Sunday, July 26, 2009

St. Jude's Cellars - Brunswick Street Fitzroy

It’s the gospel hour on cooked and bottled, and being Sunday and all, we’re going to talk about causes – lost causes.

St. Jude, one of those whacky 12 apostles, is commonly known as the patron saint of lost causes for his insistence that man live a squalid life and that the faithful should persevere in the environment of harsh, difficult circumstances, just as their forefathers had done before them. Geez, that sounds like fun.

Progressing two millennia, our lost causes have made their way to Brunswick Street in Fitzroy and created St. Jude’s Cellars, a little (quite large space actually) bistro come bar come cafe come wine shop has popped up at the old site of the Hideout Cafe.

From the get-go, St Jude’s Cellars is quite a sleek looking operation with polished concrete floors and a stark white ceiling. On my first visit I was fully expecting to greeted by some beautiful young thing in a monk’s apron, but of course, this is Brunswick Street, so the young pretty thing greeted me with a nod while tasting a newly opened bottle of wine in their best retro style t-shirt that probably set them back $150, but enough on haute couture.

Even though I have been there about 3 or 4 times, there is one item on the menu that I keep ordering; the Reuben sandwich – veal silverside, sauerkraut, gruyere and Russian dressing between two pieces of rye. I just love it.

They have a day menu there which changes often, with most of the dishes resembling mezze style plates with wild mushrooms with fetta, Thai style fishcakes, braised red cabbage and marmalade – another favourite and curried Spring Bay mussels. The dinner menu has a few winter staples such as roasted rabbit and braised ox cheek. The kitchen is also lucky enough to have Shona, who I worked with at Vue de monde, who is also currently doing a few other gigs around Fitzroy to fund a three month starge at Noma in Copenhagen.

The wine is a major pull for me here with a great wine shop selection that you won’t find at BWS or Dan’s. The great catch is that you just add $15 on the sticker price and have it in the restaurant or at the bar. My last visit entailed a couple of glasses of Sutton Grange 2008 Viognier from Bendigo in central Victoria, with a Rueben of course. I enjoyed the wine so much I bought a bottle for home (blog to come).

St Jude’s Cellars is a real bit of class on Brunswick Street that has unfortunately gone the way of nachos and thick crusted pizza’s since the demise of Interlude, Guernica and Bistro Inferno. Do yourself a favour and walk in for the Reuben and a glass of something something. And do engage the staff; they may wear expensive retro gear, but they are informative and good for a chat.

St. Jude’s Cellars – 389 Brunswick Street Fitzroy


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  2. sounds like fun and count me in.