On a balmy March evening we found ourselves dodging the Friday evening crowd clogging the busy streets and scurrying up a set of narrow, rickety stairs to Seamstress’ cosy fifty-person dining room.
Seamstress deserves a greater share of recognition among the current crop of Asian-fusion restaurants sprouting in Melbourne’s restaurant scene, with adventurous and pleasantly-surprising dishes. The dining room is elegant and contemporary, with gorgeous sails of material gently covering the rugged brick walls of this former warehouse. One of the first noticeable characterisitcs is that the service is great; casual and professional and real enough that it doesn’t feel like a forced ceremony. It’s the kind of place that makes you feel like they’re actually glad to have you there.
We made the fantastic decision to start with seafood and our first course of tempura oysters with shiso, wasabi and betel leaf was a kickin’ rad choice. The multi-directional fusion of flavours and textures made for a really fun dish with the bitterness of the betel leaf and wasabi contrasting well with the light fry of the tempura.
We’ve been craving scallops lately and as we haven’t been able to track down any great fresh ones at the local markets we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to try Seamstress’ take: maple seared scallops with smoked trout and a crispy shallot and apple salad. The sweetness of the scallop was nicely paired with the savoury ocean hints from the trout but perhaps the subtlety of the flavours made this the least memorable of all the fantastic tastes we experienced.
Now here are the dishes you have to try when you come here crispy duck with corn and truffle spaetzle and gorgeous crispy brussel sprouts with lemon miso and chilli. Order them. Eat them. Regret nothing. We loved the adventurousness of pairing spaetzle with the bold spicy sauce and the rich natural oil of the duck. Put those flavours on paper and it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense but on the palate they’re brilliant.
The sprouts are definitely worth a mention, even as a side dish. The outer leaves are crisp like spring roll pastry and deep with the nutty brassica flavour and spices. At only eight dollars, I would eat them again and again and again.
I’ve never been the kind of person who can give restaurants a score out of ten. Not really, anyway. There’s so much more to the experience than what can be captured in such a restrictive scale. The best recommendation we can give is that even before we’d settled the last morsels of our meal we had decided that Seamstress is definitely the kind of place you’d want to visit more than once. And so you should.