Mussel Mania at the Provincial

299 Brunswick St, Fitzroy
Phone: 9810 0042

November’s Flavour of the Month special at The Provincial is Monday Night Mussels. A bottomless bowl of mussels (with the requisite pommes frites, of course) for $29.50. I met up with some friends to test it out, and also to celebrate Ms A’s final exam (ever)!

The mussels come in three flavours (though I get the feeling these might rotate from week to week, so no guarantee this post will be accurate for the following two weeks). The first I tried was ‘Moules Mariniere’ – white wine, shallots, garlic and cream.

While this was certainly a very traditional style, I found it a little too salty. I definitely liked the crispy little garlic chips in there though.

The pommes frites were perfect little sticks of golden goodness, and in this instance, the perfect foil to the saltiness of the Mariniere.

Round Two was the tomato, chilli, coriander and pork belly (yes, that’s right… so much for my month-long moratorium on pork).
This was by far my favourite, the rich tomato sugo having just the right amount of acidity, and a present, but not overwhelming amount of chilli heat. The little pork belly lardons in the sauce were delightful, too.

Round Three – well, I had to try them all, for your reading edification, right? Mussels with Pernod, orange and fennel.

These were a little disappointing. The fennel provided a lovely aroma, but I felt there wasn’t enough orange in the mix, and overall, again it was a little too salty.

For my comeback special – that is my fourth bowl – I went back to the tomato and chilli version. I’m not sure if it was a mistake  – we did see some flames in the kitchen – but the mussels this time had a wonderful smoky flavour. The last bowl was the best bowl!

And where I should have left the night. Of course, the dessert menu came out, and I stupidly couldn’t help myself. I’d swam a kilometre in the pool earlier in the day, so I deserved some dessert, right? I ordered the Citrus Curd Tart with clotted cream.

The tart was wonderfully, well, tart, and the pastry crust was nice and short. Had I not already been gestating an obese seafood foodbaby, I’m guessing it would have tasted like a perfectly refreshing end to a meal. As it played out, it ended up tasting like regret.

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3 Replies to “Mussel Mania at the Provincial”

  1. Yeap. Last bowl of chilli mussels for me kick some ass. I did like the fennel and pernod version as well.

  2. Ha ha, seafood food-baby… Mussells can't be THAT fattening??? 😀

    I had bottomless mussells at Olmec's Richmond half a year ago, not bad but the kitchen took its time dishing it out.

  3. Damn, fennel and Pernod mussels sounds divine. I wish I'd managed to go to one of these, I didn't realise it was a November thing only. I do love shell whatsits so!

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