Melbourne’s first ticketed dining room, Prix Fixe, pulled back the curtain on the weekend, revealing a golden-hued homage to the good old days of dining. Pioneered by restaurateur Jason M Jones and chef Philippa Sibley, the new set-menu eatery lets diners purchase tickets ahead of their arrival, ensuring there’s no waiting around for a seat.
Prix Fixe has an unabashedly theatrical aspect, with each month’s menu reflecting a different theme – this month’s being ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream.’ Its fit-out is equally dramatic, with gold-rimmed plates, dark drapes and copper-backed mirrors bathing the whole place in peachy light. Light opera jostles with Madonna on the stereo – in other words, it’s fun.
But while much has been made of Prix Fixe’s concept, the food is genuinely the star. Sibley constructs a playful menu for the evening, with considered but hearty dishes such as a chicken ballotine accompanied by pickles, olives and green ratatouille, and an asparagus avgolemono with a dollop of olive oil, lemon and bay ice-cream floating within. She also gently parodies 80s dining culture with her ‘Bacchanalia’ dish, using taramasalata, smoked octopus, falafel and haloumi to create what looks like an edible Miro artwork.
But, perhaps not surprisingly, it’s Sibley’s dessert that serves the knockout blow: the truffled-honey panna cotta, apricot cheek and pine nut baklava is one of the most memorable treats you’re likely to encounter.
This menu is only around for another month. After that – who can say?
While buying a ticket ahead of your date is the only way to guarantee a table, Prix Fixe does take walk-ins if tables are available.