Transformer | Fitzroy | A Chronicle of Gastronomy | Melbourne Food Blog

Transformer, Fitzroy

Transformer

Coming from the team behind Veggie Bar, Transformer sparked much interest with its upper-end vegetarian offerings. High ceilings carried over from its warehouse shell, spot lighting, splashes of greenery and projected images and videos on walls create a sense of grungy cool. The size of our Friday dinner group meas we have to take the banquet menu for $55pp, and after ordering the procession of dishes came quite quickly.

Transformer - Pumpkin Dip, Pine Nuts, Crushed Chickpeas, Sourdough Crisps, Gluten Free Crisps ($13)

Pumpkin Dip, Pine Nuts, Crushed Chickpeas, Sourdough Crisps, Gluten Free Crisps ($13)

Transformer - Organic Popcorn, Japanese Spiced Sea Salt, Nori ($4)

Organic Popcorn, Japanese Spiced Sea Salt, Nori ($4)

Transformer - Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom Tomatoes

There’s a creamy pumpkin dip with hints of cumin, scooped up with sourdough crisps. So delicious, but not quite enough dip to go with all the crisps – more would be welcome. Heirloom tomatoes are prepared simply to showcase their natural flavours. Popcorn seasoned with coconut oil and nori are ridiculously addictive – slightly sweet, slightly vinegary; a taste a bit like lime and pepper.

Transformer - Grilled King Oyster Mushrooms, Confit Garlic and Pine Nut Puree, Smoked Shallot, Porcini Salt ($19)

Grilled King Oyster Mushrooms, Confit Garlic and Pine Nut Puree, Smoked Shallot, Porcini Salt ($19)

Transformer - Steamed Broccolini, Pumpkin Seeds, Barberries, Saffron Infused Feta, Pecans ($17)

Steamed Broccolini, Pumpkin Seeds, Barberries, Saffron Infused Feta, Pecans ($17)

Transformer - Roast Cauliflower, Saffron Yoghurt, Pistachios, Mint, Parsley, Golden Raisins ($16)

Roast Cauliflower, Saffron Yoghurt, Pistachios, Mint, Parsley, Golden Raisins ($16)

The meaty, dense mushrooms are flavoured with a confit garlic and pine nut puree. Smoked shallots and porcini salt add further to a dish full of umami. Broccolini is simply prepared with a topping of shaved pecan, barberries, pumpkin seeds and feta. One of my favourite vegetables, cauliflower, is roasted and accompanied by saffron yoghurt, raisins, chickpeas and roughly chopped pistachio. The cauliflower dish is good, but would be more enjoyable if cooked a little more.

Transformer - Ricotta and Rye Gnocchi, Pumpkin Mousse, Blueberry Compote ($18)

Ricotta and Rye Gnocchi, Pumpkin Mousse, Blueberry Compote ($18)

An interesting sweet ricotta gnocchi dish seems something more fitting towards the end of the meal given the dobs of blueberry compote on the plate. The ricotta gnocchi by themselves are a little bland.

Transformer - Smoked Tofu, Pickled Gingegr Brochette, Dried Miso ($4.60 each)

Smoked Tofu, Pickled Ginger Brochette, Dried Miso ($4.60 each)

Transformer - Sweet Corn Fritter Fries and Chipotle Mayonnaise ($14)

Sweet Corn Fritter Fries and Chipotle Mayonnaise ($14)

Transformer - Cumin Braised Eggplant, Chemoula, Smoked Labneh, Quinoa Crisps, Mint ($22)

Cumin Braised Eggplant, Chemoula, Smoked Labneh, Quinoa Crisps, Mint ($22)

Transformer - Three Rice Pilaf, Sprouted Lentils, Chickpeas, Pomegranat, Fried Onion ($16)

Three Rice Pilaf, Sprouted Lentils, Chickpeas, Pomegranate, Fried Onion ($16)

Protein arrives in the form of tofu. Smokey cubes of firm tofu are skewered and grilled, though perhaps a tad flavourless despite the presence of dried miso. Baton-shaped polenta and corn fritters are arranged like a half-finished game of Jenga. Kaffir lime is prominent with each crunchy bite. The cumin braised eggplant is soft and tender, seasoned with chermoula, smoked labneh and mint, and speared with shards of slightly oily quinoa crisps. The three rice pilaf with chickpeas and pomegranate is a hit. The crispy onion bits really make the salad pop, though without it the salad seems a bit lacking, even when eaten with the pomegranate arils.

Transformer - Warm Chocolate Brownie, Salted Coconut Sorbet, Cherry Gel, Hazelnut Ganache ($16)

Warm Chocolate Brownie, Salted Coconut Sorbet, Cherry Gel, Hazelnut Ganache ($16)

Desserts are not included in the banquet, but they sound interesting so we fork out extra to have a taste of three of them. There’s an intensely rich chocolate brownie with salted coconut sorbet, hazelnut ganache and a cherry gel to cut through. Peaches are artfully arranged around ice cream and sugared fennel, a dessert fitting for warmer weather. A cylindrical beaker containing lemongrass crème with dehydrated mandarin, crispy slivers of coconut, kalamansi, caramelised white chocolate and a smattering of basil soil is a refreshing and interesting exploration of flavours.

Aside from a few dishes, most are nice but not great, and the majority of us felt the ‘feed me’ menu at Transformer was a little undeserving of its $55 price point. Perhaps for a first visit it would be wise to come on a weekday where the feed me option is not quite as dear.

Transformer
99 Rose St
Fitzroy, VIC, 3065
(03) 9419 2022
www.transformerfitzroy.com
Transformer Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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