$15 express lunch at Fifteen

115 – 117 Collins Street, Melbourne –
Phone: 1300 799 415

I’ve been holding off from writing this review for a while, because I was a little conflicted – while I don’t always write positive reviews, it’s rare that I’ll be flat-out negative. Unfortunately, this lunch was pretty bad. @jetsettingjoyce seems to agree. I’m thinking, hoping, wishing, praying that it was just a bad day at the restaurant, but with head chef Tobie Puttock actually in the kitchen that day, I’m not so sure. I do really like the ethics behind the restaurant – they train up disadvantaged youth to get careers in hospitality – but it seems there are other places doing the same thing, with better results. Charcoal Lane comes to mind.

The misadventure started off with a broccoli and potato soup. It was extremely oversalted, and full of woody pieces of broccoli stalk. Now I’m not of the opinion you should be using the florets only – far from it, I eat the stalk all the time – but there’s a reason you painstakingly peel the thicker parts of broccoli stalks. They don’t just look like little trees for nothing.


I was hoping for redemption by pasta, but was sorely disappointed. The orrechiette with veal ragu was similarly underwhelming. The serves were minuscule, and while the pasta itself was quite good, it came out on the luke side of warm, which meant the fat in the veal mince had started to solidify, producing an unpleasant, stick-to-the-roof-of-your-mouth feel.


I sampled some of Joyce’s vegetarian option – gnocchi with a spicy capsicum sauce. Conversely to the orrechiette, the sauce was good, but the gnocchi was overcooked and mushy. Again, the serving size was tiny.


I have had some friends who have been to Fifteen for dinner, and loved the experience, but I’d have to say I’m not inspired by my visit there. I understand that a $15 express lunch is pretty cheap for this type of restaurant, but cheap shouldn’t equate to nasty. I honestly hope it was just an aberrant lunch service, but I’m not really game to spend the money to try my luck again. Sorry Tobie.


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3 Replies to “$15 express lunch at Fifteen”

  1. I remember Joyce's account of this day, it didnt sound to pleasant when she described it, and it sounds exactly the same from your end. Yeah I wasnt a fan of fifteen when we headed down there….will not be returning.

  2. Yes – we agree that Fifteen disappointed that day. You forgot to mention, though, that once Brian mentioned to the staff the soup was too 'stalky', they did remove it from the menu. (Surely someone tastes it before it goes out to the patrons?!) cheers!

  3. $15!!! wow that is seriously cheap! I have eaten at fifteen many many times for dinner and paid for it and it's always been perfect! The Italian manager is great super helpful
    he always finds a beautiful bottle of wine for us..

    so no complaints here…

    try going for dinner!! you may just change your mind!

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