[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