Westsiders will claim that the west side is indeed the best side. Yeps, guilty as charged. But there's now another reason that makes that statement truer than before, and that's down to the opening of Imbue Food & Wine in Maribyrnong.
With Head Chef Phong Nguyen (ex Movida) at the helm and a Modern Australian inspired menu, the Edgewater eatery brings to the west a bit of that finer dining touch. But wait, there's more! What makes Imbue all the more attractive is the super affordable price tag; at $40 for a 3 course meal or $60 for 5 course meal (extra $30 and $50 respectively for matched wines), it's practically a steal!
Often labeled as their signature dish, the whipped feta whipped my taste buds into an excited frenzy. To say it was love at first bite would not be an overstatement. The texture of the feta was sensationally light and its creamy flavouring formed the perfect marriage with the sweetness of the fresh honeycomb, earthy dukkah and buttery crunch of the toast.
Beautiful balance was accomplished across the texture and vibrantly fresh and spicy flavours captured in the raw tuna dish, with the zesty ponzu, bite from the spring onions and chilli elevating the overall flavour profile.
Undoubtedly one of Melbourne's best cheese croquettes, Imbue's three cheese croquette encompassed an oozy, cheesy river coated in a fried crumb. Cue the drool.
The seared scallops were another winner, with the natural sweetness of the cauliflower puree and the gorgeous caramelisation on the scallops rounding out the dish nicely.
For the main, the spotlight turned to the Great Southern Porterhouse served with charred corn kernels, spring onion, chilli and an aromatic jus. Tasty complementary flavours overall but the occasional encounters with chewy bites of fat did not go down so well. Adding a great touch of hearty comfort was a side of crispy fried potatoes, with rosemary and paprika.
We finished our meal with their silky and creamy vanilla panna cotta. The vanilla presence was fragrant and the accompaniment of tart and tangy berries added a playful balance.
Great at 'worst' and damn delicious at best, there was very little to fault when it came to the flavour and texture compositions of Imbue's dishes. Return visit? Most definitely. Recommended for non-westsiders? Most definitely. Come on over for a taste of the west, scratch that, the best...
Imbue Food & Wine
2/419 Gordon St,
Maribyrnong, Victoria, 3032.
(03) 8592 4638
Disclosure: I dined as a plus one of a fellow food blogger, courtesy of Imbue Food & Wine. All opinions expressed in this post are based entirely on my experience and observations made during the time of my visit.