24 Russell Street
As part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, it’s possible to do a Restaurant Express lunch. Some of the fancier names about town open their menus up and offer two courses (entree + main, or main + dessert) and a glass of wine and tea or coffee for $35.
PM24 opened last year some time in the bottom end of Russell Street – on my walk to work occasionally, green lights permitting. Does anyone else do that? Be guided by the traffic lights as to where you walk, rather than choosing the most obvious and direct route? No? Just me? Right – as you were then. I was excited to see that PM24 was on the list of restaurants offering this deal, so roped in Housemate S (I need a catchy nickname for her, hey!) and off we went.
We decided to share the entree and dessert so as to be able to try the maximum amount possible on the menu. I love when people indulge me in this. We had two options for entrees: a soup dish was on offer but not conducive to sharing so we chose chicken liver terrine with onion jam, sourdough and pickle. I was a little nervous about it because I’m not a huge pate or potted meat fan but this dish converted me to the wonders of terrine. It was lip-smackingly rich, but the sweetness of the onion jam and tart pickle were great counterpoints to the lusciously full-flavoured terrine. And it was a huge serving!
There were two options for mains, rotisserie lamb with white beans or grilled salmon with silverbeet mashed potato and red wine jus. Initially I was keen on the lamb because I could see it rotating nicely on the giant red rotisserie behind the bar, but my housemate spoke up first and claimed that dish. The salmon was mine. And, as it turns out, I was super happy with that option.
The salmon came with a crispy skin, and was just cooked enough so that I peeled off translucent flakes of pearly pink flesh with my fork. It was fantastic, and teamed with the world’s most decadent mashed potato (you’ve got to love how the French put about equal amounts of butter and potato into their mash) with token greenery (the silverbeet) in order to seem “healthy”. The red wine jus was a strong-flavoured sauce that initially I thought didn’t go with the dish – but the plate did need something to tie all the elements together and I wound up loving the red wine jus just as much as the other components.
At this point (while salivating over the picture above) it behooves me to mention our bread rolls. While I didn’t take any photos of them, probably because Housemate and I scoffed them down within two minutes of their arrival, they came in a cute little burlap-lined basket. We slathered butter and a touch of salt on them. It was the best bread I had of my three Restaurant Express lunches. I could definitely have done with some more to mop up that jus, above!
My housemate enjoyed her lamb immensely (and we divvied up parts of our dishes for the other to taste, of course). I liked it, but preferred my own dish – this just tasted like a good roast lamb to me, which is nice, but nothing I hadn’t tasted before.
The two options for dessert were lemon tart with seasonal fruit salad and a cheese platter. We opted for the lemon tart, natch, and were amply rewarded with crisp pastry, a smooth, sweet and tangy lemon filling and vanilla-flecked cream on the side. It was amazeballs. The token seasonal fruit salad on the top was fairly redundant in the face of the tart.
To wash this meal down we both went for the white wine, a pinot grigio (or was it gris).
A note here on service: it was really excellent. We were served by a friendly French waiter who seemed excited to introduce us to the PM24 menu, and a less-friendly but not unfriendly (just semi-serious) waitress alternating. At no point were we made to feel like we’d come in for the ‘value’ meal or anything like that. And we had such a good time that I’d really like to come back to PM24 at some point to experience the full menu. Magnifique!
Note: the Express Lunch deal has finished with the wrapping up of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival but PM24 offers a similar deal for lunch and pre-theatre dinner which is two courses for $37 (no glass of wine and coffee included though, sigh).