Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Henry and the Fox

It's been quite a few months since Henry and the Fox opened up on Little Collins St. At the time, there were numerous blog posts enticing me to go, but somehow I never found the time.

When it came to finding a place for a work lunch, it seemed ideal - classy enough and with enough space to accommodate the lot of us fairly noisy colleagues. Catering to the weekday business crowd for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the bright space is welcoming; all wooden tables, overhead lighting, and wait staff in funky berets.

Henry and the Fox
There are a lot of options on the menu that cover most tastes. I ended up ordering the confit ocean trout with quinoa, pickled vegetables, dill crème fraîche, flowers and pollen.

Confit ocean trout with quinoa, pickled vegetables, dill crème fraîche, flowers and pollen
Beautifully presented, it did seem overly fussy - who actually needs pollen in a dish? The amount of food was also somewhat insubstantial given the price ($18). Thankfully the flavours were all fresh so all was not lost, but as you'll see, the small serving sizes were unexpected for most of our group.

I did fare better than my colleague who ordered the whitebait dish without knowing what whitebait was.

Crispy whitebait, Szechuan pepper,grapefruit mayo & pomegranate salsa
Disappointing doesn't really begin to describe this; it looked terrible, it lacked substance with more batter than fish, and it was bland. I felt sorry for the guy who was stuck with this mediocre dish.

Others certainly fared better, with most enjoying their meals.

Fresh spaghetti, bottarga, chilli & garlic butter, parsley & pangrattato
Soft shell crab & avocado bruschetta, mango, chilli & coriander
Poached chicken & charred corn salad with lardons, cos, pecorino, croutons &white anchovies
Rare beef open sandwich, sticky shallots, spinach, roquefort & slow roast tomato
Portobello & swiss brown lasagne, pickled mushroom salad, black olives & sage
Spicy salami, roasted capsicum, scamorza, olives, tomato & oregano
Fox monsieur, serrano ham & smoked cheddar sauce on brioche with apple salad
Seared scallops, serrano ham & pea risotto

The resounding chorus was that the serving sizes were too small however. I guess we just didn't order enough sides. We really should have ordered more given they were pretty good, but it was too late once the mains had already arrived at the table to try and squeeze in more food during lunchtime.

Sweet potato & pumpkin wedges, saffron labne, cashews
[No cashews here as we didn't have an EpiPen on hand.]

Polenta chips w parmesan & aioli

Salad of radicchio, pear, walnuts, gorgonzola
Salad of rocket, parmesan & EVO
A few days later I even returned for breakfast. Small serving sizes seem to bother me less at breakfast than at lunch. I'm happy to say that the food was still tasty and fresh.

Corn fritters w poached egg, avocado, feta, chipotle sour cream & iceberg
The corn fritters were perhaps a little bland, but the chipotle sour cream was interesting and a nice accompaniment.

Egg white omelette w confit ocean trout, chargrilled asparagus, spinach, dill crème fraiche & fresh herbs

I was expecting this to be lacking in flavour but there was enough salt and herbs to make the dish interesting. Crispy asparagus was beautifully offset by salty ocean trout. I do like my ocean trout.

After breakfast and lunch visits to Henry and the Fox, a few things were very obvious: the food is great quality and is (generally) well presented, the serving sizes are very small, and the service is very slow. So, if you're not in a rush and not particularly hungry, then Henry and the Fox is a good choice doing the work week. If you're ravenous and in a rush, maybe a food court will still be a more rewarding option.

Henry and the Fox
525 Little Collins St, Melbourne
Mon-Fri 8am-10pm

Henry and the Fox on Urbanspoon