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Food, Wine

Rosa’s Kitchen @ Journal Canteen

[tweetmeme]In a culinary world of lies, where cafés and restaurants try endlessly to offer their patrons food that they believe they want to eat, often without the skills to prepare it, it is refreshing to discover a restaurant that is honest in its approach. Rosa’s Kitchen @ Journal Canteen is one such place, where the food of Rosa’s childhood is prepared daily upstairs in the CAE building on Flinders Lane.

I visited recently during a busy Friday lunch service. With each table audibly spoken for, I propped myself up on a stall at the back of the compact eatery, overlooking Centre Pl. Being my virgin visit to the very well recommended establishment, I took a moment to discover my surroundings and acquaint myself with the place. Through the door and into fire, you are greeted first by the small but busy kitchen. Rosa’s there, taking orders and chatting to patrons as I’m sure she does day-in and day-out. The kitchen then gives way to the sparsely decorated yet pocket-sized restaurant that houses a few tables, some for groups, some communal, with the aforementioned bar seating up the back.

With my focus now shifting to my growling stomach, I turned my attention and appetite to the compact menu. Sadly, being a work day, I was time poor and disappointingly forced to skip over the degustation option. I instead opted for the slow-roasted lamb. Roasted for 4 hours with lemon, oregano and olive oil, it was served simply with a side of potato and greens. The only disappointing thing about this dish was the fact it was served with a knife. The lamb was tender enough to forked into bite sized portions and lovingly devoured. A real homely dish. I was also served a little side salad of crisp iceberg lettuce and fennel, dressed with some olive oil. The perfect palate cleanser.

Not usually one for dessert, the waiter managed to twist my arm and I ordered the sour cherry and custard tart to accompany my coffee. I’m glad he did because the tart was a triumph, the perfect balance between sweet and sour with a thin short-crust pastry that melted in your mouth.

I left feeling content. Not just at the meal that now lay happily in my belly, but also at the thought that honest food still exists.

Journal Canteen (Rosa’s Kitchen)
253 Flinders Lane, Melbourne Victoria 3000
p: (03) 9650 4399

Journal on Urbanspoon

*Photo shamelessly stolen from The Age website.
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Discussion

8 thoughts on “Rosa’s Kitchen @ Journal Canteen

  1. I love the Journal cafe downstairs and MUST get myself up to the Canteen one day soon

    Posted by Bee | September 26, 2010, 6:53 am
  2. Generally I do not post on blogs, but I would like to say that this post really forced me to do so! really nice post

    Posted by videos divertidos | November 1, 2010, 3:01 am
  3. My family love this place!
    My kids love Rosa’s cooking. We first saw her on Italian Food safari. The kids were really taken by here Sicilian Stuffed Sardines.
    Next visit to the Vic Market they packed their list and bought everything they needed.
    Read this post to see how well they did.
    http://gourmetgirl-friend.blogspot.com/2010/06/sicilian-stuffed-sardines.html
    I have 5 boys under 12. It was the 9 & 7 year old who made it- from scratch, pretty impressive.
    Honest cooking it is indeed.
    And I totally agree- thank goodness it still exists!

    Posted by GourmetGirlfriend | November 3, 2010, 4:48 pm
  4. HI. We saw this cafe featured on Italian Food Safari and couldn’t remember the name of it. Thanks to google, found your blog and review. Pointing Sydneysider hubby there for lunch. Cheers.

    Posted by shaz | June 2, 2011, 11:20 pm
    • Thanks, Shaz. Sadly Rosa no longer cooks at Journal and has instead moved on to her own premise in Williamstown. Still, I’ve heard they continue to produce quality food. Hope your husband enjoys his visit.

      Posted by Grant | June 2, 2011, 11:44 pm
  5. Is the restaurant at 22 Punch Lane or Flinders Lane? I am going with a group of friends for lunch but find there are two addresses for Rosa’s?
    Regards
    Anita Langner

    Posted by Anita Langner | March 23, 2013, 12:32 pm
    • Hi Anita,

      Rosa’s eponymous restaurant reviewed above sadly closed a couple of years ago now. That iteration was above Journal Canteen, on Flinders Lane. The good news is, Rosa is back, occupying a new space in Punch Lane.

      Enjoy your lunch!

      Posted by Grant | March 23, 2013, 4:51 pm

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  1. Pingback: Fat lot of good done by healthy canteen rules | advanced-nutrients - September 20, 2010

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