04 Feb Dutchess, Melbourne CBD
Located on the second floor above The Duke of Wellington is Dutchess, a swanky restaurant and bar, surrounded by windows across half its walls, and featuring plenty of comfy, circular booths to relax into.
Instead of bread, we start the meal with a tasty and addictive bowl of complimentary popcorn and chickpeas with truffle oil. The menu is largely comprised of steak, both grain and pasture-fed, which are dry-aged on site where needed. The steak is cooked as ordered, and the beef is succulent and tender.
We do try some non-bovine items too. The BBQ octopus, garlic and tomato is flavoursome, particularly with the salty dehydrated olives throughout. Roasted butternut pumpkin with almonds, beurre noisette, and goats cheese makes for a great side dish, as does the sautéed chat potatoes with a dollop of sour cream and chives. The crushed potatoes are well salted, and crispy and creamy in texture.
There’s a vegetarian main of zucchini spaghetti, with asparagus, tomato, olives, and quite a tangy salsa verde. The vegetables are fresh and treated with respect. I have the Greenvale farm pork scotch fillet, brawn, salt baked celeriac, sprouts, and salty bacon glaze. Brawn is a classic British dish made using meat from pigs’ head and trotters. Though it might sound off-putting to some, it was delicious. At Dutchess it’s shaped into a patty, and arrives crumbed. Sitting on top is a huge piece of puffy crackling that sizzles and pops excitedly on contact with the sauce.
The menu at Dutchess is more likely to satisfy the carnivores amongst us, with plenty of high quality steaks of various sizes, and many other meaty options for those who aren’t in the mood for beef. Though it may be a little too loud inside for an intimate date, Dutchess is still a place for good food and a fun night out.