Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Charcoal Lane.
A program delivered in partnership with the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service, Charcoal Lane boasts a restaurant setting which was designed to acknowledge Aboriginal community connections to the site and area.
The name Charcoal Lane, documented in an Archie Roach song, has significance as a local meeting place in Aboriginal community folklore. For the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service, the name is extremely important, as it links back to the beginnings of the health service itself. At the request of the Koorie community, Mission Australia named its social enterprise restaurant Charcoal Lane in 2009.
Through Charcoal Lane, Mission Australia seeks to tackle labour force exclusion for Aboriginal and other at risk young people by offering supported pathways (traineeships and apprenticeships) in a vibrant and culturally relevant hospitality environment. The goal is to progress young people’s employability within the commercial restaurant so that over time they can make a successful transition to open employment.
Charcoal Lane serves up a contemporary menu which is seasonally driven and draws on the best of native Australian food which passionately tell the story of native ingredients whilst paying respect to Australian culture, land and environment.
Chefs tasting plate featuring Indigenous flavours of Australia
We loved the carefully considered pairing of flavour combinations that made the experience both interesting and very enjoyable.
The Wild harrisa spiced wallaby loin was a dish of complex but well balanced flavours. The wallaby was perfectly cooked with delicious flavours that were further enhanced by the subtle sweetness of the spiced pumpkin puree. The fruity acidity of pomegranate and the restrained savouriness of skordallia introduced further layers of complexity.
Paperbark smoked salmon-seared Scallops, baby bok choy, Yabbie bisque sauce, red centre lime caviar
The smoked salmon carried a rich depth of flavour - its subtle smokiness allowing the underlying taste of the salmon to be enjoyed. The scallops were beautifully seared and the Yabbie bisque sauce added a lovely finishing touch.
Native spiced blackened emu fillet- Baba ghanoush, broccolini wild tamarind and coastal succulents
The emu fillet was very tender - a superbly executed dish highlighted by the quality of the meat and the excellence of its preparation. The accompaniments to the steak were similarly well-executed – baba ghanoush was perfectly seasoned, and the wild tamarind provided a thoroughly enjoyable freshness.
Strawberry gum panna cotta- Davidson plum coulis and peppermint gum Ganache
The panna cotta was silky smooth - just barely holding its shape, it was quivering on the plate. We enjoyed the playful strawberry gum flavour and the tartness of the plum coulis which balanced the sweetness of the panna cotta.
Wattleseed chocolate marquise Riberry compote and Nougat semifreddo
The Wattleseed chocolate marquise was a decadent end to our meal. It was a dessert that would have delighted any chocolate lover.
Charcoal Lane presents delicious native Australian-inspired food with a menu that proudly showcases the incredible array of fruits, vegetables and herbs Australia has to offer. More importantly, it provides a truly wonderful experience where you are able to take part in an enterprise that seeks to provide Aboriginal and other at risk young people a truly life-changing experience.