Wilson & Market Restaurant A Labour of Love for Paul Wilson
Wilson & Market is an impressive 50-seater lifestyle cafe and 200-pax brasserie and bar, with stunning seasonal, delicious, ethical dishes by Paul Wilson and showstopper bathrooms designed by Kate Challis Interiors. The World Loves Melbourne was invited to a media launch to imbibe the produce driven high quality dishes of the Brasserie. This is one of those "go to" places where you know you're in a foodie haven, specifically in the fine hands of iconic chef Paul Wilson. And it's one of the best steak and meat restaurants in Melbourne (let alone seafood).
This is a place to settle in for a long lunch or dinner and indulge. A crowd pleaser. The vibe is one of finery; a place to take clients or your date. The opening of the Brasserie follows the opening of the Tuck Shop and the Cafe - with the cafe already heralded as one of the finest in Melbourne with an innovative menu in a sea of identical menus at many Melbourne cafes.
Paul Wilson (ex London's Quaglino's, Melbourne's Botanical and Radii, Icebergs in Sydney, among others) has created some taking points here at the Wilson & Market Brasserie. One is regarding the produce - local and ethical produce (with a good deal of it sourced from artisanal producers Transition Farm on the Mornington Peninsula). Much produce is also sourced from Macedon and Daylesford, bringing a fine Victorian representation to the table. We often hear about "local and seasonal" but not always "local, seasonal, organic and biodegradable." Paul Wilson takes things further.
The kitchen has some cool toys and some fine produce. It's a cheery vibe. The essence of Wilson & co is to celebrate the diversity and blessing of Victorian and Australian farmers, vignerons, distillers, fishermen, butchers, cheesemakers, providores, market traders and many more dedicated industry professionals.
Paul Wilson gave us a tour of the kitchen; a real insight into the workings of Wilson & Market, but also an insight into the passion and philosophy of Paul Wilson. This is certainly a labour of love.
Wilson & Market has a serious kitchen with a serious wood oven, not to mention house made bread and seaweed butter. Also in the kitchen is heavyweight Executive Chef David Marshall (The Botanical, Middle Park Hotel, The French Saloon, La Tante Claire (London).
Paul Wilson engages with leading Melbourne influencers. This is an exciting addition to Prahran Market as a world class foodie hub. During our tour Paul was pointing to cooking apparatus as well as to produce. I noted his excitement at an organic pumpkin sourced from the Mornington Peninsula was equal to his excitement for large prime cuts of meat. All produce is treated equally (with utmost respect).
28 hr fermented soir sourdough & seaweed butter was a wonderful introduction; where do we get this butter for our pantry?
Artisanal rock oysters with celeraic & horseradish mignonette. The artistry was impressive as were the oysters.
All the more satisfying with Hula biodynamic sparkling Blanc de Blancs 2010.
Great company and a convivial vibe.
A chart topper is the House orange wood smoked Petuna ocean trout with devilled eggs. Smoking "in house" is another talking point - this dish hit the high notes with high quality trout. Devilled egg is a playful and rewarding accompaniment to the trout, with the history of the devilled egg harking back to Medieval times. Love the texture balance of this dish.
Star of the night was the Chestnut wood roasted rare breed suckling pig. Served with Organic fennel & radicchio salad with mustard fruits and Transition Farm heirloom pumpkin with olives, brown butter and sage. Is there a more rustic dish than suckling pig? Even more so, rare breed suckling pig? While the pig was the star, the vegetables were next level in their organic gloriousness. The dish came with a sense of theatre and looked somewhat Medieval with a large dark glistening portion of pig with a massive knife sticking out; as I pictured myself reclining at a Medieval feast at the Great Table with esquires of the kitchen in attendance.
Porchetta baby, cooked on the state of the art customised rotisserie! (More toys and another talking point).
Virginia Selleck is a professional, engaging and first class Sommelier with an impressive pedigree. Another talking point.
Everyone loves a pie! This farm to table Bramley Apple pie is packed with bramley apples served with cheddar ice cream and lashings of muscatel sauce and a bowl of custard. I haven't seen too many Bramley apples here in Australia compared to other varieties. I understand Bramley apples are more widely known in the UK and the Bramley Apple Pie a classic favourite dish. For Paul Wilson to source Bramley apples locally is awesome.
Another talking point is the Crustacea Bar - a place to while away some hours on a seafood odyssey with platters, servings and dishes of the finest seafood and sashimi.
Wilson & Market has various attractive dining spaces, perfect for groups. A Luxe Bar is another talking point as an Australian gin and vodka bar - also a testament to our spirits industry resurgence in recent years.
Wilson & Market is already making waves at Prahran Market. Paul Wilson has free reign to express himself and we love what we see (with some cool European influences as well as modern Australian). Highly recommended.