Wednesday, 23 January 2013

The Aylesbury (Rooftop) + La Belle Miette = Cheap Monday

After a week of visiting hatted restaurants like Coda, Golden Fields and Spice Temple, it looks like I have opted for cheap options as of late. Perhaps it is just timing but in the last week I have found some pleasure in discovering quality inexpensive and cheerful venues around Melbourne.

After The Aylesbury announced that they were making a lunchtime menu available daily on their rooftop, it certainly did not take me long to get up there via their lift and enjoy the sun on a remarkably beautiful and warm day, listen to the chilled beats playing (not really my thing, but they were soothing) and of course visit the bar that is the focal point and really the motivation for any rooftop experience.

The actual rooftop space is really not that big. There are two tables where eight people could fit comfortably around each and stools border the perimeter which offers 270 degree views of office buildings and the Marriott on Exhibition Street.

After we found seats in the sun, menus and water were provided. The staff were very enthusiastic to explain the tapas menu and verify that you knew what you were about to experience. I would assume that some may have been put off after ordering a smoked eel croquette ($3.50) and probably were disappointed because it is just a single morsel, the size of a potato gem. I wasn't disappointed though as I expected this although it probably would cause some consternation for some it still provided great flavour and cleansed my palate.

The "bocadillos" or Spanish for sandwich has six entries on the menu. I opted for the braised beef cheek, oloroso and peppers ($10) and my dining companion ordered the crispy calamari, gem, alioli ($10) and we both agreed that we were satisfied with the ingredients where I thought the braised cheek was tender and fantasic, but the bread itself disappointed. It turned out to be a bocadillio that you really needed to use a fork and knife to cut up and fair amount of force for that matter to cut the bread. If you tried to eat it naturally, you would need to exert so much force using your teeth, that the pressure would expel the ingredients out of the bread and onto the plate. I really didn't mind using the fork and knife however I hope that in the future that they re-evaluate the bread that they serve.

An order of patatas bravas ($10) which are white potatoes cut up into smaller morsels and bathed in a tomato sauce was also ordered. This was the highlight for me probably because it was "easy eating" and the sauce had a mild spice that complimented the fresh fruit sangria ($9) which was not only quite potent where the white rum was noticeably provided in abundance (no complaints!) but a fair amount of fresh fruit was in the sangria glass which you are encouraged to eat after being provided a small fork. The restaurant treats this as a dessert but I found it perfect to have with the meal and it cooled me down as I dined in the direct sunlight. We would later move inside under the air conditioning and enjoy another sangria just because they were so good.

Given the price of the bocadillos and ensaladas (salads) do not exceed $10, you can have a cheap and cheerful lunch on this rooftop if you do not get excited and order additional things off the menu like what we did. Besides the bread, I found everything to be good. Food and drinks came out quickly so if you are slave to the clock, you will not be disappointed by the speed of service.

There is a completely different menu downstairs at The Aylesbury so I will reflect on that at a later time in a different post.

Perhaps it was because I had the taste of white rum on my palate, I felt the need to refresh it with some macarons. Given that I wasn't about to commute out to South Yarra and hit up my new favourite place for desserts, LuxBite, I called into La Belle Miette on Hardware Lane. This is a small shop that has a single case of macarons, but some of them are laced with alcohol. Personal favourites are the "Bastille" - 'Kir Royal' Moet et Chandon and Blackcurrant ($2.80) and the Pimm's & Pomegranate ($2.50) which certainly vanquished the taste of rum out of my mouth. Although I can't help but always order a Raspberry Chocolate - single origin Madagascar ($2.50) and the 72% Cocoa Chocolate - single origin Venezuela ($2.80) which although forced me into the gym after consuming these delectable delights, the pain and sweat was certainly worth it.

The Aylesbury Rooftop Bar, Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
The Aylesbury (Rooftop)
Level 5,103 Lonsdale St., Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9077 0451
My Rating: n/a
Service: n/a
Ambiance: n/a
Quality: n/a
Value For Money: n/a

At the time of this post, 89% of the reviewers on Urbanspoon also like The Aylesbury.

The Aylesbury on Urbanspoon

La Belle Miette
30 Hardware Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000
(03) 9024 4528
My Rating: n/a
Service: n/a
Ambiance: n/a
Quality: n/a
Value For Money: n/a

Twitter: @epicurean3006
e-mail: epicureanofsouthbank (at) gmail (dot) com

At the time of this post, 94% of the reviewers on Urbanspoon also like La Belle Miette.

La Belle Miette on Urbanspoon