Howdy all and welcome to the Wednesday review! Today’s review I of a culinary nature, as in it is a restaurant review from destination Melbourne. A place called ‘the Mint’. I visited The Mint in December 2020 as I needed a place to eat before some work training in the CBD and this place was on my way so it worked out pretty ok, all said.
I was looking at options because without the travel I need to find places to review when I’m out and about. And to be honest, what I found was a plethora of Japanese and Korean restaurants in the part of the city I was in. And actually, Korean is one cuisine I am anxious to try. I know there is a bit of a peanut risk involved, however I think it can be steered around. And I love Japanese food too, but this day I just felt like simpler, more familiar fare, and so I decided upon a place called ‘The Mint’, on the corner of William and La Trobe street in the city. It’s reasonably conveniently located diagonally opposite the quite attractive Flagstaff gardens, which also includes an underground metropolitan rail stop.
I walked along La Trobe street as that was the direction I was coming from. I walked over a kilometre from visiting the Old Melbourne Gaol (vlog coming soon!) which was initially downhill but then became uphill. Right on the corner with Eliabeth street I had been waiting to cross the intersection a fight broke out between two men. It was pretty weird, they had an argument I guess and then one started to cross and the other guy ran after him and started throwing punches in the middle of the intersection, with one guy being pressed onto a car waiting mid-intersection to do one of Melbourne’s famous ‘hook turns’. The lights changed and I crossed, many didn’t they just stood and watch and in many cases they took out their mobiles and filmed the ensuing fracas.
So this was fresh in my mind. I came up to William street and there was a brick wall to my left side. On the other side was ‘The Mint’. A nice little place, an older historic building but most of the dining was outside and there was a beer garden adjoining too where people were eating. The outdoor space is apparently specially designed as ‘Covid Safe’, so I’m not sure how new it is but actually it’s pretty cosy. Next door is the Hellenic Museum, and as far as I can make out both this and the site of ‘The Mint’, – and you can see the large building easily next door from the outdoor eating area – this was all the Old Royal Melbourne Mint back in the day. It was opened in 1872 and there were factories as well on this site which were demolished in the 1970s. So it’s a nice site to have a meal.
The outdoor area was pretty busy. But there were some nice smaller tables along seats with cushions which were perfect for one or two people. I was shown to my seat and given the menu. Unfortunately I can say the menu was very basic. In fact for mains there were five choices – salmon, burger, pumpkin gnocchi, steak or chicken parmigiana. I don’t like seafood especially salmon, and gnocchi sits in you stomach like ‘meh’. The steak seemed to much so in the end I went for the chicken parmigiana.
The wait time was fine, not too long. The parma came with shoe string fries and an okay salad. The sauce wasn’t very rich, it was a bit dried up all said, but it did come with the slice of ham. The chicken was thick and not too bad, but all in all it was disappointing. The staff too on the whole seemed really disinterested and not very responsive. I noted the way they interacted with the other customers and it was very minimal, not a lot of smiles. No-one likes to be hounded, I know, at a restaurant by staff but still.
The lady behind the bar where I paid was friendly and asked me how my meal was. I said ‘all good’. I guess I was happy enough even though I felt the food, and with such a limited menu you should be able to get it ‘right’, was a bit disappointing. The atmosphere and location were huge pluses and I chilled for an hour there and wrote a blog post on my phone, so sometimes the quality of the food, as long as it’s passable, isn’t that big an issue. The house looked very nice and there were tables inside, although the inside area was far smaller than the outside.
Two drink and a parmigiana cost $32AUD. So that was a very reasonably priced lunch and I couldn’t complain about that! Not a bad place for drinks I would say. Need to work on the food a little.
Thanks for stopping by – May the Journey Never End!