While Modern Australian is certainly becoming synonymous with Melbourne restaurants, it isn’t that often that you stumble across a place that describes itself as Modern Australian with a Slovenian influence. However, Mr & Mrs Howell does just that, offering Melburnians yet another opportunity to try something completely new.
After eleven years at Albert Park’s Middle Eastern restaurant Kamel, chef Mark Brozic set his horizons on Brunswick. In 2013, he opened his first venture, named after the posh couple from Gilligan’s Island, Lovey and Thurston Howell.
Four years later, his restaurant is now a hub of activity in central Brunswick, offering a seasonal and sustainable menu with a smart beer and wine list.
The venue is housed in a narrow Sydney Road shopfront. Inside, the vibe is homey and familiar, with a distinctly Brunswick interior. Exposed brick walls and polished concrete floors set the tone and a long wooden bar and a few neatly positioned tables fill the space. The focus of the room is Mark’s open kitchen, in which he delivers dish after dish under the watchful eye of his hungry guests.
Mark and restaurant manager, Naomi Smith, are extremely passionate about being a destination for casual diners. Whether you are out for a special occasion or simply sick of cooking dinner, the menu is extremely flexible. The cosy bar is perfect for those looking to wet their whistle with a glass of Slovenian pinot gris and nibble on some house-made charcuterie or duck, pine nut and currant spring rolls.
However, if you are in for the long haul, Mark has designed a menu that offers a selection of dishes from the garden, the ocean or the farm. Start with a kale, quinoa and raw vegetable salad with parsley, cranberries, flaked almonds, olive oil and balsamic, before moving onto the Tasmanian scallops with sweet corn puree, ginger and soy sauce. When it comes to ‘From the Farm’, options range from grass-fed lamb rump with wild grain salad and mint harissa yoghurt, to pork medallions with sweet potato, butter beans and chimichurri.
If you’re too hungry to even think for yourself, Mr & Mrs Howell’s feasting menu features a selection of the best that the kitchen has to offer. All of this is finished off with a fabulous selection of sweet options, both light and decadent.
Thanks to Mark’s Slovenian heritage, both the regular menu and specials pay homage to his native cuisine. If you find yourself partial to these Eastern European creations, Mr & Mrs Howell hosts a yearly Slovenian Dinner around Slovenian Independence Day. For this one night, Mr & Mrs Howell serves dishes like potato gnocchi stuffed with plum and served with burnt butter and spec, as well as other delicious Slovenian treats.
Bringing a bit of casual class to Sydney Road, Mr & Mrs Howell is eclectic yet homely. Offering fine dining food in a casual setting, it is a great destination for anything from an after work drink and snack to a big celebratory dinner with friends and family.