Get Lucky at the Hunter’s Kitchen This Winter
Written by Lil Williams
This winter on Friday and Saturday nights from 6pm The Lucky Penny on Chapel Street (who opened last May) have a Viking inspired food adventure for anyone who loves a good hearty meal to warm you from the inside out—for nights when you feel like you’re freezing from the outside in. The Hunter’s Kitchen provides an array of Scandinavian food to feast on.
Hats off to whoever was in charge of the décor because it is seriously on point. From the stack of Shakespeare plays on the counter to the rug slung over the ladder in the back room to the eclectic mirrors and pictures hung around the place, the attention to detail and sense of individual style is what sets The Lucky Penny apart from other cafes in the area. The soft lighting and mood-appropriate music gives you a sense of privacy and sitting down at your table is like coming home after a long, hard day hunting…or working…or shopping.
The Golden Elk and Slippery Dips are two shots supposed to be taken before your meal and they do indeed warm you from the inside out. The casually written menu treats you like a true Viking just in from the hunt, understanding your wintery needs and guiding you through the meal with the help of a friendly waitress like Lydia.
The Winter Julip with bourbon, brown sugar syrup and peppermint tea has a two-level flavour and while the mint makes it fresh, the bourbon warms you afterward. A mild drink compared to the one coming next…
According to Lydia, a lot of customers turn up their nose at the Sour Puss when they find out that the sour green apple is mixed with jalapeno, but once she’s talked them into it, they don’t regret their choice. Adding spice to a margarita is different and exciting, and you’ll just have to try it yourself to see what I’m talking about.
Mulled Wine is always a winter favourite and this one is no exception. Served in cute little jars with vintage style straws, the mix of fruit and spice is comforting, and goes well with a lot of the dishes on the menu.
The Cured salmon with celeriac puree, cornichons, dill, celery leaves, salmon roe and rye is the perfect blend of textures, with soft and crunchy bringing out the flavours. For someone who doesn’t make a habit of eating raw fish, I loved how the salmon was balanced with the other elements in the dish, as well as the unexpected sweetness provided by the cornichons.
This Thinly sliced Rare Wagyu with cauliflower, mustard and freeze dried horseradish is so tender that if you’re going with a friend, you might want to order one each rather than sharing. Again, the textual variety is a testament to the quality and finesse of the kitchen staff.
This dish smashed it out of the park for me. First it made me want to tell all my friends so they could come and try it. Then it made me want to not tell anyone so there would be more for me. Slow Cooked Venison with venison sausage, confit red cabbage, spiced pear and chutney is at the heart of a winter dinner. The meat is cooked for three hours, making it difficult to pick up with a fork once it makes it to your table. Potatoes are a solid base while the spiced pear adds a little something different.
Honey Roasted Pumpkin with saffron, hazelnut and rosemary complements the venison perfectly. So far, Vikings seem to eat pretty well!
Roast Beetroot and Rhubarb with buffalo mozzarella is a tasty cold dish to pair with something like a stew or roast vegetables, with the sprouts not just there for decoration.
As well as being the perfect place to meet up with friends for coffee or a Viking feast, The Lucky Penny has an upstairs function room full of character and overlooking Chapel Street that caters to up to 100 guests.
Blueberry and Elderflower Crumble with Vanilla Ice Cream was one of the desserts we savoured. Whole berries sit under a nutty crumble that works well with the silky ice cream.
Cardamom Chocolate Mousse with Crumbs is tradition with a twist. The mousse is rich as expected, but the crunch at the top is a welcome variation to this old favourite.
If you want a little more privacy, the room out the back looks all set up for dinner with the family. So bring a big group of friends and you’ve got yourself a true feast, Viking style!
The Lucky Penny
481 Chapel Street, South Yarra 3141
Phone: 03 9827 5789