In Melbourne, a city full of food and obsessed by coffee, I cook, I eat, I share the good news and the bad. essjay eats

Review: The Court House – North Melbourne

We’ve just started feeling the chill of winter, and the need for some heavier food. The Court House isn’t far away from us, and generally a tasty, easy-to-like, meal. I rarely feel like boring, pedestrian food (who does really?), but sometimes I do just want life to be a bit easier to deal with than others. At times like you this, you will likely find us at the Courthouse. (When I want quality bangers and mash you’ll often find us in the front bar at the Court House.)

The old corner pub looks a bit like a unassuming from the outside, and you wouldn’t be surprised to find a few oldtimers leaning against the front bar, but the side entrance to the restaurant shows a restrained deco/modern style, with dark wood, good linen and heavy cutlery.

We restricted ourselves to mains and dessert, but to give you a feel for the entrees:-
* scallops, bone marrow, goats curd, beetroot and bacon $23
* Venison Bresaola with persimmons, EVO, shallots and blood plums $18

Tasty starters are tempting, alongside terrine, a vegetarian option and a fish dish as well.

Main meals (there’s no mucking around with small plates, bigger plates and share plates here, traditional entrees, mains and desserts thanks!) move from traditional steak of the day, offal, a couple of fish dishes, Otway Pork Belly and seem quite reasonable at $27 to $35.

We ordered the twice cooked Macleay Valley Rabbit served with brussel sprouts, chestnuts and a thyme jus. Delicate rabbit rolled and roasted was moist and juicy and only very lightly ‘gamey”.

…and Duck Breast with pumpkin walnuts and hazelnuts, which was rich and a little bit on the tough side, but served with thoughtful (if not surprising) garnishes.

We had a chat to our waiter and he suggested a bottle of the Sorrenberg 2008 Gamay from Beechworth. This wine edged toward the a lighter style, but was terrifically savoury and with neither too much acid or fruit. It drank very well with both our mains.

I am a sucker for suet puddings, so I couldn’t go past the Steamed Quince and Suet Pudding – custard, brandied prunes and Earl Grey Ice Cream. The pudding was flavourful and had the texture you only get from suet. The quince was delightful and full of vanilla scent, but the Earl grey icecream wasn’t quite right. Not enough Earl Grey, and perhaps Ice cream wasn’t quite right for a winter meal? Clotted cream maybe?

The service did seem to struggle a little bit the night we were there, one waiter was on his first night, and at least one other was covering from their sister establishment, so the service didn’t hum the way it has done in the past. But the bones are still there, it’s a lovely room, a terrifically interesting wine list and decent food. May not be in line for the next chef’s hat, but it’s real and grounded and not too complicated, and sometimes that’s just what I’m in the mood for.

The Court House
86 – 90 Errol Street (cnr Queensberry)
North Melbourne
Ph (03) 9329 5394


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