Dinner at Smith & Daughters: New Winter Menu Review
Plant-based food that will leave no one missing meat or dairy. That's our verdict on this friendly, moody restaurant that encourages diners to share tasting plates to fully experience the depth of flavours across the plant-based menu.
Shannon Martinez and Mo Wyse head up Melbourne's popular Latin American vegan restaurant. Their food is bursting with flavour and inventive. (Their spin-off Deli is also incredibly popular, with long lines waiting to try the re-invented New York Deli style sandwiches at lunchtime.)
We recently went along to try their new winter dinner menu at the restaurant - a return to Latin cuisine after the Northern American inspired menu they’ve been serving for the past few months. We’re crazy about Spanish and Mexican style food, so have been waiting eagerly for its return.
Our group consisted of vegans, vegetarians and omnivores, and none left disappointed.
And it's not just the food that gets the crowds flocking here, Smith & Daughters also do some mighty fine cocktails. We had a Jalapeño, Cucumber & Coriander Margarita that was out of this world. It had some serious kick from the jalapeño's, but was balanced perfectly with the freshness of the cucumber.
We also tried a Smokey Pear & Quince Martinez, which was nice too, but it wasn't in the same league as the margarita.
What we ate:
The button mushrooms were delicious. They came swimming in a (cashew) creamy, tomato sauce, which had a delicious smokey paprika flavour. We made sure every last little bit was mopped up.
The meatballs were also one of the favourite dishes of the night. They were made from barley and lentils, but had an uncanny likeliness to a beef version. (Even the meat-eaters said so!)
Not that we personally cared about this - we just loved them for their beautiful flavour.
Mains to share:
We found that on the menu there was something to please everyone.
There certainly are lots of deep fried and heavy dishes, but there are also several fresh salads on offer (including the 2 we tried, pictured above). In fact, Virginia's favourite dish was the Artichoke and Smoked Pear Salad.
By the same token, if faux meats aren't your thing, there are plenty of purely vegetable focussed dishes. Virginia & I are not generally huge fans of mock meats (we love our veggies and legumes, and don't miss eating otherwise!), but what they create at Smith & Daughters is impressive, and is still definitely interesting to try. Being able to make dishes with complex flavours is some seriously clever culinary business.
The desserts were good too, but didn't blow us away as much as the mains. If you're after some indulgent sweet treats (and really like doughnuts), then you will love these.
All in all, this restaurant is a great dining experience. The food is full of flavour, the drinks are exciting, the atmosphere is buzzing and the service is fantastic.
Regardless of whether you're vegan, vegetarian or omnivore, if you're ever in Melbourne, you can't miss a trip to Smith & Daughters.
PS - This was a dinner that we fully paid for ourselves. As always, all opinions are our own.