J and I had dinner in someone’s lounge room the other week.
Well, that is what dining at Merricote felt like. The combination of the quirky but cute decor and the most wonderful hostess (Bronwyn) made us feel as if we were in a friend’s home.
Merricote is on High street in Northcote, and had been in my wish list for far too long. Funnily enough, after never getting to Northcote before I managed to get there twice in three weeks, my first visit being to The Estelle Bar and Kitchen.
There is an animal theme going on at Merricote, and I like it.
All the serviette holders are animals and they are different on each table. We got rabbits!
The butter is housed in its own cute container.
Merricote offers a degustation but with so many dishes on the menu that we wanted to try we opted for a la carte.
J started with two oysters served with a bloody mary sorbet.
I had a try of the sorbet and it definitely tasted like a bloody mary.
We shared some charcuterie of free range Berkshire pork calabrese and Warialda belted galloway salami.
Both were fresh and full of flavour, with the beef being my favourite.
J then had the Persian quail with Mt Zero red lentils, vanilla, and tomato.
I had one of the specials for the night, a steak tartare with seaweed.
The beef wasn’t diced as fine as I am used to and there wasn’t the usual kick of spices but it was all fresh and really good.
We decided to share two main dishes.
The first was the McIvor Farm 24hr pork shoulder with chunky chutney.
This was the pick of the mains with the soft pork falling apart and melting in the mouth. J is still talking about how good it was.
The other main was the Flinders Island lamb (nose to tail) with olive, turnip and marigold.
I am glad we decided to share this dish as it was a lot of meat. The pick of the plate were the bacon looking bits on top. Someone give me a dozen of these flavour packed morsels and I will be a happy woman.
The crumbed looking thing next to the lamb chop was a lamb’s brain. Something neither J or I had had before. This surprised me as J’s pop used to eat lamb brains for breakfast all the time and I thought J would have tried them before but he hadn’t.
We shared it, and I should have eaten my half in one go but I didn’t, I cut it up. Mistake. What surprised me was the creamy texture. I have always read that brains are creamy but never understand how or why. I still don’t, but trust me, they are creamy, which works well with the fried coating. The flavour was much milder than either of us expected and the whole thing would have been quite palatable except the pyschological factor kicked in. My brain didn’t like the fact I was eating a lamb’s brain and wanted to spit it out. I quickly swallowed the remaing bits and washed it all down with a big gulp of wine.
This is Merricote’s cute courtyard:
We were quite full and decied to share dessert, with J picking the Bloody Mess (a homage to Eton with oranges).
Divine! One of the best non-chocolate desserts I have.
The bill was accompanied by some barnyard friends.
I had to play with them…
When our credit card came back there were more!
They also got added to my tableau.
As mentioned above, Bronwyn is a magnificent hostess. Gracious, friendly, knowledgable. J said he would go back to Merricote just for her! Her husband is doing a pretty good job in the kitchen as well!
And all the staff were just as lovely.
So, anywhere else in Northcote I should be checking out?