Holding your iPhone high above your head you puzzlingly watch the little blue dot (that’s you) hover around Eau De Vie, the elusive red marker. You will walk in this fashion up and down Malthouse Lane thirsty until you realise that Eau De Vie is the ominous wooden door, no signage affixed - redefining obscurity in Melbourne’s laneways. Eau De Vie may have Sydney pedigree, but the locale of EDV Melbourne is ... well, very Melbourne.
If you manage to open that very heavy wooden door you will find yourself in a dimly lit space, nostalgic of those days where alcohol in its scarcity was appreciated in a way that our modern day beer guzzling, shot imbibing hoi polloi could never. No offense meant – I am contentedly amongst the hoi polloi but my acquaintance with the humble cocktail seemed infantile when confronted with the novella that is EDV’s menu. Not only their cocktail menu, but their Tapas menu (absolutely divine, which I will get to later). Also, uniquely on offer is a cocktail degustation at $130 pp. It combines the workings of Mark Favaloro formerly of Movida and paired cocktails, a truly extravagant experience.
Liquid nitrogen features heavily on this menu, which reads lyrically. You feel as if there is tangible love in these pages. You will be spoilt for service and for choice. Our table tried its utmost to order everything we could. Of course, in this establishment it does not feel like alcoholism, it is more like a refined appreciation.
What was sampled:
1. Espresso Zabaione
Vodka, coffee and maple syrup stirred down. Layered on top with a saffron and vanilla mousse, which is frozen with liquid nitrogen to create a frozen cap. This comes out smoking and offers a theatricality that causes our table to oo and aah in admiration. This is like a dessert in a dainty crystal glass. You will be thankful that nobody else has a spoon with their cocktail - otherwise they’d be dipping into yours far too often.
2. Aloe Dora ($18)
Fresh kiwifruit and thai basil pressed with Ciroc vodka, honey, and French vermouth along with EDV’s aloe vera soda with a hint of peach. It is fresh and very drinkable. A little too drinkable.
3. Rockstar Highball ($19.50)
Gin and banana liqueur is shaken with honey, mango sorbet and pink grapefruit. Topped with house rockmelon and chamomile soda. This tastes like a very naughty smoothie. Tropical in flavours, it transports you to white beaches and crystal waters somewhere remote in the Pacific.
4. East Side Peach ($18)
A rich combination of Ketel One Citroen vodka, poached peaches, fresh pink grapefruit and lime juice.
5. A Noble Experiment ($20)
There is a reason why this is the opening number. This is a real drink. This is a coupling of liquid nitrogen and the martini the way you like it. Not for the faint hearted.
6. Purple Haze ($18)
Gin with Violet Bitters, raspberry puree, lemon and Peychauds Bitters. Garnished with aromatic lavender. I absolutely loved this concoction. All I can say is that it tastes very purple. Unhelpful, I know.
7. The Hendrick’s Tea Party ($18 pp)
This remains one of my favourite cocktail experiences. Designed and better shared, this steaming tea pot arrives with ornate tea cups. It is tea as far as you can tell. But then twenty minutes later you will feel the intoxicating effects of the gin.
I haven’t even arrived at the Tapas. Similarly, we ordered nearly everything on the menu. It is Christmas. Don’t judge.
Oysters with mignonette dressing ($3.50 each). The vinegar and shallots are quite the teaser.
Yellow fin tuna served with black olive praline and eggplant puree ($13.50). The presentation was just impeccable.
Sauteed mushrooms on toast with house made crème fraiche ($12). One of my favourite dishes of the night. Incredibly rich.
Confit duck encrusted in brik pastry on cherry jam ($13). I cannot rave about this duck enough, it was tender and the pastry crispy.
EDV Jamon Board with iberico and prosciutto with grissini ($20).
Chicken liver parfait with madeira jelly and toast ($12.50). Please get this. It is very naughty but worth every step you’ll need to work it off (a lot of steps).
Chilli prawns with brandy and coriander aioli ($14.50).
Braised rabbit leg with agave nectar and carrot ($18).
Confit pork belly with crackling, grated licorice root and calvados puree ($18). I can never overlook pork belly on a menu. This was done perfectly with the crackling on the side. I snapped that up immediately. The puree was really the highlight.
Heirloom tomato, beetroot and asparagus salad with parmesan crisps ($12).
The food is nothing short of amazing. I was truly blown away by the quality, the overall sophistication of the entire menu and the sharing experience. Even though I do not like to share, which I’ve long established. Furthermore, the prices are extremely reasonable. The Tapas menu completely took me by surprise as you imagine the cocktails to be the stars of EDV. You are almost ambushed by the food and your senses assaulted.
The entire experience makes you feel as if you’ve been taken down an alley and somebody has had their way with you. And, as you adjust your clothing and stumble out from Malthouse Lane with that satiated grin on your face - everybody on Flinders Lane will think you have too.
1 Malthouse Lane
Melbourne VIC 3000
0412 825 441