September 9, 2009

Punch Lane

43 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

punch lane

It was a cold August night and we'd ventured out into the wind and rain to meet up with the dynamic V's for a bite to eat. We'd left early so we could find a close park and have the opportunity to sit in the warm comfort sure to be awaiting us inside Punch Lane. I parked on Little Collins street. I was so proud of myself, I've managed to find the perfect car spot on the exact same street that the restaurant is on, how often do you get to do that in the CBD. Daz and I got out of the car and started walking up the street. "Where is it?....its 43 right...so it should be here somewhere"....."are you sure its on Little Collins street" CRAP!...wrong "Little" street!

punchlane menu

So a slight detour and 15 minutes later we were inside the bar. The place was packed so our table wasn't quite ready, so we sat at the bar....all of us starving, cold and uncomfortable (who thought tall wooden chairs were a good idea?). Cured meats hung mockingly in front of us. I contemplated grabbing a sausage and chowing down before a waiter could notice, but the dignified side in me kicked in and stopped me just in a nick of time. My stomach soon gave way to my bladder, time for a pit stop. I don't usually mention toilets at restaurants, but this one was a doozie. I walked in, and as a women the first thing I did was look for the bag hook. I looked everywhere, and then....I looked up. The bag hook was way up on the wall, way above my head! I thought it best not to put my bag up there, just in case it fell off and knocked me unconscious while sitting on the toilet. Knowing me and my track record so far that night, that would be likely to happen.

punch lane bag rack

We got to our table, and my favourite thing about any restaurant....plentiful free bread. Since there were four of us and the waitress was a class act, the bread baskets were flying at us at an incredible speed.

dunkin bread

We each had a glass of wine and then it was time to order. There was a winter express menu on offer so we opted to go for that.

punchlane wine

Daz started with a huge bowl of cream cannellini soup with chorizo and spinach. It looked so lovely and creamy, with crispy pieces of chorizo floating on top. Daz was so kind to give me ONE spoonful, it was warm, thick inviting and perfect for a cold wet night. I really wish I had ordered that dish for myself, atually I wish Daz was more inclined to share half his meals with me, we have a mortgage together...whats half a bowl of soup!?

cannellini soup

The rest of us had the salted salmon, potato and olive salad, with fresee and lemon mayonnaise. The salted salmon tasted a little weird. It was originally supposed to come with salted cod, but they had run out for the night. I wondered it if would taste much nicer with plain smoked salmon. The mayonnaise was the saviour of the dish, it was tangy and refreshing, an element that was really needed to combat the saltiness of the salmon.

salted salmon salad

For mains, V2 had a confit of chicken with winter cabbage, peas and jus roti. He was bitterly disappointed, and I was for him too. Confit is one of my favourite dishes, and his tasted exactly like fried chicken...nothing special, didn't taste bad....just ordinary. sigh. I dislike ordinary.

chicken confit

The rest of us had braised lamb shanks with creamed carrots and swede. We hit the jackpot. The lamb was tender and juicy, exactly what a lamb shank should be. The creamed carrot and swede was delightful. It was so special, I still think of it to this day. It was fluffy but filling, the dish had a few olives dotted here or there. Your mouth would burst with excitement when you took a mouthful of mash and hidden withing was a salty little package that just made everything taste so well rounded. I had never thought to throw some olives into a mash, but I sure am going to do that now!

shank

We also got a side of Greek salad and crispy french fries.

punch lane sides

Overall the dinner was pretty good. I enjoyed the atmosphere and I'll definitely be going back. Hopefully next time I can try some of their cured meats, and park on the right street!

punch lane 2

9 comments:

mellie said...

The last photo on your post was where Dan and I sat when we visited Punch Lane.

We just went for a pre-theatre bite, and I can *highly* recommend the twice cooked cheese souffle. My gawd...to die for.

Conor @ HoldtheBeef said...

Oh I would have been weeping onto my plate with that "confit", but the shanks sound divine!

Such a weird bag hook. What if you got it up there and couldn't get it back down again?

Belle@Ooh, Look said...

LOL at the high bag hook! I'm a shortie, so that would be so frustrating! Lucky the food made the visit worthwhile, it looks delicious.

Agnes said...

Yum, lamb shanks. How delicious!

Arwen from Hoglet K said...

Daz did well to pick the best entree and the best main! You'll have to convince him to swap plates if he's that good at choosing :)

Rilsta said...

What a daft place to put the bag hook so high up!

The food looks a bit hit and miss - V2 must have been spewing that he chose the wrong entree and main! :)

Maria@TheGourmetChallenge said...

Hi Mellie - drool, twice cooked souffle..how yum. I'm gonna go back to this place so that is on my to-order list

Hi Conor - Luckily I'm tall so I would be able to get it back down, but I'm still petrified it will knock me out while on the toilet!

Hi Belle - the food was pretty good, despite a few hiccups

Hi Agnes - Lamb shanks are the bees knees!

hi Arwen - I know! He's always the lucky duff!

Hi Rilsta - Poor V2, he did get the short end of the stick. Thats ok though, he has the beautiful V1 to make up for the poor dishes! lol

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

That looks like a lovely place to dine. I've been so hungry and often contemplated helping myself to the decorations (the jamon at Spanish restaurants) as well as other people's dishes! :P

Serge Lescouarnec said...

Just mentioned your site in Punch Lane Wine Bar, A Melbourne Veteran, A Bistro A Day, March 9 on 'Serge the Concierge'

Borrowed your 'red chairs' pic as an illustration.

Take care

Serge