28 Feb Finch & Jane, Balwyn
Opening in mid-December last year, Finch & Jane is one of Balwyn’s newest and most interesting venues. Andrew Signorelli wanted to breathe new life into his Balwyn cafe and approached Jane Gorman for her design expertise. Jane happened to have a dream of opening a lux space in which to enjoy food and drink; Finch & Jane is the result of their collaboration. The name of this food and wine lounge is an inversion of the rough-and-tumble neighbourhood in Toronto, Jane & Finch, and the experience is also quite the opposite.
The venue is full of individual spaces with a slightly different character, some of which can be partitioned off by beaded curtains. There are no ‘bad tables’ when it comes to the decor either. Each one has a design feature nearby, whether it be the beaded wallpaper, wine displays, the smokey flame wall, or the piano, which is for both playing and dining on. All the custom-made furniture has designed by Jane herself.
There’s a high level of attention to fine detail, including little things like the paperstock used for the menus, and the mirror TVs which provide extra versatility to the space. Much thought has been put into the layout of the venue too. It’s been designed such that it’s almost continuous – people sitting the front tables can chat to those at the bar, and the bi-fold front doors gives a sense of continuity to the outside world too. All seating is on the same level, providing a more communal experience.
We begin the evening with a pair of delicious cocktails – Steamy Nights, and the particularly refreshing Lychee Martini. Covered by a very crisp coating, a thick layer of potato encases the cajun crab filling of the Croquettes. A tangy kewpie mayo offsets the potential heaviness of the dish. Chargrilled Honey Balsamic Lamb Popsicles are nice and tender. Bright and fresh flavours are found in the Coconut and Pineapple Sweet Chilli Grilled Prawn Skewers, and they exhibit a beautiful char too.
A crowd favourite seems to be the French Baked Brie with blackberry compote and spicy candied pecans. Finch & Jane plans to have a seasonal menu, but with its current popularity, the brie might just stay put.
Visiting Finch & Jane is quite the experience. There are not many lux venues like it in Balwyn, and the fact that they have a liquor licence until 1am will make it very popular for all sorts of occasions.
Disclaimer: I was invited to Finch & Jane as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own, and are based on my experience at the time
Finch & Jane
413 Whitehorse Road
Balwyn, VIC, 3103
(03) 9836 6000