Coda – Hidden Melbourne Restaurant

Coda is a hidden little restaurant located in the basement of 141 Flinders lane, corner of Oliver Lane. As you can see above, it’s a bit hard to spot but tracking it down is definitely worthwhile once you’re inside.

Coda serves mostly asian seafood, and I feel I need to add a disclosure here: I am allergic to most forms of seafood. I had read the menu beforehand and saw there were a few non-seafood options however discussing our options with the waiter revealed that most of those still had some of fish/oyster sauce. The waiter was very helpful, and eventually we decided on our shared dinner, but I was still a bit nervous.

First up was the quail lettuce delight, with shitake mushroom, coriander and water chestnuts. It had a lot of greens, and was a really refreshing start to our meal. I couldn’t remember the last time that I had tried quail so I was surprised at just how tender it was. If you’re not familiar with the dish, you eat it similar to a burrito, using the lettuce like a tortilla.

Next up was the po-boy steamed lamb bun with chilli jam, basically pulled lamb inside a sweet steamed bun, the chilli jam to the side so you can set your own level of spice. This was my personal favorite of the night, and no matter how spicy you like your food I would reccomend having the first bite chilli-free. Just by itself the lamb mixing with the sweet bun complemented each other really well, although I did put some chilli on to satisfy my Latino tastes.

Next up we had the steat tartare, with quail egg, mustard cress and caper melba toast. I’ll admit that the first thought I had was that it looked a bit like a birds nest with a broken egg on top, but once I dipped one of those toasts in and messed up the presentation there was no stopping me. It is very rich but the small toasts are enough to keep it cut down.

Finally we had the “Uhm-ma” chicken, with some jasmine rice and heart of palm, honeydew melon, mint and cucumber salad on the side. The chicken is reminded me more of an Indian curry, a sow burn rather than a fast and sharp spark. The honeydew from the salad combined with the spice of the chicken was a new combination for me, but it worked really well.

Ultimately, my fears were completely unfounded thanks to the assistance of the staff. Its a great restaurant, especially for loves of seafood, and it’s definitely worth going to with a special someone. Their website is here, and you can see more photos of my night there here.

Coda on Urbanspoon

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