Eleven years. That’s how long ago Paul Mathis opened Taxi, the glamourpuss restaurant at Transport Hotel, the social hub of Fed Square. In dog years that makes it around 100, so there’s little wonder the owners – now a corporate entity – took a step back last year to reassess where they’re going.
And thus Taxi Kitchen was born. It doesn’t look dramatically different, although that crazy Sputnik is sadly gone, replaced by some copper pipes with light buds suspended in from the ceiling. No need to mess too much with the best dining room views in Melbourne. The glowing Arts Centre spire; the dark slash of the Yarra river; the endless stream of commuters being fined by Myki inspectors over at Flinders Street Station. It’s what passes for dinner and a show in these parts.
Executive chef Tony Twitchett worked for years under Michael Lambie, the chef who took Taxi Dining Room to its highest heights, and it makes a lot of sense that he’s guiding the good ship Taxi in its latest incarnation. Gone is the high-end restaurant with one foot in Japan. It’s not too difficult to discern that Twitchett’s more into the high-octane flavours of south-east Asia, its roiling mix of sweet, salt, sour and bitter. He’ll even head into territory that might be called fusion (Balmain bug ravioli with tomato and chilli sambal, anyone?). Anyway, the short message is that it’s more approachable without being dumbed down.
Scallops and chilli mayo on the shell in a birds’ nest of kaitifi pastry can be ord