Newcomer to the Melbourne dining scene, Transformer, lies hidden behind its sister restaurant, the Vegie Bar. Headed up by Laki Papadopoulos and Mark Price (Rice Queen, Panama Dining and the Vegie Bar), while the Vegie Bar offers casual Vegetarian dining, Transformer turns things up a notch. The sophisticated 100 seater restaurant offers an impressive repertoire of vegetarian creations by chef Luke Florence.
The former electrical warehouse, with exposed timbers and rough brick walls, subtle lighting and modern industrial feel, provides an inviting dining space. Transformer also encourages dinner bookings for two sittings, which is an advantage over other restaurants with no booking policies, and also makes room for walk ins.
In an age where health experts extol the value of eating more vegetables, Transformer fits the bill nicely, offering Vegetarian, Vegan and Gluten free options.
The spelt & seed steamed bun with crispy organic tofu, pickled cucumber and spicy gochujang (Korean chilli paste) mayo, $7 each was a tasty, memorable starter with enough zing to leave tastebuds stirring long after the morsel was consumed. Pumpkin and tahini dip with rye quinoa crisps $7 was also good but without the wow factor of the steamed bun. The dishes are designed for sharing, which means that one can experience a large variety of flavours and textures.
Stand out dishes are the spicy green curried polenta with wild rice, vegies, thai pesto and a coconut reduction $18, the earthy full-flavoured Sprouted brown rice & beetroot risotto, asian mushrooms, herbed chevre and togarashi $19 and the moreish King oyster mushrooms, confit garlic, pine nut puree, smoked shallot and porcini salt $16.
While the ricotta and rye gnocchi, organic sprouted lentils, pumpkin mousse and blueberry compote $15 is pretty as a picture on the plate, the sweet/ savoury blend of flavour lacks cohesion, a shame because the gnocchi is pillow soft and perfect. Za’tar eggplant, meredith goats fetta, grapes, Mt byron lentils, black barley and walnuts $18 is a little bland.
Service is brisk and attentive, and patrons are greeted warmly with a smile
For upmarket innovative vegetarian dining in a warm inviting space, look no further than Transformer.
99 Rose St, Fitzroy
Ph 9419 2022
Reviews are unannounced and meals are paid for by What’s My Scene.
Restaurants are not reviewed within the first month of opening