Money Order Office, or MOO, as it is commonly called, is a fine dining restaurant turned tapas bar. In typical Melbourne fashion you can find MOO not only in an alleyway but down a flight of stairs, through a self-opening door.
It was here that Panda and I held our third degustation dinner. Our previous adventures had taken us to Jacques Reymond and to Libertine. This time we chose a slightly more casual venue, that was also easier on the wallet. Unfortunately our other degustation diner Jonella couldn’t make it, but luckily the lovely Em could.
MOO has a cosy welcoming atmosphere with booths down one side of the room and the bar on the opposite. The rest of the room has comfy looking couches and simply set tables. I felt like I was in someone’s lounge room.
We were in a booth at the very end.
We didn’t even look at the menu, we knew we wanted the eight-course degustation so the waitress told us what was on offer that evening and with a slight adjustment for dietary requirements we were ready to go.
The duck rillete with apple chutney and cornichons got us off to a flying start.
A smooth, not too rich pate, and as per usual, I enjoyed mine with just the bread, finding no need for the chutney or cornichons.
Next out for Panda and Em was the spanner crab and sweet corn cocktail (sous vide spanner crab with watermelon jelly, avocado, sweet corn custard and finger lime). It looked so pretty.
This was Panda and Em’s favourite dish of the night with Panda saying it was “tasty and delicate with a great mix of textures”.
I had the empanadas (filo pastry filled with smoked aubergine, ground lamb and san simon cheese served with chimmi churri).
I was very happy I got these. Looking at the menu they are something I was keen to try and they lived up to expectations.
Another dish that I was very happy to see on the degustation menu that night was the jámon and manchego croquettes served with a green apple puree and crispy jámon.
I do love a good croquette and these were excellent examples with a crunchy coating covering a fluffy rich filling, which had good size chunks of jámon in it. The apple sauce did a superb job of cutting through the rich filling and adding some freshness.
Next out for the girls was grilled garfish with nut butter and caper sauce.
This was Panda’s least favourite dish, she said the fish was cooked perfectly but the lighter flavours of this dish didn’t seem to fit with the more robust dishes we enjoyed.
Instead of fish I had the grilled field mushroom with braised beef, piquillo peppers and sheep’s cheese.
I am fussy with mushrooms and only like them done certain ways, but if I could have them like this I would eat them every day. So much flavour and the beef just fell apart.
A roast pumpkin and pomegranate salad with toasted almonds, goat’s cheese and pumpkin puree was our next dish.
A very colourful dish with more good flavour combinations. I particularly liked the pumpkin cubes, they had a nice bite to them.
Next was the grilled morcilla sausage with chimmi churri and apple puree.
And yes, this is black pudding, but you wouldn’t know it, it had a very mild flavour.
Our final savoury course was the slow cooked duck breast with celeriac puree, remoulade and spiced orange caramel.
Another great dish.
Dessert was rhubarb gratin served with home made buttermilk sorbet
I would normally be unhappy about getting the non-chocolate dessert but this was very good, with Panda commenting that the sorbet was like frozen lemonade.
I believe MOO has a very good wine list but as I was not drinking this particular evening I did not look at it. Panda and Em both had two glasses of the Sally’s Paddock Sasha sparkling wine, and Panda also took up Wayne the manager’s offer to try one of the new cocktails, which were to be launched the next week.
The cocktail was a hot buttered rum, served in a teapot. Wayne did explain that they didn’t have the teapots he wanted yet, and later on he also told us what went in the cocktail, saying there would be some small adjustments when it was officially available. Either way, Panda was very very happy with this drink. Em also had a taste and said it tasted like Christmas pudding. It smelled divine and we kept the teapot on our table so we could keep inhaling its buttery warmth.
We had a really good night at MOO. All the staff at MOO were friendly and helpful. We couldn’t fault the food, all the dishes had flavours and textures that worked together. And it was good value, being $75 per person for eight courses, and we were all full. I added up the individual prices of the dishes I had and it was over $100 so I think the degustation was a wise choice.