路地裏のオアシス - Archie green(2018年4月号)

 メルボルンは「路地の散策が楽しい街」といったフレーズをよく目や耳にする。そのせいか、この数年はメジャー化した路地が多くなってしまった気がするが、まだ知られていない穴場が存在するのだ。Katherine Placeがそのひとつ。サザンクロス駅寄りの小さな路地で、わざわざ足を運びたくなる店が並んでいるのだ。ここに、新たにオープンしたのが創作オーストラリア料理店Archie Green。どんな料理に出会えるのか、ワクワクしながら足を運んだ。
Archie Green
 緑色のドアが目印。外観からは分からないが、店内は広々とした空間で、スッキリとスタイリッシュでありながら、たくさんの観葉植物が至る所にあり居心地の良い雰囲気になっている。勧められたEnglish rose ice teaを飲みながら最初の料理を待つ。オレンジのさわやかな風味の中に、ふんわりとバラの香りする可憐な味わい。そこへ、最初の品Five spice doughnut, chicken liver parfait, agaveが登場。正直言って、レバーは特有の香りや味、食感が苦手で、プライベートでは手を出さない食材。不安に思いながらひと口食べてみる。「んっ? おいしいかも…」。甘くてふわふわしたドーナッツと、塩気があって独特の食感があるレバーの組み合わせが絶妙で、一気に食べてしまった。この衝撃はうまく表現できないので、是非お試しを。
Five spice doughnut, chicken liver parfait, agave
Five spice doughnut, chicken liver parfait, agave $5, 

 続いては、繊細な見た目のStar anise cured swordfish, green and red tomatoes, crème fraiche。八角の風味で燻製にされた魚なら、さぞ癖が強いだろうと思いながら口に運んだ。すると意外なことにあめ色になるまで火を入れた玉ねぎの甘さと、トマトのフレッシュな酸味、クリームの程好いコクが合わさって、複雑で奥行きのある味になっている。メカジキだけ食べてみると、塩気が強くほんのり八角の香りがしてアジアな感じがするのに、上にのった玉ねぎやトマト、クリームと一緒に食べると一気に洋風になるから不思議。
Star anise cured swordfish, green and red tomatoes, crème fraiche
Star anise cured swordfish, green and red tomatoes, crème fraiche $22

 「メニューに加えようと思っているんだけど」と運ばれてきたのは、Bonito, tomatoes and green。ドンと存在感のあるカツオは、ジューシーで食べ応えがある。更に旨味と甘みがたっぷりのトマトが単調になりがちな魚料理にメリハリをつけていて、ボリュームがあるにもかかわらず飽きることなく食べることができる。この記事が出る頃には、もしかしたら新メニューとして登場しているかもしれない。
Bonito, tomatoes and green
Bonito, tomatoes and green 価格未定 price TBA

 最後は、Roast banana, smoked peanut butter ice cream。ギリシャのスイーツでよく見掛ける細い麺状のKataifiでバナナを包んで揚げたものに、スモーキーなピーナッツバターのアイスを添えたひと皿。それぞれ単品で食べてもおいしいが、熱々のトロンとしたバナナに、スモーキーなアイスを絡めて食べると、大人な味わいに。
Roast banana, smoked peanut butter ice cream
Roast banana, smoked peanut butter ice cream $17


Back Alley Oasis

You often hear that exploring Melbourne’s laneways is great fun. Whether it’s because you hear this all the time or not though, the last few years in particular have seen many laneways take on major attraction status, and therefore, it’s beginning to feel like you can’t really ‘explore’ them anymore. However, some hidden gems still exist, and Katherine Place is one of them. Situated near Southern Cross Station, this little laneway has several establishments that are always worth a visit, and they recently gained a new neighbour in creative Australian cuisine restaurant Archie Green. Excited to see what they offered, we made our way there for this month’s review.

The green door is the sign you’re in the right place. While you can’t tell from the outside, the interior is spacious and chic, with lots of leafy plants helping to create a lovely atmosphere. Sipping our recommended English rose ice tea, we waited for our orders to arrive. Its mix of refreshing orange flavours, balanced with soft rose aromas, make for a lovely experience. Soon after, our first course arrived – the Five spice doughnut, chicken liver parfait and Agave. To be perfectly honest, chicken liver’s unique taste, smell and texture are not my thing, and in private, I wouldn’t touch it. However, I pushed down my fears and took a bite, only to be shocked by my brain telling me this might be really good. The sweet, fluffy doughnut, and unique salty taste of the liver was a sublime combination, meaning I downed the rest in one go. The shock of this taste sensation is not something I can even adequately describe, so I’d highly recommend trying it for yourself.
 Next up came the delicately plated Star anise cured swordfish, green and red tomatoes and crème fraiche. Thinking star anise cured fish would have a very strong, unique flavour that could overpower everything else, I dug in, only to find the charred, golden brown onion’s sweetness, fresh acidity of the tomato and perfect richness from the cream combined to create a deep, complex flavour mix where no one element ruled the others. Just trying the fish by itself, it had a very Asian combination of strong saltiness and light star anise aroma, but eating everything together, the dish ended up tasting very Western. Strange.
 Our next dish (Bonito, tomatoes and greens) was not actually on the menu, but the chef was thinking of adding it and wanted our opinion. The bonito itself, which dominated the plate, was juicy, and the umami- and spice-filled tomatoes, scattered liberally over the dish, broke up the threat of any monotony, ensuring you never got tired of eating it, despite the large serving. By the time this article is published, the item may already be on the menu, so keep an eye out for it.
 We finished up the meal with the Roast banana with smoked peanut butter ice cream. The banana is actually encrusted in super-thin strands of kataifi pastry then roasted, and while each part of the dish is delicious by itself, combining the piping hot, creamy banana with the smoky ice cream creates a wonderfully adult taste. 

Archie Green is a restaurant where you can enjoy both the excitement of laneway dining and the exploration of clever flavour combinations. Given it’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and can be used as a bar, it’s right for pretty much any time of day. Gotchisousamadeshita. 

Archie Green
10 Katherine Pl, Melbourne 
03 9448 9770
Mon - Fri: 7:30am~late Sat: 8am~late  Sun: 8am~4pm
W: archiegreen.com.au