There is no point pretending we weren't sad when we heard the news of Taxi Dining Room closing its doors for a re-vamp. We were internally mourning the air of fine dining it exuded, the silver service, the flawless food, and the sinfully long wine list. Some of us may have even tasted our very first drop of French Champagne there. But, it's no time for wallowing — there's something new to try at Taxi.
Taxi Kitchen reopened in the same space, sans white shirts and sushi chefs. The once Asian-influenced menu, executed by executive chef Tony Twitchett, has now been stripped back to a contemporary Australian tapas menu (with a hint of Asian influence) — from the same man, no less.
The price point has come down and a bar space has been extended, but the views remain. The space is still sitting above the world in Federation Square and the food is still worth the elevator ride. In the words of Twitchett, it has lost the pretence, not the standards. Small plates see tempura bug tails with sesame yuzu mayo ($12 for four), candy pork belly with pickled papaya ($16), steamed buns with smoked salmon and macadamia ($11 for two), and kangaroo with quandong chutney on a salt and vinegar cracker ($14). The big guns come out in the form of Szechuan duck with hot mint salad and five spice caramel ($39), and the slow-cooked lamb shoulder with saltbush, pickles and shiso jelly ($43).
For those with a sweet tooth and a love of nostalgia, Taxi's strawberry cheesecake with oat crumble and passionfruit ice cream is a solid choice ($14), while the yuzu souffle with ginger white chocolate grenache and jasmine ice cream ($15) is a stronger nod to the restaurant's Asian influence.
The wine list has been stripped back with a fun and affordable offering focused predominantly on Victorian wines. There's also a reserve list is available for those wanting to go that one step further, plus you can also BYO for $20 a bottle corkage if you're in a group of ten or more. A new era has indeed arrived.