Food and Drink
Posted by Jess Ho
12. Jan, 2011
Not just a name for the long-lost television program of the Cosby variety, but a casual restaurant on the better end of Smith St with décor referencing the show itself. Huxtable is owned by three old-school hospo-veterans; old-school enough to have been saying old-school when it was still acceptable: Daniel Wilson, Dante Rauime and Jeff Wong, between them covering the responsibilities of the kitchen, the wines and the floor.
It is best known as a restaurant, doing lunch and dinners on weekdays, but covers all three meals on the weekends, which also lends itself as the perfect recovery spot. Despite being only a few months old, this place has its regulars, and I am one of them. You’ll usually find me sitting outside nursing myself with the second best Bloody Mary I’ve had in Melbourne- tomato juice and vodka spiked with horseradish, seeded mustard and jalepeno juice alongside the usual accompaniments.
Depending on the season, I may chase three natural oysters with it, followed by a shot of tequila and a Weihenstephaner. If breakfast is still going (the swap to the lunch/dinner menu happens at midday), the kaiserfleisch and fried eggs on toasted bread from Fatto a Mano around the corner will do the trick, unless you’re up for a more subtle concoction of dashi poached eggs with lightly smoked and confit salmon and sesame spinach.
If you’re a stayer and up for a few more drinks (the wine list is pretty tight and they make a mean negroni) their bites are sold at the price per piece and can sate the hunger between drinks. The ping-pong ball sized jalepeno and cheddar croquettes have enough heat to them to be the perfect beer snack if you’re wanting to stray from the usual bowl of olives. Deep fried cheese in the guise of olive crumbed mozzarella with a sliver of anchovy on a sauce of smoked tomato is lifted with a leaf of baby basil, but for a taste of something more American with an Asian twist (which is apparently the new black), the po’boy is a winner with two fried rice-crusted oysters nestled amongst fine shreds of underrated iceberg lettuce in a sriracha mayo.
Larger dishes are designed to share, and one cannot go past the Korean pork ribs which have been sous-vide, deep fried, lathered in gochujang and then baked, served alongside a refreshing slaw lightly coated in the aforementioned sriracha mayo and a house-pickled cucumbers to cut through all the fat. For something deliciously raw, their scallop and octopus ceviche is a pick for the summer, as well as the veal tartare, served in a ball and shaped around a soft-boiled egg with soldiers.
Huxtable is quite unlikely to break the bank, with the most expensive menu item coming in at $27 as a steak. Once the kitchen is open, it’s open till they close.
131 Smith St, Fitzroy, 3056
Ph: (03) 9419 5101
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