My partner will freely volunteer that I don’t usually pay much attention to my surroundings, both whilst eating, and also in general. Henry Lee’s was a bit of an exception – I thought it was a cool use of an old factory space – very Melbourne-esque – , with a nice sunny internal courtyard that we ate in.
My partner picked The Purple Fields ($18) (braised broccoli, sweet corn, garlic & parsley puree, scrambled eggs, prosciutto dust, crispy fried kale, marinated feta served on sourdough) with an additional soft shelled crab ($5). I was nervous about the choice as it was one of the least appealing items on the menu for me, but I did not speak out. I did not enjoy this dish outside of the scrambled eggs and soft shelled crab. I did not enjoy the taste of the braised broccoli, and I could not identify the prosciutto dust (from a marketing perspective, why not just omit this unidentifiable meat component and just mark it as vegetarian?). The sourdough also got quite soggy with the scrambled eggs sitting on it. The only saving grace was that we spent an additional $5 on a soft shelled crab, which was fried nicely but I felt had a bit of a bitter taste (my partner did not share this concern.) Overall a $23 that I would rather not have spent.
The Benny Munro ($21) (Five spice braised pork belly, purple slaw,
turmeric pickled zucchini and crispy prosciutto with poached eggs & chipotle hollandaise, served on sweet corn & cauliflower croquettes) I enjoyed significantly more. The chipotle hollandaise, poached eggs, and slaw were a good combination. I did enjoy the single pickled zucchini that was allocated to me. One of the things I will mention is that when you order a dish with pork belly as the first ingredient listed you would assume that it would be a main component of the show. Instead what we got was two very small, somewhat dry pieces of pork belly, one under each egg. Having had a really good pork belly at The Cupping Room in Canberra in 2017, a dish that uses pork belly to its full potential, I expected much different and much better.
Hot beverages are one of the places where Henry Lee’s shines. I had the Tea Latte (left -$5), which was a lavender infused earl grey latte. It was my first tea latte (excluding the million chais), and I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed both the taste as well as the flower petal presentation. My partner had the Aztec Chili Hot Chocolate (right – $7) and it even came with a real chili! I was not sold on it but she enjoyed it a lot.
I went to Henry Lee’s today in search of Asian fusion brunch food, but ended up leaving disappointed. In retrospect I should’ve delved further rather than take the name at face value – it’s a reference to a Nick Cave song – and realised that while the menu had some Asian fusion elements these were more of an afterthought.
16 Eveleigh St, Redfern NSW 2016