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Imødekommende Lunch at Freyja

It was a joy to experience Freyja's new lunch menu in the heritage-listed Olderfleet building on Collins Street. A visit to one of the best dining atmospheres in Melbourne is always a treat, not to mention being one of Melbourne's hottest restaurants.

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Offering a sophisticated 'New Nordic' approach to dining, Michelin-cred Chef Jae Bang emphasises an innovative lunch menu aligning classic Northern European techniques with new culinary philosophies, surrounded by interiors that reflect raw Scandinavian simplicity. The simplicity extends to names of dishes on the menu, often with one word descriptions, that belie the complexity and technique of each dish.

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Our lunch began enjoying high class cocktails, The Naked Wall and the Valkyrie, while gazing out the window onto eclectic Collins St. The Sourdough with Cultured Butter is always a highlight at Freyja. The Kurobuta Capocollo was a great surprise in terms of both taste and texture, perfect also with the bread and butter.

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Entrees excited including Asparagus (celebrating the seasonality of asparagus) with bacon, onion and sorrel. What an outstanding consume.

Freyja has a fine reputation for Beef tartare and this was no exception. We noted the advent of refreshing radish for this impressive dish featuring Gippsland beef, tarragon, quince, radish and the "kick" of Tasmanian mountain pepper. The green emulsion packs a punch.

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Kudos to Head Chef Jay Bang.

Rainbow Trout with broccoli leaf and sherry hit the high notes, cooked to perfection with tender buttery flesh and welcome crispy skin. Fish and seafood are central to Scandinavian cooking and this dish is a showstopper.

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Chicken dish featured a wonderful celeriac, onion and dill. As I say, one of the best dining atmospheres in Melbourne, from the dramatic interior featuring large windows overlooking Collins St, to the moody fit out of art, timber, metal and raw brick, coming together in contradiction but with an elegance.

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The Signature Smorrebrod, traditional open-faced sandwiches, captured the imagination featuring top class produce cooked in the Scandinavian style on top of rye bread. These sandwiches highlight the produce and are not bread-heavy; and the thin rye bread is delicious in itself. An elevation of the lunch time sandwich.

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School prawn was my personal favorite open-faced sandwich, featuring egg salad, mustard greens and cayenne. It's surprising just how filling these Smorrebrod are. Duck open sandwich was also a delight with duck cooked more in the Scandinavian tradition (not super pink) with olive, rosemary and lemon.

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The Rhubarb dessert was another highlight, with apple, aquavit, bayleaf and almond. Chef Jae Bang has worked at two-Michelin-starred restaurants and is pioneering Nordic techniques and flair with fine Australian produce, with sustainable practices.

Service here is professional and engaging and it was a treat to catch up with Jae Bang.