October 21, 2009

Fifteen - Melbourne

Fifteen Melbourne
Basement, 115 – 117 Collins Street, Melbourne
(Enter through George Parade)

fiffteen door

I know I'm a little late with this review, but I've never been one to be trendy. Fifteen's 15 minutes of fame has come and gone, but until recently I had never dined in the underground establishment. When the dynamic V duo suggested Fifteen for a mid week dinner, Daz and I were there in a flash!


I like the idea of Fifteen and to be honest, I wish I could be as productive to the community. They take young adults, who have little other options and transform them in to trained and talented chefs. Some are homeless, drug addicted or even just unemployed. Its good to see that a foundation such as fifteen is offering an opportunity to people and really helping out the community. But ultimately we're here for the food right??

pepper salt oil

I'm always a little nervous when taking my camera out at fancy restaurants to take pictures. And I make a habit of asking if it is ok to take a couple of happy snaps during the meal. AtFifteen when I asked the question I got the most interesting answer so far. The waiter said it was no problem, as long as I don't go up to the chefs and blind them with my flash. Instantly I had images of paparazzi giving chefs seizures by taking multiple photos, did that happen regularly around this place? I had no intention of photographing the chefs, so it was all good!

We ordered quite quickly because we were all a little hungry. We could only get an 8.00pm reservation, which is kinda late for a weekday. Surprising, the restaurant wasn't as full as I had expected. There was a pretty loud table of Americans, so they provided the atmosphere. WE had a little bread and dipped it in Oliveria’s new season Fifteen olive oil. It was actually quite nice, fruity and definitely fresh!

nails in oil

V1 : "I've run out of bread! But look at my perfectly manicured fingernails!"

So what did we order? We decided to go for entree and mains, with an option of dessert if we weren't too full. The dynamic V duo had an House smoked Tasmanian salmon with grilled asparagus, lemon and Oliveria’s new season Fifteen olive oil. They both reported that it tasted like smoked salmon, hence nothing overwhelming.

salmon cappacio

Daz had the 'Tagliatelle with a rich beef shin ragout, rosemary and orange gremolate and parmigiano reggiano'. After taking 3-4 bites of his dish be was a little freaked out. He said that half of the tagliatelle were overdone and half were underdone! Weird. The texture sensation was a little off putting, but he reported that the flavours were quite good, its a real shame that the pasta wasn't up to scratch.

tiagialtelle beef ragout

I had 'The lightest Toolangipotato gnocchi with hot smoked ocean trout, creme fraiche, grilled fennel and pangrattato'. I had a very similar problem to Daz, although all my pasta was over cooked. Not to the point where it was unpleasant, the dish was actually quite nice, but I wish that the gnocchi were a little firmer. I especially enjoyed that creaminess of the cream fraiche and the chunky pieces of trout.


For Mains the V1 and V2 decided to be different and order something they usually would. V2 is a avid meat eater. So much so that I think he could tackle and eat and entire cow in one week! But tonight....he's decided to forgo the moo and have 'Pan seared fillet of Blue-eye cod with cavalo nero and lemon'. As far as I could tell the dish was quite nice, no complaints from V2, other than the lack of red meat!

blue-eyed cod

Up until our visit to Fifteen V1 had never eaten polenta! Shock huh??!!?? So she decided to order 'slow roasted, crispy berkshire pork bely with oozy parmesan polenta, jus and salsa verdi'. I was actually going to order this dish for myself, but something else caught my attention. I felt for V1, while the polenta was piping hot it was creamy and delicious, but as soon as it started to lose temperature it resembled wall paper glue, polenta will do that to you though. She also isn't a huge fan of Parmesan, and the polenta had a pretty decent whack of it. It just wasn't here dish. We did a plate swap after a while and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The crackling was crispy and dry...yum! And the pork was tender. The salsa verdi was a little strange, it tasted exactly like pesto which wasn't a bad thing, but polenta and pesto together is something I've never even thought about before!

pork belly

The only other man at the table, Daz, decided to go for meat. 'Grilled Gippsland porterhouse (served MR) with roasted new potatoes in a rosemary and anchovy dressing'. I'm sure 90% of the attraction to ordering meat is getting a big fat juicy steak in front of you that you can hack into with and over sized razor sharp knife. I felt so sorry for poor little Daz. His steak can sliced! You should have seen his face, I swear I almost saw a tear roll out of his eye. Once he got over the fact that he couldn't butcher his own steak, he thoroughly enjoyed it, I even got a bite! It was tender and pretty tasty!


