Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country right now: Semi-Permanent, Collingwood.
True to its name, Semi-Permanent will only be with us for a limited time. The pop-up wine bar occupying the Collingwood space formerly home to Lee Ho Fook will call last drinks on Christmas Eve, but, with hospitality veterans Liz Carey (MoVida) and Paul Guiney (Brooks, The Town Mouse) running the joint, at least the last drinks are guaranteed to be interesting.
Semi-Permanent has a two-page drinks list that changes regularly, sometimes several times in a week - Carey and Guiney only buy small amounts of any particular wine and, when that runs out, they move on to something else. That could mean a white blend from Canary island producer Envinate, magnums of rosato aglianico from Cantina Giardino in Campania, draft cider from Normandy, sake from Kumamoto and shiraz from Syrahmi Dreams in Heathcote.
Chef Tanya Bertino (The Station) offers a short blackboard list of fine things to eat with wine. The Ode to Russ & Daughters, for example, is a flavoursome fish plate with salmon pastrami, pickled herring, brilliant smoked-trout rillettes and house-made pickles (pictured above) served with triangles of rye bread and butter from nearby Fitzroy dairy, St David. There are also crumbed and fried sardines from Western Australia, sea bream poached in sake, textbook corned beef served with carrots and mustard, and an exemplary asparagus and Gruyère tart.
It's good enough to get you a little misty over Semi-Permanent's short time on earth but, all being well, tears won't need to be shed. With the real estate search already under way, Semi-Permanent may be able to drop the first part of its name early next year. Until then, get it while you can.
Semi-Permanent, 92 Smith St, Collingwood, Vic, 0484 323 834. Open Mon, Thu and Fri 5pm-late, Sat-Sun noon-late.
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