11 October, 2006


308 Flinders Lane, Melbourne; 03 9620 7122

Flinders Lane is a competitive place, and a restaurant with only five tables occupied at 7pm on a Friday is perhaps not a great advertisement. But the menu options and prices from Decoy were right, so we were happy to take the punt. It’s an appealing room, with chocolate brown furnishings and exposed steel beams on the high ceilings. The walls feature long mirrors and elongated artworks.

The menu is succinct, with six pizzas, priced between $15.50 and $18.50 and a selection of mains ranging from Thai fish cakes or shredded chicken for $16.90, to steak of the day (eye fillet with rice and blackbean sauce) for $24.50. The wine list is similarly concise, and nearly all are offered by the glass from $6.50 to $8.50. If you’re celebrating they offer a 200ml bottle of sparkling for $8.00.

We didn’t have a lot of time to peruse our surroundings between ordering and the food arriving. As I had ordered the risotto (pumpkin and spinach with marcarpone and pinenuts) I would have been quite happy to wait longer. The mascarpone was generously dolloped on top for stirring in. The rice was tender and the dish neither too creamy or oily. The flavour of the diced pumpkin really stood out, but overall the dish had no depth or subtlety of herbs. My dining partner had the spicy salami, roasted capsicum and fior di latte pizza. The salami had some heat, and the fior di latte was a noticeable flavour change from the standard mozzarella, but again the dish overall felt one dimensional.

We enquired as to dessert options, which were limited to what was still in the display cabinets - eg sticky date pudding or mudcake (the dessert menu outside advertised various other options). Rather than being restrictive, this perhaps reflected the fact that this is predominantly a lunchtime laneway eatery with decent coffee, which has only recently extended into opening evenings.

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