I ordered the 'Pan roasted free range and organic chicken 'con pepperonchini' with dressed rocket and lemon'. There was a flavour party in my mouth and everyone was invited! The chicken marinade was a real fire cracker! It was spicy, witch I love, and flavoursome! I really wasn't expecting something that hot, but it was delicious. V1 LOVE's chilli and anything hot, so I gave her some of my dish and even she loved it. The generous amount of lemon on the salad was great to cut through the spiciness. I would go back just for this chicken!

pepperoni chicken

As a side we got Roasted new potatoes and Fried polenta with aioli. They weren't anything special, but they were enough to fill us and miss out of dessert.....NOOOOO!!! I tried convincing the Dynamic V's to reconsider, but I went to bed with no dessert that night, and I wasn't even bad!

rosemary potatoes

crispy polenta




crispy polenta with aoili


Other than the few mishaps with undercooked/overcooked pasta, Fifteen was a pretty enjoyable meal. Before I go, I have to say one thing, fifteen had my most favourite thing of all......HOT PLATES!! As a food blogger we all know that taking that perfect shot takes time and sometimes the dish doesn't end up being as hot as you'd like. No such problems here, every dish was piping hot, even AFTER I took my photos. Great work!


Conor @ HoldtheBeef said...

Very happy to hear about the hot plates! They must have had lots of bloggers come in, waste all their time blinding the chefs with flashes and then complaining about cold food so they fixed it with super hot plates ;)

How weird about the over/undercooked pasta. I guess they realised they didn't cook enough and chucked some more into the pot halfway through?

Vee - A Melbourne Munchkin. said...

Half under-cooked and half over-cooked? Maybe they put a whole clump into a pot too small and the lowers bits got cooked through and the upper bits didn't?

I haven't heard great things about Fifteen's food to be honest, but I love their manifesto! And that steak looks goood..I LIKE my steaks cut up!

Oh and thought I'd tell you that I'll be revising my Cupcake Bakery post soon. They've been so dry, stale and oversweet the last few times I've had that I don't think I'll bother again! And I'll be linking your cupcake journey while I'm at it! =o) Now to find a new carrot cupcake haunt...

A cupcake or two said...

I have always wanted to go to 15 but I need to get my butt to Melbourne first. The food looks great.

Anonymous said...

Sounds good although how can not get pasta/gnocchi right? That's so basic though!

I went somewhere once and I really can't remember where (it will come to me eventually, oh that's right Curry King in Richmond) and the plate was so hot that our waiter actually warned us to be careful. It really was amazingly hot. Must be some industrial dishwasher at the back for such a small restaurant. I liked it though.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Like your nails! I like al dente pasta too and really don't enjoy it when it's too soft :(

Anita said...

:( No dessert! boo... weird about the pasta.

Iron Chef Shellie said...

Yes, now that you mention it, Fifteen's 15 mins of fame has gone, and I totally forgot about wanting to dine there.

Shame about the pasta =/
I like the "This plus this equals this!!!"

PS. gorgeous nails!

Arwen from Hoglet K said...

How sad to be too full for dessert! I like the sound of parmesan polenta, and the steak looks well cooked.

Cherry Blossom Cupcakes said...

Hmm, the pasta doesn't sound great but I love the idea of Fifteen. I am such a pasta snob, must be too much of the good stuff from Nonna! The mains looked gorgeous though, yum yum!

Rilsta said...

Maybe the bloggers snap photos of the chefs thinking that they are Jamie Oliver hehe!

I've never had fried polenta before and not a big fan of the clag glue effect normal polenta has sometimes! Did V1 like the fried polenta? It looks like a chunky crunchy potato!

Agnes said...

Haha, I'm so used to eating lukewarm food that I don't notice it anymore! ;)

Dharm said...

I miss Melbourne! This is the Jamie Oliver thing isnt it? The food looks great and I love that pic of your nails!!

penny aka jeroxie said...

I have not been to fifteen because I had not so good reviews from friends. I like the idea but I guess one day I will make the trip. Too bad about the pasta but at least it had flavour!

Maria@TheGourmetChallenge said...

Hi Conor - I love hot plates! I think you're right, they must have chucked in extra pasta halfway through cooking

Hi Vee - I know huh? Yeah Cupcake Bakery is a little sub-par. Good luck with the carrot cake hunt!

Hi Cupcake or two - There are lots of places better than Fifteen in Melbourne! I would start there first!

Hi Spatulaspoonandsaturday - There needs to be more HOT plates in melbourne! lol

Hi Lorraine - Cant take credit for the nails, they are V1's! arent they pretty?

Hi Anita - I know boo hoo me!

Hi Iron Chef shellie - Fame has come and gone, dont think I'll go back there!

Hi Arwen - Friend polenta was GOOD!

Hi Cheery Blossom Cupcakes - I agree, I try to stay away from pasta when going out, I can get absolutely awesome stuff at home that no wehre can really live up to!

Hi Rilsta - Sadly V1 didnt try any of the fried polenta. I think the wallpaper glue turned her off

Hi Agnes - lol, me too...but now my eyes have been opened!

Hi Dharm - Yeah its is, I'll pass the nice message onto V1, I think she'll love all the lovely comments about her nails!

Hi Penny - Yeah the reviews are not the best, but I guess we all have to try it out for ourselves. The Chicken was incredible, so that was a good dish at least!

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