Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Auction Rooms, North Melbourne by Snooze

I love a place that does breakfast all (or almost all) day so the Auction Rooms was always going to be a winner with me. So when you add great location (North Melbourne), fabulous d├ęcor (located in the old WB Ellis auction room and retaining much of the original character) and good food … a restaurant is definitely on the right track.

Lunching with a vegetarian can be a drag because so many places don’t offer vegetarian suitable meals … or even vegetables for that matter! That’s not the case at the Auction Room. The menu had a few options to choose between, especially the brunch menu, and our vegetarian chose the coriander falafel with poached eggs and minty yoghurt dressing on flat bread. A mouthful of a name and a very tasty mouthful on the plate. I was unlucky to get only a mouthful, and I would have liked more. Maybe next time.

My favourite of the day was the French Toast stuffed with coconut … chosen unsurprisingly by Big Fil who has a knack for picking the best thing on the menu. It came with a dressing of herbed mascarpone (or maybe it was ricotta) and a lime wedge. It was light, sweet, delicately flavoured and because of the coconut surprisingly filling. (Next time I’m letting Big Fil choose for me … he always seems to choose better than me what I should get!)

I chose the braised lamb shoulder pie. For some reason I expected more vegetables, but having said that the lamb was tender inside a thin, flaky pastry, and served on a rocket salad dressed with balsamic vinegar. I didn’t realise when I ordered it how much meat there would be and I really need to ask next time before I order because I like my quantities of meat to vegetable reversed (ie 95% vegetable/5% meat). (Big Fil, however, liked the pie … he thought the filling cooked to perfection and the pie was the sort of winter filler he likes).

I love that Auction Rooms kept the external sign and advertising on the walls from when the building was used as an auction house, and the renovations inside keep much of its character. Overall, there’s plenty of space between the tables, and the rough brick walls and bare boards don’t result in a space so noisy you can’t hear yourself think (and the restaurant was almost full during a Wednesday lunch time). The menu is also diverse without being overwhelming (ten choices or less per course seems to be plenty), and very close to the tram. The only thing that wasn’t quite up to par was our meals being a little slow to arrive, and asking twice for the bill. Not horrendously slow but it would have been handy if these things had been a little faster as we travelled from the city by public transport and time was important to us. Sometimes it’s just the luck of the day and it’s definitely worth a revisit to see whether we were unlucky.

Food - 7
Service - 6.5
Ambience - 8
Price - 7

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

Auction Rooms on Urbanspoon

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