Spatula, Spoon and Saturday

Eating and Cooking all the things in Melbourne

Melbourne Food Review: Journal Canteen, Flinders La, CBD

I love Journal Canteen. I love the simple perfectly made Italian food that is served there. What? Am I giving away the ending again? Sorry.

(small antipasto platter – $15)

Well, I work near Journal Canteen and we go there for lunch quite often, so this post will be about a few trips that we made to Journal Canteen and some the fabulous food they serve there.

First things first, Journal Canteen is not Journal (the cafe), which is visible from Flinders Lane. They are in the same building so don’t get confused. To get to Journal Canteen (also known as Rosa’s Kitchen – its red neon lettering visible from Flinders Lane), you need to go into the CAE building and it’s up a few steps up on the right.

(the same antipasto platter but on the other side)

The menu at Journal Canteen changes almost everyday. There’s the standing favourite, of course, which is the anti pasto platter (small or large). The items on the platter do change depending on seasons (we have had zucchini flowers) but this time we had olives, sliced salami, zucchini fritter, dressed potato, dressed zucchini (with mint), grilled capsicum, grilled eggplant with tomato sauce. The very first time Nicole had the eggplant, she reckoned it was the best eggplant she ever had. The eggplant itself gets cooked different ways each time we visited though.

(complimentary bread – just bread, no butter, no oil)

The menu, as I mentioned earlier, changes daily but it always consists of generally a pasta or two dishes, a meat or two dishes and a vegetarian option.

(spaghetti alla Norma – $20)

The very first time I was at Journal Canteen, I had a spaghetti alla Norma, which was spaghetti in tomato sauce served with roasted eggplant slices and topped with salted ricotta (although I don’t think featured here was salted ricotta). It was a really good dish of eggplant but I found that $20 was a bit much to charge for a small(ish) plate of spaghetti with a couple of slices of eggplant when you had to share communal tables.

(slow roast lamb with potatoes and greens – $20)

Josh had decided on the roast lamb. The lamb was very tender. The portion wasn’t big so you can get away with shared anti pasto and dessert.

(complimentary side salad)

As always, main meals were accompanied by a side salad which was ice berg (and this time) radish dressed with olive oil. Seriously, I never had interesting iceberg lettuce salad until I went to Journal Canteen. Nicole found it a tad oily though.

(another roast lamb dish – $20)

On the last occasion, Nicole had chosen another lamb dish. Equally good. And different to the slow roast lamb Josh had.

I went for the sardine and fennel spaghetti. It was topped with crunchy breadcrumbs and pine nuts. To be perfectly honest, I really am not a fan of sardine but I ordered it because it was just something I never tried before. And I didn’t mind it too much either. The sardines were absolutely fresh and the dish was just well flavoured. I won’t order it again now that I have tried it but if you don’t mind sardines (one of the VERY few things I’m not overly keen of) this dish would have been beautiful. The ‘fennel’ bit was just fennel leaf pesto. Interesting.

(peach and almond tart – $7.5?)

Nicole and I also shared a peach and almond tart. It was very good. So good I wanted to buy a slice home for Josh (since he’s the sweettooth and not me) but Rosa Mitchell wouldn’t sell it. She said it wouldn’t travel.

(a view of Centre Place from Journal Canteen)

We also had a lovely long chat with Rosa. Mainly about my failed attempt to cook her broccoli and potato soup. She was very lovely and helpful

Journal Canteen (Rosa’s Kitchen) 253 Flinders Ln Melbourne VIC 3000  (03) 9650 4399

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