In my wasted youth, a friend of mine and I used to sit at hardcore shows or house parties and have conversations entirely comprised of Ricky Gervais quotes. He grew up and went overseas and met an equally-talented but slightly more beautiful (sorry Callum) lass called Mo. I grew up and started this blog while watching re-runs of The Office and throwing staplers out the window.
When I heard that Mo + her super-gorgeous friend Shannon were going to start a vegan restaurant in Fitzroy, I was embarrassingly excited. I had heard good things about the both of them and the food they could come up with, which I’d always had to miss out on owing to me living a million miles away. It was a sign of how grown up we were when Callum and I again sat in a dark corner of a house party and our conversation was all about the work he was putting into Smith & Daughters to get it in tip-top shape for its grand opening, rather than re-enacting this for our own amusement. We’re talking handmade doors, repurposed floor planks, hand-lettered signage – the works. All involved were putting their heart and soul into this creation of theirs, and I was hardly surprised. They are some passionate, creative dreamers with the chutzpah to make shit happen.
They also have a jalapeno-cucumber margarita, which is a double-thumbs-up from me.
In fact, all their drinks and cocktails are pretty astounding. Their pina colada will get you a heavenly mix of not only your regular pineapple juice + coconut, but a dash of coconut water as well. Do not leave without trying the Sangria. Let this be a warning to you all. I was invited to their First Look Feast, where they had a run-through of service for the media alongside their friends and family. The place has just the right kind of dark ambience that is awesome for an amazing experience on a night out and absolutely dismal for photography novices like me. Restaurant reviewer, I am not! (Although I am excellent at the eating part, that’s enough for a side hustle, yeah?). Do please enjoy this blurry reconstruction of the epic fitout these guys have created. Every single detail catered to. Every bit of love and care and attention everywhere you look. Including their little speech Mo gave to the diners explaining the whys and wherefores of Smith & Daughters. Pretty sure I caught the suit next to me wiping away a tear.
So please. Let’s talk about the food.
The food that was so good I went back the day after they opened and said I knew they were fully booked but I’d sit on the floor if I had to, just so I could eat another of these green pea + tuna croquettas. Spanish bechamel, caper aioli, wedge of lemon, COME AT ME, BRO. Hot, crispy, salty, smooth on the inside – all the things a croquetta should be.
We also dined on oyster mushroom + white bean cevice with twice-fried plantain chips, tamales stuffed with masa, mushroom, nopales and grilled corn; pazole (a hominy soup) with crispy-friend tortilla strips, pickled purple cabbage and fresh lime; chilles rellenos which were battered deep-fried chiles stuffed with a chorizo-and-cream cheese mix (holy shit), and, of course, the pièce de résistance: the PAELLA.
Shannon says her heady mix of saffron, rice, veggies, prawns, scallops and sausage is a veganised version of a recipe at least four generations old. It did NOT disappoint. It was deliciously spicy, and had that crispy bottom-of-the-pot rice that gives it that wonderful texture and smoky flavour. The next night when I went back I saw the full presentation of the dish, and it was kickass. They do not do things by halves at Smith & Daughters!
For dessert I ate two pieces of the Tarta de Chocolate Azteca and two quince-filled Spanish donuts.
When we went back the following week, we also ordered the potato + chorizo starter (while I stuffed myself full of the croquettas again), and Matt had the chilles rellenos while I had the tacos ensalada, which was basically a fried tortilla with taco salad in it that was a legitimate party in my mouth. So full of chorizo, salsa, avocado, and coriander cream. I ate every bit of the admittedly large portion and I REGRET NOTHING.
I found the service to be excellent (and although it was only their second night and they were totally run off their feet) everyone was mentioning how much they were enjoying it. Especially as they were getting used to the swing of things. I tried to go both times with a total open mind so I wouldn’t just assume it was all going to be amazing, but honestly, I can’t fault it. Good dudes doing good things with good food. I’ll be back.
If you’d like to go, I thoroughly recommend booking, as they’ve been booked out every night since they opened two weeks ago. They will offer lunch again in the future but for now are concentrating on dinner + weekend brunch. They also serve drinks and late-night snacks until 1am, if that’s more your thing.
They’re at 175 Brunswick St Fitzroy, and you can make a booking on 03) 9939 3293 until they get their internet booking system up and running. You can keep up with their news on their Facebook page, and their shenanigans on Instagram.
See you there!