With two special occasions to celebrate (a girlfriend in town from overseas, and a birthday), I was trying to look for somewhere that was in the city and have a menu that was versatile enough for everyone in the group to find something they would enjoy. With the Grand Prix in town, it made it quite the challenge to find something that was available for a same day booking. I did a quick Urbanspoon/Dimmi search to see what was available for booking and have come across The Deanery on a few separate occasions. I had a quick ready through the menu and decided this was the place head out to tonight.
ATMOSPHERE & SERVICE
I made a booking for 7:30pm on a Saturday evening and was quite surprised I was able to book this on such late notice (and our preferred time!). We walked through the narrow laneway to reach a large white sign which was perched up in front of rustic wooden slabs. We walked in to a completely empty restaurant. I had mentioned we had made a booking and were brought upstairs to the dining room, which was also completely empty! I was so surprised we were the only ones here and was hoping the vibe would be bustling to give my guests the best Melbourne experience possible.
The space has an industrial type feel with exposed ceilings, hanging lights and large wooden tables. The overall fit out was very swanky and showcased their beautiful large wooden tables with no table clothes (which I love). Their main bar area had a very comfortable feel to it with seating around the bar and a funky large staircase feature with tables to sit back and enjoy an after work drink.
The service we received was very friendly and attentive but not over powering. She explained the menu and was quite knowledgeable with their extensive wine list. From start to finish she did an amazing job.
The Deanery has a very extensive wine list and showcases this through their wine cellar on the second floor. I am a wine lover so I enjoy browsing through the list to see what interesting and different wines they have to offer.
The menu is broken down into 3 different sections, small, medium and large dishes, which allows you the chance to choose a few different dishes, which we all know I love. Once our drink orders were taken, crusty bread was brought to the table with soft butter while we looked through the menu.
We decided to go with a few small shared entrees, followed by mains. The birthday boy wanted the ‘Steamed Chicken Buns’ which I have never tried before. I was a bit skeptical when I first saw them and have no idea what to expect. Surprising they were quite tasty and were served with a soya and sesame dipping sauce. I preferred the buns without the sauce as it was a bit too overpowering for me.
Quick to follow were the ‘Ham hock and manchego croquettes’ served with aioli. They were different from the croquettes I’ve had in the past where they were quite runny on the inside. They tasted amazing and much better without the aioli (which was overly tart).
Last up was a dozen of the ‘Lime and Green Chilli Oysters’ for the boys. Freshly shucked and served with green chilli, MC had mentioned they were quite amazing.
Once our entrees were done, our mains were quick to follow and piping hot. MC went with the ‘Chargrilled Octopus’ which was served with calamari, chorizo, red peppers and saffron rice. Presentation was beautiful and the octopus was cooked to perfection without becoming rubbery.
The birthday boy went with the ‘Western Districts pork’ served with nicola potatoes, asparagus, radish and apple crisps. We were a bit surprised to see the pork in a croquette style which was breaded and deep fried. Our expectation on this dish that the pork would have been braised or something similar to bring out the beautiful flavours. AP did say the dish tasted amazing, however not what he was expecting.
I went with the ‘Roast Chicken Galantine’ served with young vegetables and a beautiful bread sauce. Presentation on this dish was exquisite and the flavours were absolutely amazing. The chicken was cooked perfectly to retain all the jus and tasted amazing with the bread sauce. The carrots were a bit on the overcooked side, however the greens were delicious.
Overall our experience at The Deanery had some mixed thoughts. I was surprised the space was completely empty with the food as tasty as it is. The service was fantastic and if it was busy, I can see this place having a fantastic vibe. By the time we left there were a hand full of tables, however for a busy Melbourne weekend, I thought the place would have been jam packed.