porgie + mr jones
21/06/10 Scroll to the bottom for an update on this post
It’s hard being known as “foodies” sometimes. I cringe every time a friend expresses their apprehension about cooking for us or recommending places to eat. Soy and I actually relish real, tasty food without all the fluff, and most of the time, this means the simplest, most wholesome dishes.
We did toy around with a few places to eat during our trip to Melbourne, but the one place that caught Soy‘s eye was a tiny tempura place with only a 12 person per night capacity. So SM asked around and a friend of his recommended porgie + mr jones. Soy and I really liked the look of it from the website. porgie + mr jones is supposedly famous for its breakfasts, but have recently started serving set 3 course dinners at $65 per person on Fridays and Saturdays.
The restaurant itself has interesting frontage along a row of 2 storey shops in Hawthorn, a stone’s throw from Melbourne city. The interior is quirky, with a row of naked light bulbs above the front counter, and lots of chalkboard paint (which I love). For those dining as a pair, there are some lovely armchairs in the front of what used to be a fireplace towards the back of the restaurant, with wooden soldiers lined up on the mantel. porgie + mr jones also has a private room on the second floor for larger groups.
I had already decided on what I was going to order for dinner from the website (this seems to be a trend). And though the menu said “autumn”, they were still working off it because the menu changes every 2 months. I’m not posting up many pictures because they were just too dark. I wonder how other food bloggers and photographers take their shots when the lighting in a restaurant is too dark for photos. We did move around the tealights on the table, but that wasn’t sufficient. Anyone has any ideas or suggestions?
This, for me, was the best dish of the night. The crab en cocotte was flavoursome, and each bite was juicy, flaky, and crusty all at once. The best thing of course, was that the entire little dish was filled with crab meat that I didn’t have to painstakingly pick out myself! The other entree we had, Duck two ways – confit and smoked by Mr Cooper,
kipfler potato, pomegranate, nashi + caramelised witlof was also brilliant. The duck was tender, and went beautifully with the refreshing nashi, witlof and pomegranate.
Unfortunately, after the stunning entrees, the mains we had were a little disappointing. Soy had Medium roasted Hopkins River eye fillet with Lyonaise potatoes, chestnut, oyster and shitake mushrooms, watercress and béarnaise. Though the menu said the steak would be done medium, it was really rare. It was too rare for medium rare even, but other than that, it was a really great piece of meat. I had the Roasted harpuka with casa iberico chorizo, du puy lentils,
slow roasted vine tomato, salsa verde. I was really keen on trying the hapuka after falling in love with it in Auckland. But, it being a very mild tasting fish, needed strong flavours and that was really lacking from the dish. Only when we looked at the menu again when choosing our dessert, did we realise that no one who ordered the fish at our table was served the chorizo with the dish. It would have added some much needed flavour to the fish. The one thing I was impressed with was the kitchen’s flexibility with their sides, and gave me an option of mash or polenta in place of the de puy lentils, which I asked to be omitted.
After the less than impressive mains, I was hoping that dessert would blow us away! I had the chocolate and orange trifle, which was satisfyingly creamy and chocolatey. And I absolutely loved the presentation of the trifle in a Bonne Maman jam jar! Not only was it inegnious, it was a brilliant way of giving new life to the hundreds of jam jars that the restaurant goes through during their breakfasts. There were brownie chunks and orange segments through the layers of cream and chocolate mousse. Others at the table also enjoyed the Burnt lemon tart, jocks bourbon vanilla icecream, little pot of drunk berries and Baked pear and sultana with amaretti macadamia crumble and vanilla bean custard.
I do wonder what porgie’s winter menu will be like, though I’m not sure if I will be back, after their miss with the mains. Dessert also didn’t totally blow me away, unfortunately. I think if we were to go back to porgie + mr jones, it would be for the breakfast, to see what other discerning Melburnians love about it.
porgie + mr jones
291 Auburn Rd
(03) 9882 2955
21/06/10: The owner of porgie + mr jones left a comment to this post, and over email, he explained that the chorizo was actually braised with the lentils that I had asked to be omitted from my dish, therefore altering the elements and ultimately the intended flavour of the dish. While I think that my initial review is justified based on the information I had on the night from the menu and from the staff (I was not aware from the information provided in the menu or told by staff that by omitting the lentils, I would be omitting a key ingredient that would make or break the dish), I feel that I must emphasise that the issue is not with the fish dish itself, but with the level of communication between the staff and the customers.
I would also like to state that my experience of the roasted hapuka was not the original dish designed by the chefs, because I opted to leave out what has now been explained to me as a crucial element.
Soy and I have stated from the time we started honeyandsoy.com that it is a place for us to share our opinions based on our experiences. It is not a directive for our readers. We still stand by our position that the entrees at porgie + mr jones were outstanding, and that dessert was very enjoyable. We also loved the atmosphere of the restaurant. What we question though, is our willingness to continue to lend our support to an establishment that initially responded to us in a sarcastic, attacking, and unprofessional manner that was uncalled for, given the positives that we highlighted about our experience.
After consultation with family and friends, we have decided not to show the comment made by Mr. Jones, because we would like to keep honeyandsoy.com, like all other areas of our lives, hate-free. We opted to email Mr. Jones to explain our position privately rather than through a public domain. We have now come to an understanding, and accepted an apology from Mr Jones. Like us, he is definitely passionate about his restaurant and food. This is something I can personally empathise with- people who know me will definitely see me as being passionate and losing a handle on my emotions at times.We wish Mr. Jones all the best in his future food adventures and I hope we might cross paths under different circumstances in the future.