaffir lime & beans, and not just with us but with others who mentioned this dish as soon as they heard we were going to Cookie. The making of this is interesting because the pork is cooked four times: boiled/steamed, roasted, deep fried and finally stir frien. This adds an interesting texture to the meat ... soft and moist on the inside but crispy fried and roasted on the outside. Very nice.

My personal favourite was the soft shell crab with garlic & pepper + fish broth. The crab was a little saltier than I'd usually eat but that was perfect for the crab. And I enjoyed the accompanying salad ... it didn't overpower the delicate crab, and was a welcome change from the meat that dominated the meal.

The hot and sour chicken prawn & tomato steamboat was left to the end, if only because the soup would stay warm until the other meal was finished. It was warmer than my tastebuds like, but was enjoyed by everybody else. The only downside to the soup was the prawns ... the few prawns were large and juicy, but unfortunately not enough for everybody.

A large menu of small, medium and large sizes to suit every diner. Our meals arrived soon after ordering, with the wait staff happy to lay everything out so we could share. I'm always impressed when a waiter remembers our order without writing anything down, and Cookie is definitely one of those restaurants. Make sure to book, even for lunch, because Cookie is popular and be prepared to talk loudly ... the place really buzzes as it fills up. The only downside was trying to catch the waiters eye to get the bill, which seems to happen in more restaurants than I'd imagine.

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

Level 1, 252 Swanston Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Ph: (03) 9663 7660

Cookie on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Ashley said...

Mmm, I've gone to Cookie now and again for drinks, or ventured up to Metropolis. Haven't really tried the food though, but the curries look delicious! Will definetly have to pop by one of these days!

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