December 2, 2015 in Reviews
Mondo Organics as the first licenced organic restaurant in Australia has over 15 years history of reviews by national and international critics, professional food journalists and more recently, the phenomenon of the food blogger. Here we have posted a selection of reviews, both older and more recent, off line and online.
In our view though, the proof is in the pudding…or is it the starter? Call in and see for yourself!
Eat Pray Workout
Food Me Up Scotty
James and Matt
For the Love of Food
Courier Mail Lifestyle
November 24, 2015 in Reviews
November 24, 2015 in Reviews
IN days gone by, there was quite a bit of hoo-ha about the arrival of Mondo Organics on the dining scene.
It replaced a neighbourhood favourite the Soup Kitchen and a few locals were upset by owner Brenda Fawdon’s transformation of the socially worthy, cheap, dispenser of wholesome tucker to a more upmarket hangout.
But Mondo has melded into the scene so well now: it’s another adopted favourite in West End, and for good reason.
Fawdon and co-owner Sonja Drexler drove the organic and biodynamic food initiative at Mondo before a large proportion of their public had given it much thought. Their dedication to sourcing chemical-free food and wine grown or harvested according to rigorous ecologically sustainable guidelines was prescient and perhaps brave, and has entailed a bit of education along the way.
Pursuit and championing of organic produce has now become reasonably common, but is usually practised in restaurants in a more haphazard and piecemeal way than at Mondo. The new Organic Char is another purist establishment in the same vein.
For those who don’t care one way or the other about the O word and all its implications, Mondo is simply a great place to eat. Its relaxed demeanour doesn’t really herald the elegance of what’s put on the tables. Chef Kurt Lovell joined the team earlier this year and has brought a light touch to the modern European cuisine.
There’s a fresh feel to the menu that’s taken everything up a notch or two from a former hearty earthiness to a more vivid, contemporary approach.
A Danish ain’t a Danish here it’s a quince frangipane number with glazed cumquats, mascarpone and quince syrup.
The lunch list encapsulates a mix of the night-time entrees and mains, and a seven-course degustation is available for dinner. A fierce westerly wind is slicing up the outside air tonight, so my party of four opts for some warm-your-cockles fare.
Dainty quail sits atop a gorgonzola polenta, with balsamic pears and rocket to cut away at the richness. It’s a nice use of acidity to counter the dairy components, and is employed again with the scallops served with a lemon brown butter sauce. A sweet potato and mustard fruit tortellini is a stylish side parcel for the carbs and vegie components.
The potato gnocchi with chorizo has developed its own landscape of greenery tossed in a kale pesto and crowned with a mulch heap of curly green kale leaves crisped in the pan. It’s a verdant delight.
Seafood lasagne with a tomato sugo (sauce) layers light-as-air leaves of pasta with delicate portions of prawns, squid, octopus and fish. None of the components is lost in translation, and the tomato sugo, with all its toasted garlic notes, sings in harmony too.
It’s all a nice palate-awakening for the mains, which take on a more minimal edge. A plate-size fillet of Cape Grim beef arrives with a goat cheese and pistachio crust and in a puddle of banyuls (sweet wine) jus. The spatchcock has an orange date stuffing and a delightful smoked eggplant puree alongside. Confit duck sits beneath a couple of luscious strips of glazed quince.
The vegetarian option (and there are fewer here than you might expect) is a paper-thin crepe presented in cross-section rolls and stuffed with goodies such as caramelised pumpkin and wild mushrooms. Each is perfectly cooked.
Desserts are crafted, lovely concoctions, and the chocolate nemesis lives up to its name.
If dessert is our nemesis then the wine is our Waterloo. The list is delightful and well considered. A separate catalogue of by-the-glass offers makes for easy reading, and is nicely varied and generous in number while suggested wines for each dish are also a nice way to travel.
HOW IT RATED: Mondo Organics (166 Hardgrave Rd, West End; ph 3844 1132)
The total score out of 50:40