09 Jan The Moldy Fig, Brunswick East
The Moldy Fig has been open for just under a year, but are achieving their vision of recreating the New Orleans feel in the middle of Brunswick East.
New Orleans has a huge jazz and music culture, and The Moldy Fig pays homage to that by hosting live music on Fridays and Saturdays. There’s a garden mural in the hallway as an ode to Jackson Park, and the walls are also decorated with works from local artists. The front of the kitchen is a replica of New Orlean’s colourful French Quarter houses (the houses there can only be painted in certain sets of colours depending on the era that they were built), and even the front window grille is New Orleans style.
New Orleans boasts true fusion cuisine as a result of influences from the French, Spanish and Italians living and trading in Louisiana. Spices from Africa, the Caribbean and from Native American Indians further added to the mix to create New Orleans cuisine as we know it today.
Dinner begins with some cornbread – a mix of their three flavours – original, chilli and garlic. These are warm and fluffy, but crisp on the outside, sort of like how a scone would be, and they’re an excellent start to the meal.
Gator Bites are done up Aussie Style – there’s no ‘gator here, so croc it is. The dense and meaty crocodile meatballs are paired with a refreshing mango salsa – a good match, as crocodile does not have an overpowering flavour. Lamb ribs are slow cooked with a dry rub and bourbon glaze. There’s a bit of sweetness here, and the meat is succulent and falling off the bone. The BBQ Quail, which is marinated in chicory coffee and bourbon, also has a touch of sweetness.
Po’Boys are another common dish, and The Moldy Fig’s Southern Fried Shrimp Po’Boy comes with buttermilk battered prawns, Louisiana red cabbage slaw, tomatoes and remoulade. It has great flavour, and the house-made bread is nice and crispy, complementing the crunch of the prawns.
The stews here are thickened with reduced vegetables rather than lots of starch and roux. Contrary to popular belief, roux is not exactly the authentic New Orleans thickening technique we all think it is. The rice-based Chicken and Prawn Jambalaya is certainly a hearty dish that perhaps needs a touch more salt, but the absolute highlight for us is the Chicken and Andouille Sausage Gumbo. The base is rich, the proteins are cooked well, and the dish is just delicious. Gumbo is a dish I’ve been yearning to try ever since I first heard of it around 10 years ago. It’s definitely something I’d come back for.
We finish with the Kahlua Pecan Baked Brie – a wheel of triple cream brie with a sticky Kahlua and pecan sauce poured all over. The oozy melted cheese goes well with the sweet, almost maple syrup-like taste of the sauce.
The Moldy Fig will gradually open up more rooms for private dining, and the undercover courtyard will hopefully soon be home to a little garden that supplies the kitchen with some of the ingredients they need. Quite impressively, all the bread, sauces and stock is made from scratch, and those sauces are available for purchase. For those after a taste of New Orleans, there’s plenty to explore at The Moldy Fig.
Disclaimer: I was invited to The Moldy Fig as a guest, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own, and are based on my experience at the time
The Moldy Fig
120-122 Lygon St
Brunswick East, VIC, 3057
(03) 9042 7613