PM24 – Ladies who Lunch

24 Russell Street
Melbourne  VIC  3000
03 9207 7424
Open: Lunch:  Sun – Fri  12 – 3pm;  Dinner: 7 days  5pm – late

Gorgeous foodie friend J and I are on a mission to have a “ladies that lunch” date about once per month.  The only stipulation being that it has to be restaurants that neither of us have tried before!! This is a challenging task – as we both love our food and have been to a restaurant or two in our day (to put it mildly). However, at our last lunch at Grossi Florentino (see review here) – we realised that neither of us had been to PM24.  I had been to Phillipe Mouchel when it was operating out of the Crown Complex in Southbank, and hadn’t been all that impressed. However, I was keen to try PM24 because another foodie acquaintance of mine, who has a French wife (and therefore a great reference point), said that it was great – and I should “just go”. So, we settled on that for our late February lunch.

The restaurant sits at the Flinders Street end of Russell Street. It is a gorgeous space – really airy with two good sized dining spaces, and even a couple of little nooks.  There is a great open kitchen so you can see the food being prepared – although – I warn you, this can lead to disappointment when the food you figured must be yours gets whisked away to another table.

PM24 has a great “menu du dejeuner” – or lunch menu.  Two courses for $37 – it sounded like great value, so gorgeous J and I decided we would go for that one. Whilst the selection was a bit more limited, they were still great choices – in fact, we still had trouble decided what to have even though there were only 3 entrées and 3 mains!  Once we ordered, we settled back and caught up as we both paid a lot of attention to the pass.

Warm bread rolls

I love the presentation of these warm bread rolls – and they were lovely. Nice and dense, but still warm from the oven.

Chicken Liver Terrine

Normally, I wouldn’t order a chicken liver terrine – but I must have subconsciously read “parfait” (which I am extremely partial to) when I ordered it.  But, I’m so glad I did – this terrine was rich and lovely, with gorgeously tender pieces of liver and delicately flavoured with spices.  It was served with this amazing sourdough toastie laden with the most delicious onion jam. A really great juxtaposition of sweet spiciness, and luscious richness.

Cured King Salmon gravlax, horseradish mousse, potato blinis

Gorgeous J ordered the King salmon – which was perfectly cured so it was tender and melt in the mouth. It was served with some beautifully, lightly pickled cucumber strips and a mild horseradish mousse.  What let the dish down was the potato “blini” – which was more like a scone.  It detracted from the whole dish – and wasn’t really needed as the texture was quite dense and crumbly which tended to overpower the dish.  In the end – J and I decided that it just wasn’t required – the salmon with its condiments was just brilliant as it was.

Braised ox cheek,  heirloom carrots, mashed potato

Oh my goodness – I do love a bit of ox cheek.  When it’s cooked right – braised for a few hours then the sauce reduced to an unctuous stickiness – it is amazing.  And this was brilliant.  You could have eaten it with a spoon, it was so tender. It was beautifully served atop a generous serving of creamy mash, and the plate was flooded with braising jus.  Mmmm…. life doesn’t get much better than this.

Rôtisserie of the day – Pork belly

I’m not sure how one rotisseries a pork belly – but here it is in all of it’s wonderfully bronzed glory. Served with creamy beans and a lovely reduced sauce – this was beautifully tender, and deliciously layered with fat.  Alas – the crackling was more chewy than crunchy – but that may have been because of the cooking style. Nonetheless, it was a great dish and gorgeous J loved it.

Overall, it was a beautiful lunch – simple French food, almost rustic but with a refined edge that puts it into the classy category.  PM24 delivers beautiful food, in an incredibly ambient space, with fantastic, unobtrusive service. The menu du dejeuner is fantastic value, and well worth a visit to that end of Russell Street. Bon Appetit!

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