Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The question everyone seems to be asking

I've noticed in the last week or 2 an increasing amount of searches for a review of Melbourne Fifteen, has bought people to the blog. Some have googled about the prices, other the menu but everyone wants to know - is it any good? The lack of substantial reviews in the mainstream media is puzzling. Apart from the plush opening, which has been reported, are they too waiting in a queue for the friendly call centre person to take their booking and can't get in til January? Have some snuck in a decided that they'd give the restaurant another go before writing their review? Or are they too busy working their way through the hundreds of other eateries in the CBD?

I'm finding the silence rather ominous. So has anyone eaten there yet and wants to spill the beans? Readers far beyond Melbourne and even Australia are very keen to find out.

Update: By now every blogger and her dog has linked to the Stephen Downes incident and others like Ed have been asking some interesting questions (keep checking him out because he's getting some very interesting answers too)

Over a week later I'm still getting numerous hits a day on the topic of 15. Oh, and I've been quoted on a forum discussing the show that launched the restaurant. So much hype around one little restaurant? Well no, you, me and everyone else is just being manipulated by the media, but when the show ends we are still left a little hungry.

Updating the update Finally some answers to the questions! Great review by Ukulele over at We Do Chew Our Food, while Ed has promised a bit of kiss-and-tell in his article about the Fifteen and the charity behind it, in The Bulletin tomorrow.

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9 Comments:

Blogger Ange said...

I am going there for dinner Saturday night so will be sure to let the world know then!

10:12 am  
Blogger Ed Charles said...

Ange, look forward to hearing all about it. Apparently thewaiting list in into the new year for syupper and almost November for lunch. Even Stephen Downes had problems getting a table and had to go through the PRs, I think. Funnily enough, because Lau's hasn't had any mainstream reviews I'm getting a huge amount of traffic from that. Ange, it will be interesting to see how a review on yur blog will affect your traffic.

5:21 pm  
Blogger mellie said...

I have a lunchtime booking on Friday 13th. An ominous date?!? Hopefully I don't get food poisoning!!

6:59 am  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Good to know Ange and Mel will be frontline bloggers in the quest for culinary truth!

7:39 am  
Blogger first time blogger said...

My husband and I went to fifteen melbourne last night. I was actually looking for reviews on the restaurant and stumbled across this site so I thought I'd leave my two cents worth about the place.

There was a total of six courses consisting of 2 entrees: bean soup followed by white bait with sage salt and lemon aoili. Then there were alternate pasta either rabbit ragu with pappadelle or ravioli. This was followed by either lamb or salmon (on a bed of MORE beans and salsa verde). Dessert was a tiramisu and a cheese type platter with sultanas and a dried fruit type loaf. It was overbearingly sweet and not enjoyable.

For me, I thought the food was pretty average for the price of $90 per person. I'm sure the produce was probably organic but I felt like I was eating cafe food but paying a lot more for it. It was also extremely noisy and I found that I could hear the conversation from other tables as it echoed off the walls. The noise wouldn't have been helped by the fact that you felt like you had to shout to the person across the table - for some reason the table seemed abnormally long.

The staff were friendly and efficient but didn't seem to know a lot about the food. Food was served with no introduction to what was in it (and who's to remember from the brief glance of the menu at the start of the night). I was glad I didn't put out the extra money for the matching wines. The table next to us did and I did overhear the waitress say something along the lines of "I've just had a crash course about this wine" as an intro to the wine... hmmm. At least she could have pretended to know her stuff.

Personally would not go back, I've tried it once and that's enough, there are much better eating places around Melbourne because $200 (6 courses plus a couple of glasses of OJ) for a night out for two you'd expect a much better experience. If you want a great degustation experience try vue du monde little Collins St..much better.

8:25 pm  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Thanks First Time, I really appreciated the effort you put into your review/comment.

Oh and Mel...how did it go today?

5:56 pm  
Blogger Ed Charles said...

Questions will be answered Friday when – and I didn't intend this – I also eat lunch there. I've sold the story to somebody and I've been promised the exclusive so you'll have to wait a few days before I can get everything out there.
Isn't it great that bloggers are getting in first. This is what we should make our speciality as there seems to be a hunger from the public for those first in reviews.

8:33 pm  
Anonymous Stephen Downes said...

Just a clarification of some of the points made by comment contributors. I NEVER 'go through PRs', as someone suggested, to get a booking in a restaurant I want to review. Justement, it was exactly this problem (my refusal to play along with a request to work through Fifteen's PR machine) that led to the Herald Sun features editor having to make the booking on my behalf. Fifteen had cunningly organised the way they vet customers so that I would have had to divulge my identity if I was to get into the place, which is totally unfair on its competitors, where I book under an assumed name.
Fifteen is a perfect example of a hospitality business being PRIMARILY used to make significant profits. It's not a restaurant where the PRIME concern is trying your hardest to serve people great food at a fair price. The commodification of restaurant food is common in Europe and America and we must resist it all costs in Melbourne, which is the epicentre of wonderful chefs and restaurateurs who crave to impress their customers with the quality, originality and value for money of their offerings. Fifteen's connection with Jamie Oliver and money remitted to London to use his name is really neither here nor there in the big picture. The restaurant is owned by a property developer whose main concern, I suspect from what has been written about him, is to exploit the gastronomic innocence of a wide stratum of Melbourne's population. The Jamie Oliver connection is simply a marketing device to get gastro-virgins through the door. These inexperienced eaters really wouldn't know -- most of them -- if what they were getting was good, exceptional, bad or in-between -- or Fifteen's value for money. (Or rather its huge lack of it.) In short, the whole place is a shameful embarrassment in a great eating out city such as ours.

10:03 pm  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

I agree Stephen. I often bristle when people refer to "Jamie Oliver's" Fifteen and am at pains to tell them it is neither his, nor functioning in the same way that most charities do.

I feel that the public has been royally duped over Fifteen. But it wouldn't be the first tine that the PR industry has informed people's palates.

10:45 am  

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