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By Law Institute Journal


Food Rosa’s Canteen Rear 500 Bourke St (enter via Thomson St) In a clear nod to the labyrinth that is the Supreme Court across the road, Rosa’s Canteen is hidden away up a nondescript flight of stairs and around a couple of corners before you get to the entrance. The dining room itself is more modern and overlooks said court and an open kitchen, in which the eponymous Rosa Mitchell sometimes appears. The street behind the restaurant is lined with plane trees, which lets dappled sunlight bathe diners. My dining companion and I decided to share the antipasti and chose kingfish carpaccio served with fried capers, lemon and fresh chilli, and salumi misti (mixed cured meats). I was enamoured with the carpaccio, the fried capers and fresh chilli providing crunch and spark to bring extra lift to the raw kingfish. My companion preferred the cured meats, which was (admittedly) a wonderful array of meats from a mortadella to a special salami from cows raised on a farm near Rosa’s place (hearsay from the waiter), with accompanying olives and cheese. We weren’t quite in Rome, but nevertheless opted for Italian pasta for mains. My companion chose the linguini di mare (seafood linguini), which was executed perfectly and proved a bonus for me as she did not eat the many clams that dotted the plate. I chose the house made ravioli, filled with pancetta, ricotta and pecorino, and served with sage butter. The ravioli were wonderfully warm and soft pillows with a smooth rich texture accentuated by the sage butter. I’m still licking my lips as I write. We enjoyed the lunch with a couple of glasses of a fine red from Monte Antico in Tuscany and finished with coffee and canoli for a final tally of $127. Interestingly, Rosa’s Canteen serves Italian coffee the old school way, on a stove top Bialetti. The restaurant is somewhere between a trattoria and ristorante – well executed Italian fare, served without white tablecloths and other fancy accoutrements – and would serve equally well for a lunch with a colleague or casual client entertainment. While well located for a lunch with opposing counsel in between court, given that we dined for two hours, you probably only have time for one course (unless, perhaps, you’re dining with the judge). Coffee The Workers Food Room 472 Little Lonsdale Street The workers who flock here are more likely to be taking a break from the local courts and chambers than from any coalface or factory. With its hard working kitchen all on show, the sandblasted brick walls, and the wait staff with their tatts and ’tude – it’s one of those slightly grungy places that somehow still attracts the suits and the wigs despite, or maybe because of, the sharehouse vibe. The coffee is seriously good and the café does a delicious Portuguese tart. Open fires in both the front and the covered laneway backroom, plus an oven that pumps out aromatic Turkish pizzas and wood roasted meats, keeps the place super cosy on a winter’s day. More a place to debrief with colleagues than to impress clients, it’s open until stumps most days, and 11pm Fridays. Wine War Horse Shiraz 2012 94/100 RRP $74.50 The fruit from very old, low yielding McLaren Vale shiraz vines is used by Geoff Johnston to craft this impressive wine. A bouquet of blackberry and plum with hints of vanilla, nutmeg and black olives is enticing enough but the flavours are wonderful. Mulberry, dark cherry, cranberry, chocolate and liquorice are notable, as is the influence of French and American oak, and all supported by well integrated, firm tannins. A complex yet superbly balanced wine which demands a great cut of red meat. (92 points – James Halliday) Stockists: Leo’s Fine Food & Wine (Kew and Heidelberg) Trout Valley Pinot Gris 2015 92/100 RRP $22.40 The Nelson region in the north of New Zealand’s South Island is known for its great natural beauty and is home to some of the finest brown trout fishing water in the world, which is the inspiration for this brand. This elegant, aromatic wine has inviting nashi pear and floral notes, a crisp, luscious palate of lychee with hints of ginger and honeysuckle and a mineral edge on the finish. Great with smoked trout. Stockists: Seaview Cellars Beaumaris, Renaissance Supermarket Hawthorn Four Sisters Merlot 2014 92/100 RRP $16.90 Another contender for bargain of the year, selected by James Halliday as one of his Top 20 reds under $20 scoring 90 points in his Top 100 for 2015, this wine is a surprise packet. Delicate fruit flavours of plums, cherries and mulberry are combined with a subtle hint of cocoa to deliver a soft and rounded wine which is drinking beautifully. Accompanied by mushroom risotto in front of an open fire with your significant other would be worth considering. Stockists: Newport Cellars, Friendly Grocer East Malvern Alister Purbrick, CEO of Tahbilk Winery

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