Where: Shop 10, 530 Collins St (enter via Little Collins St)
When: Mon-Fri Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. Weekends: Private Functions
Credit Cards avail.
Vego :/ somewhat friendly
Contact: (03) 9614 4500
Mr. Mason, a new restaurant in the Collins Street Stock Exchange Building strives to give the Business Lunchers something ritzier than food court take-away. However one need not traipse any further than the Little Collins St Food court to get a hearty hot meal and wine to match. Mr. Mason seems as equally passionate about their wine and champagne as their food, and perhaps their label of “French Inspired” makes more sense when you read the drinks list than the menu. Dishes available are more Modern Australian than anything else; classic meat and veg and standard salad and chips available as sides as well as some interesting smaller plates to start.
While Mr. Mason is surely at an advantage in terms of accessibility to its business punters, it does have to make do with a fairly unsophisticated front at the entrance to the mall. While they do well to create a cosy hide-away from the bright lights of the food court, their clientele are constantly reminded of their location when they’re forced to exit the restaurant to use the public toilets across the corridor. Nevertheless the venue has pitched its market well, and will no doubt experience a good turnover with business lunches and after-work drinks.
Semolina Crusted Calamari with lemon and aioli ($12)
With a menu changing weekly, there’s always something new to try. We sampled the Semolina Crusted Calamari with lemon and aioli ($12), Charcuterie- homemade pate, terrine, rillets, bresaola, pickles, charred toast ($28) and the Roasted Lamb Rump, bacon lardons, braised lettuce, broad beans, potato dumplings ($32). The staff was very friendly, absent of any stuffiness and knowledgeable enough that I’d happily leave them to order for me. It was also a nice touch how our sparkling water kept flowing, rather than having to purchase a bottle to sit on the table.
While waiting for the food to arrive I took in the interiors which were dark and woody, with a very 70’s pebbled wall as a centre piece in the lounge area. While the carpet in the dining area wasn’t very sexy it did help to absorb the noise, something which the architecture seemed to consider with three segmented areas amongst the venue.
When the calamari arrived we were shocked by the generous portion of the “small plate”. The semolina batter was a nice barely-crunchy casing for the creamy meat, which was accompanied by a mild aioli and fresh watercress. The Charcuterie wasn’t as impressive as its predecessor, hampered by the quality of the bread, a bland pate and dried-out pickles. The terrine had a summery minty infusion and the caramelised onions were delicious but still not enough to redeem this dish for me.
Charcuterie- homemade pate, terrine, rillets, bresaola, pickles, charred toast ($28)
Our final installment was the lamb rump which while was a little rare for my tastes (I ordered it ‘medium’) was very satisfactory. A rich beef reduction generously enveloped the meat and tender baby vegetables. Perhaps most stunning were the potato dumplings; a little Eastern European influence done very well, the doughy discs slightly charred and crispy on the outside.
While the cuisine at Mr. Mason wasn’t particularly innovative, its hearty meat dishes are done nicely and would please many. It would be good to see an improvement in the quality of the cold meat dishes, perhaps a signature Chef dish to sample on the Charcuterie as well. I would definitely try a cocktail upon returning, with names like Grilled Pineapple Daiquiri and Daft Punk, it’s hard to say no.
Roasted Lamb Rump, bacon lardons, braised lettuce, broad beans, potato dumplings ($32)
Lunchosaurus dined courtesy of Mr.Mason