went to the undertaker tonight. but fear not, it's not a dead person typing here, and i'm not due to go to a funeral (touch wood).
the undertaker is the name of a new-ish restaurant in hawthorn. not your typical suburban thing, thank goodness, but not really city-standard either. prices are less reasonable than the city - probably due to lack of direct competition - there aren't many real restaurants in the eastern suburbs. let me be fair - to be precise, mains were reasonably priced, while 'small plates to share' and desserts were not. the 'small plates' were indeed 'small', but unless you have a scalpel on hand, not so easy 'to share'. desserts lacked skill - very little cooking or even assembly is involved, and the servings were small, but nonetheless they cost the price of a decent lunch with coffee (around $12). i had a chestnut cake with roasted quinces and a yogurt/cream thing. the cake was something i could have easily made, and the serving was easily one sixteenth of the whole cake. the quinces were cold. no, not room temp, cold.
anyhow, to their credit, nothing was bad. my little quail was actually quite tender and juicy, though a little lacking in flavour, but the combination with fresh grapes was pleasing and unexpected. the grilled sticks of polenta on the side were very well made. this is probably the only dish i'd ever recommend here. my gnocchi with black cabbage and something else (i've forgotten) was tiny - though it would've helped, visually, if it weren't served in finger bowl sized crockery. hmm, and i just realised - where was my black cabbage? i had loads of spinach but surely...
the wine list is decent; there are several choices by the glass, which was great cause it was just dad and i and he was having fish. (i hardly ever have white wine by choice.) my milkwood 2003 pinot noir was surprisingly nice for an australian pinot. flowery on the nose, light but rounded on the tongue - i shan't go into it any more cause i'm no wine commentator. i'm worse than an amateur :P all i can say is i want to go out and buy a dozen.
a value for money suburban place it is not, but for a mid week i'm-too-lazy-to-cook-or-go-out-and-i-feel-rich-this-week night, it's a decent bet. and apparently, they can do bookings for up to ten people (without it being a 'function' with reduced menus and all that crap), which is pretty cool if you tend to have dinners with extended family (yes, i am speaking from many years' experience). it's got a nice looking bar too, so it might be a good place to pop into for a late night drink and dessert with friends. speaking of good-looking, the decor isn't bad - you can tell they spent heaps on it; though i've never understood why restaurant interiors in melbourne are becoming increasingly ignorant of acoustics. too many places end up sounding like sunday yum chas on busy nights.
it's very popular with the easterners, so remember to book. (though beware that they do have one of those horrid "press 1 for X" recordings...)
329 burwood road (near cnr glenferrie road)
open: daily noon-3pm, 6-10pm
forgot to say that this place has this funny name because they took over the site of a real undertaker... scaryyyyyyy kakaka