Fall in love with spring at Artie & Mai | The Gourmand & Gourmet

Fall in love with spring at Artie & Mai

Being firmly acquainted with Artie & Mai’s twinkling fairy lights, beach-house loos and infamous (not to mention, to die for) pork belly, we were a tad excited to hear whisperings of a new spring menu launch at the Northside restaurant. Since their opening in December last year, Artie & Mai have displayed an exceptional eye for style and totally unique recipes. It’s no wonder they instantly charmed the locals of Albion – and beyond. And their new spring menu is no different. Testing out the new eats (it’s important work we do at the G&G) we fell in love with their crispy pork belly all over again – this time round drizzled with a sweet maple caramel sauce. The combination of flavours takes over your tastebuds when you bite into the rich, crackling exterior of the belly, finishing with juicy, tender pork. There is no time to Instagram this bad boy. Somebody will whisk it up into their cake-hole before you can even #hashtag #yum. To some, moving from pork belly to salad might seem like a let down. At Artie & Mai, this will never be the case. Their warm beetroot, goats cheese, walnut and truffle oil concoction surprises you not only with its strong flavours, but also its secret ingredient: chocolate. The beets, cheese and walnuts sit on a bed of ‘dirt’ (read: chocolate and truffle oil) to depict the natural sprouting of beetroots in the soil. Read again: delicious. This is not the only microcosmic representation of food in Artie’s new jig – they’ve really got the creative juices flowing in their kitchen. As one of the large plates for sharing (or plates for the hungry, like us) you are presented with a roast fillet of barramundi, potato, clams and mussels. Although the tantalizing aroma of the dish is off the scale, it’s almost a travesty to undo the artistry on the plate. The fillet is presented along with the shellfish on a bed of edible seaweed ‘sand’ like a delightfully beachy diorama. Heston Blumenthal, eat your heart out. Last – but never, ever least – you can dig into the sweeter side of Artie & Mai. Channel your inner Italian with a strawberry cannoli, surrounded by goats cheese panna cotta, basil and a balsamic drizzle. This zesty, crunchy combination of Italian tastes will have you crying ‘mamma mia!’ That is, until you try the impressive cheese platter to cleanse the palate. An array of strengths of cheese are combined with sweet pear sorbet, stilton, ritz and crumbling pumpkin ganache. You’d be well advised to take a friend so you can order twice as many of Artie & Mai’s drool-worthy share plates. As long as you are the faster eater – first in, best fed. And if their menu gets you in the mood for more spring flavours, check out our list of new spring menus about town. Words by Julia Hulbert