Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Mirka at the Tolarno Hotel, Fitzroy St, St Kilda

Mirka at the Tolarno Hotel, Fitzroy St, St Kilda
Wednesday 16 January, 2008

Mirka is named after the quirky artist Mirka Mora who has lovingly painted all the murals throughout the restaurant, bar and hotel. The restaurant was officially opened on the 21st of February 2007 by Guy Grossi.

Guy Grossi is a Melbourne institution having owned and operated some of the best Italian restaurants. Mirka offers an intimate dining space to the left of the hotel entrance and a happening bar to the right.

We decided to have pre dinner drinks in the bar which also serves breakfast, lunch & dinner daily. I couldn't go past the Green Fairy cocktail served with Absinthe - it was potent and very, very good. This meant we arrived in the restaurant very happy.

The dining space is intimate with seating for less than 50 people. Our table was crammed in the corner between a large table of 10 and another table for two. We may as well have joined tables. Around the exterior of the small dining space were fixed red leather lounges and the rest of the dining space was filled with timber tables and chairs. The walls were a leafy green base with Mirka's murals over the top. They were captivating however there was one wall completely bare that stood out. When we asked our waitress about the bare wall she revealed that she had never even noticed it.

Our waitress had taken her happy pills and was exceptionally bubbly. She ran us through the specials and fixed up our drinks in a whirlwind. The napkins on each table could have easily passed for tea towels which was an odd touch and seemed out of place in an Italian restaurant.

The menu was inviting and it was difficult to decide what to eat. So, after several read throughs of the menu we ordered:


- Smoked eel with yoghurt, beetroot and figs
- Lobster vol au vont with lobster mousse, asparagus and shaved truffle


- Slow roasted lamb with tomato, garlic and potato cake
- Scotch fillet with waldorf salad and peppercorn sauce

After we ordered a bread plate arrived - it contained fresh sour dough thickly sliced with a small dish of oil and a glass filled with extremely tall bread sticks. Overall the entrees were lovely and for me the absolute stand out was the smoked eel. I'm no connoisseur of eel however this was delicious. The smokiness gave it a wood fired character and paired with the beetroot and figs was light and sweet.

My main was a little bland unfortunately. I was expecting the slow roasted lamb to be flavoursome and cooked to order - medium rare - however it did not deliver. My dinner buddy enjoyed the scotch fillet and peppercorn sauce gave it some bite.

Mirka is a unique place to dine.

Mirka at the Tolarno Hotel - 42 Fitzroy St, St Kilda - (03) 9525 3088


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