Paul Wilson takes his new place to market

By
Casey Warrener
Added
25 July, 2017

Cooked author Paul Wilson adds a multi-purpose space at the Prahran Market in Melbourne, Victoria, to his restaurant portfolio.

Paul Wilson’s long-awaited Wilson & Market has arrived, joining a portfolio that includes Lady Carolina and the Newmarket Hotel. The eponymous spot is situated in the Prahran Market and showcases the top Victorian produce available from its vendors. It’s a step away from the Latin American vibes of Paul’s other ventures, instead serving up a mixed-influence menu that combines a little from his British background, European and Mediterranean flavours, plus a strong focus on seafood and roast meats – making good use of a wood burner and rotisserie grill in the kitchen.

The 250-seat space has multiple parts and purposes. There’s the cafe that spills out into the market courtyard, and the tuck shop for coffees and takeaway treats. There’s a glass-walled terrace that will open for drinks in warm weather, and the luxe bar offering a selection of top-shelf spirits (with vodka and gin the stars), creative cocktails, craft beers and world-class wines. There's even a bottle shop, so you can carry on drinking that Chablis you were poured at home. And then there’s the brasserie, where sleek black banquettes invite you to settle in. Paul oversees the whole space, while executive chef Dave Marshall [ex-Botanical and French Saloon] mans the pans.

Our meal at Wilson & Market brasserie begins with dense, chewy sourdough served with seaweed butter, followed by a tiered stand stacked with freshly shucked oysters and spicy, celeriac-spiked horseradish mignonette.

To start the larger courses, we receive a piece of Petuna ocean trout that cuts like soft butter, with tanginess to its flavour that’s thanks to smoking over orange wood. The devilled egg to one side adds a decidedly retro touch, but it works. Next up is whiting carpaccio in earthy extra virgin olive oil dotted with native capers, thinly sliced fennel and a puree of aji amarillo [a yellow chilli native to Peru] that speaks to Paul's South American expertise. 

The names of farms and producers have pride of place on the menu, taking the old adage ‘know where your food comes from’ to new heights.

Moving on to the heavy hitters, a herby crepe topped with soft shell crab slides onto the table, which our waiter covers with rich, rouille sauce. Compared to the freshness of the preceding dishes, this course seems out of place in the line-up, but it’s actually preparing us for what’s next: a wood-roasted Sommerlad chicken accompanied by creamy cauliflower millet and fat wedges of pumpkin.

Although it’s a stretch, we find room for dessert. The ‘cheddar ice cream’ side to the Bramley apple pie is particularly intriguing. It comes out in individual pans, dusted with icing sugar and topped with glossy rings of apple. No pie is complete without a drizzle of sauce and this one comes with options, including a pitcher of crème anglaise and another filled with piquant muscatel syrup. As for the ice cream, I’m a fan of its sharp, savoury flavour against the sweetness of the pie. 

For dining away from the crowds on Chapel Street, go to market. There's something here for all comers, whether you're after a quick coffee on your way to grab groceries, a virtuous brunch, a long lunch that turns into drinks, a place to start your night with oysters and gin, or a decadent dinner. 

Can't make it to Wilson & Market? Why not try some of Paul Wilson's recipes at home?

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