The words simple and sensational are words rarely used together – but this is what Tobie Puttock has created at his newest venture the Kitchen Cat.
At the Kitchen Cat Tobie shows off his deep understanding and skill with wholesome Italian cuisine in a space that was previously Fifteen and prior to that Momo. Tobie (a one time partner of Jamie Oliver both in the UK and then here in Melbourne with Fifteen) has been schooled in fine Italian cooking having lived and cooked in Italy for many years. He is a prolific writer of books on Italian cooking.
The clue that this is a serious restaurant comes at the top of the stairs leading into this basement restaurant. Duck Bresoala, Pancetta, Wagyu Beef Salami and Caciocavallo (sheeps milk) hang confidently and visibly through the glass at the bottom of the stair.
The bar area is very glamourous with a single white marble long bar curving through the full length of the restaurant. The restaurant space in contrast is plain (some great lighting) and perhaps acts as a good contrast for the food that you will encounter.
The food is Italian at its best – a great selection of cured meats, pastas, a rotisserie which changes daily and some ‘grunty’ mains. For example the Osso Bucco with gremolatta was big but too tasty to leave anything behind on the plate. Pure melt in the mouth stuff brimming with flavours. And so was the rustic looking chunky sliced wagyu sirloin with pine mushrooms, coupled beautifully with winter wilted greens.
Most dishes on the menu are simply prepared, often with a dash of this or a dash of that – lemon, herbs, balsamic, anchovies, olive oil. This is a kitchen that proves that you can produce fine food without making it fussy, letting the flavours of the meats largely speak for themselves.
The ice cream from Anver Chocloate Factory, famed as a gourmet chocolate maker in Tasmania, is made from organic milk, the best belgian couverture and must rank as one of the best ice creams around with an almost mouse like consistency.
The service was possibly the best I had encountered in a long time. Nothing was too difficult – a main dish (I liked the look of) cut down to entre size because I wanted to fit in a main, a selection of sauces should we want it to go with the Wagyu steak, an extra plate to share was suggested even without asking. All waiting stuff were knowledgeable about menu items, including the method of preparation, produce used and so on. And the passionate Tobie was on hand playing the perfect host.
A magnificent dark wood panelled private dining room, full of cosy character occupies one side of the open plan kitchen and seats 12
Well done Tobie!
115 Collins Street, Melbourne