136 Gertrude Street,
Fitzroy VIC 3065]]>
Tel : +61 3 9418 3400
Fax : +61 3 9418 3411
License: Fully Licensed (no BYO)
Not only a great restaurant, but also a truly inspiring project, Fitzroy's Charcoal Lane is part of a Mission Australia and Victorian Aboriginal Health Service initiative that provides young Aboriginal apprentices with restaurant experience. A delicious way to do your bit for charity, Charcoal Lane serves both native and modern Australian cuisine elevated to fine dining standards from this converted bank restaurant.
Close to Brunswick Street and Gertrude Street trams, short distance from the CBD.
Charcoal Lane enables Aboriginal and disadvantaged young people to gain experience in a supported, real work environment as part of an integrated program which includes personal skills development and accredited education in hospitality. The name ‘Charcoal Lane’, documented in an Archie Roach song, (a prominent Aboriginal performer), has significant meaning as a local meeting place in Victorian Aboriginal history. Built in 1865, the impressive bluestone building was originally home to the English, Scottish and Australian Bank Limited and from 1973 – 1992 was the important home of the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service. The interior features hand painted ceiling panels and individually constructed ‘eel trap’ lampshades and reflects the restaurant philosophy of cultures coming together and facilitating an intertwining of people. The food fuses native Australian produce with modern technique, complimented by a strong Australian wine list, celebrating a range of both iconic and boutique producers.
PROFILED BY DE GROOTS MEDIA
Charcoal Lane has the potential to not only be a great restaurant but also a truly inspiring project. In conjunction with Mission Australia and the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service, this enterprise offers traineeships and apprenticeships to young Aboriginal people within the restaurant. It’s an ideal location – the former bank building previously housed the Health Service and has always been a place for Aboriginal people to gather, share each other’s company and stories, and to pass on wisdom. Now they have an opportunity to hone their skills and build their careers in this fine dining space. Starkly painted ceiling panels, native flowers and beautiful handcrafted “eel trap” lampshades lend a modern feel to the room and also symbolise the coming together of cultures.
The menu similarly echoes this vision, employing global food styles while intertwining native Australian ingredients. It allows for innovative, fresh cuisine from appetising bites (fried school prawns with lemon aspen aioli, spiced yam fritters with bush tomato chutney), to heavier fare such as spiced Bendigo duck breast with confit leg and quandong jus, peppered kangaroo fillet with shallot and bush tomato tart and rosella flower jus or roasted mulloway with peas, white asparagus, lemon myrtle and samphire. Simple, well executed desserts include raspberry cannelloni with rosella flowers, strawberry and native mint or compressed melon with mandarin, yoghurt sorbet, custard and honeyed oats. Local produce is used wherever possible and native ingredients are never slavishly used but incorporated naturally throughout to impart a unique flavour to dishes.