Seamstress has long been on the Melbourne food and wine scene. Set across three levels, there's a bar at the top, a more formal dining in the middle and a function space down below.
The waiter we had was exceptional - recommended a brilliant bottle of wine, guided us through the menu and saw to our every need. The food, however, was not so memorable (or indeed it was, but not in a good way).
To eat we ordered the sticky duck betal leaf with balinese sambal and dried shallots ($15), the mapo tofu, shitake and enoki mushrooms ($15), Cantonese style BBQ chicken, maple bacon, lettuces and szechuan dressing ($25), braised short rib ($26), Asian herb salad ($10) and steamed rice ($5).
The duck betal leaves and the beef ribs were by far the most disappointing dishes of the night. Firstly, query whether there was actually any duck in the betal leaf which had an overwhelming taste and texture of moist breadcrumbs. And the beef ribs? Well, they were so tough that at first we thought there was a bone through it. On figuring out that no, it wasn't a bone, just a tough piece of meat, we cut through to find a rib so dry that the meat had turned grey.
The BBQ chicken was also dissapointing. Whilst the meat was tender and juicy, the dish mainly consisted of bones and the flavours were one dimensional.
The Asian herb salad was okay, but was lacking in any sweetness, sourness and/or spiciness - the beloved trademarks of many Asian dish. The rice was good - ok, I am grasping here for something good to say - but it was good rice!
Another positive of the night was the flavours in the mapo tofu which was the stand out dish of the night. But even then, the shitake mushrooms were too chewy for my liking.
Often I will go to a restaurant, dislike the food, and STILL finish my plate as I am so hungry. But In this case, the food was actually so bad that most of it was left behind. And for a $48 a head JUST FOR FOOD, ridiculous! I don't know how Seamstress earnt itself such a great rating on Zomato - those diners obviously had a different dining experience to me.
Service: 4/5 - such a pity the food didn't match the service!
Verdict: don't bother