Provenance in Collingwood (not to be confused with Provenance restaurant in Beechworth) opened in early 2009 and operates as an all day eating house and bar, with breakfast to dinner to cocktails on offer. From mid to late 2009 Provenance hosted a series of themed dinners with amusing titles (“quince this, quail that”, “something to goat about” and “how mushroom is too mushroom” to name a few) and it had some quite positive reviews, from Fitzroyalty (here and here) and Bruce and Fran.
On the back of all the positivity (and ignoring Jetsetting Joyce’s unhappy breakfast experience) Mr M & I decided to head to Provenance for a Friday night dinner. When we arrived the restaurant was about half full with people tucking into dinner and there were also a few people out on the pavement and on the couches enjoying some drinks (I will say that the two for one cocktail option was very appealing!). Service was very friendly and knowledgeable.
To start, we were given a complimentary palate cleanser of tomato consomme:
Light, fresh and with a lovely concentrated tomato flavour. I had high hopes for the rest of the meal.
We ordered some olives while we put away a couple of much needed drinks:
Slightly warm, the olives had strong citrus flavour. Yum.
On to the main event, I ordered a special – baked trout with avocado tempura and roe on cauliflower mash:
It was a little… weird. The fish was baked in rice paper, which gave it a somewhat dulled colour and the consistency of the rice paper after being baked was a bit unpleasant. I also didn’t really like the tempura avocado – crunchy outer with a soft inner, I didn’t think it worked on its own or with the rest of the dish. Despite all the elements, the dish was also a bit flavourless (from the waiter’s description there was some wasabi happening somewhere, but I couldn’t taste it).
Mr M ordered the Berkshire pork cutlet with roast potato Waldorf salad and cider jus:
We decided to forgo dessert and headed to Lambs go bar (love that name!) for a few more drinks.
All in all, I was pretty disappointed with my experience at Provenance. While the place had a great atmosphere and lovely staff, I was let down by our main courses (though I can’t help but wonder whether the particular special I ordered was a bit of an aberration). I don’t have any plans to return for a meal, though I would return to Provenance for some drinks (they have Cider Sunday people!).
Provenance Restaurant + Bar
288 Smith Street
Collingwood VIC 3066
(03) 8415 0700