During Coeliac Awareness week, it was announced that Mediterraneo Charcoal Restaurant was Victoria’s first Coeliac Society Accredited restaurant. Naturally, I couldn’t wait to book us a table for date night and this is definitely a restaurant you need a booking for. Situated at 116 Bridport street in Albert Park, all their entrees and mains are gluten free with gluten free bread available on request.
Our Saturday dinner booking was set for 6 pm. We arrived a little early but the staff were extremely accommodating. I stuck with water, however, Brody ordered jack and coke ($9.50) while we perused the menu. Funnily enough, we were seated directly under their Coeliac Society Certification.
As previously mentioned there is a little note at the bottom of each menu page noting that all entrees, mains and steaks are gluten free. When you finally get to the desserts selection there are four desserts to choose from. As our drinks were poured, the waiter provided us with the daily specials. Thankfully, the also let me know that gluten free bread would be brought out. It would have been nice to be told that the bread was an extra $2.50. The way they addressed it didn’t make it seem like there would be an extra charge. Not that we particularly minded, it was nice just to not feel like a hassle. Do make sure that you ask for the second dipping sauce tray though, ours didn’t come out automatically.
We opted to start with the Antipasto platter ($20.00) to share. The platter is made up of smoked salmon, thinly sliced cured beef, char grilled vegetables, anchovies, sun-dried tomatoes, calamari and two mini pickles. It was the perfect entree between the two of us with a range of flavours and textures. I piled my gluten free bread with some of the pumpkin and eggplants. The beef was sliced so thin, it was like glass with a beautiful salty flavour. My knife glided through the calamari. It was a perfect way to taste a bit of everything.
For main, Brody decided he had to try the Kangaroo fillet ($31.00). It had been a while since he’d had it and he had high expectations. The kangaroo was ordered medium rare to medium; it came out a little on the medium side. However, it was still juicy and pink in the middle. The most important part though, was that it wasn’t overcooked and tough. A delectable mushroom sauce and four potato slices accompanied it. When asked about his meal afterwards, the only comment I received was it’s delicious. I’d like to tell you more, however, he devoured the plate before I could sneak a bite. I did get to taste a mushroom which was buttery and bursting with flavour.
For main I went ahead and grabbed the char grilled Spatchcock ($33). With meat so tender it fell off the bones. The chickpea puree definitely made the dish complimenting the poultry well. When you break it all down were all the ingredients worth $33? No, probably not, however, the experience, not having to clean dishes and the ability to eat with confidence is worth it once in a while.
My only comment would be that if you are hungry, you should definitely order sides to go with it. Due to the size of the mains, if we hadn’t had ordered the entree I believe we would have required something else.
Finally, with some room in our stomachs, we chose dessert. One for each of us. I decided to order the Lemon Lime Panna Cotta with cinnamon poached pear ($14.50). Disappointingly, the panna cotta was over set. I didn’t get too much citrus flavour in it just a beautiful creaminess. The Cinnamon poached pear for me was the star of the dessert. My spoon glided through the pear like it was nothing. It was soft juicy and extremely moreish. The little berry coulis added a contrasting tart taste to the creamy panna cotta. It was nice, but I’m not sure I’d have it again.
Brody decided on the trio of house-made sorbets ($12). With Mango, mixed berry and lemon sorbet in three bowls. The lemon was definitely my favourite of the three. Refreshingly tart and cool, yum. I wish the mango was a bit fruitier in its flavour, although enjoyable anyway. Finally, the mixed berry was a definite winner. Nothing overly exciting but a decent end to the meal.
The atmosphere at Mediterraneo is beautiful and elegant. The service is almost faultless and the food is filling and delicious. So while this may not be a place that you can eat to every time you go out. It is definitely a restaurant to keep in mind for those special occasions.
With the first restaurant approved for Coeliac Society accreditation, we can only hope that more follow. This seems hopefully with Delhicious sharing that they are moving forth with their own proposal this week. Therefore if Mediterraneo doesn’t seem like your thing, it should only be a matter of time before something more casual and budget friendly turns up.
I hope you enjoyed this overview of the first ever accredited restaurant in Victoria. To learn more about the accreditation process you can visit the Coeliac Society Australia website. Don’t forget to share that information with your local restaurants too and hopefully, we can get some more on board. If you know someone who may enjoy visiting a restaurant where they can dine without fear, share this review with them.
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Until Next Time;