Matilda in South Yarra

Matilda in South Yarra

The perfect spring venue when the weather is so temperamental. Following a morning walk on the Tan, I passed the restaurant at 7:30 and saw the BBQs fired up. Peaked with curiosity, when I was planning a lunch meeting later in the week, Matilda came to mind.

It was a quiet Thursday so we were able to get a table since I forgot to book. Passing the open kitchen at the front, we were lead to down a moody sexy “hall”, lined with display cases filled with flower arrangement, to a George Nakashima inspired table beside the wait station. Sitting down you are immediately drawn to the silkiness of the finish with the natural shape of the tree left as the edge. “Where are the tables from?” I inquired. I’m a sucker for kind of beautiful craftsmanship. “All the tables are from one Otway tree” our waiter responded with a smile. The plates, the cutlery, the glassware - everything has a sense of artistry. The chairs, a combination of wood with leather upholstery are so comfortable I forgot we were seated for two and half hours. Seated beside the wait station, normally one of the weaker tables in a restaurant, proved a bonus rather than a negative since the staff were fun, polite and professionally polished. We were very well cared for.

In a space that is an ode to wood, the monochromatic colour scheme, potentially inspired by the Australian landscape, is filled with earth tones. You feel like you’re in the womb of mother nature, nurtures and well loved. The low barrel vaulted ceiling, with down lights perfectly illuminating the space and especially our menus, hushed the room so we could converse with only a very soft hum from the guests in the restaurant.

Food? Everything from the charcoal and wood grill was on point. I had just done a cleanse earlier in the week so I was not eating meat. Possibly not the best place to choose given their meat focus but there were a few options to choose. I had the slow cooked kohlrabi with seaweed kombucha, followed with the roasted celeriac, hens egg, smoked curd. We started with a share plate of the spanner crab with fresh water shrimp sitting on an ode to the sea collection of beach stones. My colleague continued with the Northern Territory baby barramundi and native grenobloise. A quick coffee with some complementary chocolates and we were well sated and especially impressed with the food, the design and the service.

From a design perspective I have little to critique. I want to go back again to eat to enjoy the extensive wine list while seated at their very long bar.