Food and Drink
Posted by Trish Gallagher
22. Oct, 2012
My timing has been terrible this week. When I told a colleague that Embrasse in Carlton had closed down, it was the cherry on top of his rotten-day cake. I grabbed the tissues and sat down next to him as he cradled his head in his hands. ‘Don’t worry, I said “ Nic Poelaert’s down at Brooks and it’s literally three seconds away on Collins Street. I felt like Santa Claus.
For punters it’s always sad to see a prolific restaurant close down, but the owner’s heart strings are pulled in different directions too. The trick is to have something big to focus on, and what’s bigger than moving to a whiz bang new CBD location? Owners Gerald Diffey, Mario Di Ienno, and chef Nicolas Poelaert now bring us Brooks, located below street level in a tardis of a space.
On your immediate left as you walk in, a dark and sexy private dining room. Turn right and you walk into the main space – bright considering its underground – with an omnipresent open kitchen. The bar stretches out like a huge puddle of spilled milk and is stacked ceiling high with every tipple you can imagine.
Though the menu is not extensive, there’s a decent spattering of sea and land dishes – delicate yabbies to ‘carnivore and herbivore’ burgers with chickpea flour chips. I’ll be having this next time, but the whole chicken caught our eye – a shared bird for two, crispy and moist.
There is a generous list of smaller plates that can be made into a degustation selected by yourself or lucky dip by the kitchen. My recommendation is to have the three coastal oysters on offer. Its not often you get to try all together outside of a fishmongers. But the piece de resistance and the dish that brought a grin back to my mates’ face was the ‘forest floor’ desert – travelling with Nic from Embrasse and settling in nicely to its new Brooks environment. It’s almost too pretty to eat. Almost.
We had no trouble booking a table for a Friday lunch and it was filling up by the time we left, I suspect bookings here will become harder to get once word spreads further than it already has.
Basement 115 Collins St (entrance on George Parade)
Mon – Wed 11.30am to midnight, Thurs – Fri 11.30am to 1am, Sat 4pm – 1am
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