Sorry, Jamie Oliver fans, but the word ‘sexy’ should never be used about food. Still, when visiting Saxe, Joe Grbac’s first solo venture since separating from Saint Crispin, it’s allowed in relation to the ambience. Maybe it’s the curved window frame overlooking Queen Street, or the upstairs dining room’s sapphire velvet banquette – there’s just no other way to describe it.
The menu is dedicated to food, not cuisine. A refreshing salmon and soba noodle entree references Japan, while kangaroo tartare with semi-translucent golden beets feels closer to home. My dining buddy describes buttermilk chicken thigh with poached breast, concentrated broth and broccoli emulsion as “fried chicken for grown-ups”, and I find myself wishing for a tub of the chorizo and olive-studded black rice accompanying perfectly cooked bass groper.
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Joe departs from the standard cheese platter with a wedge of Ossau-Iraty obscured by a mound of hashed potato, pear and bacon, which could have done with some crunch. Better was the battle between sweet mango foam and tangy globs of Brillat-Savarin “cheesecake”.
The legal district just gained a whole lot of Saxe appeal.
- 211 Queen Street, Melbourne
- 9089 6699
Best for \ Mid-week power lunches.