At the time of writing this Cookie has 73 blog reviews on Urbanspoon. Does it need another? Probably not. However it is so rare that I go the the big name, popular places that I thought I should document it.
You see I am not a fan of crowds, queuing and hype. I have never been to Chin Chin or Mamasita, although I’ve recently heard that Chin Chin will do a callback so I may stop by in the near future. I’ve always lumped Cookie into the same basket, but when I needed to find a Thai place in the CBD to dine with a visiting friend I was delighted to find that they take bookings.
The delight didn’t stop there, we had made an early booking and I arrived to find the late afternoon daylight saving sun streaming though other-wordly arched windows.
The wine list is exceptional, the first eight pages list wines available by the glass or bottle. As you progress through the tome (we are talking about a bound book approaching an inch in thickness) there are pages devoted to individual wineries with brief descriptions of each wine. There is a huge range of local and international styles and grape varieties. I am going back by myself sometime soon so that I can read the list over lunch without ignoring my dining companion. #winenerd
I managed to suppress a squeal of joy when I noticed the 2013 Velenosi Querci Antica Lacrima di Morro by the glass. I fell in love with the Italian grape variety Lacrima di Morro d’Alba during a wine club two years ago. It is a very rare variety, grown almost exclusively in the Marche region of Italy and leads with gorgeous floral aromatics. On the palate it is fairly soft with red fruits, rose petals and slightly grippy tannins. Such an interesting variety and hard to find.
Service was excellent, our waiter was knowledgeable about the wine list and very helpful when we were overwhelmed by the huge range of food choices. The menu is split into small medium and large dishes and is designed to be shared; we went for a medium and a small with a carby side and it was perfect for two people.
Fat Rice Noodles with Duck, Cabbage, Green Peppercorns and Basil ($22.50)
Whenever I have thai food I always order pad see ew: thick rice noodles, with an amazing thick sweet soy sauce. I don’t know how those in the know feel about this dish (it might now be remotely related), but for me it was pad see ew elevated to a new level. There was a lot of rich, tender duck meat, slightly crunchy on the edges; and that gorgeous sweet and savoury soy. Just divine.
Smoked Trout, Sweet Potato and Snow Pea Salad ($17.50)
This was my friend’s choice and I will admit to being slightly sceptical, I’m not always a massive fan of smoked fish. The trout was very subtly smoked and juicy flakes scattered throughout crisp snow peas and caramelised discs of sweet potato. This sat on a bed of rocket and was dressing with a lovely sweet and tangy sauce.
A side of perfect flaky, buttery roti ($4) rounded out the meal.
But we didn’t stop there.
I am a bit of a flake when it comes to Asian desserts. I tried too many dry and tasteless red bean buns and other such things as a teenager and lost my adventure mojo. This meant that I stayed safe and ordered the Lime and Basil Pannacotta with Strawberries.
This was a lovely fresh dessert with creamy and very limey, tangy pannacotta surrounded by boozy strawberries. It was simple and refreshing but paled in comparison to my buddies Black Sticky Rice with Mango and Coconut Ice Cream.
Fortunately she doesn’t have my expandable stomach so I got to eat quite a bit of the nutty, sweet and salty rice, fresh ice cream and ripe mango chunks. I think this might have turned the tables on my asian dessert avoidance.
As it turns out, the hype about Cookie in Melbourne’s CBD is correct. The food was fantastic, very affordable and it was not too crowded on a weeknight. Now to tackle that wine list 🙂