Ever since arriving in Melbourne, I’ve been hearing a lot about Smith & Daughters. It’s one of those iconic vegan places that every vegan has to try, at least once. On top of this, they’ve recently released a cookbook, which again, I’ve been seeing a lot of. At the time of writing, they’d reprinted the book FOUR times. Clearly, they’re doing something right.
Smith & Daughters was actually one of the first restaurants I wanted to try when I arrived. But when I went to book, they were fully booked for when I wanted to go, and so it ended up being put on the back burner for some time. Finally though I made a reservation for myself and Sam (2 weeks in advance this time, just to make sure!) and off we headed to try it out.
As I always do, I checked the menu before we headed off to see what was on offer and what I liked to look of. Whilst not explicitly stated, it’s a tapas style menu with the food on offer designed to share. Oh, and it’s all vegan. It all looked amazing, so I asked for some recommendations from fellow vegans before we went. I was told to get the mushrooms and the paella fritters.
When we arrived, it was much smaller than I expected but had a casual vibe. With it being so popular, you’re told you only have the table for an hour and a half. This was also stated when booking, so we were happy to oblige. We’re such quick easters anyway we could be in an out in half an hour.
I started off by ordering a cocktail, a delicious Pina Colada. It was delicious, so if you’re looking for that perfect pre-dinner drink, go for that!
We decided to get the Papas Esapnolas (basically just fancy chips), the Championes Al Ajillo (Spanish mushrooms), Paella Fritters and the Fish Tacos, which was one of the specials. As it was tapas, the food was brought out as it was ready, not all at once, which I liked.
No longer than two minutes after we’d ordered the chips arrived. And oh my, they were amazing! I’m a big fan of chips anyway but I could have happily eaten them all night. I tried my best to pace myself because we knew there was, of course, a lot more food to come, and it seemed a bit odd to be being chips first, but I really couldn’t stop myself from eating way too many.
Next up were the fish tacos. They were again, really good. Difficult to eat, mind, but that’s sometimes part of the fun. They were spicy but with a cool kiwi salsa which was different, and not something I would have thought of before, but the mix of sweet and spicy was fantastic.
Then came the paella fritters and the mushrooms. The fritters were very similar to risotto balls (which afterwards I realised was obvious, because it’s paella) and were so good. Crispy on the outside and filled with soft rice inside, it was the perfect combination.They came with a delicious aioli as well.
The mushrooms were also so good. They were in a rich creamy sauce and served with fresh, crusty bread. Mushrooms on toast, but elevated to the next level. However, that being said, I probably wouldn’t order them again, and I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. That’s not to say they weren’t delicious, but with so many other great items on the menu, I don’t know if I would say they’re one of the things I would be raving about afterwards.
It was a lot of food, and it came out quickly. Of course, no amount of food will ever stop us getting dessert, so we ended up getting a dessert each. I got the Pan Con Chocolate, and Sam got the Sangria Crumble Trifle.
The Pan Con Chocolate was a delicious chocolate pate, with olive oil and fennel baguette. I was a bit wary that the olive oil might be a bit weird, but it was actually delicious and I ate every bit of it. Spreading the pate on the baguette was really fun and I loved the overall Spanish bibe.
I also tried a bit of Sam’s Sangria Trifle and that was also divine, with poached pears, sangria jelly, saffron custard and almond crumble. If you like fruit, then definitely try that one. Also it’s worth pointing out, that they’re reasonable servings, so you might want to share if you’re already full but want to give a dessert a try.
Ultimately, Smith & Daughters definitely lived up the hype and I’m already planning my next trip back.