Brighton’s Mr and Mrs P fires up Bay Street.
“It’s something we do that’s a bit different and unique”, was the description our server gave us of the salt and vinegar saltbush leaves – Mr and Mrs P’s quirky little bar snack – but it also summed up the restaurant’s approach to dining that has the Southside buzzing.
Brighton certainly isn’t lacking in the cafe and brunch department but, once the sun sets, the vibrant street scene gives way to a bit of a ghost town, with just a handful of mostly takeaway restaurants dotted along the strip.
Enter Mr and Mrs P.
An easy hop, skip, and a jump from Brighton train station, and the always popular Palace Brighton Bay Cinema, Mr and Mrs P is the latest project of husband and wife team Greg and Georgia Poliwodzinski. The pair, who have been keeping Balaclava’s brunch scene jumping at Carlisle Street’s Treehouse Lounge, have ventured further south on the Sandringham Line along with chef Matthew Butcher to create a venue that is equal parts lively and chill.
In the few months since it’s opened, Mr and Mrs P has quickly become a warm and familiar “local”, with the energetic downstairs bar and dining area providing the perfect back drop for live music and a post-work or pre-film tipple, while the quieter and more intimate upstairs dining room is perfect for a relaxing – or more romantic – dinner.
I had the pleasure of dropping in for dinner and drinks late last week, and immediately felt as though I had found ‘my place’. As soon as I got out of the train station, I could feel the warmth and life radiating out of the restaurant. With the biting wind barrelling up the otherwise quiet Bay Street, Mr and Mrs P sparkled in the night, a haven of familiarity and fun.
Now, back to the saltbush leaves. I think I’ve found my new favourite food.
Fresh, local produce is the order of the day at Mr and Mrs P’s, and the inspired choice of utilising the leaves of the saltbush – a bush tucker classic – embodies this ethos in an exciting and interesting way. These hardy trees survive in arid and drought prone areas by quenching themselves on what little water is available, purifying the salt from the water by absorbing it into the leaves of the plant. This results in a richly savoury leaf which, when dried, is often used as seasoning. Mr and Mrs P let this wonder plant stand on its own, lightly frying the leaves and tossing them in a piquant salt and vinegar mix. The result is exquisitely light and crunchy salty morsels – like the Greek mainstay, marithes, gone vegetarian. Saltbush, always playing second fiddle as a seasoning, is finally the star of the show.
Other dishes that are a must are the zucchini blossoms – filled with a tangy, creamy goats curds and gently fried – and the gelatinous and richly flavoured Ox cheek which, after six hours of careful braising, literally melts in the mouth.
When it comes to cocktails, Mr and Mrs P doesn’t disappoint, with their hip bar staff deftly throwing together some delightful potions. As a lover of all things bourbon and ginger, I couldn’t go past the Frank and Ginger; a sweet and tangy concoction of amaretto, Makers Mark bourbon, lemon, and gingerbread syrup.
The eponymous Mr and Mrs P cocktail is also a crowd pleaser, with vanilla vodka, passionfruit, and white chocolate swirled together into a martini that is equal parts luxurious and fun – kinda like the restaurant itself.
So, if you’re in the mood for something a little different, a little fun, and whole lot satisfying, head south and give Mr and Mrs P’s a shot.
We loved Mr and Mrs P and so we’re giving one reader the chance to win a $150 dinner and drinks voucher!
To enter, simply tell us in 25 words or fewer what you love most about spring dining in Melbourne. The winner will be drawn on Thursday 26th October and notified via DM. Good luck!
Mr and Mrs P
312 Bay Street, Brighton