It might be just unfortunate timing/dish choices/we just weren’t in the mood for such food but unfortunately our party of six didn’t quite enjoy our experience at Mr Hive as much as we thought we would. For one, the weather made traffic terrible and we were all late for our 5:30pm reservation apart from one of us who could probably advertise for Melbourne public transport because she arrived on time and had to wait an hour for the rest of us who were stuck lining up to get into the car park. Then when I arrived I realised I had brought my DSLR camera but no battery – luckily my mobile phone pictures turned out better than expected given the lighting.
On to the food! We were quite confused by what was served to us – it didn’t help that we thought we ordered a raviloi and were served a celeriac starter. This starter was quite odd and disappointing for our vegetarian friend.
The other starters were great – we ordered the Crispy Little Pig (what a cute name), foie gras and chicken liver parfait, blackberries and sourdough bread and the Kingfish & bonito ceviche. fingerlime with pickled ginger.
Excellent presentation for these three starters – we found it odd that somehow we didn’t have quite enough bread for the amount of foei gras and chicken liver parfait but luckily one of us at the table managed to pile nearly all of the rest on the last half of the bread. My two favourites would have to be the crispy little pig – the presentation is interesting and the flavours really matched – deep fried cubes of pork with pickled turnip and a cube of watermelon. I’m not sure how one would have created such a dish but it really worked. The kingfish ceviche was very refreshing in contrast with relatively lighter flavours and did well to get us ready for our mains.
Mains wise I had the Crispy Otway pork belly, dashi, radish and cauliflower. Again, presentation wise this dish was superb. The dashi went well with the bed of cauliflower but it might just be my Asian palate – I found the pork belly though soft and juicy, didn’t quite have the crispy skin I was looking for and I found myself craving pork belly from the usual chinese take away joints we often go to.
The rest of the table tried the beer can chicken with potato wedges, lemon and rosemary,one of the steaks and the ricotta gnocchi with wild mushroom and parsnip. Again, I did say we were confused by the food.
The beer can chicken came on a chopping board with two glasses of beer and some sauce in a pitcher. Although the chicken was quite succulent and juicy (I haven’t had chicken like this for a while), the two who ordered the main felt like they had gone to their local chicken take away place while eating it and were quite perplexed by the presentation of beer on either side and the sauce. Some direction from waiting staff would have been appreciated and they felt a small salad would have completed the dish especially at the price of $55.
The gnocchi presentation was rather rustic in that they were quite large and my friend who is quite the home cook felt this kind of dish she could easily recreate at home (I must ask her to cook for me one day…) and she would only make gnocchi this large if she was in a hurry!
Having heard good things about their dessert, we were quite happy to be offered a seat at the bar for our desserts. Unfortunately the lighting was even darker at the bar so I don’t have pictures. We ordered the tasting plate and the famous Mr. Hive’s chocolate bar with peanuts and caramel. The chocolate bar was fantastic – being picky we felt the dish had been standing there a bit before being served to us because we ordered two of the chocolate bars and both though topped with a delicate quinelle of peanut ice cream, the ice cream had already begun to melt down the sides of the chocolate bar and was quite soft by the time we tried it. Otherwise it was fantastic – we especially liked the praline base.
Overall, an interesting dinner and dining experience. I can’t say I’ll be in a rush to go back but given the excellent location (bar parking which we found out costs $18 on a weekend) and the atmosphere I might well consider coming back some time later.