Address:175 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, VIC 3065
If you haven’t heard about Smith & Daughters, you must have been living under a rock because there’s been a lot of buzz since these guys came on the Melbourne restaurant scene a few months ago. Shannon and Mo invited me along to the opening a while back and although I wasn’t able to make it at the time, I vowed to get down to Melbourne this year to try them out. And try them out I did. Twice.
The decor is fabulous; a huge wall covered in vintage posters and photographs plus the now famous “EAT VEGAN” neon sign lights up the room. There’s plenty of indoor greenery as well but what S&D are now known for is the extensive collection of vintage salt and pepper shakers. These cute little table pals are so renowned that people have actually been stealing them (which is super slack, don’t do that!)
I usually don’t touch too much on the staff in my reviews but the staff at Smith & Daughters really do deserve a mention. They’re passionate, enthusiastic and incredibly attentive without being intrusive – my glass of water was never empty! Mo herself is often on the floor, chatting to customers and making much appreciated recommendations.
While the decor and staff are amazingly wicked, the food is what I really want to tell you about. The dinner menu has a Latin American flayva, with plenty of your Mexican classics like tamales, stuffed peppers and tacos as well as some stuff you may not see on your everyday vegan menu like corn fritters, queso dip and house-made chorizo!
We managed to sample a mammoth amount of food on the dinner menu the night we visited. First we had a selection of small plates; White Truffle Forest Mushroom Påte, Layered Queso Dip, Sorrulitos de Maiz and Tuna & Green Pea Croquettas and let me tell you, each of those guys were a taste sensation!
The påte was so smooth and spread beautifully over the bread it was served with. I often find truffle too overpowering but the balance of flavour with the mushroom was perfection.
I honestly wasn’t expecting the dip to be as bitchin’ as it was. Unbelievably cheesy and creamy, with a layer of spicy black beans underneath. You may need some extra corn chips to finish this one off, because you won’t want to leave a drop behind.
The corn fritters were lovely but definitely my least favourite of the four small plates we shared (I still ate them before I got to take a photo though!) They were a lovely accompaniment to a large selection of dishes but if you’re limiting yourself I would leave them off.
I’ve been searching far and wide for a croquette as good as the ones I had at Cha Ya in Tokyo and I think they may have met their match at Smith & Daughters. Although fried, they were fresh and light and wonderfully accompanied by a wedge of lemon and caper aioli.
Somehow we then managed to make a small dent in some of the mains; Enchiladas, Albóndigas con Picada de Almendra and the Tacos con Ensalada.
Out of the mains my favourite was the taco salad. It had a bit of everything; chorizo, lettuce, beans and topped with cashew cream in a tortilla basket. This was closely followed by the enchiladas which were stuffed with seitan and kale and covered in a trio of delicious sauces. The meatballs were also really tasty but my least favourite of the three, plus super filling so I ate less of them to leave room for dessert.
Despite the imminent food coma, we decided to share a dessert and settled on the Warm Spanish Donuts and boy am I glad we did! The were beautifully spiced and filled with quince which was a nice departure from your typical donut. My friends were most impressed with the dessert saying ” I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed something so much in my life!” and “I’d be happy if this quince was stuck in my teeth forever!”
My recommendation for 2 people would be to order 2 small plates and one main or 5-6 small plates to share plus a dessert, of course! Accompanied by a couple of beautifully creative cocktails, our experience at Smith & Daughters was so awesome that we decided to book in for brunch a couple of days later.
Brunch at Smith & Daughters is on Saturdays and Sundays only from 9am-3pm leaving you plenty of time to sleep in and still get your Latin American fix! There’s a wide selection of brunch cocktails so you can keep the party going from the night before or get it started for the night ahead. If daytime drinking ain’t your thing, there are also a bunch of great smoothies and juices as well as coffee with a selection of non-dairy milk options.
The brunch menu is much smaller than the dinner menu but still offers plenty of options to satisfy sweet or savoury inclinations. I was torn between the Burrito, Mexican Omelette and Spanish French Toast but luckily with a table of four people I got to try all three of those.
My friend had the burrito which was stuffed with all kinds of tasty things like seitan, beans and cashew cheese which was so tasty but not too overwhelming for breakfast. I opted for the Spanish French Toast which was the perfect size and texture, served warm with poached quince.
I thought I had made the right decision until the Mexican Omelette arrived! The tofu based omelette didn’t have that eggy taste, the texture was incredible and was packed full of flavour. It’s served with little tortillas so you know you’re not in your average breakfast spot, plus it’s kind of like having tiny soft tacos for breakfast!
Smith & Daughters is such a welcome addition to an already bitchin’ Melbourne restaurant scene. This is definitely one to take your non-vegan amigos along to; the diverse range of flavours and textures will make even the biggest meat-eater weak at the knees for these just about perfect plates of food. The food is so amazing you’re going to want to eat it all but take some advice from from a food coma survivor, pace yourself or you won’t be able to walk out the door!