For those of you not familiar, SOTO is a relaxed dining room/ café situated in the heart of Prahran’s hushful Hawksburn Village, offering modern Australian food and gourmet pizzas, amongst other things. To continue our infrequent tradition, Jack and I meet here after I’ve returned from Perth’s negligible café culture, to debrief, and of course, enjoy a great bite or two. Alas, our arduous blogging journey leads us here, you see, because whisper the category that is “modern Australian cuisine” and surely, the culinary highlight that is- “chips” as we Australians like to call it, will come running after it.
When dining at SOTO on our first “post Perth debrief” we joined them for lunch, and enjoyed a beef panini, so this trip to SOTO would be to consume their “chips with oven roasted garlic mayonnaise” for the first time. Let me just say here, the chips alone are definitely not a crowd puller. Delving in to the thick of it, the potato that made up the chip was not so bad, a cushiony lightness that would melt in one’s mouth if the outer, battered layer wasn’t soggy, like they had been sitting in their own clammy, sweat for a while. The mayonnaise is good, but not great. Don’t get me wrong, they are sufficiently edible, but more so that of the standard of a local fish and chip shop… Perhaps, what disastified us more, was the serving size, which would have suited one, and at $8.5 a pop, it’s not really a “side serving” price.
However, our standards must have been set high at SOTO, because the obvious gold-medalist for the both of us was the “Roast Duck, Buffalo Mozzarella, Hoisin, Asian Herbs & Chili Oven Baked Pizza”- truly delicious! Upon entering SOTO, our eyes flicker up and down the paper menu, and I hastily draw to the close and suggest “we’ll get the duck pizza!” because, both Jack and I understand- the rule is… if duck is on the menu- we order it. Although, it seems, I am engulfed in my own excitement, when Jack jokingly advises that I did not even consider what he wanted… this being over ridden when we agree that he had his eyes on the duck pizza anyway. It arrives, and it is spicy duck luxury. YUM!
One must also take in to account when there is the words “duck” and “fried” in the same sentence. “Duck and Vegie Spring Rolls with Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce”. Service is a little slow, as there is only us and two or three other diners, but I suppose these spring rolls were worth the wait. The duck is almost a mince-like consistency, paired nicely with the vermicelli and the sweetness of the sauce works well too.
A couple of coffees and a “Sticks” pinot noir later, and we are adequately satisfied… all hail duck pizza!
517 Malvern Road
Toorak VIC 3142