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 European-Australian tapas menu — 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 beef croquettes with shallots and hot mustard dressing ($9 for two), and steamed buns with hickory smoked salmon and macadamia ($11 for two). Medium plates carry the sharing focus through with the fresh burrata, vine ripe heirloom tomatoes and green chilli ($19), and the spicy salt and pepper quail with apple soy dipping sauce ($23). The big guns come out in the form of pan-fried gnocchi, lamb, peas, mint, and Persian feta ($28), and the seared salmon, warm sea lettuce and zucchini salad, with a black garlic dressing ($32).
For those with a sweet tooth and a love of nostalgia, the Taxi's famous passionfruit souffle with banana ice cream is a solid choice ($15), while the bitter chocolate marquise with coffee crumble and tonka bean ice cream is a decedent finish ($16).
The wine list has been stripped back with a fun and affordable offering and a reserve list is available for those wanting to go that one step further. A bottle of NV Jansz Rose from Tasmania is a nice start ($60), while the 2011 Clonakilla O'Riada Shiraz ($95) from the reserve list won't completely break the budget, but will feel a little special. You can also BYO for $25 a bottle corkage. A new era has indeed arrived.